Thursday, November 29, 2012
Mercury Morris, Don Shula on 'Perfect' party
By Lynn Hoppes
Don Shula and Mercury Morris (22) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the undefeated season.
Mercury Morris, one of the leaders of the "Perfect Season" 1972 Miami Dolphins, has never been one to mince words.
Every time an NFL team gets close to a perfect season, the outspoken Pro Bowl running back voices his thoughts on television and radio.
His most famous line was in 2007 about the soaring New England Patriots, "Like I said, don't call me when you're in my town; call me when you're on my block and I see you next door moving your furniture in."
Morris said he felt it was always his responsibility to give people context about the unbeaten regular season (14-0) and playoffs (3-0).
"If you're talking about us, I'm not going to let someone else define us while I'm in the room," said Morris, who played seven seasons with the Dolphins. "If you don't take that stance, people will think they know who you are. That will then get passed on like a germ. I tell people to try Disney first. That is the real fantasy land."
So it seems appropriate that tonight, Morris, Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, quarterback Earl Morrall and Hall of Fame offensive guard Larry Little will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the undefeated season at Shula's Steak House at Walt Disney World.
"The reality is that 40 years ago, an extraordinary thing happened by ordinary people," Morris said. "You don't just go undefeated like you go on a vacation. It's a special achievement. It can't be broken. It can't be equaled. It can only be done for the second time."
Shula, who still lives in South Florida, said he's looking forward to the occasion where he will meet his players and some fans at his restaurant in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"We haven't seen each other for a long period of time. We have so much in common. It's a great time to tell stories and reminisce," said Shula, who coached the Dolphins 1970 to 1995. "I don't know whether an undefeated season will happen again. It didn't happen 50 years before we did, and it hasn't happened 40 years after. The odds are not very high."
And with no undefeated team left to worry about this season, Morris said he can focus his attention on partying.
"It was a crazy time when we did it in 1972, and we're going to have a great time looking back," Morris said. "I've seen all of us grow old. I've seen all of us evolve from kids to AARP."