OK, these guys asked for it.
Jim Langer, Manny Fernandez and Bob Kuechenberg must want me to go into my “the 1972 Miami Dolphins weren’t all that good” rant. Well, if they want it, they got it.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the only team that has gone through an entire National Football League season undefeated. They won the Super Bowl that year, defeating Washington’s team by a score of 14-7.
Over the years members of that Dolphins team have complained – OK, it’s been more like whined incessantly – that they haven’t received proper respect or recognition for what they achieved.
President Obama sought to rectify that. He recently had members of that 1972 Miami Dolphins squad visit the White House, the better to bestow the props on the team that they claim they deserve.
But were Langer, Fernandez and Kuechenberg there? Nope. They don’t like the Obama administration, so they didn’t attend.
“We’ve got some real moral compass issues in Washington. I don’t want to be in a room with those people and pretend I’m having a good time. I can’t do that. If that (angers) people, so be it,” said Langer.
Fernandez had this to say: “(My views are) dramatically opposed to the president’s. Enough said. Let’s leave it at that. I hope everyone enjoys the trip who goes.”
Added Kuechenberg: “I don’t want to do that. I just don’t believe in this administration at all. So I don’t belong. Anyone on the left or right has to respect one man’s opinion.”
This is not about left or right, or politics at all. In the world of athletics, there are supposed to be occasions where politics are put aside and the emphasis is on achievement.
Obama saluted the 1972 Dolphins not based on how many of them agree with him politically; his focus was on what the team achieved.
Langer, Fernandez and Kuechenberg are three men who can’t put their politics aside, not even for an instant. Do they seriously believe that guys like fullback Larry Csonka, quarterback Bob Griese and Don Shula – head coach of the 1972 Dolphins – agree with Obama on every political issue?
But Griese, Csonka and Shula were all in attendance at the White House. They, at least, realize the occasion was about achievement, not politics.
Were Obama the testy type, he might have used the snubbing he got from Langer, Fernandez and Kuechenberg to point out that the 1985 Chicago Bears were better than the 1972 Dolphins, and that the 1972 Miami squad, undefeated record notwithstanding, wasn’t really all that good.
Members of the 1972 Dolphins team probably never ponder this, but have they considered they haven’t received the respect they deserve because discerning sports fans and pundits have actually LOOKED at their schedule for that year?
I have, and believe me, it ain’t a pretty picture.
Of the Dolphins’ 14 regular-season wins, only two came against teams that had winning records. And those teams – the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants – only barely had winning records. Both finished 8-6.
Two more of those 14 regular-season wins came against teams that had only mediocre records: the 7-7 New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. And two of those victories were close.
The Dolphins beat the Jets by only 28-24 in one of their two games. Miami beat the Vikings – on a late Dolphins touchdown – by only 16-14.
The other 10 regular-season Dolphins came against these teams:
1. Houston Oilers: record 1-13
2. San Diego Chargers: record 4-9-1
3. Buffalo Bills: record 4-9-1 (The Dolphins beat the Bills by only 24-23 in one of their two games.)
4. Baltimore Colts: record 5-9
5. New England Patriots: record 3-11
6. St. Louis Cardinals: record 4-9-1
Do the math: the combined won-loss record for all the teams Miami faced during the 1972 season came to 51-86-3. Ten of the Dolphins 14 regular-season victories came against losing teams with a combined record of 21-60-3.
Truth is, the Miami Dolphins of 1972 FEASTED on teams with losing records. The question isn’t how they went through an entire NFL season undefeated.
The question is – or should be – with such a pathetically weak schedule, how could the 1972 Miami Dolphins NOT go undefeated?