Bill Stanfill, the Dolphins’ first great pass rusher and cornerstone of the team’s undefeated season, died Thursday. He was 69.
The Macon Telegraph reported that Stanfill died from complications from a recent fall.
“We were sadden to learn of the passing of one of our greatest players, defensive end Bill Stanfill,” the Dolphins said in a written statement.
“Bill was an outstanding player and a key contributor to our Super Bowl championship teams,” said former Dolphins coach Don Shula. “He was quick and he was strong, and it was almost impossible to block him. His constant pressure on the opposing quarterback helped make our great No-Name defense even better. I enjoyed coaching him, and I want to extend my condolences to his family on his passing.”
Stanfill, who was a consensus All-American for the Georgia Bulldogs in 1968, was selected 11th overall by the Dolphins the following spring.
The defense end went on to have a standout pro career, leading the Dolphins in sacks several times before it was even an official stat. He was an All-Pro in both of the Dolphins’ championship seasons. Stanfill unofficially finished his career with 67.5 sacks.
“We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of our greatest players, defensive end Bill Stanfill,” said Nat Moore, former Dolphins player and current Senior vice president, special projects and alumni relations. “His gentle demeanor hid a ferocious competitive streak, and he became one of the team’s greatest pass rushers and a mainstay of the No-Name Defense that helped the Dolphins win back-to-back Super Bowls, including their “Perfect Season” championship in 1972. With his intensity on the field and his wit in the locker room, He was a leader on a team that was composed of a host of unique personalities. He will be missed by everyone who was fortunate to know him, his teammates, the Dolphins organization, and the team’s many fans. We want to express our condolences to his family.”
He has since been inducted into the Dolphins’ Honor Roll and is a member of the team’s 50th season all-time team.