The 1972 Dolphins: Where are They Now?
By Jennifer Jordan
As the NFL season comes to a close, the 1972 Miami Dolphins breathe a sigh of relief; another year has passed and, nearly three and a half decades later, they still remain the only professional football team to achieve perfection. Over the years a few teams, the Bears, the Broncos, the Colts, and the Colts yet again, have caused the Dolphins to sweat profusely in the pit of their fins; these teams have come close but no cigar, especially not Don Shula‘s.
It’s safe to say that all members of the 1972 Dolphins have since retired and moved on to other ventures. Some remain in sports, some engage in completely different activities. No matter where they are and what they are doing, the members of this Dolphin’s team still holds a place in NFL history…at least for the time being. This makes us think about them, remembering how they were and wondering what they’re doing now.
An All-Star, a Pro Bowler, a six time Dolphin’s MVP, Bob Griese was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Known more for his leadership than his arm – as he passed a little in some games and a lot in others – Bob led Miami to nine winning seasons.
After retiring from football, Bob went on to support his son Brian’s collegiate and professional football careers, stating that watching Brian win the Rose Bowl was one of the greatest moments of this life. In 2000, he and Brian wrote a book called Undefeated, which discussed the Dolphin’s perfect season as well as the death of Bob’s first wife to breast cancer. Bob is presently an ABC College Football Analyst and recently appeared on the game show Wheel of Fortune.
One of the most recognizable coaches in the entire world of sports, Don Shula began his football career with the Cleveland Browns in 1951 as a cornerback. During his playing days, he played for the Browns, the Baltimore Colts, and the Washington Redskins before turning to coaching. In 1963, at the age of 33, Don made history by becoming the youngest person to ever serve as a head NFL coach. This historical moment was only a preview of things to come.
After coaching the Baltimore Colts from 1963-1969, Don was hired by the Dolphins. He remained as their head coach from 1970-1995, a span of years that is unrivaled. Don currently holds the record for most NFL regular season wins with 328 and most Super Bowl’s coached with six. In 1997, in a move that everyone saw coming, Don Shula was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Since retired, Don now lends his name to a chain of restaurants in Florida, Shula’s Steakhouse. He also spends time with the Don Shula Foundation, a foundation striving to find a cure for breast cancer. Don formed this organization in 1991 right before his first wife succumbed to the disease.
Lawrence Richard Csonka
In the early 1970’s, some men feared the Vietnam draft, and others feared Lawrence Csonka. At 6’3, 235 pounds, he was a running back with the ability to run over – or through – defenders. He was also a great blocker and a great receiver, making him a triple threat on offense. Nominated for five Pro Bowls, Lawrence was All-Pro in 1971, 1972, and 1973. He was named MVP of Super Bowl VIII and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. In the 1996 NFL Films production of The NFL’s 100 Toughest Players, Lawrence claimed the number ten spot.
Since hanging up his cleats, Lawrence has been a motivational speaker, an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a host of hunting and fishing shows, a General Manager in the United States Football League, and an analyst on American Gladiators. He is currently President and Executive Producer of Zonk! Productions in Lisbon, Ohio and producer and host of a nature program called NAPA’s North to Alaska.
For nine seasons, Jake Scott played in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. He served as a free safety and a punt returner and made his way to five consecutive Pro Bowls. While playing with the Dolphins, he had 35 interceptions over six seasons, including two in the Dolphin’s Perfect Season Super Bowl Victory. Logging 63 return yards in that game as well, Jake was named Super Bowl MVP. In the 1980’s, Jake was deemed the Dolphins All-Time Neutralizer by NFL Films . He was inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 1998. Currently, Jake lives in Hawaii where he is an investor.
Forming a duo with Lawrence Csonka, Jim Kiick was the other part of Miami’s running game. Known, along with Csonka, as “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid,” Kiick played in Miami from 1968 until 1974. His career was marked by playing in three Super Bowls, and racking up rushing yards. In the Dolphin’s record books, Kiick remains listed as the fourth all-time leading rusher.
In later years, his football career was marked by some oddities. These included Kiick and Csonka signing with the World Football League. Kiick eventually came back to the NFL where he was released by the Denver Broncos. As bad luck would have it, this release came on the same day that Kiick saw his marriage end and his house burn down.
In 1996, Kiick was named to the University of Wyoming’s Sports Hall of Fame. He is now president of Kiick Sports Promotions, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His agency books former players for special appearances.
A linebacker who played for the Boston Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, Nick was instrumental in both play and leadership during his career. He was named to the AFL All-star team in 1969 and the Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973. In the latter year, he set a record by making 162 tackles, 91 of which were unassisted. In 2001, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Since retirement, Nick served as President of the US Tobacco Company and was a co-host on the HBO series, Inside the NFL. Over the past two decades, he has been an instrumental figure in the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He began taking part in this foundation when his son Marc was paralyzed during a 1985 college football game. This foundation has since become one of the leading neurological research centers in the world.
Nick is believed to be the most vocal member of the Perfect Season Miami Dolphins team. He is rumored to lead a champagne toast each year after the lingering undefeated team suffers its first defeat.
Until another team can equal an unblemished record, it’s simply bottom’s up for Nick and the rest of the 1972 members. The other NFL franchises only hope is to keep on fishing and pray that something, besides a Dolphin, will bite.