There was no air-conditioned bubble when the Miami Dolphins hit the practice field back in 1972. So that’s the first thing that looked out of place this afternoon when 10 players from that undefeated team posed for a group picture on the indoor field.
In fact, as former Dolphins punter Larry Seiple points out, Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Don Shula didn’t even allow water on the field during practice. Just for added measure in case any of these guys thought their leader has softened over the years, he planned a nice surprise tonight when they arrive at his Miami home for a dinner.
“It’s just going to be a wonderful evening for me to have them walk through the door and I can check them in and weigh them in and have them run gassers,” Shula said on a conference call with the South Florida media. “I can just make life miserable for them remembering what I put them through.”
Seiple and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Bob Griese were testing each other before the picture was taken to see who could remember the most offensive play calls. Safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson looked fit enough to line up in the secondary again, with only their bald heads and glasses giving away their age.
Hall-of-Fame guard Larry Little, one of the best pulling guards in the history of the game, had no qualms taking issue with the 2009 Indianapolis Colts to task for sitting their starters after reaching 14-0 and losing their last two regular-season games.
“I have more respect for New England for going for it (in 2007) than the Colts not going for it,” Little said. “I thought the Colts shut it down too quickly thinking they were going to win it all and look what happened (they lost in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami). I think it’s gotten tougher with more media involved now and teams have gotten tighter.”
Just the sound of laughter coming from Little, Shula and the others as they reminisced about that memorable season said it all when it came to remembering why that team is honored every five years. Shula is quick to point out that it’s really a 90-year-old record because nobody put together a perfect season in the 50 years prior to when they did it and it still hasn’t been done 40 years later.
Morrall likes to remind everyone that the record can never be broken, only tied, and still relishes being the oldest guy in the room. He loved seeing familiar faces again.
“It’s great to look at them and talk about the things that we did and what we’re doing now,” Morrall said. “It’s all together different now but these are good friends and it’s great to see everybody. We try to pass it on to the younger guys and that’s the biggest thing.”
They’ll all be back together on the field at Sun Life Stadium at halftime of the game between the Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars to be recognized and to see former defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger go into the Dolphins Honor Roll.
“I think it’s always good for them to realize and remember, as you just mentioned, the great legacy that those guys have left,” said current Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin. “They’ve set the bar awfully high around here, which is good, which is a great thing for them to have accomplished together. Having met some of those guys, they’re an impressive group. I haven’t obviously met all of them, but you can see why just meeting them and talking to them, you can kind of figure out that they’ve kind of got that special quality about them.”
## There was another good mix of music during stretching and warm-ups today, starting with Randy Houser’s “How Country Feels.” That was followed by “MotownPhilly,” by Boyz II Men. “I’m Going In,” by Drake featuring Lil’ Wayne and Young Jeezy closed things out.