Former Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian passed away at the age of 70 on Friday from cancer. Long before there was Adam Vinatieri there was Garo Yepremian. He helped the Miami Dolphins win back to back championships in 1971 and 1972. And his Christmas deciding kick in 1971 in a playoff game propelled the Dolphins over the Kansas City Chiefs in what is still the longest game in NFL history.
For all the pressure kicks Yepremian made in his career, one of the most random plays in Super Bowl history might be the lasting memory of his career per NFL.com.
“With Miami leading 14-0 and on the verge of finishing the season 17-0, the Washington Redskins blocked Yepremian’s field-goal attempt. He picked up the ball and tried to throw it but fumbled, and the Redskins’ Mike Bass ran it 49 yards for a touchdown.”
Don Shula reflected on his reaction to the weird play and his encounter or lack thereof with Yepremian.
“I thought, ‘Boy, this will be great if Garo kicks this field goal and we go ahead 17-0 in a 17-0 season. What a great way that would be to remember the game,'” Shula said. “And then Garo did what he did, and it’s 14-7 with still a couple of minutes to go. I’m looking for Garo, and I’m ready to kill Garo, and I couldn’t find him. He went down to one end of the bench, and I haven’t seen him since.”
Despite Yepremian’s screw up the Dolphins would still wind up winning the game and completed their perfect season. The season remains the only perfect season in the league’s history, which Mercury Morris will remind you every year.
The Miami Dolphins summed up Yepremian best.
“His effusive personality supplemented his strong competitive nature, and no one made more pressure kicks than Garo,” Dolphins senior vice president Nat Moore said in a statement. “While Garo is also remembered for his ill-fated pass attempt following a blocked kick in Super Bowl VII, even that miscue demonstrated his competitiveness — he was just trying to do whatever it took to make a play. … With his love of life and of the Dolphins, Garo was one of a kind.”
Rest in peace.