1973 Miami Dolphins season

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1973 Miami Dolphins season
Head coachDon Shula
OwnerJoe Robbie
Home fieldMiami Orange Bowl
Results
Record12–2
Division place1st AFC East
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (Bengals) 34–16
Won AFC Championship (Raiders) 27–10
Won Super Bowl VIII (vs. Vikings) 24–7

The 1973 Miami Dolphins season was the franchise's eighth season and fourth season in the National Football League (NFL). The team entered the 1973 season as defending Super Bowl champion following its undefeated 1972 season.

In week 1, the Dolphins extended their winning streak to 18 with a 21–13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. However, the following week, they would be defeated 12-7 by the Oakland Raiders to end the winning streak. The streak stood as an NFL record until it was broken by the New England Patriots in 2004 whose record of 21 consecutive wins still stands.

The team won the AFC East, finishing with a regular season record of 12–2, and then defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round and then the Raiders in the AFC Championship game, and defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the league’s eighth Super Bowl. It was the Dolphins’ second consecutive (and to date last)[1] Super Bowl victory. With the Dolphins' combined records of 17–0 and 15–2 over the course of their 1972 and 1973 seasons, the Dolphins posted a 32–2 total record over 2 years, for a winning percentage of .941.

Season summary[edit]

Although the Dolphins were unable to match their 17–0 perfect season of 1972, many sports writers, fans, and Dolphins players themselves felt that the 1973 team was better. While the 1972 team faced no competition in the regular season that had a record of better than 8–6, the 1973 team played against a much tougher schedule that included games against the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys (all playoff teams), plus two games against a resurgent Bills squad that featured 2,000-yard rusher O.J. Simpson. Miami finished with a 12–2 regular season, including their opening game victory over the San Francisco 49ers that tied an NFL record with eighteen consecutive wins. The Dolphins’ streak ended in week two with a 12–7 loss to the Raiders in Berkeley, California.

Just like the two previous seasons, Miami’s offense relied primarily on their rushing attack. Fullback Larry Csonka recorded his third consecutive 1,000 rushing yard season (1,003 yards), while running back Mercury Morris rushed for 954 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, while leading the league with 6.4 yards per carry. Running back Jim Kiick was also a key contributor, rushing for 257 yards, and catching 27 passes for 208 yards. Quarterback Bob Griese, the AFC's second leading passer, completed only 116 passes for 1,422 yards, but threw about twice as many touchdown passes (17) as interceptions (8), and earned an 84.3 passer rating. Wide receiver Paul Warfield remained the main deep threat on the team, catching 29 passes for 514 yards and 11 touchdowns. The offensive line remained strong led by center Jim Langer and right guard Larry Little. Griese, Csonka, Warfield, Langer, and Little would all eventually be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Miami’s “No Name Defense” continued to dominate their opponents. Future Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti recovered three fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. Safety Dick Anderson led the team with eight interceptions, which he returned for 163 yards and two touchdowns. And safety Jake Scott, the previous season's Super Bowl MVP, had four interceptions and 71 return yards. The Dolphins were still using their “53” defense devised at the beginning of the 1972 season, where Bob Matheson (#53) would be brought in as a fourth linebacker in a 3–4 defense, with Manny Fernandez at nose tackle. Matheson could either rush the quarterback or drop back into coverage.

In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1973 Dolphins as the eight-greatest defense in NFL history,[2] noting that the team “held 11 opponents to 14 points or less, setting a record by allowing just 150 points in a 14-game season”. Defensive end Bill Stanfill set a Dolphins’ sack record that still stands, with 18.5. In the playoffs and Super Bowl, they allowed only 33 points against Cincinnati, Oakland and Minnesota. Stanfill, Manny Fernandez, Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti, and safeties Dick Anderson (AP Defensive Player of the Year) and Jake Scott were all named to the 1973 All-Pro team. They also held record-breaking rusher O.J. Simpson to his lowest total yardage of the season, a mere 55 yards in Week Six.

