User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Former NFL QB Earl Morrall dies at 79

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

MIAMI (AP) - Earl Morrall, an NFL quarterback for 21 years who started nine games during the Miami Dolphins' perfect season in 1972, has died. He was 79.

Advertisement
The Dolphins confirmed Morrall's death Friday. Former teammate Charlie Babb said Morrall had been in failing health for some time.

When Bob Griese broke his ankle in 1972, Morrall came off the bench and started the final nine games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Morrall won praise from coach Don Shula for his willingness to step aside when Griese returned for the AFC championship game.

Griese started in the Super Bowl to help Miami finish 17-0. That remains the only perfect season in NFL history.

Morrall also played for the 49ers, Steelers, Lions, Giants and Colts, winning three Super Bowl rings. He came off the bench to replace an injured Johnny Unitas and help the Colts win the Super Bowl to cap the 1970 season, and he was the backup to Griese on the Dolphins' 1973 championship team.

The `72 Dolphins were led by such future Pro Football Hall of Famers as Shula, Griese, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield, but their season might be long forgotten if not for Morrall, then regarded as a journeyman.

That's why Shula - who also coached Unitas and Dan Marino - held Morrall in special regard as a quarterback.

''When Bob went down, Earl stepped in like nothing happened, and we just won all the games,'' Shula said in a 2007 interview. ''Then Griese was healthy for the AFC championship game against Pittsburgh, and I put Bob in the second half and he helped us come from behind and win the game.

''Then I had a decision to make, which to me has always been the toughest decision I've ever had to make - who to start in the Super Bowl. Earl had done such a great job to get me there, but Bob was my quarterback going into the season, and he was my quarterback of the future. So I figured as long as Bob was healthy and ready to go, I was going back to Bob.

''So I've always said Unitas, Griese and Dan Marino are in the Hall of Fame, and Earl is in my own personal Hall of Fame.''

Morrall said the 1972 Dolphins seldom dwelled on their perfect record as the season progressed because they were focused only on winning the Super Bowl after losing in the title game the previous year. He recalled a teammate raising the subject just once - before the final regular-season game.

''We were going to play the Colts, and that's the only time I heard something about it in the locker room,'' Morrall said in 2007. ''It wasn't about going undefeated. It was, `Guys, if we're going to lose a game, this is the one to lose.'''

At 38, Morrall was the oldest player on the 1972 Dolphins. He attended their 40th reunion in 2012 and said he thought most of his ex-teammates looked good.

''We've all gotten a little bigger and stronger,'' Morrall said with a smile.

He was inducted into the Dolphins' Walk of Fame that year. Morrall also attended an 80th birthday party for Shula in 2010.

''We're just happy Don made it this long,'' Morrall said. ''When he cut some of the players, they had ill feelings and might have got to him.''

Morrall was a Michigan native who played at Michigan State. In retirement he lived in Naples, Fla., where Babb also lives.

''I was the youngest guy on the `72 team,'' said Babb, a defensive back. ''Earl was 37 when I'm a 22-year-old rookie. He was kind of like Pops, and he was the king of the flattop. He was kind of a father figure to us young guys, until it was time to hit him. Then we didn't mind hitting him.

''Earl was a gentleman and a great representative of the NFL. He'll be missed.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Buccaneers at Falcons
Mejia: Week 3 Look-Ahead
Lawrence: Inside the Stats - Week 3
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 3
Sportsbook: Bucs look for first victory
Marshall: NFL, Goodell facing heat
Simo: Books pick up Week 2 win
News: NFL Betting Recap - Week 2
Peterson barred from all team activities
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
12-3 Totals TY, 23-11 L34 Picks
6-1 L7 Guarantees, 3-1 L4 Totals
4-1 Record Sunday
10-4 L14 G-Plays, 20-9 Totals TY
17-8 L25, 20-10 This Year
10-1 Guaranteed Play Streak
5-1 Record Last 6 Picks
3-1 Sunday, 4-1 L5 Over/Unders
8-4 L12 Guaranteed Plays
2-0 Sunday, 3-1 L4 Selections
6-3 Last 9 NFL Selections
3-1 Sunday, 4-1 Over/Unders TY
4-0 Guarantees This Year
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
James Manos + 880
Hank Goldberg + 852
Scott Pritchard + 655
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Andy Iskoe + 405
Paul Bovi + 290
Chip Chirimbes + 265
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 73 %
James Manos 67 %
Brian Edwards 63 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 775
Antony Dinero + 630
Mike Rose + 400
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1030
Hank Goldberg + 875
James Manos + 480
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 490
The SportsBoss + 200
Antony Dinero + 183
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest