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Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ Perfect Season Hardcover – August 21, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A marvelous, engrossing trip back to a period when football was played with love and passion and the Miami Dolphins were not merely fantastic, but unstoppable. Mike Freeman is one of the nation’s best sports writers, and he proves it once again here. A dazzling read.” (Jeff Pearlman, author Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton)

“An entertaining and meticulous journey back in time, illuminating the men and personalities who, in some cases, are as memorable as the team’s 17-0 record.” (Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated)

“A richly-detailed and riveting account of one of the great accomplishments in the history of American sports. It’s a book that’s just as good as the team it chronicles.” (Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist, ABC News commentator, author, Best Seat in the House)

“Well researched and fast paced, UNDEFEATED reveals the psyche of the only unbeaten team in the history of the NFL. Untold stories from the locker rooms, meeting rooms, and on the field are placed in the historical context of the unsettled seventies. Lest we forget - no names, no more.” (Andrea Kremer, multi Emmy award winning journalist and HBO Real Sports correspondent)

“In this homage to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Freeman’s classic book will enthrall readers with the extraordinary story of a team that went through 14 regular season games and two playoff games to capture Super Bowl VII.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Each year, every football team sets out to play a perfect season. Only one has ever succeeded talk about beating the odds.

The Miami Dolphins of the late 1960s were a laughingstock, an expansion team, and a franchise where careers went to die. Then came Coach Don Shula. In just a few short years—through hard work, long practices, and his no-nonsense attitude toward the game—Shula transformed the team into a championship franchise. The Dolphins were by and large unseasoned players or rejects from other teams. Even so, they made it to Super Bowl VI. They suffered a humiliating loss to the Dallas Cowboys, becoming the first team in Super Bowl history not to score a single touchdown. But Shula closed the 1971 season by telling his players to remember this loss and make sure nothing like it ever happened again. And they listened.

The Miami team came back for the 1972 season determined to be winners this time, not losers. Through his tough-as-nails coaching, grueling preseason training, and inspiring message of redemption, Shula took the Dolphins, one game at a time, to their legendary Super Bowl victory. Led by such greats as Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Little, Mercury Morris, and Jake Scott—as well as players discarded from other franchises who were transformed into key contributors once they were indoctrinated into Shula's system—the team was undefeated 17-0 in the regular season and went on to win Super Bowl VII, in one of the greatest stories of toughness, perseverance, and skill the National Football League has ever seen.

Along the way, the Dolphins became the team of the 1970s, with Miami as a fascinating backdrop. The city emerged as an anti–Fidel Castro hub and morphed into the city made notorious on the television show Miami Vice. The cocaine began to flow as the Dolphins rose to prominence, and the team struggled with its own drug issues. Yet the Dolphins established themselves as one of the city's most trusted entities. While the city faced racially charged riots, Shula purposely built an integrated locker room in an NFL—and a city—that were still extremely hostile to blacks.

Based on years of research and interviews, Undefeated, by award-winning journalist and author Mike Freeman, examines what is perhaps the single greatest accomplishment in team sports history: the unforgettable NFL season in which the Dolphins didn't lose a single game. There has never been a football team like those Miami Dolphins, and there may never be again.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062009826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062009821
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came away from this book with two overwhelming views; One, the author dwells on Race relations in the NFL, the South, and in Miami in particular. I got that, and yes it was a trying time in America, but I bought the book to learn more about the team I loved as a kid. Two, much of what was quoted in particularly by Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris I have seen on various interviews on DVD. I came away thinking the author had very limited access to the former players. In contrast I'm about half way through the Bob Griese book of the same team, and it's apparent the leader of that unit has much more access and insight.
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Format: Kindle Edition
First off, I've been a Dolphins Fan since '83, and I still love them.

I've read a lot of books on the 72 Dolphins, and pretty much enjoyed them all. Then I read Undefeated, and I had a lot of problems with it. First is everything in this book, pretty much has been told in other books. There was nothing new in it, it was just a rehash of other books and articles. Second, there was very little football in it. It was a lot of social commentary with a little football thrown in. Third, there were things in the book that the author couldn't know. An example is when Nixon wrote a letter to Shula, the author said how Nixon wrote it, when he took pauses to think on what he wanted to say to Shula, and how Nixon paused for 40 seconds. Come on, how can the author know that. Fourth, some of the sentences were very choppy and had to read. Something just felt off on it.

There are a few book on the 72 Dolphins, some very good, but unfortunately, this isn't one of them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If anyone's thinking of buying this book to read a football story - don't bother. This book was filled with commentary on the social issues of the day & very little football.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book proved to be a very good history history of the 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect(undefeated)season. Shula began his professional coaching career
with the Baltimore Colts. It didn't take long for him to establish himself as a winner. He did well enough to appear in the 3rd Super Bowl. His team the
Baltimore Colts were heavy favorites against the New York Jets and Joe Namath. Baltimore had lost but one game going into the Super Bowl. In the eyes of all this team was unbeatasble. The New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed a Jets Superbowl victory. The whole world was in a state of shock when
the New York Jets and Joe Namath defeated the unbeatable Baltimore Colts. Don Shula's relationship with Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom quickly went
downhill. Shula knew his days were numbered. The Miami Dolphins were without question tthe worse franchise in the history of professional football. The
team had no discipline and was literally out of control. Dolphins owner Joe Robbie had approached a number of coaches but was turned down. Finally he made contact with Don Shuls and Shula accepted the job. Shula started rebuilding the Miami Dolphins. He had the aid of Joe Thomas. Thomas made a trade with the New England Patriots and obtained an effective defensive player, Nick Bouniconti. This was the start of the "no name defense". He obtained offensive giants Larry Csonka,Paul Warfield, and Mercury Morris. He also landed a strong offensive line through the trading system. The Dolphins began their march toward perfection. First they made the playoffs. The Dolphins next played in the Super Bowl and lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-3. There was one game mentioned that took place in the playoffs against Kansas City Chiefs. This game lasted 83 minutes(6 quarters). Niami finally won.
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Format: Hardcover
As a lifelong Dolphin fan, I really wanted to love this book, but it's very very lacking. There's not much I can add here that other reviewers haven't already mentioned, but my big problem with the book is Freeman's writing style. It feels like he's a struggling novelist trying to use flowery language that doesn't necessarily work in a football book. For example, he doesn't just say something like "Shula called Mercury into his office." It's more like, "Shula leaned back in his comfortable chair and looked out the window for a moment, pondering The chair made a slight squeaking noise as Mercury entered with a drop of sweat on his forehead glistening."
That is not a direct quote from the book, but it gives you an idea of Freeman's overly creative writing. Plus, as other reviewers have very accurately pointed out, the writer has no idea if the chair made noise or what direction Shula faced. It's all simply made up, and it has no place in a factual book. It also moves along slowly in many places, especially at the beginning, which feels like the Butch and Sundance biography instead of the story of the entire 1972 Dolphins.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was OK at best. It's kind of about the 1972 Dolphins but had several chapters that didn't involve this team or season at all. LOTS of social and political overtones about Miami as a whole during the late 60's and early 70's. I'm not a Dolphins fan so I thought I might learn a few things that I didn't already know. I thought wrong.
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Format: Hardcover
Absolutely loved this retelling of the 1972 Dolphin and their undefeated run. Not just a look at the team itself but the elements that went into it: Shula's fear of losing another Super Bowl, players' attitudes, and the impact of the media. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves the Dolphins or a great football story.
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