Don Shula: 1972 Dolphins aren’t rooting against the Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are still undefeated at the halfway point of the season, so it’s time to commence with stories about how the 1972 Dolphins -- the only perfect team in NFL history -- view this year’s Falcons.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports checked in with Don Shula, who coached the ’72 Dolphins, and found that Shula disputes the notion that he and his old players will be popping champagne when and if the Falcons lose.
“We’ve been portrayed as a bunch of angry old guys who have big cocktail parties and celebrate,” Shula said. “None of that is true. I think one year when the last undefeated team got beat, Dick Anderson and [Nick] Buoniconti were living across the street from each other. They went to the parking lot and did a champagne toast. Someone there took a picture of it, but they were too cheap to invite the rest of us to the party.”
The Falcons haven’t been a dominant team, with most of their wins coming by seven points or less, but the ’72 Dolphins weren’t really a dominant team, either. And Shula says he likes the fact that the Falcons are winning close games even when they don’t play particularly well, like they did against the Panthers.
“They shouldn’t have won,” Shula said. “They should have gotten beat that game. Carolina had them and let them loose. Now, you’ve got to have games like that if you expect to run the table. We just have to wait and see who else is going to give them that kind of battle.”
Something else the Falcons have in common with the ’72 Dolphins is strength of schedule: The Dolphins didn’t play a single team in the 1972 regular season that ended up with a winning record, while this year’s Falcons have only one game remaining against a team that currently has a winning record. The Falcons will likely be favored in every game they play the rest of the season, and Shula says he won’t be watching them and rooting for an upset.