1967-69 Miami Dolphins

As expansion franchises that came along for just the tail end of the 1960s, the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins often get overlooked in AFL discussions.  It is a shame, really, especially when you consider that it took the Dolphins just six seasons to rise from a meager 3-11 inaugural season to finish a perfect 17-0, and win Super Bowl VII.

Quarterback Bob Griese was a big reason for Miami’s success.  His stability and development into a hall of fame signal caller helped solidify the Dolphins backfield and bring leadership to their offense.  This video talks about Griese’s less-than-stellar first seasons, and how the team began to turn things around in Miami.



Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

2 Responses to 1967-69 Miami Dolphins

  1. 1967 says:

    Revisiting the late 1960’s, I’m reminded of the old adage ‘on any given Sunday’… for almost three quarters one case & an entire game another. Too, as usually follows in due time, students became teachers variously.

    December 11, 1966: the expansion Dolphins are playing the soon to be crowned AFL Champion Chiefs in Miami. I liken said to Kansas City playing Green Bay less than an month later in Superbowl I, January 15, 1967. It was an given MIA and KC were underdogs to superior ‘teams’, if not individual players every case, experience and the big game factor in particular a distinction. Dolphins as a unit as the Chiefs in KC: zip; Packers: been there, done that (only 10 of 22 thence KC starters had been in place on the ’62 Dallas Texans AFL Champions while MIA had a smattering of players with Championship experience other AFL teams.)

    Motivation too a factor, as in little and a lot. A month earlier, KC had run up a 23 point lead in a game in KC vs MIA and coasted to the win. Four weeks later that December, the 9-2-1 Western Division Champion Chiefs came out flat, the 2-10-0 Dolphins on fire, motivation the form playing the recognized best team in the AFL. The Dolphins had KC on the ropes 18-13 with two minutes remaining, then Len Dawson led the Chiefs down the field & hit Chris Burford in the back of the end zone with the game-winning td pass: 19-18 the final, KC’s two-point conversion try blunted by MIA as was the Dolphins final offensive drive by the Chiefs defense.

    Progress? KC played MIA twice in 1967 and shut them out both times, then beat them in MIA 48-3 in 1968… baby steps the Dolphins. Similarly, GB beat KC and OAK going away in Superbowls I & II, before 1969 saw an uptick in AFL success as the Packers got old & regressed while the younger league as a whole & NY Jets in particular got good, beating the Colts in Superbowl III; Chiefs won the big one 1969 season, Superbowl IV.

    Post AFL, the Dolphins went 10-4 under new Head Coach Don Shula in 1970 and the rest as they say became unmatched pro football history: 1972’s undefeated season. Build it & they will come, Championships…they did.

  2. Howard says:

    Miami did as good a job as any team in pro football from 1967-1969 in drafting and signing free agents. Add in Shula and Paul Warfield in 1970, and you get greatness in coaching and play making. Miami was solid under Shula for two decades. Dallas and Oakland are the only other teams that were excellent for two decades.
    I think the 1973 team was the greatest of the Dolphin teams. While the 1972 team was undefeated, it won a number of close games at the end. The 1973 team was unstoppable. They destroyed a great Oakland team in the AFC final. And the Super Bowl against Minnesota was over in the first 5 minutes.

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