At the forefront of the Miami Dolphins’ Mount Rushmore is legendary coach Don Shula, who died Monday at the age of 90, and his lasting achievement of perfection with the 1972 Dolphins.
Almost 50 years later, that period is still the golden age of Dolphins football and the best season any team has ever organized in NFL history. Shula was the demanding but caring leader who made it all happen, and the stories behind the greatness are still vivid today.
On Saturday afternoon, NFL fans will have a chance to relive some of those memories, or perhaps see them for the first time. It begins with a new broadcast of Peyton’s Places: The Final Destination, which focuses on the 1972 Shula and Dolphins alongside Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
NFL fans will have a chance to enjoy some of the NFL’s best memories of legendary coach Don Shula on ESPN2 on Saturday:
3 p.m. ET: Peyton locations: the final destination
3:30 pm. ET: Highlights of Super Bowl VII
4 p.m. ET: Highlights of Super Bowl VIII
At 4pm. ET, ESPN2 will highlight the highlights of the Dolphins’ Super Bowl VII victory against Washington to complete a perfect 17-0 season.
“Only a team can claim perfection: we … No one gave us s —. We took it. Shula made sure to work for everything we got,” said Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka, who appears on the Peyton’s Places Episode and was a featured member of the 1972 Dolphins. “We took the top of the hill and raised the flag. Now anyone can join us. But we will be two, and we will always be first.”
That 1972 team was led by Csonka and Mercury Morris (who became the first teammates in every race over 1,000 yards in one season), quarterback Bob Griese and a unit that was coined as an unnamed defense. . Every season, when every NFL team has lost at least once, the 1972 Miami team celebrates being the only perfect team in league history. Shula was the leader of that team and he was simply a winner.
“He knew how to turn adversity into success. We saw that after we lost Super Bowl VI. The first day we showed up at training camp the following year, he brought us all together to watch the game and criticized us for our mistakes. ” said Morris, who appears on Peyton’s Places. “He said, ‘Do you see how sick you feel now? Just think how unfortunate you will be if you don’t redeem yourself this year.’ And we did it, winning every game we played.”
Shula, the most winning coach of all time, had a knack for inspiring speeches, and he told his players after the perfect season that to validate their success they had to do it again.
4:30 pm. ET on ESPN2, fans can watch the much less publicized 1973 Dolphins Super Bowl VIII victory against the Minnesota Vikings to secure consecutive titles. Hall of Fame guard Larry Little, a leading member of both Dolphins championship teams appearing in Peyton’s Places, argues that the 1973 Miami team was better than the 1972 team.
As we celebrate Shula’s life, remembering some of his greatest achievements as a coach seems like an ideal way to spend 1 1/2 hours on a Saturday afternoon.
“He was the driving force behind everything we accomplished with the Dolphins,” said Griese. “Either because of his will power, his organization, his work ethic, his sense of integrity, or his total focus on winning, he shaped us into champions. And all the time he was doing that, he served as a role model for all of that. He was right in the sport. While he started as my coach, over time he became more than that. He became a mentor, and even better, a great friend. “