The franchise first took the field in 1966, which also happened to be the first year of the Super Bowl Era. The Miami Dolphins became the ninth member of the American Football League, which would soon merge with the NFL. In their first four seasons, they understandably combined for a 15-39-2 record.
In 1970 and with the merger, the franchise became a member of the five-team AFC East. It also named former Baltimore Colts’ head coach Don Shula as the team’s newest sideline leader.
Shula would lead the Dolphins to five straight playoff appearances, including four consecutive division titles. In 1971, the team began a run that saw them make three straight Super Bowl appearances. That was an unprecedented feat at the time.
Miami came up short, 24-3, to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI. A year later, “perfection” was achieved as the team capped off a 17-0 campaign with a 14-7 victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Then came 1973. It would result in a second straight NFL championship. It wasn’t perfect, but the team was dominant, especially in the postseason. Yes, the 1972 team owned a better regular-season point differential (plus-214) than the 1973 edition (plus-193).
However, while the perfect Dolphins prevailed in each of their three playoff games by seven points or less, Shula’s ’73 team bested the Bengals (34-16), Raiders (27-10) and Vikings (24-7) by a combined 85-33 score. Each of those wins were by at least 17 points.
The triumph over the NFC champion Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII was impressive in the fact that Shula’s magnificent offensive front dominated one of the most fabled defensive lines in football history. Bud Grant’s team had the likes of future Pro Football Hall of Famers Alan Page and Carl Eller, as well as reliable end Jim Marshall.
Miami’s offensive line featured a few stars as well. They also boasted a few players that would be enshrined in Canton in center Jim Langer and right guard Larry Little. Highly- respected left guard Bob Kuechenberg and tackles Wayne Moore and Norm Evans rounded out the starting five up front.
On that afternoon at Houston’s Rice Stadium, the Dolphins ran a total of 61 offensive plays and owned the ball for 33:45. At the time, their 53 running plays (for 196 yards) were a Super Bowl record. Quarterback Bob Griese only got off seven passes (he was sacked once) and completed six for 73 yards.
Running back Larry Csonka was named the game’s MVP by totaling 33 carries for 145 yards and a pair of scores. Shula’s team owned a 14-0 lead after one quarter and took a 24-0 advantage into the final 15 minutes.
Domination indeed as Shula’s team became the first repeat Super Bowl champion since the Green Bay Packers won Games I and II. Domination indeed. It’s hard to believe that his franchise hasn’t hoisted a Lombardi Trophy in 50 years.