Miami Dolphins greats, in aqua jackets showing their selection as one of the 50 greatest Dolphins, crossed the red carpet in clumps Friday night before the 50th Anniversary gala celebration at Hollywood’s Diplomat Hotel and Resort.
First clump: 1970s legends, such as Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bob Griese, Nat Moore, Mercury Morris, Nick Buoniconti. Of course, the topic asked of those from the 1972 Perfect Season (17-0) team concerned the 12-0 Carolina Panthers, whose remaining schedule seems to favor them to joining the 2007 New England Patriots as 16-0 teams.
“I won’t say I’m rooting for them, but I’m not rooting against them,” Csonka said.
Morris talked about probabilities, noting the 1972 team went 16-1 on the coin toss.
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“They’re just as likely to lose this week, as go undefeated,” said Morris, who also said to come back when the Panthers were 18-0 and in the Super Bowl for his opinion.
Then came the 1980s clump: Mark Clayton, Mark Duper (in a pink hat straight out of Willie Dynamite), Dan Marino, Kim Bokamper, Glenn Blackwood. Defensive linemen from the 1990s, Jason Taylor, Tim Bowens and Jeff Cross entered together, followed by Zach Thomas, Sam Madison and Pat Surtain from the 1990s.
Sprinkled in there were Emilio Estefan, the dean of Miami music, and Darius Rucker, aka Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish, as well as current Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (in an aqua jacket) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (in shiny stripes). Current Dolphins Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake, both selected among the 50 greatest, came post red carpet.
Then, in rolled The Don. Former Dolphins coach Don Shula entered in his scooter and you knew who the star was. Estefan quickly hugged Shula as cameras flashed. Later, as Shula met with the media in the middle of the red carpet, Taylor respectfully waited until Shula finished instead of crossing behind him on the red carpet to others waiting to get a picture or sound bite.