Sunday, August 26, 2018

NFL72 Update

You know, having lived the perfect season backwards, knowing how it came out before I learned how it came together, it has never held much any drama for me.

I mean, I sort of remember the hullabaloo around being at the College All-Star Game in Soldier Field with my family in the summer of 1972, and I think I have a sketchy memory of all of the yelling at the basement TV when Larry Seiple broke for the big fake-punt run against the Steelers in the AFC championship. But, for the most part, the 17-0 NFL72 Dolphins are more a part of my inherited heritage than my living history. And, so, in the same way that I never worried about how Yorktown was going to come out because I grew up with the Stars and Stripes and not the Union Jack, I never much thought about the uncertainty of Earl Morrall taking over for injured Bob Griese early in the NFL72 season. The Dolphins were so great all throughout the roster, and Morrall had already played on two Super Bowl teams, so surely everyone knew at the time that it would all work out for Morrall and Miami to succeed.

Well, for sure, folks couldn’t’ve been any too confident in Earl Morrall after the Dolphins’ exhibition game with the Falcons on Aug. 25, 1972. Oh, Miami won, 24-10, in the Orange Bowl, but Morrall was again miserable. Al Levine in the morning-after Miami News:

Earl Morrall is beginning to wonder about Earl Morrall, too. “I have to get out and start doing the job,” the 38-year-old quarterback said, “or I won’t have a job. Shouldn’t have a job.”

In two appearances as the Dolphins’ backup quarterback, Morrall has an unsparkling passing percentage of 30.5 and has thrown three times as many interceptions (3) as touchdowns (zero).

“I disappointed myself and everybody else,” Morrall said last night after producing no points on six possessions against the Falcons.

He was 3-for-10, 18 yards and one interception and wore that pale post-game expression so familar after Super Bowl III.

Levine even raises the suggestion that Jim Del Gaizo, on the Dolphins’ “waived injured” list, could be activated to compete again for the backup quarterback job in two more weeks.

In other news from Friday night, …

— Jim Kiick got the bulk of Miami’s rushing attempts and produced 56 yards on 13 attempts. Larry Csonka carried nine times for 54; Mercury Morris, six for 15. Levine wrote, “Last night Kiick and Morris tried harder than George McGovern to present a unified front. When either went in for the other, there was a soulful slap of palms. When Kiick scored his first touchdown on a two-yard run, Morris was the first sideline observer to congratulate."

— Larry Little said he showed up at the Orange Bowl at about 6, two hours before game time, and, as he was entering the stadium, was hit in the head with a rock! Little couldn’t see who did it, and he imagines it was unintentional—maybe “a kid playing around in the stands.”

— Fran Curci and several of his University of Miami assistant coaches and players attended on free tickets. 

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