Pursuit Of Perfection: Pats chasing the '72 Dolphins

The Dolphins completed a perfect season in 1972. The Patriots appear poised to do the same in 2007.

Originally Published: December 16, 2007
ESPN.com

Brady, Moss, and ShulaUS Presswire, AP PhotoDon Shula, right, and the Dolphins achieved perfection. Are the Patriots on their way?

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The Perfect Seasons

The Miami Dolphins won each of their 17 games (including playoffs) in 1972, becoming the only team in the modern era to go undefeated in a season. Although other teams have come close, no one has matched the Dolphins' record. But the Patriots, 15-0 after defeating this year's Dolphins on Sunday, are closing in. Here's the breakdown thus far:

1972 Dolphins Game 2007 Patriots
Dolphins 20, Chiefs 10 1 Patriots 38, Jets 14
Dolphins 34, Oilers 13 2 Patriots 38, Chargers 14
Dolphins 16, Vikings 14 3 Patriots 38, Bills 7
Dolphins 27, Jets 17 4 Patriots 34, Bengals 13
Dolphins 24, Chargers 10 5 Patriots 34, Browns 17
Dolphins 24, Bills 23 6 Patriots 48, Cowboys 27
Dolphins 23, Colts 0 7 Patriots 49, Dolphins 28
Dolphins 30, Bills 16 8 Patriots 52, Redskins 7
Dolphins 52, Patriots 0 9 Patriots 24, Colts 20
Dolphins 28, Jets 24 10 Patriots 56, Bills 7
Dolphins 31, Cardinals 10 11 Patriots 31, Eagles 28
Dolphins 37, Patriots 21 12 Patriots 27, Ravens 24
Dolphins 23, Giants 13 13 Patriots 34, Steelers 13
Dolphins 16, Colts 0 14 Patriots 20, Jets 10
Dolphins 20, Browns 14* 15 Patriots 28, Dolphins 7
Dolphins 21, Steelers 17* 16 Patriots at Giants
Dolphins 14, Redskins 7** 17 Playoffs begin
*=playoff game, **=Super Bowl VII

By The Numbers

Category '72 Dolphins '07 Patriots
Opponents' record 70-108-4 84-84
Record vs. winning teams 2-0 5-0
Points scored/allowed 385/171 551/239
Passing yards/TDs 2,235/17 4,385/48
Rushing yards/TDs 2,960/26 1,805/15
Patriots' stats are through 15 games

Starting Lineups

Pos. 1972 Dolphins* Pos. 2007 Patriots**
Offense
QB Bob Griese QB Tom Brady
RB Larry Csonka RB Laurence Maroney
RB Jim Kiick RB Heath Evans
WR Paul Warfield WR Randy Moss
WR Howard Twilley WR Wes Welker
TE Marv Fleming TE Benjamin Watson
C Jim Langer C Dan Koppen
OG Larry Little OG Stephen Neal
OG Bob Kuechenberg OG Logan Mankins
OT Norm Evans OT Nick Kaczur
OT Wayne Moore OT Matt Light
Defense
DT Bob Heinz NT Vince Wilfork
DT Manny Fernandez DE Ty Warren
DE Bill Stanfill DE Richard Seymour
DE Vern Den Herder LB Mike Vrabel
LB Doug Swift LB Junior Seau
LB Nick Buoniconti LB Tedy Bruschi
LB Mike Kolen LB Adalius Thomas
CB Curtis Johnson CB Asante Samuel
CB Lloyd Mumphord CB Ellis Hobbs
S Jake Scott S Rodney Harrison
S Dick Anderson S James Sanders
Kickers
PK Garo Yepremian PK Stephen Gostkowski
P Larry Seiple P Chris Hanson
*-Super Bowl VII lineup **-Team depth chart

Tom Brady: Records Within Reach

  Brady NFL Record
Comp percentage 68.3 70.55 (Ken Anderson, 1982)
Passing yards 4,453 5,084 (Dan Marino, 1984)
Touchdown passes 48 49 (Peyton Manning, 2004)
TD-Int differential +40 +39 (Manning, '04)
Brady has 12 games with 3 TD passes (NFL record)

Greatest Point Differential, Season

Team Points Scored Points Allowed Point Diff.
1942 Chicago Bears (11-0) 376 84 +292
1999 St. Louis Rams (13-3) 526 242 +284
1962 Houston Oilers (10-3-1) 513 242 +271
1962 Green Bay Packers (13-1) 415 148 +267
1991 Washington Redskins (14-2) 485 224 +261
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1) 556 296 +260
1985 Chicago Bears (15-1) 456 198 +258
1968 Baltimore Colts (13-1) 402 144 +258
 
2007 New England Patriots (15-0) 551 239 +312
Courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau

Entering The Playoffs Undefeated, NFL History

Team Regular-Season W-L Postseason Result
1972 Dolphins 14-0 Won Super Bowl
1942 Bears 11-0 Lost NFL Championship
1934 Bears 13-0 Lost NFL Championship

Most Points Per Game, NFL History

Team Games Points Per Game
1950 Rams 12 38.8
1961 Oilers 14 36.6
1941 Bears 11 36.0
1998 Vikings 16 34.8
1942 Bears 1134.2
 
2007 Patriots 15 36.7