Don Shula: 1972 Dolphins aren’t rooting against the Falcons


The Atlanta Falcons are still undefeated at the halfway point of the season, so it’s time to commence with stories about how the 1972 Dolphins — the only perfect team in NFL history — view this year’s Falcons.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports checked in with Don Shula, who coached the ’72 Dolphins, and found that Shula disputes the notion that he and his old players will be popping champagne when and if the Falcons lose.

We’ve been portrayed as a bunch of angry old guys who have big cocktail parties and celebrate,” Shula said. “None of that is true. I think one year when the last undefeated team got beat, Dick Anderson and [Nick] Buoniconti were living across the street from each other. They went to the parking lot and did a champagne toast. Someone there took a picture of it, but they were too cheap to invite the rest of us to the party.”

The Falcons haven’t been a dominant team, with most of their wins coming by seven points or less, but the ’72 Dolphins weren’t really a dominant team, either. And Shula says he likes the fact that the Falcons are winning close games even when they don’t play particularly well, like they did against the Panthers.

“They shouldn’t have won,” Shula said. “They should have gotten beat that game. Carolina had them and let them loose. Now, you’ve got to have games like that if you expect to run the table. We just have to wait and see who else is going to give them that kind of battle.”

Something else the Falcons have in common with the ’72 Dolphins is strength of schedule: The Dolphins didn’t play a single team in the 1972 regular season that ended up with a winning record, while this year’s Falcons have only one game remaining against a team that currently has a winning record. The Falcons will likely be favored in every game they play the rest of the season, and Shula says he won’t be watching them and rooting for an upset.

78 responses to “Don Shula: 1972 Dolphins aren’t rooting against the Falcons

  1. After the 2007 Patriots I don’t really want to hear about the Miami Dolphins anymore. They won more games than the Dolphins did. The Dolphins in the 70s had a shorter season. They are completely irrelevant to me.

  2. C’mon Don, we all know deep down in your heart that you guys will have a small celebration when the falcons lose to a real team well above .500 and the falcons are no threat to go undefeated and win it all.

  3. How convenient of Shula to forget that the ’07Patriots won even more games that year then the ’72 Dolphins.

  4. No need to root or not root … there is no chance in hell the Falcons go undefeated.

    The only thing that’s guaranteed is that they will lose their first playoff game.

  5. Doesn’t matter at all. The Falcons aren’t going undefeated, let alone win the Superbowl.

  6. As much as i’d love to see it, i don’t think it’ll happen. my prediction is that we’ll lose to the Giants (even though it’s a home game, unfortunatley), probably split with the Saints and Bucs, and win the rest. 13-3. all those games are meaningless though, unless/until we win at least one playoff game. No one will ever take ATL seriously until that happens, even if we win the next 8.

  7. The media should just stop talking to the Dolphins about it. The Dolphins started the tradition of getting together after all teams lost, as a reason to see each other. The 72′ Dolphins earned that right, and the media should leave them alone.

  8. When a team regularly pops $500 bottles of Dom Perrignon champagne, while celebrating the loss of the last undefeated team — it falls into this category:

    Shula, I can’t hear your words — your actions, and those of your players, have long been too loud.

    Too late for a lame attempt at revisionist history.

  9. I’m sick of the ’72 Dolphins, especially after finding out that none of their opponents had a winning record.

  10. They won’t be undefeated because they have to play a game in the “playoffs” which is Falcon for “death by a thousand points”.

  11. To all the clowns saying the 2007 pats won more games…yeah, but they lost a game and didn’t win it all. 72 dolphins won all their games. Period.

  12. Uhh last time I checked how relevant are the 07 patriots. Oh that’s right the first team to go undefeated and not win the super bowl which is the reason the 72 dolphins are still relevant because they are the only team with a perfect season. Who cares if you went 16-0 if you didn’t win the super bowl that’s means nothing. I’d rather go 12-0 and win the Superbowl anyday. I would rather 8-8 and win the super bowl then 16-0 and lose it it means nothing. Patriots haven’t won anything since they got caught cheating. Hmmm strange

  13. 72 is also the last time the Dolphins were relevant
    Not quite true. They also won the Super Bowl after the ’73 season. Plus they went to all of one Super Bowl (and got crushed by the Niners) during the reign of Mr. Regular Season, Dan Marino.

  14. Even if they go undefeated in regular season, i dont see them winning SB… they will struggle against teams with very good pass rush like giants and 49ers… after 2007 pats, going 16-0 is not that charming… going 19-0 would be something…

  15. Hmmm. You mention strength of schedule. But fail to mention that they won most of those games with their Back Up QB. With their Hall of Famer hurt. Let’s see the Falcon’s or any other team do that.
    They were also in the Super Bowl the year before, and won the Super Bowl the year after.

