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Dolphins/Steelers Post-Season Notes

January 6, 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sizable ten point favorites, as they meet the Miami Dolphins, in the early Sunday game (1 P.M. Eastern, with “Poo” Jim Nantz and “the everything is good, aw shucks” Phil Simms), the maximum third different, “within conference, playoff level,” at which the teams will have played, as of say, 4:15 P.M. on Sunday.

Pittsburgh and Miami combined for six Super Bowl titles in the 1970’s, four in six seasons by the Steelers from (1974-1979), after the Dolphins had won successive “Supes” in 1972, with an undefeated team and if you can believe it, a better team the next season.

I am pretty certain both the NHL and NBA have always honored, in some cases not all that much, (of course “Boris Badenov,” aka Andy B. was on the wrong rooting,  trust me it was rooting and NOT betting, side each time) the team with the better record, giving it some home advantage in playoffs competition.

Of course this is not so in baseball finals, never has been, and was not always the case in earlier post-season rounds, in that once great sport.

While football does unilaterally honor the better record, or at least the one just as good “con” tiebreaker advantage, this was not always the case. A prime example below— concerning the ‘Phins and Steelers.

That undefeated 1972 Dolphins’ team referenced above, perhaps was not as great as the next year’s team, which dominated in its three playoffs wins, because incredibly, they had to sojourn to Pittsburgh for the 1972 AFC Title game.

During that game, Miami went back to Bob Griese at quarterback, replacing Earl Morrall, who had done remarkable work, quarterbacking at least 10, likely more, of the previous ‘Phins wins, and their punter Larry Seiple had a memorable and truly key fake punt, first down gallop, as Mia turned back Pittsburgh in that ’72 AFC title tilt, again incredibly with the (15-0) Dolphins on the road, and then (14-7)’d the Washington Redskins, to win it all.

A great Steelers’ team completed the aforementioned great run of 4 titles in six seasons, by winning it all in 1979. En route, in the lone slots/divisional round game between the teams, Terry Bradshaw, who recently and I believe correctly stated current “Pitts” coach Mike Tomlin is not great, (Alas I disagree with Terry’s assertion that Bill “lose so often in home playoffs” Cowher was a great coach and truly was upset, Terry did not cite his coach, Chuck Noll as a great one), “found” the truly, truly great John Stallworth, for a touchdown, in a rout of the Dolphins.

The third meeting and most recent until Sunday was in the 1984 AFC Championship Game in which the Dolphins easily prevailed, before the S.F. 49ers beat them in the lone Supe I attended, a tilt in cold Palo Alto California– (my backside just getting over the wooden rail of a not good, first row seat, still forever grateful for the youngsters selling hot apple cider and “awakened” by the sheer “coldness” of a former Joe Montana wife, toward me, after the tilt.)



The great John Stallworth pictured above.

Once I loved football and the grace of John Stallworth and the voice of John Facenda on NFL Films/ other NFL ventures, were two big reasons.

Mr. Facenda, whose narrative of a well written description of “Stall’s” greatness, is a “light in all this dark,” died during the 1984 NFL season.

You can imagine my shock, sitting in Stanford Stadium, having arrived early–too early, maybe that contributed to the “no seat cushion long afternoon for my posterior”—when I heard Facenda’s voice in a review, at least of the early part of the ’84 season.

If God ever does choose to speak to us via voice, one of his masterpieces in that category, Mr. Facenda would be a good choice as the vehicle. Maybe he was that day in Palo Alto?



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