Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season
By Mike Freeman
It Books, Hardcover, 9780062009821, 300pp.
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Each year, every football team sets out to play a perfect season. Only one has ever succeeded talk about beating the odds.
The Miami Dolphins of the late 1960s were a laughingstock, an expansion team, and a franchise where careers went to die. Then came Coach Don Shula. In just a few short yearsthrough hard work, long practices, and his no-nonsense attitude toward the gameShula transformed the team into a championship franchise. The Dolphins were by and large unseasoned players or rejects from other teams. Even so, they made it to Super Bowl VI. They suffered a humiliating loss to the Dallas Cowboys, becoming the first team in Super Bowl history not to score a single touchdown. But Shula closed the 1971 season by telling his players to remember this loss and make sure nothing like it ever happened again. And they listened.
The Miami team came back for the 1972 season determined to be winners this time, not losers. Through his tough-as-nails coaching, grueling preseason training, and inspiring message of redemption, Shula took the Dolphins, one game at a time, to their legendary Super Bowl victory. Led by such greats as Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Little, Mercury Morris, and Jake Scottas well as players discarded from other franchises who were transformed into key contributors once they were indoctrinated into Shula's systemthe team was undefeated 17-0 in the regular season and went on to win Super Bowl VII, in one of the greatest stories of toughness, perseverance, and skill the National Football League has ever seen.
Along the way, the Dolphins became the team of the 1970s, with Miami as a fascinating backdrop. The city emerged as an antiFidel Castro hub and morphed into the city made notorious on the television show Miami Vice. The cocaine began to flow as the Dolphins rose to prominence, and the team struggled with its own drug issues. Yet the Dolphins established themselves as one of the city's most trusted entities. While the city faced racially charged riots, Shula purposely built an integrated locker room in an NFLand a citythat were still extremely hostile to blacks.
Based on years of research and interviews, Undefeated, by award-winning journalist and author Mike Freeman, examines what is perhaps the single greatest accomplishment in team sports history: the unforgettable NFL season in which the Dolphins didn't lose a single game. There has never been a football team like those Miami Dolphins, and there may never be again.
“A marvelous, engrossing trip back to a period when football was played with love and passion and the Miami Dolphins were not merely fantastic, but unstoppable. Mike Freeman is one of the nation’s best sports writers, and he proves it once again here. A dazzling read.”
-Jeff Pearlman, author Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton
“An entertaining and meticulous journey back in time, illuminating the men and personalities who, in some cases, are as memorable as the team’s 17-0 record.”
-Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated
“A richly-detailed and riveting account of one of the great accomplishments in the history of American sports. It’s a book that’s just as good as the team it chronicles.”
-Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist, ABC News commentator, author, Best Seat in the House
“Well researched and fast paced, UNDEFEATED reveals the psyche of the only unbeaten team in the history of the NFL. Untold stories from the locker rooms, meeting rooms, and on the field are placed in the historical context of the unsettled seventies. Lest we forget - no names, no more.”
-Andrea Kremer, multi Emmy award winning journalist and HBO Real Sports correspondent
“In this homage to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Freeman’s classic book will enthrall readers with the extraordinary story of a team that went through 14 regular season games and two playoff games to capture Super Bowl VII.”