In what was the greatest backup QB play in the History of the NFL Earl Morrall who took over for Bob Griese in what is still the greatest season in NFL history the 1972 Miami Dolphins undefeated untied perfect season. It still stands until this day as the only time in history that a professional Team went undefeated and untied. The fact that it has never been duplicated in itself proves how difficult a task that was to accomplish. Just think about it the complete regular season throughout the playoffs and the SB without a single loss.
Who knows if Bob Griese had never been hurt that year that the Dolphins would have went undefeated? The fact is Griese did get hurt he broke his ankle in week 5 and in steps Earl Morrall and he proceeds to win the next nine games and two playoff games putting Miami into the Super Bowl. Now the most amazing thing about Earl came not in his play but how he accepted the news that he was being benched in favor of the starter Bob Griese in the Super Bowl.
I was an avid young Dolfan at the time 10 years old and remember the season very well . It is the reason I have been faithful to this team for the many years. I have accepted the GOOD with the BAD and in my eyes there have been more good than bad.
Earl Morrall is a true example of the ultimate team player. Can you imagine in the world we live in today with 24/7 news and the ESPN’s of the world what a huge distraction that news would have been? I am sure it was not easy for former HC Don Shula to tell Earl he would not start in the Super Bowl and that he had to play the backup role again after all he had done to get Miami to the super Bowl.
The sad news came out this weekend that Earl Morrall died in Naples, Fl at the age of 79 he will always be remembered by those of us entering the twilight years of our lives as father Time is catching up with many of us. I will always remember the 1972 Dolphins as a team and I am preparing a series of articles under the title “TDS Blast from the Past” as many of the younger generation have no clue to the storied history of this team in a time where the Miami Dolphins ruled their division and was a major player in the NFL.
I hope that those days will come again soon as my time on this wonderful planet is closing fast. But the memories I have will last forever and the joy and pain of life we all experience as fans of this team has been worth every moment and no greater joy can be experienced than to witness the Dolphins team go undefeated and thanks in part to one Earl Morrall we have the greatest joy and experience of them all.
R.I.P Earl Morrall! TDS
Here is a link to a very excellent written article by the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote it’s a must read.