Well, all right, who are those guys? Not the ones who have been chasing Jim Kiick and Larry Csonka all season. Not Bob Griese. Everybody knows Bob, the quarterback who chills you to death with brains and an occasional mile-long pass to Paul Warfield. Not Warfield, either. Everybody knows Paul, the third star in Brother Griese's Sensational Miami Dolphin Traveling Offensive Show: Butch ( Kiick) Cassidy and The Sundance Kid ( Csonka), and Bojangles. Warfield is the one who never touches the ground, who dances around out there and, eventually, looks to heaven and pulls down a Griese touchdown pass behind those poor fools on the other team who think they can cover him forever.
No, what we want to know here is, who is Bob Heinz and what is he doing sitting on Johnny Unitas' chest? And who is Jim Riley and what is he doing clawing at Johnny Unitas' jersey? And who is Jake Scott, and what is he doing breaking into Johnny Unitas' pattern and making off with a pass? With a broken hand, yet. And who is Dick Anderson, and what gave him the idea he could run an interception of a Unitas pass back 62 yards through a field littered with Baltimore Colts to a touchdown?
And who are Mike Kolen and Tim Foley and Manny Fernandez and Curtis Johnson, and...ah, but you've guessed by now, haven't you? Why, of course. They are the names under " Miami defense" in the game program. "The No-Names," says Bill Arnsparger, who coaches them for Don Shula, the Head Dolphin. The elastic-band defense. The one that bends but never—well, seldom—snaps. The one that always gives you enough rope to hang yourself, and then doesn't get any credit for the execution. Arnsparger has a mot for that. "You can accomplish a lot if you don't worry about who gets the credit," he says.
Shula, of course, knows the names, and knows all about credit. Somebody asked him in the days preceding this last fateful showdown—American Conference championship, Super Bowl trip to New Orleans, toughest team on the block—if he would not be willing to concede the 14 points Baltimore got on the Miami defense each of the first two times the teams met during the regular season. Shula's expression hardened briefly into what he calls his "dull sideline look." "I don't think," he said quietly, "that this defense would concede two touchdowns to anybody."
Two touchdowns? The Colts got none. Oh, they threatened a couple of times, but Miami just dangled it before them and yanked it away. The tools Baltimore had used to beat the Dolphins at home last month had been taken from them, as surely as if by surgery, and when the realization finally hit it was devastating. With two minutes to play and Miami ahead by the final score of 21-0 and 78,629 Orange Bowl fans gone barmy, Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Colts and a man still unable to forgive Shula for leaving his employ two years ago, got up from his seat high in the press box, sucked on a cigarette, shook his good gray head from side to side and slowly turned away.
The Miami defense had done to the proud Colts, the champions of all of football, what no defense had done in 96 games. It had shut them out. It had, in fact, humiliated them, not by bruting them around but by teasing them. Bill Curry, center on four Super Bowl teams, cried when it was over. "I can't believe it," he said. Don Nottingham, the running back, tried vainly to recollect all that he had seen. "They just kept coming at us and coming at us," he said.
How did it happen? Shula had counted the ways in the long hours before the game, even as he was being egged on to resume the old conflict with Rosenbloom. He had, as always, maintained the dignity of silence that often escapes Rosenbloom on that issue. "I have not replied, and I won't," Shula had said. Then he talked about how Baltimore—how Unitas, really, because old John is still the Baltimore offense, and never mind the lines at his eyes and the veins in his legs—had cut the Dolphins into shish kebab in the game at Baltimore with two dawdling touchdown drives, dumping to a halfback here, screening there, never throwing long.
Then, with Arnsparger, Shula had "discarded a few things and added a few things." Nothing dramatic, nothing drastic. But instead of Miami's linebackers flying in all directions to prevent Unitas from throwing over them, they were instructed to stay put more. To be around the Baltimore backs as they came out of the backfield. To anticipate the screens. To play a kind of loose man-to-man, if you will, that would supplement the cloying, deep Miami zone. "For the rest of us," said Cornerback Tim Foley, "it was get back upheld as quickly as you can when you see where the ball is. React. Support."
Meanwhile, the Colts were thinking this way: they had the defense, Miami had the offense. Advantage, Baltimore. The only guy they really seemed concerned about was Nick Buoniconti, the Dolphins' defensive captain and middle linebacker. How well he maneuvers to the sidelines, how often he arrives to plug a hole. There was unanimity among the Colts that they had what it takes to do it all over again; control the ball, control the game. There was an insouciance about them, and their preparation was businesslike.
The thing that worried them most was the Miami heat. They hinted broadly that the heat was what had beaten them there before. They arrived in Tampa five days prior to the game "to get acclimated." They talked, as Miami News Columnist John Crittenden wrote, as if they would need malaria shots and a machete to cut through the jungles of the Orange Bowl on game day. Crittenden suggested they bring umbrellas.