The National Football League has officially named the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the greatest team in NFL history. ESPN reports that during the Dolphins finale home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the 22nd, the 1972 team was honored during halftime with an arena wide toast. The football legends all raised a glass of Dom Perignon to celebrate a monumental and well-deserved accomplishment.
The NFL named the 1972 Dolphins as a part of their “NFL 100 Greatest” series that they created to end the decade. The NFL worked alongside the Associated Press to collectively go through the NFL’s history with a fine tooth comb. They created a mini television special that consisted of 20 one-hour long episodes; clips from the special are now available on the official NFL website.
“The NFL and the Associated Press (AP) came together to select the 100 greatest across five categories – Plays, Games, Characters, Game Changers and Teams. The 80-person blue ribbon panel was comprised of experts selected by the AP and NFL Media. Supporting the rankings, NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and legends that aired across 20, one-hour episodes with four episodes that were dedicated to each topic,” said the NFL in their official statement regarding the special.
The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was filled with MVPs from the 1972 team, including former coach Don Shula, quarterback Bob Griese, receiver Mercury Morris, offensive linemen Larry Little, fullback Larry Csonka, and defensive back Dick Anderson. All of these names carry such recognition already for true football fans, especially those who have kept up with the Dolphins for a while, and now they’re all getting another well-deserved NFL recognition.
Don Shula and Bob Griese (right) at the halftime ceremony honoring the Dolphins 1972 Perfect Season
The 1972 team was so significant to the history of the NFL because of its unmatched level of skill from every player, and record shattering season. The 1972 Dolphins won their Super Bowl that year, which was the perfect finale to an already perfect season, literally. They are the only team in NFL history to remain completely undefeated throughout the entire season and including any postseason games (Superbowl VII). The closest team that almost joined the Dolphins and their undefeated season title was the 2007 New England Patriots, who did record the most consecutive wins (18) before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
“I’m tired of people saying we were named the greatest team. We took that s***. We earned the goddamn thing. Only one team can claim perfection: us. That came from our hard work. Nobody elected us to perfection. We were the first definition of that in the NFL. Nobody gave us s***. We took it. We took the hilltop and put the flag up. Now anybody is welcome to join us. But there will be two of us, and we will always be the first,” said former fullback Larry Csonka before the game this past Sunday.
During halftime all the former members of the 1972 Dolphins who were present took to the field wearing their sports blazers that were the signature Dolphin green-blue. The team jokingly referred to these as their “perfection” jackets, referring to their perfectly played season. The halftime ceremony involved the signature champagne toast along with a reading of every players name. Every player who was present also received a personalized golden football once their name was announced.
The ceremony ended with a standing ovation and a song for former Coach Shula, who will be turning 90 at the beginning of 2020. Fans joined the former teammates in singing “Happy Birthday” to the legendary coach himself, a perfect ending for a perfect team.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.