The unbeaten team and top seed in the Don Shula Bracket from ’72 easily eliminated the 2011 Green Bay Packers with 68 percent of the vote and will take on the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, seeded ninth. Meanwhile, the ’73 Dolphins, seeded seventh, edged the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, 53 percent to 47 percent, and will go up against No. 2, the 2007 New England Patriots. The 1984 Dolphins fell to the ’97 Broncos, 64 percent to 36 percent.
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Here’s a breakdown of the second-round matchups each team is faced with and the voting ends on Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time:
No. 1, ’72 Dolphins versus No. 9, 2000 Baltimore Ravens:
Although not quite as obvious a win as the opening round since both teams went on to win the Super Bowl at the end of the season, the ’72 Dolphins have to be favored again. In fact, being as they never lost a game and are the only team to ever put together a perfect season, this tournament really should be about crowning the second best team of all time. Granted, the Ravens had arguably the greatest defense in league history led by future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, allowing a record-low 165 points in a 16-game season, but they did not have much of an offense and struggled to make it into the postseason as a Wild Card. Dolphins fans can once again guarantee there will be no upset by getting as many votes entered as possible to remind everyone about the vaunted No-Name Defense and an offense full of Hall-of-Famers with quarterback Bob Griese, running back Larry Csonka, wide receiver Paul Warfield, center Jim Langer, tackle Larry Little and of course Head Coach Don Shula. Linebacker Nick Buoniconti is the lone Hall-of-Famer from that defense.
No. 7, ’73 Dolphins versus No. 2, 2007 New England Patriots:
Oh how sweet it would be to stick it to that Patriots team again after its bid to join the ’72 Dolphins in Perfect-ville was derailed by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. As has been pointed out before, Shula, Csonka and other members of both of those teams have labeled the ’73 Dolphins as better than the undefeated team after going 15-2 and destroying the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7, in Super Bowl VIII. But the Patriots did complete the only 16-0 regular season in league history, future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady did throw a record 50 touchdown passes and wide receiver Randy Moss did catch a record 23 touchdowns. If the final vote is too close to call – and it shouldn’t be if every Dolphins fan out there stuffs the ballot box – the tiebreaker still should go to the team that finished the job by winning the Super Bowl, and that of course was the ’73 Dolphins.