  16. Yet we all still know Atlanta will be one and done in the playoffs. Frankly, as a fan of a fellow NFC team, I pray we draw Atlanta in the playoffs. Would much rather play them than any of the other NFC qualifiers. The other NFC teams either have great defenses or high powered offenses, but Atlanta is just mediocre on both sides of the ball, and they have drawn an incredibly easy schedule.

  17. I’ve been rooting against the Falcons for three weeks straight now. Not because I don’t like them, but because I dread having to read about the ’72 Dolphins every time I visit a sports site…

  18. There is no way the Falcons are running the table. They have enough trouble winning one game in the playoffs. And yes the 72 Dolphins are annoying

  19. Will you crybabies quit whining about the 2007 Patriots already. Yes they won more games than the ’72 Dolphins but they also lost the game that mattered most.

  20. i think it’s funny how these pats fans are here bragging about their team’s failed attempt at making history. they lost the only game that mattered that year; the Superbowl! you NE fans have such delusions of grandeur

  21. ironhawk says: Nov 5, 2012 6:17 PM

    “After the 2007 Patriots I don’t really want to hear about the Miami Dolphins anymore. They won more games than the Dolphins did. The Dolphins in the 70s had a shorter season. They are completely irrelevant to me. ”

    You should probably know that the 2007 patriots lost the superbowl……… we’re talking about a perfect season here….. comprende ?

  22. Interesting point that the Falcons are much more similar to the 72 Fins than 07 Pats. That Pats team blew people away and didn’t have to grind out many close wins. Are the Falcons a dominant team? Not at all but they do have a very good O, a decent enough D, have shown an ability to win close games and a very favorable schedule.

  23. I think you know by now im a Dolphins fan. I’ll estimate 80% of the Dolphins fans on this site were born after 1966. Im in tbe post 66 group. That means that none of those people were around or too young to remember/appreciate the 72 team.

    Nevertheless, every year we’re in a position to have to deal with something that really has no meaning to us. So we had none of the good time, but we are here for the ridicule.

    Please. Someone go undefeated already. As much as anti-Dolphin fans want it, we want it more. Believe me. Nobody knows more than me that 1972 was a long time ago.

    Also, the 1973 team was better.

    And to the 07 Pats zealots, several teams won more than 17 games, not just you. But it’s not the 17 that matters. It’s the “And 0” that matters.

  24. Hahaaaaaa. Awesome. Mercury Morris is figuring out which tie he’ll wear in his ESPN interview next week… and it’s only week 10.

    These old ‘Phins will start coming out of the woodwork with their backhanded complements. Nothing was worse than Shula up in the press box, allowed to talk during the game, when the Patriots were going for it. It was like having Statler and Waldorf doing commentary.

    Packers and Colts fans know about this, too… but no one knows it like the Pats fans.

    Hey Atlanta fans… consider this article the “starting gun” for the race to undefeated… the target it on your back now, and every game your team plays is the other team’s “Super Bowl.”


  25. billsin20xx says:Nov 5, 2012 7:17 PM

    Wasn’t Belichek cheating in 2007? They should take all the wins away!


    Bills in 30XX maybe, but still doubtful.

  26. timmons94 says:Nov 5, 2012 6:55 PM

    2007 patriots are irrelevant. Didn’t win a thing. Nothing


    They actually went 16-0 and won the AFC. That’s not as good as their 3 Superbowls, or what Miami did, but it’s something.

  27. 1972wasalongtimeago says:
    And to the 07 Pats zealots, several teams won more than 17 games, not just you
    Name one.

    There wasn’t one other team that ran up 17 straight wins in a single season…. EVER.

    Shula’s Dolphins may have had a perfect run in ’72, but they didn’t have to win as many games as the ’07 Patriots did, to do it.

    17-0 trumps 16-0, every time.

  28. i see all these patriot fans here talking about winning more games and that is true (no matter how tainted they may be) but what you pat fans are leaving out is that you guys could not finnish it and you lost to a team that nobody other than a giants fan would have thought you would lose to.i call that poetic justice for past got what you had coming that year and you also got a little more earlier this year and i’m gonna make a bold prediction that the pats wont win another championship for many many years i believe you guys have cursed yourselfs call me crazy if you will but i believe it to be true and time will tell if im right

  29. azarkhan says:
    Nov 5, 2012 6:29 PM
    I’m sick of the ’72 Dolphins, especially after finding out that none of their opponents had a winning record.

    They thought you might feel that way, so they went out in ’73 and won the Super Bowl again.

  30. nothing matters since the falcons will have to do it themselves. rooting for or against will not make a difference!

  31. pftcensorssuck says:
    Nov 5, 2012 7:32 PM
    1972wasalongtimeago says:
    And to the 07 Pats zealots, several teams won more than 17 games, not just you
    Name one.

    There wasn’t one other team that ran up 17 straight wins in a single season…. EVER.

