On This Date in Sports November 27, 1972: Monday Night Perfection (50 Years of Perfection Week 11)
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Dolphins, in collaboration with Sportsecyclopedia.com.
The Miami Dolphins crush the St. Louis Cardinals 31-10 in their lone appearance on Monday Night Football during their perfect season. The Dolphins played sluggish football in the first half at the Orange Bowl but pulled away in the third quarter to improve to 11-0 on the season. Seldom used, Otto Stowe has the game of his life, with 140 yards on six receptions, scoring two touchdowns for Miami. The story heading into the game was a less than warm reception for ABC announcer Howard Cosell who received death threats over his lack of coverage for the Dolphins during their unbeaten season.
Monday Night Football was in its third season and had already become a television institution. Every team looked forward to their chance to showcase in primetime, with Howard Cosell's halftime highlights becoming appointment viewing. In their 10-0 start, the Dolphins were largely ignored during the halftime highlight feature. Frustrated fans targeted Howard Cosell, who hosted the halftime segment. They sent angry letters to ABC and several death threats, forcing Miami to call upon extra security at the Orange Bowl.
The game itself was a mismatch on paper. The Dolphins were on their way to a second straight Super Bowl appearance and making history at 10-0 entering the game that finished the NFL's Thanksgiving weekend games. The St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, were struggling under coach Bob Hollway. At 2-7-1, the Cardinals had not in their last six games after a 2-2 start.
The Dolphins' defense set up an early touchdown as Dick Anderson picked off Gary Cuozzo's first pass, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Jim Kiick. It would be the only touchdown that Miami scored in the first half, as the two teams traded field goals in the second quarter. Jim Bakken kicked a 49-yard field goal for St. Louis, while Garo Yepremian made a kick from 25 yards out. The Dolphins had a chance to score at the end of the half but ran out of time before they could get Yepremian on the field for another try.
Miami began to pull away in the third quarter as Otto Stowe caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Earl Morrall. Morrall completed 12 of 19 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns. The Dolphins extended the lead to 24-3, as Lloyd Mumphord returned an interception 28 yards from Jim Hart, who had come into replacing an ineffective Gary Cuozzo at quarterback. Miami forced six turnovers in the game.
The Cardinals would not go down quietly as Leon Burns scored a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. However, Morrall had a second touchdown pass to Otto Stowe for 27 yards that sealed a 31-10 victory for the Dolphins, who continued their quest for a perfect season.