Dolphins CentralShop for Dolphins Gear
Buy Dolphins Tickets
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS4) — The Miami Dolphins team that achieved the only perfect season in NFL history will be honored by the White House Tuesday, more than 40 years after its accomplishment.
“It’s very special in my mind, that 40 years later somebody thought about it and it wasn’t me,” Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula told CBS4′s Kim Bokamper.
The team included quarterback Bob Griese, receiver Paul Warfield, fullback Larry Csonka, center Jim Langer, guard Larry Little and linebacker Nick Buoniconti, all members of the Hall of Fame.
Monday night, the team gathered from all corners of the country to share memories and a few laughs.
“I will be the brunt of most of the jokes, but I can take it and I’ve taken it for 41 years and I’m still smiling,” said Garo Yepremian, a former Dolphins kicker.
“The first thing I asked, did you send a float plane for Zonka to get him out of Alaska?” said Nick Buoniconti, former Dolphins linebacker.
“I don’t come out of Alaska for much, I like going up there. It’s probably the 19th or 20th year that we’ve done it, but on a special event like this, how can you turn that down,” said Larry Csonka a former Dolphins fullback.
President Obama will welcome the 1972 Dolphins for the first White House ceremony honoring the only team to go 17-0.
“It just seems like yesterday to me, but when you look at me, you can tell it’s been 40 years,” said Shula.
Current Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is paying expenses for the ’72 team’s trip. Ross said the entire organization was excited about the invitation.
“By going undefeated all year en route to a Super Bowl championship, the ’72 Dolphins reached the pinnacle of sports achievement and set a standard for excellence that has yet to be duplicated,” Ross said in a statement. “In addition, coach Shula and his players were just as successful off the field in their charitable and civic activities, becoming role models for the South Florida community.
“The players and coaches are most deserving of this unique honor, and they are looking forward to their trip to the White House and their ceremony with the president.”
The ’72 Dolphins didn’t make it to the White House in the months after their Super Bowl victory, when President Nixon — a big sports fan — was immersed in the Watergate scandal.
But the White House visit will be Buoniconti’s fourth with four different presidents. He has been invited as a co-founder of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. As executive vice president of the NFL Players Association, he visited the White House when Nixon was president.
(© 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)