Classic Comeback - 1971 Dolphins vs. Steelers

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by dirwuf, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. dirwuf

    dirwuf Scout Team

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    The NFL Films Game of the Week...

     
  2. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    Thanks for that. Fun to see.

    Miami really had Pittsburgh's number in the early 70's. I remember the Monday night game when the Dolphins had a big lead and then held on late when Don Shula had the team take a safety. The announcers at the time had no idea what Shula was doing. What a brilliant coach.

    Of course the Dolphins beat the Steelers to get to Super Bowl VII in a hard-fought game in Pittsburgh. That was before home field advantage and Pittsburgh coming off the Immaculate Reception win over Oakland.

    Speaking of Oakland, I always wondered if Miami would have went on to beat the Steelers in 1974 if they won the Sea of Hands game. That one would have been in Miami.
     
  3. royalshank

    royalshank Scout Team Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Had Zonk, Warfield and Kiick not gone to the WFL they would have won another SB that year.

    Also, of instant reply existed, I'm not sure Den Herder didn't have Stabler's knees down on that play. Seen it 150 times. Still not sure.
     
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  4. dirwuf

    dirwuf Scout Team

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    I have always disagreed with this theory, the offense was fine...players liked Nat Moore and Don Nottingham picked up the slack.

    It was the loss of Bill Arnsparger and an aging, injured defense which prevented them from winning more championships.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
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  5. Goin` Deep

    Goin` Deep "Pick your guy and let it fly" Finheaven VIP Donator

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    I think they had a really good shot at one more ring in '74. They were better than Pittsburgh that year. Hell, Oakland was better than Pittsburgh that year! The Sea of Hands loss is still the game that hurts the most for me. I'll never get over it.....end of the dynasty right there.
     
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  6. fishfanmiami

    fishfanmiami Have you seen junior's grades ? Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    A combination of the two ended our hopes of future dominance.
     
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  7. Vector1Dolphins

    Vector1Dolphins Seasoned Veteran

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    Thanks for the Post.
     
  8. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    I've always wondered that as well. If memory serves, Miami's secondary was really banged up so it would have been a big challenge against Pittsburgh. The game would have been in the Orange Bowl, though, where the Dolphins had a huge home field advantage. Had Miami got past the Steelers, I'm confident the team would have beat Minnesota in the super bowl.

    There were two other years where Miami had a window in 1975 and 1977. The team went 10-4 both seasons, but didn't make the playoffs.

    In 1977, in particular, the team lost several close games that players like Csonka, Kiick and Warfield could have impacted. That 10-7 loss to Baltimore at the end of the season and 20-19 to Houston earlier are the two I'm thinking about. At 12-2 Miami might have had home field advantage. Denver was certainly beatable that season.

    Without those three players, Miami definitely took a step down. And then Pittsburgh had several drafts that helped them rise to the top including in 1974 when the Steelers took four players who ended up in the Hall of Fame.
     
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  9. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    That's a good point on Arnsparger.
     
  10. Austin Tatious

    Austin Tatious Starter

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    Thanks for posting the video. How fun was that? That game was before my time, and before '72, so it was a nice glimpse of that period.

    1. Lot of legendary names in there, on their way up.
    2. Paul Warfield as a veteran put a whooping on a young Mel Blount.
    3. The turf looked awful. It must have rained before the game. I didn't catch the date but it looked hot and uncomfortable.
    4. Miami's O Line wasn't built up yet or there were injuries galore.
    5. George Mira. Looking at that sad display, no wonder Shula got Morrall.
    6. Larry Csonka was a physical specimen.
    7. Bob Griese was a stud. He had some very nice throws with good arm strength and precision.
    8. The Dolphins made so many brilliant key acquisitions in putting the chemistry of that team together. They had the Midas touch. It wasn't just the draft. Trades, waivers, whatever it took. Nice mix of savvy vets and young guns.
    9. Dolphins wore blue during a day game. Shula changed that for the early starts.
    10. As for the Dolphin dynasty, I agree that the WFL debacle and Robbie's pettiness were back breakers. But, they didn't get young juice added to that D. You've got to keep replenishing with fresh legs or you fall behind. Some of the guys they tried to bring in like Crowder's dad didn't have the right mentality. They did draft a heck of a defense in the late 70s which paid dividends through 1983 or so.
     
