History At Halftime Recognizes Greatness

Posted Dec 16, 2012

Bill Arnsparger and 1972 Perfect Season team honored.

Once again the football field at Sun Life Stadium turned into a venerable Field of Dreams at halftime of today’s Dolphins-Jaguars game on the 40th anniversary of the Perfect Season.

Led by Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Don Shula, a large contingent of the surviving members of that team made their way to the middle of the field. It was an extra special moment for the defensive players as their defensive coordinator, Bill Arnsparger, had his name added to the Dolphin Honor Roll.

Hall-of-Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti made the induction speech and reminded the fans that Arnsparger “took a bunch of no-names and turned us into the Non-Name Defense.” Arnsparger’s name went up in between Buoniconti’s and Hall-of-Fame guard Larry Little and his son, David, accepted the honor on his behalf.

“Starting from when I was a little kid, and a lot of people ask me what it was like and I was 7, I remember it and at that time it was just what we did and we didn’t know anything different,” he said. “But as you get older it gets more special and to hear Nick talk about Dad just brings tears to my eyes. And to hear all of the great things from so many of the guys that played when Dad was coaching, it’s something I’ll never forget. It’s so much more special now than when I was 7 because I didn’t really understand because I saw things through a child’s eyes. It’s very special to me and my sister and our family and I just really appreciate it. I’m very proud of my Dad.”

Shula also thanked Arnsparger as he addressed the crowd and thanked the fans for standing behind the team that season and all of those years. Hall-of-Famers Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Paul Warfield and Buoniconti surrounded him along with the others as he talked about that season.

Joining Buoniconti and Arnsparger upstairs in the media lounge for a press conference was Warfield and he spoke for all of his teammates form that 1972 team when he reflected on the weekend.

“This is a great honor certainly for myself and my teammates to be acknowledged after 40 years,” Warfield said. “It was a great accomplishment at the time to happen and as each year passes by and this accomplishment has not been equaled or surpassed by two ballgames it means even more.”
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