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These AFL Team pages were salvaged from the defunct site aflfootball.tripod.com, which inspired my AFL pages.
They are dedicated to that site's creator, Robert Phillips, who has re-created his site at afl-football.50.webs.com.

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No pro football club in history ever advanced more quickly from the first-year dregs every expansion team faces to the ultimate achievement in its sport than the Miami Dolphins did in the six-year period between 1966 and 1972. In 1966, they began their pro football life as the ninth member of the American Football League. Six years later, Miami would become the only NFL team ever to record a perfect season. The 1972 Miami Dolphins would win the AFC Eastern division and AFC championships and then defeat the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII to complete an unblemished 17-0-0 record.

The Dolphins, who were founded by Joseph Robbie, also got off to a perfect start in the first game of their first AFL season when running back Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. But the Miami team returned to reality even before the end of its first game. Oakland rallied to win and the Dolphins finished their first season with a 4-10 record.

George Wilson was the Dolphins' first coach. He finished his four-year AFL tenure after the 1969 season with a 15-39-2 record. But those were not wasted years for the Dolphins because they were steadily adding new talent quarterback Bob Griese in 1967, running back Larry Csonka in 1968 and guard Larry Little in 1969 that would eventually turn them into winners.

  • Franchise Granted:
    August 16, 1965
  • First Season:
  • Stadium:
    Orange Bowl
  • Head Coach:
    George Wilson
  • AFL Championships:
  • AFL Division Championships:
  • All-Time AFL Record:
    15- 39-2
  • Retired Uniform Numbers:
    #12 Bob Griese

Dolphins' Historical Performance

1966 14 3 11 0 213 362 0.214    George Wilson
1967 14 4 10 0 219 407 0.286    George Wilson
1968 14 5 8 1 276 355 0.393    George Wilson
1969 14 3 10 1 233 332 0.250    George Wilson

Dolphins Totals 56 15 39 2 941 1456 0.286  


Firsts, Records, and Odds and Ends

  • First Draft Choice:
    Jim Grabowski, RB, Illinois, 1966.
  • First Regular-Season Game:
    A 23-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders, 9/2/66.
  • First Regular-Season Win:
    A 24-7 victory over the Denver Broncos, 10/16/66.
  • First Regular-Season Points:
    Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff of the Dolphins' first regular-season game 95 yards for a touchdown.
  • First to Rush 100 Yards in a Game:
    Abner Haynes, 151 yards vs. the Denver Broncos, 9/17/67.
  • First 1,000-Yard Rusher:
    Larry Csonka, 1,051 yards (1971).
  • Most Yards Rushing, Career:
    Larry Csonka, 6,737 yards (1968-74, 1979).
Copyright 1997-2004 Robert Phillips. All rights reserved.

USA Today ~ June 22, 2009

After slow start in the AFL, Shula-led Dolphins
As coach of the Baltimore Colts, Don Shula lost Super Bowl III to the AFL's New York Jets. In 1970 he switched to AFL veteran Miami and led the Dolphins to a win in Super Bowl VII.
AP file photo
As coach of the Baltimore Colts, Don Shula lost Super Bowl III to the AFL's New York Jets. In 1970 he switched to AFL veteran Miami and led the Dolphins to a win in Super Bowl VII.
Second in a series exploring the histories of all 10 AFL franchises as the NFL celebrates the league's 50th anniversary.

Don Shula and the American Football League. When the link between them is mentioned, there is something of a love-hate relationship between the NFL's winningest coach and the league that spawned the franchise for which he earned most of those wins, the Miami Dolphins.

Before Shula led Miami to its unprecedented 17-0 season in 1972 — a feat that further blurred any perceived disparity between teams with roots in the upstart AFL and those from the buttoned-down, established NFL — he was on the losing end of another football milestone.

That would be Super Bowl III.

Joe Namath, the cocksure quarterback of the AFL's New York Jets, was the game's MVP. He guaranteed a victory before the game, even though the AFL had been drummed the previous two seasons in the new world championship forum.

And Namath made his bold declaration against none other than the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, a team coming off a 13-1 season. Led by quarterback Earl Morrall, the 1968 NFL MVP, the Colts were being mentioned as possibly the greatest team of all time before the game.

But the Jets won 16-7.

Shula was the Colts' coach, the first of his NFL brethren to lose a Super Bowl at the hands of the rival league, which had been dismissed as inferior to that point in time.

Shula isn't real crazy about talking about it. "Well, I mean, we were the first team to lose it," he says. "Green Bay took care of business in the first two, but we didn't.

"But you've got to give the Jets credit," Shula says. "That was a great, great win for them and a great win for the other league."

Yet Shula's arrival in Miami served as a final chance for the AFL to tweak its older rival. Dolphins owner Joe Robbie signed Shula away from the Colts after the 1969 season … just before the leagues officially merged in 1970. The NFL charged the Dolphins with tampering, and Miami had to surrender a first-round draft pick to Baltimore as compensation.

But the Dolphins, who went 15-39-2 in their fours years as an AFL franchise, got their man.

Miami had a talented roster — featuring future Hall of Famers in linebacker Nick Buoniconti, fullback Larry Csonka, quarterback Bob Griese and guard Larry Little — but it took Shula to mold it into a winner.

"Yeah, they were 3-10-1 and they took their knocks," Shula says of the 1969 club, which struggled in the AFL's final season. "And then we were able to turn things around."

Indeed they did, going 10-4 and reaching the playoffs in 1970. During the next two seasons, the Dolphins notched playoff wins vs. the three NFL teams that had been folded into the AFC — Baltimore, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers — before topping the favored Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII, completing a perfect 1972 season. Shula and Co. won another Super Bowl after the 1973 campaign.

Shula's new team whitewashed his old one, the Colts, 21-0 in the 1971 AFC Championship Game to reach its first Super Bowl (a 24-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys).

This time, he was the relative renegade competing against supposed old-school might.

Vindication for 1968?

"No, no, no, and I'll always have a soft spot for the horseshoe on the helmet," Shula says of the Colts. "Vindication certainly wasn't on my mind. All I wanted to do was give the Dolphins the best shot I could for anybody we lined up against."

And his Dolphins went on to become one of the NFL's most successful franchises. During his 26 years in Miami, Shula amassed 274 of his record 347 NFL coaching victories.

And he stopped obsessing about Super Bowl III … for the most part.

"You never forget," Shula says. "We were representing the NFL and, you know, we lost."

          The article doesn't note that the American Football League's first expansion team was slated for Atlanta.  But the Atlanta owner, Rankin Smith, was lured away by the promise of an NFL franchise.  Instead, Joe Robbie and Danny Thomas received an AFL franchise in Miami.  Now wouldn't the Falcons' fans like to trade their record over the past forty years for that of the Dolphins?  ~ REMEMBER the AFL

USA TODAY Series on the AFL:  

  How the AFL changed the NFL
   Boston Patriots
     CincinNati Bengals
    Denver Broncos
     Los Angeles/San Diego CHARGERS
     Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
    New York TITANS/JETS


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Last revision: 20 July 2012 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, nospam.RemembertheAFL@aol.com