1973 NFL SIM: 2,008, AN O.J. ODYSSEY

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The Miami Dolphins have been very protective of their undefeated 1972 season. In 1988 members of the team went off when an ESPN/NFL Films series called Dream Season had the 1972 Dolphins lose to the 1978 Steelers in the all-time championship game.

The real truth is that many believe that the 1973 Dolphins represent the franchise’s best team – and unlike the 1972 team get their just due in the simulation world.

Pro football’s other story of ’73 involved O.J. Simpson and his quest for single-season history. In KACSPORTS sim of the 1973 season, Simpson ran slightly behind his real-life production, then caught fire in the final few games, much like O.J. did in reality.

In the sim’s final regular season game at snowy Shea Stadium, O.J. went over the top in dramatic fashion, rushing for a 71-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring his season total to 2,008 yards.

To this day, six running backs have recorded 2,000 yard rushing seasons, but Simpson remains the only one to achieve the feat in just 14 regular season games.

Other events of the WhatIfSports simulation…

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The Dolphins, Raiders and Cowboys cruised to division championships. A number of playoff tie-breakers would be settled via strength of victory, past the head-the-head, divisional, common opponent and conference record tie-breakers. This included…

  • The Bengals over the Dolphins for divisional playoff home field.
  • The Steelers over the Chiefs for the AFC playoff.
  • The Rams over the Falcons for the NFC West Championship
  • The Falcons over 11-3 Washington for the NFC Wild Card.

In the divisional round Miami won at Cincinnati 20-10 while the Raiders shut out the Steelers 22-0. On the NFC side, the Rams defeated Minnesota 24-13 while the Cowboys beat Atlanta 13-7.

Both top seeds fell in the Championship round, the Raiders lost to the Dolphins 9-3 while the Cowboys season ended at home for a second consecutive year with a loss to the Rams.

In Super Bowl VIII at Houston, Larry Csonka and the Dolphins rebounded from an early deficit to record a 20-10 victory, giving Coach Don Shula his first NFL title.

The Rams became the first three-time Super Bowl participant while the Cowboys have now gone 39-3 over the past three regular seasons without even a conference championship to show for it.

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