January 18, 2012

MVP Profile: Bob Griese, 1971

Quarterback, Miami Dolphins


Age: 26
5th season in pro football & with Dolphins
College: Purdue
Height: 6’1” Weight: 190

Prelude:
A multi-talented player in college, Griese was taken by the Dolphins in the first round of the 1967 AFL/NFL draft. When starting QB John Stofa was lost to a broken ankle, Griese took over and had a solid rookie season as he threw for 2005 yards and 15 TD passes for a second-year franchise. He earned selection to the AFL All-Star game in 1967 and ’68, but suffered along with a struggling team until Don Shula took over as head coach in 1970. The Dolphins went 10-4 and made it to the playoffs and the quarterback was selected for the Pro Bowl in the newly-merged league. Griese didn’t have the strongest arm, but it was accurate and he proved to be a good fit in Shula’s ball-control offense.

1971 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 263 [13]
Most attempts, game – 30 at Baltimore 12/11
Completions – 145 [11]
Most completions, game – 17 at Baltimore 12/11
Yards – 2089 [11]
Most yards, game – 232 vs. Pittsburgh 11/14
Completion percentage – 55.1 [6]
Yards per attempt – 7.9 [5]
TD passes – 19 [2, tied with Jim Plunkett]
Most TD passes, game – 4 vs. New England 10/17
Interceptions – 9
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Pittsburgh 11/14, at Baltimore 12/11
Passer rating – 90.9 [2]
200-yard passing games – 3

Rushing
Attempts – 26
Most attempts, game - 4 (for 6 yds.) vs. Baltimore 11/21
Yards – 82
Most yards, game – 22 yards (on 2 carries) vs. Chicago 11/29
Yards per attempt – 3.2
TDs – 0

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 66
Most attempts, game - 35 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff
Pass completions – 36
Most completions, game - 20 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff
Passing yardage – 555
Most yards, game - 263 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff
TD passes – 2
Most TD passes, game - 1 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff, vs. Baltimore, AFC Championship
Interceptions – 4
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff

Rushing attempts – 4
Most rushing attempts, game - 2 at Kansas City, AFC Divisional playoff
Rushing yards – 21
Most rushing yards, game - 12 vs. Baltimore, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 5.3
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: NEA
AFC Player of the Year: Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly
1st team All-AFC: AP, UPI, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Dolphins went 10-3-1 to finish first in the AFC East while leading the league in rushing (2429 yards). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Kansas City Chiefs (27-24) and AFC Championship over Baltimore Colts (21-0). Lost Super Bowl to Dallas Cowboys (24-3).

Aftermath:
Griese suffered a broken leg five games into the 1972 season but returned in the playoffs as the team went undefeated and won the Super Bowl. They won again in ’73 and Griese was again selected to the Pro Bowl even though the offense ran the ball more than it passed. Injuries factored into a couple of lesser seasons in 1975 and ’76, with personnel factors also an issue, but Griese, now wearing glasses, came back strong in 1977 as he led the NFL in passing (87.8 rating), TD passes (22), and yards per attempt (7.2) – he was a consensus first-team All-Pro as well as Pro Bowl selection and MVP. He was selected to a sixth Pro Bowl in ’78 while leading the league in completion percentage (63.0) but injuries began to wear him down and ultimately ended his career in 1980. He ended up passing for 25,092 yards with 192 TD passes and the team went 92-56-3 with him behind center. The Dolphins retired Griese’s #12 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1990. His son Brian followed him into the NFL.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/10/14]