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

1973 Miami Dolphins draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 52 Chuck Bradley  Tight end Oregon
3 83 Leon Gray *  Offensive tackle Jackson State
4 104 Bo Rather  Wide receiver Michigan
5 111 Don Strock  Quarterback Virginia Tech
5 130 Dave McCurry  Defensive Back Iowa State
6 156 Ed Newman *  Guard Duke
7 160 Kevin Reilly  Linebacker Villanova
7 163 Benny Shepherd  Running Back Arkansas Tech
7 178 Willie Hatter  Wide Receiver Northern Illinois
7 182 Thomas Smith  Fullback Miami (FL)
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

[3]

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1973 Miami Dolphins staff
Front office

Head coaches

  • Head Coach – Don Shula

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches



Roster[edit]

1973 Miami Dolphins roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

{{{reserve_lists}}}


Rookies in italics

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 16, 1973 San Francisco 49ers W 21–13
68,275
2 September 23, 1973 at Oakland Raiders L 7–12
74,121
3 September 30, 1973 New England Patriots W 44–23
62,508
4 October 7, 1973 New York Jets W 31–3
63,850
5 October 15, 1973 at Cleveland Browns W 17–9
70,070
6 October 21, 1973 Buffalo Bills W 27–6
65,241
7 October 28, 1973 at New England Patriots W 30–14
57,617
8 November 4, 1973 at New York Jets W 24–14
57,791
9 November 11, 1973 Baltimore Colts W 44–0
60,332
10 November 18, 1973 at Buffalo Bills W 17–0
77,138
11 November 22, 1973 at Dallas Cowboys W 14–7
58,089
12 December 3, 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers W 30–26
68,901
13 December 9, 1973 at Baltimore Colts L 3–16
58,446
14 December 15, 1973 Detroit Lions W 34–7
53,375

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1[edit]

1 234Total
49ers 3 730 13
• Dolphins 3 3015 21
  • Date: September 16
  • Location: Orange Bowl
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 82°F; wind 8

[4]

Week 2[edit]

1 234Total
Dolphins 0 007 7
• Raiders 3 333 12
  • Date: September 23
  • Location: Memorial Stadium
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. PST
  • Game attendance: 74,121
  • Game weather: 62°F; wind 13
  • The Raiders became the first team to defeat Miami since Super Bowl VI.

[5]

Week 4[edit]

1 234Total
Jets 0 003 3
• Dolphins 14 1070 31
  • Date: October 7
  • Location: Orange Bowl
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 80°F; wind 6

[6]

Week 8[edit]

1 234Total
• Dolphins 7 7100 24
Jets 0 1400 14
  • Date: November 4
  • Location: Shea Stadium
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 47°F; wind 17

[7]


Week 12[edit]

1 234Total
Steelers 0 3716 26
• Dolphins 20 1000 30
  • Date: December 3
  • Location: Orange Bowl
  • Game start: 9:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 68,901
  • Game weather: 75°F; wind 14
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (ABC): Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and Don Meredith

[8]

Week 14[edit]

1 234Total
Lions 0 07 7
• Dolphins 14 1730 34
  • Date: December 15
  • Location: Orange Bowl
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 69°F; wind 7

[9]

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Miami Dolphins 12 2 0 .857 7–1 9–2 343 150 W1
Buffalo Bills 9 5 0 .643 6–2 7–4 259 230 W4
New England Patriots 5 9 0 .357 1–7 3–8 258 300 L2
New York Jets 4 10 0 .286 4–4 4–7 240 306 L2
Baltimore Colts 4 10 0 .286 2–6 2–9 226 341 W2

[10]

Postseason[edit]

Divisional[edit]

1 234Total
Bengals 3 1300 16
• Dolphins 14 7103 34

[11]

The Dolphins outgained Cincinnati in total yards, 400–194, and first downs, 27–11, while also scoring on three of their first four possessions and shutting out the Bengals in the second half. The Dolphins racked up 241 yards on the ground, including 106 from Mercury Morris and 71 from Larry Csonka, while receiver Paul Warfield caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a score.

Conference Championship[edit]

1 234Total
Raiders 0 0100 10
• Dolphins 7 7310 27
  • Date: December 30
  • Location: Orange Bowl
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 79,325
  • Game weather: 74°F; wind 8
  • Referee: Tommy Bell
  • TV announcers (NBC): Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis

[12]

Running back Larry Csonka led the Dolphins to a victory with 117 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Mercury Morris also ran for 86 yards. Bob Griese threw just six passes during the game, completing three.

Super Bowl[edit]

1 234Total
Vikings 0 007 7
• Dolphins 14 370 24

[13] Larry Csonka rushed for 145 yards on 33 carries, scoring two touchdowns, and was named MVP. Bob Griese threw just seven passes all game, completing six.

Awards and honors[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ as of 2013
  2. ^ The List: Best NFL defense of all-time, 2007
  3. ^ "1973 Miami Dolphins draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  5. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-30.
  6. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  7. ^ Pro Football Reference.com
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  9. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  10. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 296
  11. ^ Pro Football Reference.com
  12. ^ Pro Football Reference.com
  13. ^ Pro Football Reference.com

External links[edit]