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UNDEFEATED by Mike Freeman


Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season

by Mike Freeman

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-200982-1
Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins

A conventional, sometimes fawning account of a remarkable NFL season.

There’s not much hard hitting here, other than what occurs on the gridiron. Freeman (Bowden: How Bobby Bowden Forged a Football Dynasty, 2009, etc.) is clearly in awe of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins and their Hall-of-Fame coach, Don Shula. He even engages in a pointless were-they-the-best-ever argument near the end. The clichés and hyperbole fly downfield frequently—far more often than passes from the throwing arm of Dolphins’ quarterback Bob Griese, the disciplined, conservative signal-caller who came off the bench at halftime in the 1972 AFC Championship Game. Griese threw only a handful of passes that year’s Super Bowl, relying instead on his “No Name” defense and on the punishing running of Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick and the speed and agility of Mercury Morris, who subsequently went to jail on drug charges. Scattered throughout are sketches of other key Dolphins; the history of the Dolphins and its Scroogean owner, Joe Robbie; and some accounts of other games, other players and opponents. Some will not enjoy their portraits. Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer, for example, was consistent, says the author, only in his beer drinking. Freeman reserves his highest praise for the Dolphins and their coaches. Other, less Einsteinian coaches, “filled their special teams with psychos and dickheads.” Oddly, the author’s account of the 1972 Super Bowl is sketchy and scattered, not the climactic clash that readers will expect. Freeman also includes some occasional passages about race issues and drug wars in Miami.

Will appeal mostly to fans of Shula and the Dolphins.