Madden, however, made no excuses. "Everything they said about the Dolphins is true," he admitted. "They have an awful lot of poise and class. They really executed and we didn't. One problem was that it seemed we didn't have the ball enough. When we had the ball it seemed we could move it all right. When we beat Miami earlier, we did to them what they did to us today. The last time we played they got only a yard or two on first down and had a lot of third-and-long situations. We are a young team, maybe younger than we thought. We fought like heck the last five weeks but we didn't seem to have it today.
"We didn't try to stop Csonka," he added, "we tried to control him. We tried to get him second and eight and third and eight so that when he'd get his five yards it wouldn't mean anything. But we just couldn't control him."
"I felt the tempo of the game dictated our going with the run," Griese said. "We were prepared to pass more if need be, but you do what's working for you. We needed to control the ball after their scoring drive and this we were doing with the run. As for a comparison with our earlier game with Oakland, we threw out the bad plays and kept the ones that worked. We run the same plays a lot."
Csonka said, "It's our offensive line. If we get three, four or five yards on a play, we're going to use it until we don't get three, four or five yards. I'm not a swivel-hipped halfback who gets 1,500 to 2,000 yards in a season—without taking anything away from swivel-hipped halfbacks. I depend a great deal—I'd say 85%—on my offensive line for my yardage."
It was no surprise then that Csonka gave as much of a pep talk as any Dolphin ever will to Little after the second touchdown. Little came up limping, and it looked like he might be sidelined. "I said, 'If you make it through this, you've got two weeks to recover,' but it wasn't a case of me talking Larry Little into staying in the game. I just said the kind of thing he would have told me had the situation been reversed. Our offensive team has a lot of unity between the linemen and the backs. They know what's in our heads, we know what's in theirs. This team is too professional for a lot of backslapping."
It may be that the Dolphins also are too professional to play a slapdash game in the Super Bowl. If indeed Miami wins again it will be the first team to do so since the mighty Packers won back-to-back world championships.
"We like to be talked of in terms of the Green Bay Packers," says Coach Don Shula. "I'm one and two right now and all I want to do is get even. I can't be any more proud of this team than I am right now. We got the big offense, and the offense got the points on the board."
In an exhibition last August, Minnesota beat Miami 20-17. Csonka remembers it well. "What can you say about Minnesota?" he says. "I just recently had the helmet of Roy Winston [the Viking linebacker] removed from my backbone. All we're looking forward to is winning the Super Bowl. That's what we've been working toward all season. We don't have single, individual colorful players like some teams have, but I think that helps us to blend together."
It would seem that Csonka is as mistaken in his summation of his team as he is in his forecast. No one could have failed to recognize a single, individual, colorless, still-hipped player in the Orange Bowl Sunday, and just in case he was overlooked his next performance is at Houston. The guy doing the job right behind Larry Little.