This Week in NFL History: A Look Back at a Pivotal Moment

This Week in NFL History: A Look Back at a Pivotal Moment

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots: A Clash from the Past

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will face the New England Patriots. This particular matchup, though, brings memories from a game 50 years ago. On Sept. 30, 1973, the Dolphins, then the defending Super Bowl champions, experienced a turning point in their season against the Patriots.

The Backdrop

Coming off the only perfect season in NFL history, Miami had a tall order to uphold their dominance. A loss handed to them by the Raiders had halted their impressive 18-game winning streak. It had been 817 days since Miami tasted defeat. That day at the sweltering Orange Bowl, fans and critics were left pondering: how would the Dolphins bounce back?

The New England Patriots were eager to capitalize and introduce a new era where Miami Dolphins losses became a regular occurrence. For most of the game, it looked like they might achieve just that.

Mercury Morris: The Game-Changer

The Dolphins, however, had a game plan. And that plan revolved around their star running back, Mercury Morris. When the game reached its critical phase in the fourth quarter, Morris took over, showcasing arguably the best performance of his illustrious career. This momentous win was a catalyst for Miami, propelling them into a 10-game winning streak and eventually sealing another Super Bowl victory, this time against Minnesota.

On the Call: A Look Back

Tom Brookshier, reporting for “This Week in Pro Football,” captured the rollercoaster of emotions on that historic day:

“Midway in the third period, John Tarver, No. 36, cut over tackle and into the Miami end zone. A sight unfamiliar to ardent Miami fans. Their astonishment grew when, post a Bob Griese fumble, Tarver again found the end zone. By the fourth quarter, Jim Plunkett added another touchdown for New England. Yet, the Patriots, under the leadership of Chuck Fairbanks, showed their youth and the errors that come with inexperience. Miami seized the day, scoring thrice in the last quarter – Nick Buoniconti’s fumble return, Bob Griese’s impeccable pass to Paul Warfield, and the show-stealing Mercury Morris charging with a 197-yard rushing record for Miami. The day concluded with the Dolphins establishing their supremacy.”

The final score on Sept. 30, 1973, from the Orange Bowl in Miami: Miami Dolphins: 44 – New England Patriots: 23.

This week, as the two teams face off again, the NFL’s past and future will be on display.

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