1972 Dolphins, Not the Greatest

The overwhelming majority of the people who believe the 1972 Dolphins team was the greatest NFL team of all-time are as uninformed about the great NFL teams of all-time as those people who, given the choice between two bags of coins, would choose to take the bag with 17 coins over the bag with fewer coins (and perhaps a hole in the bag, where a few coins spilled out), without knowing what the denominations of the coins are in each bag. The 1972 Dolphins team was great, but far from the most dominant NFL team ever. Of the games the Dolphins went 14-0 in during the regular season, only 3 were against teams in the top half of the league from a quality standpoint (Vikings, Giants, and Chiefs), and none were against teams in the top 5 of the league excluding the Dolphins (Steelers, Redskins, Packers, Cowboys, and Raiders). That's not to say that a team's quality is measured by the quality of the teams it plays. It isn't, and I'm not saying so. However, a team's quality is measured by how it plays against the teams it plays, given the quality of those teams, and the 1972 Dolphins didn't dominate those teams nearly enough, given their quality, to show that it was the greatest team of all-time. One might also claim that because the Dolphins beat the Steelers and Redskins in the playoffs, it shows that the Dolphins would have beaten both of those teams during the regular season if those teams had played. This is historically wrong, although the odds favor regular season victors repeating victories against regular season opponents in the playoffs. Further, in the playoffs, the 1972 Dolphins played well, but were not nearly dominant enough to be considered in totality the greatest NFL team of all-time. It took a 4th quarter comeback against a barely above-average 10-4 Browns team to win 20-14 in the Divisional Playoffs, it took a 3rd quarter comeback against an excellent 11-3 Steelers team which had its starting quarterback knocked out of the game for a large chunk of it to beat the Steelers 21-17 in the AFC Championship Game, and in the Super Bowl, the Dolphins had to stop a 4th quarter final drive opportunity for the Redskins, with around 1:14 left on the clock, no timeouts, 1st and 10 on the Redskins' 30-yard line, in order to preserve a 14-7 victory. These are hardly the hallmarks of a team which should be regarded as the greatest NFL team of all-time, given that other teams with win percentages of less than 100 were far more imposing.

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