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  11. royalshank

    royalshank Scout Team Finheaven VIP Donator

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    very good point w Arnsparger but Nat Moore was just a rookie that year - one of my all time favorite fins but to say he replaced one of the best to ever play the game, and Nottingham Zonk is a stretch. One stupid play away from going to the title game - I truly believe that (a) the reason that play worked was the D let up for a split second when they thought Stabler was sacked and (b) had those 3 guys not gone to the WFL we beat Pitt at home and Minny again in the SB. Arnsparger was a huge loss too. Not minimizing that.
     
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  12. royalshank

    royalshank Scout Team Finheaven VIP Donator

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    I really like this post - that video was indeed a lot of fun to watch. All really good points here - Griese (even though in the Hall) doesn't get the respect he truly deserves IMO.
     
  13. jb1213

    jb1213 New Member

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    Call me old-fashioned, but I like the subdued celebrations on touchdowns, and no one making a spectacle of himself after making a big play. Thanks for posting, dirwuf!
     
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  14. dirwuf

    dirwuf Scout Team

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    Um...Csonka, Kiick and Warfield were still there in '74. And my point about Moore, Nottingham, etc, isn't really about whether those players were as good, but that the Dolphins offense still excelled after the defections, but it was the defense which faltered....
     
  15. dirwuf

    dirwuf Scout Team

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    -Nope that's the Poly Turf quickly fading under the Miami heat, it was replaced at the end of the season with a reformulated turf which turned out to be only slightly better....

    -The Dolphins didn't start wearing white at home until the following season.
     
  16. royalshank

    royalshank Scout Team Finheaven VIP Donator

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    You are right - my mind is going..,
     
  17. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    It does remind me of what Mike Ditka said, though. He was asked what happened to the Bears and why they went from a championship team
    This kind of reminds me of what Mike Ditka said about the Bears in the late 1980's. He was asked why the Bears couldn't repeat and then went downhill pretty quickly. Ditka said something to the effect that the team replaced great players with good players.

    That's kind of what happened with the losses of Csonka, Warfield and Kiick. To your point (and an excellent one), the defense was really the main issue. Still, when you have great players on offense it helps the defense as well. Those were significant losses and took Miami down enough for other teams to overtake them.
     
  18. royalshank

    royalshank Scout Team Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Those players also would have brought intangibles that may have helped win an extra game here or there. As was previously pointed out we had 2, 10-4 seasons and didn't make the playoffs and '77 we were really good / probably better than Denver and could have went to the SB.
     
  19. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    This game also showed the brilliance of Paul Warfield. He was targeted three times and had three touchdown catches. Got open so easily which was much harder to do in the 1970's NFL. Just smooth, fast, terrific and mostly a decoy to set-up the running game.

    I can only imagine the type of numbers he would have in today's NFL. There was one season where he caught something like 33 passes and 11 of those went for touchdowns. Amari Cooper of the Raiders reminds me of a young Warfield with how smooth he is in and out of his routes.

    Also showed that Bob Griese had a pretty nice deep arm. Agree with royalshank that Griese has become so underrated. Lots of those quarterback from that era have in all honesty. People look at the numbers and they just don't compare with the NFL quarterbacks from today because of rule changes mostly.

    Griese was my favorite player growing up, although there were so many to like and admire. I absolutely love hearing Larry Csonka speak and his ability as a story teller.
     
  20. iwastherein1972

    iwastherein1972 Well-Known Member

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    The career-ending injury epidemic of 1974-76 was as damaging as the WFL. But even without all that, the stealers and raiders had gotten a step ahead of us and I just am not sure we would have been able to handle those teams at their prime. 1977 would have been a window of opportunity but we had to deal with bert jones and the Colts. At our best we would have demolished the Red Miller/Craig Morton Denver AFC champions and Staubach might not have enjoyed seeing us in a second SB matchup in New Orleans.
     
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