1972 Dolphins Offer Praise

The New England Patriots accomplished this season what many thought impossible by going 16-0, as they became the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to go undefeated in the regular season. It's an achievement that members of that great Dolphins team, which went on to complete a perfect season by winning the Super Bowl, can truly appreciate.

Here's what Coach Don Shula and select members of the '72 Dolphins had to say about New England's 16-0 regular season, courtesy of the Dolphins media relations department.

Head Coach Don Shula: "Going undefeated during the regular season is a remarkable achievement. I know first-hand how difficult it is to win every game, and just as we did in 1972, the Patriots have done a great job concentrating on each week's opponent and not letting any other distractions interrupt that focus. If they go on to complete an undefeated season, I will be the first to congratulate Coach (Bill) Belichick and the Patriots organization."

Defensive Tackle Manny Fernandez: "Congratulations to the Patriots for winning all of their regular season games. If they finish without a loss, it's almost going to be a relief to me. That way, the media will start to call them the first eight or nine games each year whenever a team starts undefeated instead of calling us. That will give us a break."

Quarterback Bob Griese: "I want to congratulate the Patriots on going undefeated during the regular season. I know Tom Brady well because he played at Michigan with my son, Brian. I've followed his career ever since then and have the greatest respect for him as a player. He is having one of the greatest seasons ever by an NFL quarterback, and his outstanding performance has been a major factor in the Patriots' success this year. I hope he continues to play at such a high level in the playoffs, and if he does it will be very difficult to beat them the rest of the way."

Running Back Jim Kiick: "If they finish up undefeated, I would be the one of the first to help lift their chair up on the mountaintop. Going undefeated in the regular season is a great accomplishment. But I'm sure going 16-0 isn't important to them – they want to go 19-0. If they finish 18-1 by losing the Super Bowl, there's no doubt they would look at it as a disappointing season. And that's the way we viewed it back in 1972. Our main objective wasn't going undefeated, it was to win the Super Bowl. So it's great that they've gotten this far, but I know what's really important to them is to win that last game, not necessarily all the ones before it."

Guard Bob Kuechenberg: "They've done a heck of a job thus far. But now the exhibition season is over and the real season begins. Obviously, if they can win their first playoff game, beat an even more dangerous Colts team, and then Brett Favre or the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl, I will be the first to take my hat off to them. If they can pull it off, they will have earned it. But my heart is dead set against it. The '72 team in uniquely immortal in American sports and I don't want us to lose that special place. We will forever be immortal, and if they win every game in front of them, then they will join us among those ranks. They will have deserved it ant I will congratulate them. But something in my heart makes me feel that we accomplished something so special that it forever sets the standard of excellence in sports. Imperfect is mortal. Perfect is immortal."

Tight End Jim Mandich: "My sincerest congratulations go out to the Patriots. In this salary cap-era, free agency-era, I didn't think it could be done, and the Patriots did it. They are a remarkable team. They are terrifically coached, and if somebody was going to tie the Miami Dolphins record in the regular season of going unbeaten, it's appropriate that it would be the Patriots because they are a class act."

Quarterback Earl Morrall: "I'd like to congratulate the New England Patriots. They've had a great run and a great season in winning all of their games. I'm sure if they look at it, it's a difficult thing to do. They play great football, so you've got to compliment them on that. Now you've got to see if they can finish it and go the distance – the playoffs, championship and Super Bowl. You've got those to go to end up perfect, and we'll be the first ones to congratulate them if they do it."

Running Back Mercury Morris: "My feeling about it is as consistent as it has been all year. It doesn't matter to me whether or not they win them all because it doesn't affect anything we've done. When all the dust clears, the best they can do is to stand beside us, and in the end, that's not a bad thing. I will welcome them to the neighborhood with my Mr. Rogers sweater on, but first they have to get to the neighborhood."

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