The definitive chronicle of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history—from an award-winning literary sportswriter
The 1972 Miami Dolphins had something to prove. Losers in the previous Super Bowl, a ragtag bunch of overlooked and underappreciated players, they were led by Don Shula, a genius young coach obsessed with obliterating the reputation that he couldn’t win the big game. And as the Dolphins headed into only their seventh season, all eyes were on Miami. For the last time, a city was hosting both national political conventions, and the backdrop to this season of redemption would be turbulent: the culture wars; the Nixon reelection campaign; the strange, unfolding saga of Watergate; and the war in Vietnam.
Generational and cultural divides abounded on the team as well. There were long-haired, bell-bottomed party animals such as Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, as well as the stylish Marv Fleming and Curtis Johnson, with his supernova Afro, playing alongside conservative, straitlaced men like quarterback Bob Griese and his backup—and team savior—the crew-cut, thirty-eight-year-old Earl Morrall. The mischievous stars Jim Kiick and Larry Csonka, nicknamed “Butch and Sundance,” had to make way for a third running back, the outspoken and flamboyant Mercury Morris. But unlike the fractious society around them, this racially and culturally diverse group found a way to meld seamlessly into a team. The perfect team. Miami native Marshall Jon Fisher’s personal perspective makes Seventeen and Oh a unique, compelling, account of a season unlike any other.