The 1972 Miami Dolphins

‘Often imitated but never duplicated,’ Dolphins’ undefeated 1972 team to be honored Sunday night in New Jersey

In 1972, the Miami Dolphins won a then-record four straight games, including victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Colts. They would go on to win the NFL championship game in Baltimore on January 4, 1973.

They were the first Super Bowl champions to start the season ranked No. 1. They were also the first to win a Super Bowl while being No. 1. They were the first to be ranked No. 1 against the Patriots.

The Dolphins were led by quarterback Dan Marino, who went on to play Super Bowl XII with the New England Patriots. The NFL’s first Super Bowl champion to be in his first year starting.

“They were the first team to be No. 1 in the country in the NFL, and they were the first team from a different conference to be No. 1,” said Bob Costas, who anchored NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl XII.

While the team is often seen only as a Miami institution, the 1972 Dolphins were much like today’s Miami teams: They made a deep run during a shortened offseason and, despite the team’s young quarterback, they were one of the more balanced units in the league.

The 1971 season was the first in which the Dolphins finished over.500, but Miami did not reach the postseason. Marino played his first NFL season under the tutelage of former head coach Don Shula and his defensive coordinator, Don Shula, who was hired as the team’s head coach in 1973.

In 1973, the Dolphins finished with a 5-2 record, with Marino completing 60.6 percent of his passes, the highest percentage in a single season, the first among starting quarterbacks. Marino completed 22-of-31 passes for a Super Bowl record 431 yards.

“There is a lot of pressure not to make mistakes when you are having so much success. We always tried not to get down on ourselves,” Marino said, and Shula said “we had to have confidence in each other

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