Fifty years ago, history was made when the Miami Dolphins completed a perfect 17-0 season by winning Super Bowl VII in Los Angeles. Despite several teams coming close, the perfect record has stood the test of time and the 1972 Dolphins remain the only team to complete an undefeated season in NFL history.
In its newest episode, ESPN E60 examines what made that team so good and how the undefeated season unfolded. The Perfect Machine debuts on Sunday, Feb. 5, at noon ET on ABC, leading up to ABC’s telecasts of Postseason NFL Countdown and the 2023 Pro Bowl Games. It will re-air on ESPN2 at 11 p.m.
The program will be available for streaming on ESPN+ immediately after the first airing and will re-air multiple more times across ESPN television platforms.
Many words are thrown around when talking about the ’72 Dolphins. “Undefeated” is naturally one of the most common. But to the players and coaches who were a part of that squad, there is a word that carries with it a deeper meaning, takes it one step further, and rings as true as it ever has even 50 years later:
In more than six months of filming, E60’s Jeremy Schaap interviewed 16 living members of the ’72 Dolphins, as well as opponents and members of the media who covered the team. The list includes Pro Football Hall of Famers Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bob Griese and Joe Namath. On the 50th anniversary of the Dolphins’ Super Bowl VII victory, they reflect on how perfection happened, and how the coach, Don Shula, was able to take a team that was the worst in the league was just a few years earlier and turn it into, as Csonka says, “The Perfect Machine.”
Other members of the ’72 Dolphins interviewed for the program include Manny Fernandez, Mercury Morris, Bob Heinz, Charlie Babb, Doug Crusan, Howard Kindig, Jim Del Gaizo, Larry Ball, Larry Seiple, Vern Den Herder, Marv Fleming and Dick Anderson.
Via archival video, viewers hear from Shula as well as other deceased members of the team including Bob Kuechenberg, Garo Yepremian, Jim Mandich, Nick Buoniconti, Jim Kiick, Earl Morrall, Bob Matheson, and Norm Evans.
Dave Shula – oldest son of the late Don Shula
George Solomon – former Miami Dolphins beat reporter
Tony Segreto – TV reporter in Miami in 1972
Jane Chastain – TV reporter in Miami in 1972
Paul Maguire – former TV analyst and 1960’s pro football player
The Perfect Machine was produced and directed by Dan Lindberg.
The ESPN multiplatform presentation will include excerpts from The Perfect Machine featured in segments on Outside the Lines in SportsCenter and NFL Live. The story also will be featured in an edition of the ESPN Daily Podcast.
You can watch a trailer for “The Perfect Machine” below: