Tag Archives: 17-0

Shula, Don

Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired:  TTM 1992, C/o The Miami Dolphins

Don Shula was a member of the newly merged Cleveland Browns a season after they joined the NFL. Playing defensive back on that stacked team, he rarely if ever saw any playing time, but still managed to make 4 interceptions his rookie season. He’d be traded to the Baltimore Colts in one of the largest player trades of all time getting 4 seasons in with the team continuing his strong play making 14 interceptions. In 1957, Don played his final season with the Washington Redskins making 3 more interceptions.

G  73       Tac  N/a       Sac N/a      Fum   4
Int 21      Yds  267     Avg 12.7     Td 0    Lg 35

This would not end Don Shula’s football career as he would make the transition into coaching. After a small stint in college at the University of Virginia,  Don was back in the pro ranks as an assistant for the Detroit Lions from 1960-1962 (defensive coordinator). He was then rewarded with the head coaching job in Baltimore in 1963 at the age of 33, which was the youngest coach in the league at the time. Don would spend the next 7 seasons there winning 71 contests but losing two championships (1964, and SuperBowl III).

In 1970 the Miami Dolphins signed Don as their head coach and were charged with tampering forfeiting their first round choice that year. Because of the odd nature of the timing- negotiating before the AFL/NFL merger, but signing afterwards, Miami had to suffer the consequences because they were now merged leagues.  Shula would go on to become one of the ‘Big 3’ coaches (Landry, Shula and, Noll,) in the NFL’s modern era. Shula’s teams during the 70s had dominating defensive units and offensive lines supported by a ground game which allowed them to excel against their NFL counterparts. His team would reach the big game by 1971. Shula’s 1972 unit is the only team to finish undefeated in NFL history winning all its regular season games and post season contests (17-0) and in 1973 they’d return again winning this time against the Minnesota Vikings. This team was the last of Shula’s teams to win the SuperBowl but his teams would consistently remain in the playoffs. In 1983 however the team would make the transition to a passing franchise with the drafting of one player- Dan Marino. Marino guided the team to the Super Bowl in 1984 throwing a then NFL record 50 touchdown passes. Shula’s teams reached the playoffs 20 times in 33 attempts. He’d retire after the 1993 season, with a large legacy under his belt.  26 of 28 seasons of winning football in Miami, the coach with the most Super Bowl appearances (6), a 4 time coach of the year, one of two coaches in history to have over 300 wins, and the winningest coach in league history. I would get Don’s autograph through the mail courtesy of the Dolphins in 1992 right after Christmas.

Since retiring Shula has made time to occasionally attend his team’s 17-0 reunions, owns an extremely successful chain of steakhouses and has his name on a golf course and hotel in Florida. He also is involved in the Don Shula Foundation for breast cancer research. In 1997, Shula was a shoe-in for the NFL HoF.  He has also been involved in numerous presentation ceremonies over the last few years, had stadiums and highways named after him and has authored 3 books.

W 328   L 156   T 6   Pct .678

Morris, Mercury

Cards: Topps 1977, SP Signature Edition 2005
Acquired: TTM 2010, c/o Home.
Sent:  4/28     Received:  7/9   (72 days)

Before I begin, I’d like to express my outrage towards the NFL and solidarity with former players in their attempts at trying to get medical assistance and their ‘fair share’ of the retirement pie. Case in point:

Mercury Morris was another AFLer that I sent away for after watching “Full Color Football” on the NFL Network.  Morris was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft, playing in the final year of the AFL before the merger.   Initially Morris found himself playing as a backup running back and special teams returner to Jim Kiick with gradually increasing playing time. (He started 39 games over his career.) In 1973, Mercury combined with Larry Csonka to form the first 1,000 yard duo, playing with two broken vertebra for a good portion of the season. (Mercury was not informed of the break when it happened, rather he was told that the injury was a ‘sprain’ after the game by team doctors.) Morris would play through 1976, where he was traded to the Chargers and then retired shortly thereafter due to the lingering neck injury from 1973. Eugene “Mercury” Morris was aptly named, based on his mercurial quickness, and later proven by the fact that he stands 1st amongst halfbacks on average yards per carry at 5.1 (with at least 750 attempts) and his kick return average of 26.5 stands in the NFL top ten.  He is also a member of the NFL’s only completely perfect team, (the 17-0 1972 Dolphins) and was a 3 time ProBowl selection from 1971-1973.

Since retirement Morris has been involved in television, public speaking, commercials, and wrote a book about his life entitled “Against the Grain” (1988). An outspoken advocate for improving player benefits, Mercury has continued to battle with the NFL to acknowledge and compensate him and his former gladiator brethren for their increasing medical expenses caused by their playing days.  (Mercury has suffered from lingering and debilitating headaches from his fused spine and deadened nerves.) Morris has pressed on with multiple legal actions against the league (for the money he is entitled to) and the Groom Law Group, which supervises the NFL pension plan. He has chronicled his latest attempts at getting answers through former defensive lineman Dave Pear’s blog at: www.davepear.com/blog .

G  99       Att  804           Yds   4133           Avg  5.1           TD 31          LG 70
KR  111          Yds  2947          Avg  26.5             TD  3            LG 105

Anderson, Dick

Cards: Topps 1969, Photo memorabilia.
Acquired: CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993, TTM 1993.

In 1993 I found out that there was a golf tournament that was at Barton Creek Country Club where a good percentage of the proceeds went to charity. It was an amazing who’s who of players from all major sports and a veritable windfall of autographs dropped into my hands over 3 days. I was so excited I did 17x 24″ drawings of each football player I knew of. On the first day I got there before 8AM so I could get the early birds. I ran into Dick near the first green with a few other retired players. He was a beaming, friendly gentleman and signed my card. I then handed him the drawing I did and he was genuinely touched. Dick and I talked for a bit more and he noticed that I put my address down at the bottom.  He then mentioned something about a few old books he had that he didn’t need that I might want and wished me the best of luck.  A few months later I received in the mail a thank you letter from him and a copy of “But We Were 17-0” with Larry Little and his autograph inside.

Dick Anderson played his entire career for the Miami Dolphins and was one of the major foundations to the Dolphins championship runs of the 1970s.  The AFL defensive rookie of the year in 1968, Anderson was named to the Pro Bowl and All Pro in 1972 and 1973, was named NFL Defensive Player of the year in ’73 and the NFL All 1970’s team.  After football Anderson became a successful Florida State Senator, is an active Dolphin Alumni, and was inducted into the Miami Dolphin’s Honor Roll. To this day he has not been inducted into the Pro Football HOF, which could be attributed to the number of 1970’s Dolphins already enshrined, but regardless with considerations being made now for lesser defensive backs, it makes sense the writers could see fit to induct Anderson through the Senior committee.

G   121       Tac   N/a       Sac   N/a        Int  34       Yds  792           Td  4