Although I'm an unabashed Dallas Cowboys fan, one of my favorite AFC teams is the Miami Dolphins.
I was a fan even when Dallas trounced them in Super Bowl VI 24-3. They were a cast of characters that not just fun to watch, they were a great football team. The '71 Cowboys' victory was a matter of the Dolphins running into a team on the precipice of a dynasty. It was a buzz saw which would have destroyed any team in their path.
But the greatness of the Dolphins would be seen the year after that crushing defeat, when they would be the first team to go undefeated! The Dolphins ripped of 17 straight victories, including a convincing defeat of the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. That no team has gone undefeated in 40 years is a testimony to the nature of that feat. Only the New England Patriots (another favorite AFC team of mine) has come close. Personally, I think a longer season and the weight of the Dolphins historic season caused the Pats to come two games short of crowning an undefeated season with a NFL championship in 2007.
This week, the Miami Dolphins received the recognition of that singular season in a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. It didn't happen in 1972, because the tradition of championship sports teams visiting the White House hadn't been established...and because President Richard Nixon was a little busy (Watergate).
The undefeated Dolphins have become downright proprietary about their undefeated season. They want their record to stand. I used to think that was a little selfish. But the older I get, the more I understand that most of us, however successful, usually don't have many stellar moments. It makes sense that Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Don Shula, Manny Fernandez and the rest of the team want this to last as long as possible!
There will almost surely be another team that goes undefeated in the National Football League. I don't know if I'll live to see it. But even if I do, Miami is the first. It's a team I've rooted for from my youth. And even this belated honor, a visit to the White House has taken 40 years, it's a reminder of some wonderful times when I was learning about the game.
I still pull for Miami to make it to the Super Bowl...against the Cowboys...again...with the same outcome!