Remembering Dolphins' “Killer Bees”

The year was 1982. Ronald Reagan was President. The Falklands War in Argentina began and ended in 10 weeks. The movie “ET” was released. Barney Clark became the first artificial heart recipient, and the band “ABBA”, performed for the final time together.

In sports, Cal Ripkin Jr, played the first game of what would become a record 2632 consecutive games.  Italy won the World Cup of Soccer and does everyone remember that crazy 5 lateral kick-off return where Cal beat Stanford, and the band member gets ran over?  Now that is what I call entertainment!!

But here in South Florida the Miami Dolphins were embarking on season number 17.  Don Shula and the team had just come off a thrilling OT playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers, 41-38, ending the previous season…And expectations were high in 1982.

During the pre-season, all teams were showing their union solidarity by meeting at midfield before the kick-off and shaking hands.  What no one wanted was about to occur.  After the first 2 regular season games (both Dolphins wins), a 57 day play stoppage or strike, began.  By the time the NFL and the Players Union hashed it all out, 7 regular season games had been cancelled.

In late November, the Dolphins finally played their 3rd regular season game.

The offensive was led by QB David Woodley, who had a terrible season passing the ball, throwing only 8 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.  However, he was a good runner and had no problems handing off to FB (remember when that was a position?) Andra Franklin.  The offense averaged 22 points a game, but it was the defense that led the team.

This was no ordinary defense; this was the “Killer Bees”.  Led by players Bob Baumhower, Doug Betters, Kim Bokamper, Charles Bowser, Bob Brudzinski, and the Blackwood boys, also nicknamed within the “Bees” as the “Bruise Brothers”.  But the whole defense swarmed like bees over opponents giving up only 131 points in the 9 games.  The Dolphins finished the regular season with 7 wins and only 2 loses.

The “Killer” Defense recorded 19 interceptions, and remember, they only played 9 games.  In 16 games last year, they only recorded 13, so this was really a “Killer” defense.  Additionally, the “Killers” recorded 29.5 sacks.  They truly stung opponents, like bees.

In the playoffs the “Killers” first stung the Patriots, holding them to 13 points and getting revenge for that snowplow game, earlier in the season, which was one of their two losses.  After downing the Patriots, the Dolphins got more revenge from the OT playoff game the previous season, by knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs.  The “Killers” held that high powered offense to 13 points while the offense seemed to feed off of the D, and score 34 for themselves.

Now the Dolphins were in the AFC Championship game, against the N.Y. Jets.  This game was a defensive war, on one of the sloppiest, muddiest fields, in Dolphins history.  The offense would only score 7 points but the “Killers” wouldn’t let this one get away.  A.J. Duhe intercepted Jets QB Richard Todd 3 times by himself, and returned one for a touchdown, leading the Dolphins to a 14-0 win.

Now it was on to Super Bowl XVII, to meet the Washington Redskins.  Of course we didn’t do so well in that game even though the Dolphins were leading at halftime.  But the Dolphins offense was shut out in the 3rd & 4thquarters, and the “Killers” finally wore out.  The Redskins would go on to win 27-17.

This was disappointing but there was a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The Dolphins finish would have them picking 27th in the 1983 draft.  They would go on to pick a very special QB by the name of Dan Marino.  And we all know what happened after that…


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