    Shula’s Dolphins may have had a perfect run in ’72, but they didn’t have to win as many games as the ’07 Patriots did, to do it.

    17-0 trumps 16-0, every time.
    If your last game of the year is a loss then you are not the champion. The 10-6 Giants beat the 16-0 Patriots. The 1984 49ers and the 1985 Bears went 18-1 but they both won the important one and hoisted the Lombardi. The 2007 Patriots are the only team that has earned an 18-1 record in a single season and not been NFL champions.

  32. pftcensorssuck says:
    Nov 5, 2012 6:20 PM
    How convenient of Shula to forget that the ’07Patriots won even more games that year then the ’72 Dolphins
    In 2007 The Ravens had the lead and stopped the Pats on 4th down with less than 2 minutes remaining.
    They won the game.

    BUT WAIT-the refs allowed Rex Ryan to call a time out and negate the play.
    The rules do not permit anyone but the head coach or a player on the field to call a time out.

    The Pats lost-except in the Tuck Rule World.

  33. It doesn’t matter whether you beat non-winners or winners in the NFL… What matters is doing it with style and without cheating. Something the Patriots will never be able to claim.

    They should really return those Super Bowl trophies…

  34. Don who?

    NE went 18-0.

    So many people with so little knowledge with so much to say from their A-holes.
    Keeping thinking you’ve something meaningful to say haters and we’ll keep laughing while we admire our 3 shiny SB Championship Trophies!

  35. Here we go again, with these has beens who are having nothing else to live for then sit in their chairs and brag about how they are the only undefeated team ever. Please Atlanta do the same, so they can crawl under a rock.

  36. While the 72 Miami team did not play anyone with a winning record in the regular season, they did have to beat winning teams in the playoffs and in the Superbowl. Regardless of the circumstances and opponent records, NO ONE has ever gone wire-to-wire and been undefeated. Forty years is enough time for memories to fade and younger fans to have different allegiances, but the end result does not change. The 1972 Miami Dolphins are a unique team.

    John Pileggi

  37. This forum has showed how uninformed so many people are. Yes, the Dolphins had a soft schedule that year; they had a soft division. They even beat the Pre-Belicheater Pats 52-0 for Shulas 100th victory. Are the Pats fans that preach that 18-1 is still better remember that the AFC East was awful that year?

    The Dolphins beat the Browns in round one of the playoffs. Also, by some quirk in the scheduling, Miami was 15-0 and had to travel to Pittsburgh for the AFC title game. Yeah, they were nobodys too, having stiffs like Bradshaw, Harris, Lambert, etc. For the uninformed, they are HOF’ers. Dont forget they made this historic run despite losing starting QB in week 1. He didnt play again until he relieved Morrall at Pittsburgh.

    As stated earlier, the 73 team was better despite losing two games. The lost a heartbreaker in Oakland in 74. Again, for the uninformed, the WFL took Csonka, Warfield, and Kiick after the 74 season. We will never know the true impact the team could have made if it stayed in tact. The Dolphins teams of that era were loaded with HOF’ers….Griese, Csonka, Warfield, Langer, Little, Buoniconti, and of course, the greatest coach of all time….Shula.

  38. I wouldn’t worry, the Falcons have absolutely zero chance of going undefeated. They’ll lose a few before the playoffs and then go out in the Divisional round. If they somehow slip to the wildcard they’ll go out in the wildcard game.

  39. Gotta stick up for the 1972 Dolphins, the greatest team in NFL history. Its hard to believe they didn’t play ANYONE with a winning record all year, but they did win a bunch of those games with a backup qb and they did have to go on the road in the playoffs (for reasons I still don’t understand). Plus that was the second of three consecutive SuperBowl appearances that was would have been longer if not for the WFL raiding the roster. Without help from the WFL there would be no Steelers dynasty in the 70’s.

  40. I don’t think Don was shouting from a rock…

    All you people who criticize him for making comments every year need to point the finger at the pundits in the media that go and hunt him down every year and cram a mic down his throat.

  41. Hey NE fans! Congratulations on your superb 2007 season. You were that years first place losers. Remember, if you’re not first, you’re last.

  42. This guy is the worst. Check your facts. ’72 Dolphins beat the Chiefs and the Giants, both of which ended up at 8-6. Peddling this kind of misinformation is a disgrace. Florio, get the axe.

  43. I don’t want to hear this crap about Miami playing nobody. They did still have to play in the playoffs. They had to go to Pittsburgh to play the AFC Championship. NE had the privilege of a bye and home field. And they still had to play in e Super Bowl against the NFC Champion, who was favored. And they did it with a backup QB for most of the season. They played the schedule given. And they finished with the number one offense and defense. And not only did they won the Super Bowl, they had a shutout(it would have been 17-0 in a 17-0 Season, except for that bizarre Field Goal attempt. No other team has ever pitched a shutout til the bitter end in the big game. And that team was better in 73 when they backed it up. It was not an easy feat. Nobody else has done it. Period. And when they do, people will still be saying similar things about that team one day. Hail Csonka; the greatest Dolphin ever.

