Noting that college football kicks off next week and the NFL regular season the week after that, Obama said, "Just to whet everybody's appetite, I am proud to welcome the only undefeated, untied team in NFL history to the White House for the very first time -- give it up for the 1972 Miami Dolphins!"
The president conceded: "I know this is a little unorthodox, four decades after the fact -- but these guys never got their White House visit after winning Super Bowl VII [in 1973]. I know some of them are a little harder to recognize these days -- they don't have the Afros or the mutton chops, the Fu Manchus. But I want to recognize and thank first and foremost their outstanding coach, Coach [Don] Shula -- the legendary Hall of Fame Coach Shula. I want to thank the owners, Stephen Ross, and I want to thank Tim Robbie and everyone from the Dolphins organization who helped make this event possible after all this time.
"And I know that some people may be asking why we're doing this after all these years," Obama said. "And my answer is simple: I wanted to be the young guy up here for once."
Obama said he had to explain to the younger White House staff how important the team was.
"In 1972, these guys were a juggernaut," the president said. "They had a grinding running game that wore opponents down. They became the first team ever with two 1,000-yard rushers. They had the league's best offense. They had the league's best defense. They posted three shutouts. They doubled the score of their opponents eight times.
"And they did most of it after their outstanding Pro Bowl starting quarterback, Bob Griese, broke his leg in Week 5. And that brought in backup Earl 'Old Bones' Morrall -- who unfortunately couldn't be here today. As one teammate later said, 'Earl couldn't run and he couldn't throw.' But Earl could win, and that's what he and the Dolphins did again and again and again."
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