Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morrall Remembers Last Time Miami Lost a Quarterback

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morrall Remembers Last Time Miami Lost a Quarterback

Article excerpt

After Dan Marino was injured at Cleveland on Sunday, Earl Morrall, watching the game on TV, immediately began thinking back to 1972.

Back to that most celebrated Miami Dolphins season, when Morrall took over at quarterback after Bob Griese went down with a broken leg and dislocated ankle in the fifth game.

"When the cameras showed Scott Mitchell loosening up on the sideline Sunday, it sure brought back memories," Morrall said this week from Savannah, Ga., where he was visiting one of his three daughters.

The memories Morrall has of 1972 are, not surprisingly, all good ones. At age 38, he stepped in that season and helped the Dolphins continue marching toward their historic 17-0 record.

"That definitely is a high point for me, going undefeated that year," Morrall said. "We didn't realize what a great accomplishment it was. But it's stood for 21 years now, and it doesn't look like anybody is gonna match it."

After Griese was injured, Morrall quarterbacked every game until the AFC Championship, when Griese returned in the second half of a 21-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Morrall had thrown a short touchdown pass to Larry Csonka late in the first half for a 7-7 tie with the Steelers.

But Griese took over in the third quarter, then started and played all the way in Miami's 14-7 Super Bowl victory over the Washington Redskins.

Still, even though Griese was back at the end of the season, there could be no questioning the importance of Morrall to Don Shula's 1972 Dolphins.

"He just got it done," Shula said. "Earl's the type of guy that always delivered."

Morrall, who still lives in Florida, played under Shula at Baltimore in 1968 and 1969. Shula took the Dolphins job in 1970 and brought Morrall in two years later, after the Colts waived him.

Some were surprised at how well Morrall performed in 1972. But Shula wasn't.

"He had done the same thing for me in Baltimore" in 1968, Shula said. "When (Johnny) Unitas went down, Earl stepped in and got us to the Super Bowl. …

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