  44. Patriots have three shiny Lombardi trophies resting comfortably in Patriot Place.

    What are you haters going to do about it? Brady and Belichick will go down in history as the most successful coach/quarterback duo in NFL history.

    Too bad a bunch of bitter fans that saw their teams LOSE to the Patriots can only complain about it on the internet huh?

  45. To all the idiot Patriots fans talking about how The 2008 team made the ’72 Dolphins irrelevant… it isn’t about the 17, it’s about the 0. Losing in the Super Bowl makes that Pats team nothing but and interesting footnote- best super bowl LOSERS, hmmm?

    What also often gets lost in the “strength of schedule” discussion is that Miami lost Hall of Fame QB Bob Griese in something like the 3rd game of the season, and he didn’t return until the 2nd half of the AFC championship game. How would those ’08 Patsies have done with Cassel at the helm? 16-0 my ass.

    In any case, that was the middle year of a 3 year super bowl run, with the last 2 ending in victories. I’d probably be bitter too if nobody respected the trophies my team clearly cheated to earn. Now that’s something I’ll pop the champagne open to!

  46. 1972 Dolphins had to play a road playoff game at Pittsburgh despite their superior record.

    1985 Bears were pummelled by Dolphins on MNF, trailing at halftime 31-10. They beat Deiter Brock and Tony Eason in the playoffs.

    1972 Dolphins were the best of all time.

  47. Shula’s logic: “We’ll all be very happy if the Falcons run the table. The fact we all have annually gleefully exulted for decades with spirited pop-the-bubbly champagne celebrations at the very instant when the last undefeated team loses means absolutely nothing. Nothing whatsoever.”

    If anyone has a defective B.S. detector, I can translate that one for ya.

  48. Why do we always hear about the third best team in NFL History?!

    1. 1985 Bears
    2. 1989 49ers
    3. 1972 Dolphins (perfect season, but easy schedule……..true they used a back up QB but using Bob Griese is not like say the Falcons using Chris Redman!)

    We have 46 Superbowl champs so 18-1 Pats are the 47th best team in NFL History!
    Had they won the Superbowl they would be number one without any question.

    Pats cheating is like Lance Armstrong, everyone did it but they did it better than the rest.
    Lance should have kept his titles and in reality he did because we all know he won those races, and Pats keep their titles with no *

  49. I don’t know what’s more annoying. Hearing about the “72 Dolphins every time a team starts off 6-0 or Tim Tebow?! Both are irrevelant and unimportant. 14 regular season games don’t exist anymore. When every member of that team is gone it will be much quieter in the NFL!

  50. Face it! There is only one undefeated team ever! And until it happens again (it probably will) than they will still be the champs! The 1972 Miami Dolphins. The Greatest Football Team!!!! and i saw every game that season!!!

  51. Took all of one comment for a New England troll to grasp at the straw of having won more games in a single season than the Dolphins did. Face it you lost one game, it happened to be the Superbowl. Simply put in the record books it says the 72 Phins have an unblemished record 17-0. The 07 Pats are 18-1.

  52. Amazing how shortsighted and oversimplified most of the comments are. The 72 Dolphins went undefeated which was an impressive achievement but they were probably not the best team ever. The 07 Patriots were one of the most dominant teams ever but since they didn’t win the Super Bowl many don’t consider them better than other Super Bowl winners. Many here would also consider the 10 Packers better than the 11 Packers. Scary to think that many of the simpleminded are voting today.

  53. what do falcon fans do after they win a playoff game? …….turn off the playstation and go to sleep lol…

  54. as a Packer fan, I’d rather go through a hard schedule and clinch a 6th seed with a 10 – 6 record and go on to win a superbowl rather than breeze by nobodies and put up fancy stats only to go one and done.

  55. The two most dominant

    The two most dominant teams in NFL history were the 1986 Bears and the 2007 Patriots. Both teams crushed their opponents and both teams each had one “off ” day and lost a game. The 1972 Dolphins played a weak schedule, seldom blew anybody away and squeaked out a victory in the SB.

  56. Wait… Don Shula?

    Isn’t he the guy that couldn’t win a super bowl with Dan Marino?

    Luckily, he had a lot of crappy teams to plow over in ’72. Including that legendary Billy Kilmer.

  57. No one ever gives any love to the 1948 Browns. They won all 14 of their games as well as the league championship game (49-7), but since the NFL doesn’t recognize the AAFC (which was arguably better than the NFL that year), I never hear anyone mention that perfect Brownies squad. Sad.

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