Most people think of the legendary 1972 Miami Dolphins as a team that won thanks to a great rushing attack and a disciplined stifling defense. And those people would not necessarily be wrong. The Dolphins led the league in both offense and defense that year and Miami rushed for more yards than anyone that year while finishing only 19th (out of 26 teams) in passing yards. However, Miami may not have thrown for many yards but when they did they were ruthlessly efficient. That greatest of websites, The Cold Hard Football Facts, has compiled a list of the greatest passing teams of the Super Bowl Era ranked by Yards Per Attempt, and the 1972 Dolphins clock in at 18th all-time. Miami averaged 8.63 yards every time they threw the ball. Of all the teams that have made a Super Bowl, the '72 Dolphins rank as the 9th best passing attack. Of the 41 Super Bowl champions, the 1972 Miami Dolphins rank 5th.
Much of the credit for this must go the man who took over as QB for the Fins in game five after future Hall of Famer Bob Griese broke his ankle. Griese led the Dolphins to a 4-0 start and I'm convinced they would not have won the title had Griese not returned in time for the AFC Championship game, but credit where credit is due. Earl Morrall may well be the worst quarterback in Super Bowl history but in that magical '72 season he compiled a QB rating of 91.0 and a YPA of 9.07. Griese dragged the team numbers down with his 71.6 passer rating and 6.58 YPA. Griese got off to a slow start (his numbers were far better in 1971 and 1973), but 4-0 is 4-0 and we remember that team for its 17 wins and 0 losses, not for its great passing. But that YPA number doesn't lie. Morrall played at an MVP level, future Hall of Famer Paul Warfield was still in his prime, Howard Twilley and Marlin Briscoe were quality WR targets, and Miami also had a fine pass-catching back in Jim Kiick and solid TE's in Jim Mandich and Marv Fleming. That adds up to one of the greatest passing attacks of the last 41 years.