TB25 - A History of Football
About This Show
Tom Leyden and Butch Stearns guide you through the history of professional football, year by year, starting with the pre-merger era, welcoming key guests along the way to provide first-hand stories from their days in the NFL.
Most Recent Episode
TB25 - A History of Football: Episode V: 1973(Bob Griese)
Oct 5 16
Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese joins Tom Leyden and Butch Stearns as they tell the story of the 1973 NFL season.
The 1973 Dolphins completed a two-year stretch of dominance that will likely never be matched in NFL history. Over the course of two years, Miami finished with a 32-2 record and two Super Bowl titles.
A year after going undefeated, the Dolphins continued their run of success, winning the AFC East by three games with a 12-2 record. The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers both finished 10-4 in the AFC Central, while the Oakland Raiders won the AFC West with a 9-4-1 record.
The Dolphins ground game was led by Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, who combined for 1,957 yards rushing in 1973 - an impressive stat until you compare it to the achievement of OJ Simpson, who ran for an NFL-record 2,003 yards for the Buffalo Bills.
Simpson had established himself as a dymanic runner through the first four years of his NFL career, but the Bills offensive line, nicknamed "The Electric Company," helped open massive holes that sprung Simpson loose. He became the first played to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in a single season.
Simpson won the 1973 NFL MVP, despite Buffalo missing the playoffs.
In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams began a run of eight straight seasons during which they'd qualify for the postseason. Led by John Hadl at quarterback, the Rams won th ewest with a 12-2 record, but were beaten in the divisional round of the playoffs by the veteran Dallas Cowboys, who were playing in an eighth-straight NFL postseason.
The Minnesota Vikings, who had won 12 games in 1970, 11 in 1971 and 7 in 1972, took the NFC Central title and the NFC's top seed with a 12-2 record in 1973. Fran Tarkenton, who had quarterbacked the Vikings from 1961-66 before spending five seasons with the New York Giants, was in the second year of his second stint in Minnesota.
Tarkenton and the Vikings returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in four years, defeating the defending NFC champion Redskins and Dallas in the playoffs.
Super Bowl VIII was played at Rice Stadium in Houston in terrible weather, which suited the ground game of the Dolphins. Csonka was named MVP after rushing for a Super Bowl-record 145 yards, leading Miami to a 24-7 win and a second straight championship.
The Dolphins became the second team in the Super Bowl-era to win back-to-back championships.