In a visit 41 years in the making, Coach Shula and his undefeated Dolphins team will finally go to Washington.
President Obama will welcome the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins to the White House on Tuesday for the first ceremony honoring their historic season.
Nearly every living member of the team is expected to make the trip, including coaches Don Shula and Howard Schnellenberger, who are 83 and 79, respectively.
“It’s been 40 years, but I’m thrilled,” said Nick Buoniconti, a linebacker on the team.
Added Dick Anderson, a safety: “To be honored by the president of the United States is special.”
So why now? They weren’t asked back when they won, but it wasn’t any kind of snub. Although it has become an annual tradition, the White House didn’t start hosting NFL champions until later in the 1970s.
But in recent years, Anderson, Marv Fleming – a tight end on the team – and Nat Moore, who oversees the Dolphins’ alumni association, revived the idea and worked with the White House to make it happen. Moore recently got a call asking if the date – Aug. 20 – would work. It did, and the Dolphins are making every effort to ensure it’s well-attended.
Steve Ross, the Dolphins’ owner, has offered to pay for travel for any member of the ’72 who wants to go. There are more than 40 living players and coaches, and nearly all have RSVP’d. There’s even a push to bring down Larry Csonka, who lives up in Alaska and doesn’t often leave.
“It’s a high point in Dolphins history,” Anderson said.
The ceremony will take place just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.