As everyone knows, the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to have an undefeated Super Bowl winning season in NFL history. Everyone also knows that the 2007 New England Patriots came frighteningly close to matching that achievement, after a perfect 16-0 regular season. On February 3, 2008, though, the New York Giants stood in front of destiny and thanks in large part to one of the most dramatic plays in football history, roadblocked the Pats and preserved the undefeated legacy of the ’72 Fins.
Sam Madison, the longtime Dolphin Sam Madison, was on the field that night in Glendale, Arizona, wearing a blue helmet with a white “NY” on the side. Here are his memories of Super Bowl XLII…
Guest Blog, by Sam Madison
First of all, we got a chance to play the Patriots in the last game of the regular season that year. The Patriots came into that game at 15-0 and having played in Miami for nine years, as a proud Dolphin I understood the tradition and the history this organization under Don Shula. I wanted to stop the Patriots from being the first team to have an undefeated regular season since the ’72 Dolphins and be able to see the old Dolphins pop champagne that night. We came up short that night against New England, losing 38-35, but the one thing that we were able to take away from that game was that the Patriots could be beat. Five weeks later in Arizona, we got our chance to do just that.
Going into Super Bowl 42 it was like David vs Goliath. And we were David. Nobody was giving us a chance to beat the mighty Patriots except us; the only thing on our mind was being the underdog and coming out victorious. We believed in our team, and Coach Tom Coughlin put together a great plan that gave us the opportunity to come away with a win if we executed it. You look at Tom Brady, the league MVP that year, throwing 50 touchdowns – it seemed like an undefeated season was at their fingertips but we had the last say. Going into that game we knew that if we could get to Tom Brady- knock him off his spot and rattle him in the pocket a little bit, that we would have a good chance to defeat them. Brady had so many great weapons that year- Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson, Kevin Faulk, but nobody had really hit him a lot. That was our game plan going in, and then we were able to shut them out in the first quarter, and our confidence skyrocketed from there. We knew that they were a talented team and would make adjustments, but we continued to fight and hang in the game. Fortunately for us we were able to make a few more plays late in the game than they were and that gave us the victory. The Patriots had all the cards to win that Super Bowl, but our belief in each other and the great guidance that we got from Coughlin gave us the ability to hand the Patriots their first and only loss of the season.
The feeling of winning the Super Bowl was the feeling that every player at any level, high school, college, pro dreams about. At the beginning of the season, every NFL player has the same goal: to hold the Lombardi Trophy and after 11 years I finally was able to achieve that goal, it was a tremendous feeling. A former player who had won the Super Bowl once told me about the great feeling it was to have the confetti raining down on your head after having won the big game, and that’s all I could think about as I was experiencing a truly special moment. Then, I went on the NFL Network and talked about upholding the legacy of the ’72 Dolphins. That’s when it sunk in: I killed two birds with one stone, I had a chance to win a championship for Sam Madison and my own legacy, and then to also be able to help uphold the legacy of a team that has a special place in my heart, the Miami Dolphins. To be a part of a team in the Giants that defeated the previously unbeaten Patriots, it just made the night that much more special for me to be able to help keep the ’72 team in the record books as the only undefeated team in the modern NFL era.
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