Just as large because the Sunday evening sport itself between the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers was the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1972 Dolphins’ excellent season.
Members of the ‘72 Dolphins and households of deceased teammates gathered for an on-field presentation at halftime at Hard Rock Stadium.
As the Dolphins took a 16-10 lead into halftime, they have been introduced out onto the sphere in golf carts. They assumed their posts alongside the Miami sideline, lined up over 85 yards of the sphere. Dolphins proprietor Steve Ross, who was again this week from league suspension over tampering penalties was on the sphere for the ceremony.
A quartet of Hall of Famers from the ‘72 Dolphins — Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Larry Little and Paul Warfield — participated in the pregame coin toss, flanked by current Dolphins captains in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and linebacker Elandon Roberts. Mercury Morris, a tailback from the 1972 team, pumped up the crowd ahead of the opening kickoff with a “Let’s go Dolphins!” chant.
Videos honoring the Dolphins’ accomplishment from 50 years in the past have been performed all through the halftime and pregame ceremonies.
“Getting together as a group is very nice, and it’s nice for the Dolphins to do that to where we’re actually looking at each other, pressing flesh and able to talk, lean on each other, smile, smoke cigars and all of that,” Csonka stated this previous week.
The Dolphins wore throwback uniforms and had retro designs painted on the tip zones and with the Dolphin emblem at midfield.
The historic Dolphins staff carries an abundance of satisfaction for its accomplishment as the one NFL staff to go undefeated and untied over a whole season — and nonetheless haven’t been matched in 50 years since, regardless of shut calls from groups just like the 1985 Chicago Bears and 2007 New England Patriots.
“We’ve been often imitated but never duplicated,” Little stated.
Said Csonka of the feat that the ‘72 staff celebrates yearly when the ultimate NFL unbeaten goes down: “There’s a unity that goes on with the ‘72 team that goes on every year that it’s the most alive team that I’ve ever been affiliated with — I think anyone has ever been affiliated with — because it’s still competing.”
Added Griese: “As time has gone by, I think more people realize that that was something special. We didn’t realize [then] it was something special.”
The Dolphins have been with out defensive finish Emmanuel Ogbah and cornerbacks Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen, however most gamers that entered Sunday evening’s sport questionable have been out there to play.
That included All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard (groin), left sort out Terron Armstead (toe), vast receiver Jaylen Waddle (shoulder), defensive sort out Christian Wilkins (hand), tight finish Durham Smythe (hamstring) and proper sort out Greg Little (Achilles).
Ogbah (again), Kohou (indirect) and Crossen (knee) have been seen early on the sphere pregame out of uniform doing stretches and light-weight train. Crossen was uncertain going into the sport.
Without Kohou and Crossen, Miami went deep into its cornerback rotation once more with Noah Igbinoghene and Justin Bethel elevated to extra important roles, however the Dolphins averted a catastrophic state of affairs of stepping into with out Howard, who reappeared on the staff’s harm report on Friday along with his lingering groin ailment. Miami already doesn’t have Byron Jones (PUP record) and Nik Needham, who’s on injured reserve resulting from an Achilles tear.
Armstead returned after lacking final week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, going again to his left sort out submit. Little began there with Armstead out final week however struggled. On Sunday, Miami began veteran Brandon Shell over Little at proper sort out, the place he had been with Austin Jackson on injured reserve resulting from an ankle harm.
Other Dolphins inactives have been quarterback Skylar Thompson, vast receiver Erik Ezukanma and operating again Myles Gaskin. Thompson entered questionable with the lower on his proper thumb, however he was doubtless certain to be inactive regardless with the staff usually holding two quarterbacks energetic.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, in his NFL profession, has constantly stated he doesn’t take note of exterior criticism.
But forward of Sunday evening towards the Steelers, he confirmed a special facet in an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor.
“I take receipts,” Tagovailoa stated, utilizing the just lately well-liked phrase for holding tabs on what others have stated. “I handle that internally now. Whatever I can use as fuel, whatever I think, ‘Oh, I can use this as fuel for myself,’ I will. If not, I won’t.”
Tagovailoa, in his third season out of Alabama and returning Sunday from a two-game absence resulting from a concussion, entered the 12 months one of the vital polarizing figures within the NFL. He has his staunch group of supporters and devoted critics.
Tagovailoa, who stated he employed a psychological coach to cope with criticism, revealed he first began experiencing it when his Crimson Tide misplaced the nationwide championship sport to Clemson his sophomore season.
“When I was in college, it would definitely bother me,” stated Tagovailoa, who labeled that the time he started attempting to remain off social media.
“I had to find a way to where I was trying to strive for excellence and not perfection,” Tagovailoa stated. “Because then, for me, I knew I’d be mendacity to myself as a result of I used to be by no means going to be excellent and I used to be going to be chasing one thing that wasn’t going to be there for me.
“I know I’m going to make mistakes, but it’s always about knowing better and then doing better.”
Tagovailoa himself hasn’t had many good issues to say about his expertise beneath the course of former Dolphins coach Brian Flores in his first two NFL seasons. But, as Flores returned to Miami on Sunday evening as a Steelers defensive assistant, a number of Dolphins gamers stated this previous week there are not any exhausting emotions.
“It’s exciting, just to be able to see him in person,” security Brandon Jones stated. “I haven’t talked to him in a while, obviously, but I’m excited.”
“If I see him, I’ll say what’s up,” tight finish Mike Gesicki. “I don’t know if we’ll cross paths, but I’ve got no ill will or anything towards coach Flo.”
Right guard Robert Hunt additionally indicated he wish to greet him.
Defensive sort out Christian Wilkins felt it wouldn’t impression the sport.
“It’s just business as usual,” Wilkins stated. “We’re preparing to play the Steelers and obviously there’s history there with Flo and everything, but we’re just preparing business as usual getting ready for the Steelers.”
Flores’ easy model was sufficient to possibly generally rub gamers the incorrect manner, however others appreciated it.
“One thing I’ll say about coach Flo was he always honest,” linebacker Jerome Baker stated. “That was the one thing that never changed. He didn’t care if he hurt your feelings. He didn’t care if it got under your skin a little bit. You knew the guy just wanted to be honest and he was going to tell you the truth, and he wanted the best out of you.”
Gesicki described Flores as “super disciplined.”
Flores, who named the Dolphins in a class-action lawsuit towards the NFL after his firing in January, instructed ESPN this previous week he doesn’t view Sunday as any kind of revenge sport for him.