President Obama salutes '72 Dolphins

"Perfect Season" team honored at White House

By David Lang - Executive Producer

WASHINGTON - It took four decades, but the 1972 Miami Dolphins finally had their White House visit on Tuesday.

It was a memorable afternoon for head coach Don Shula and the "Perfect Season" that went through the 1972-73 NFL season with an unblemished 17-0 record.

President Obama and Shula spent much of the ceremony trading memorable one-liners, including the President's joke that the appearance of many of the players has changed.

"Some of them are a little harder to recognize these days." said Obama.

Even though it is one of the most celebrated teams in NFL history, President Obama said, "These Dolphins didn't always get the credit they deserve. Nobody can argue with this this record, nobody can argue what you've gone on to do."

When the President expressed pride in his hometown 1985 Bears, coach Shula jumped in "We beat 'em." The Bears only loss that year, ruining their bid for a perfect season, was to the Dolphins.

Shula kidded the President about being a Bears fan, "Everybody has to root for somebody."

While seated seated for the entire ceremony, Shula stood proudly when it came time for the team picture.

In a statement that many Dol-Fans have come to say in the four decades since that "Perfect Season," the President added, "With every year, this team's accomplishments look better and better."

The '72 Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins in the January 1973 Super Bowl. But in 1973 President Richard Nixon was preoccupied with the Watergate scandal, and White House salutes to sports teams were less of a tradition than now.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.