Bob Griese Enshrinement speech

Bob Griese Enshrinement Speech 1990

Presenter: Don Shula

Where are the Dolphins fans? There we are, all right. If I ever had to define what a winner is, I could do it in two words, Bob Griese. It is no coincidence that Miami enjoyed unprecedented success during Bob's 14 years with the Dolphins. He had great ability, but what set him apart was intelligence and leadership, intangibles that can't be measured statistically except in the final score. Bob simply didn’t know what it meant to lose. He was a thinking man's quarterback, a chess master, moving all his pieces brilliantly. He was a leader of a classic ball control offense that enabled us to win back to back Super Bowls in 1972 & 73 with a combined record of 32 and 2, 17-0 in 1972. The only perfect season in NFL history. With his understanding of the game and poised leadership, he guided the Dolphins to nine winning seasons in the 70s and he won 91 of the 131 games he played for me, a 698-winning percentage. He prepared for each game as intensely as a coach studying game films all week long.

On the road trips he would sit there with a yellow pad diagraming down and distance. He was a genius at calling the right play at the right time. The double overtime game against Kansas City, he pulled out a play we hadn't used the whole time, a run to Larry Csonka, our fullback, that gained 30 yards that set up the field goal that helped us get into the play offs and eventually into the Super Bowl. But that is typical, of Bob, being one of the smartest players I ever coached, he was also one of the most unselfish. I remember when we played the St. Louis Cardinals on Thanksgiving Day in 1977, he threw 6 touchdown passes in little over 3/4 of play, the record was seven. I said Bob do you want to go for the record we have a big lead. He said ''No, coach, let the backup quarterback play, because he needs experience in case later on something happens to me.'' That Is unselfishness. Bob got as much of a thrill watching Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick or Mercury Morris run for a touchdown as he did in connecting a bomb to. Paul Warfield. He knew how to get the most out of a talented team and one of his finest performances, he used the pass only sparingly, but when we did go to the air there was in Super Bowl VII, only eleven out of our 50 plays were passes, but Bob completed 8 of them one for a touchdown and one set up another score. We wouldn’t have reached the Super Bowl if it hadn't been that kind of performance from Bob.

In the AFC championship game against Pittsburgh, we were trailing 10-7 in the 3rd quarter and Bob replaced Earl Morrall as quarterback, playing only 11 weeks after he had broken his leg. The first pass he connected was a 52 yarder to Warfield that set up the go head touchdown that gave us the win and put us into the Super Bowl. The next year in 1973, he won our consecutive world championship. Bob lead relentless ball control drives that resulted in the most dominant overall play-off performance in NFL history. Our average time of possession in those three games was 12 minutes more than our opponents and we outscored them 85-33. In fact, Super Bowl VIII that year only seven of our 61 plays from scrimmage were passes, but Bob completed six of those seven to help lead us to a 24-7 domination over the Vikings. During his career Bob played in two AFL All-Star games and a 6 time all Pro Bowl performer. He was the AFC player of the year in 1971 and his uniform number was the first ever retired by the Dolphins. He was the 14th quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 25,000 yards and he set team records for yardage completion and touchdown passes before a shoulder injury forced an early retirement. But I know how impressive his career totals are, to me and certainly to him they are only numbers. You can't measure leadership, unselfishness and professionalism, but the true championships and the Dolphins success on the field during his tenure in Miami only pointed to Bob's greatness.

My personal admiration for Bob has grown through the years not only for what he accomplished for me as a player, but also the way he conducts his private life, his devotion to family, his civic and community involvements and the excellence he now brings to the broadcast booth. He is a role model for everything that is right. Not only about professional football but life itself. Someone who personifies class and dignity on and off the field. I am proud to present a player who rightly belongs to all the other winners in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, number 12 Bob Griese.

Bob Griese

Thank you. It is great to be here. Coach I want to thank you for getting these Steeler fans all fired up for me. We had some great games.

First of all, I want to thank Don Shula for taking time off of his. busy schedule, the Dolphins are at Tampa today scrimmaging and he made the trip up here to present me into the Hall of Fame. You know, I dare say that if Don Shula hadn't had come to the Dolphins in 1970, that the Dolphins would have never played in a championship game and would have never won two Super Bowls. Not only that, but I am the fourth Dolphin to be enshrined into the National Football League Hall of Fame and I know three of us wouldn't have made it. I know Warfield would have made it, but I'm not so sure about Langer, Csonka or myself. But behind every successful man, and Shula is exactly that, there is a, great woman and there is no question that this is true in the Shula family. Not only do they have five great kids, but Dorothy Shula is what makes that family click, take my word for it.

You know my three sons are sitting down there, but my youngest one is the wisest one and since he and I are home together now, he kind of needles me like I needle him and he often told me that one of the things I am remembered by most is my glasses and my glasses have been in here for 10 years and he said ''Dad, that is as close as you are ever going to get to the Hall of Fame.'' In your face, Brian.

You know we have had a few press conferences this week and one of the questions was, ''did you and Shula ever have any problems, did you ever have any disagreements?'' Well, we had a few, but the biggest one and the visual one I guess, is when I was out there wearing the glasses toward the end of my career, cleaning off my glasses behind the huddle and I could see the 30 second clock winding down, I knew how much time I had and I was just polishing them up because they'd get sweaty or they'd fog up or maybe a little mist or the rain or something and Shula would be over there on the sideline "Bob, Bob hurry up.'' Well, I knew how much time I had and besides that if it ever got real bad I knew what I could do, because if it ever started raining, I could put these on and see, it is kind of hard (glasses with wipers) to take, now if it stopped, you could always stop them from going. But it is kind of hard to put both hands underneath the center and get the ball, but I always had those in reserve just in case. He is a great guy and I appreciate him coming up.

You know I am honored and humbled by all of this. You know I was a guy who really learned from his mistakes. You know I would go back and watch the film and see it with all the team,, but then I would take it home and watch my mistakes and the things I was thinking about in the ball game and I didn’t check and I would learn by my mistakes. And just looking at some of these guys behind me, well first of all for the seven of us that are going in, I see a lot of my mistakes right here. I see Buck Buchanan; I think half of his sacks were right here and then the stork Ted Hendricks. Ted used to love to play against the Dolphins and Jack Lambert. You know I think I helped these guys get in here. And then you look further back and you look back in the back there, look for the golden domes with the guy with the glasses you see a guy named Ray Nitschke, a great linebacker and he epitomizes the middle linebackers the way they play and I played against. You had a guy by the name of Dick Butkus, his bust is in here. I remember playing against him my rookie year and I was coming up to the line of scrimmage, he was so intimidating I lined up behind my right guard, Larry Little. Larry didn't know who I was, and he jumped about 6 1 in the air. He said ''What are you doing rookie?”

And then Alan Page is in here and I remember Alan Page and playing against the Vikings in Super Bowl VIII, I believe and was coming to the line of scrimmage and forgetting the snap count. They always say I was the thinking man's quarterback, I couldn't find who to line up behind, I couldn't remember the snap count half the time and I thought about asking Jim Langer, the Hall of Famer, but something in my mind said no, then all those Vikings would know and I must have lost my senses because I said turn around and ask old reliable number 39 …wrong .. . bad information. And then I see Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys and Bob Lilly is here. And I remember playing the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI and the only Super Bowl record I still hold is the longest sack by a quarterback in a Super Bowl game, 29 yards. Now, I have to talk to my son Brian again, because every time they see that in the highlights, they think only Lilly was chasing me and I keep telling them there were more. I talked to Lillyand he said there were two other defensive linemen besides him, I could have out run him, so we need to get you guys together.

I want to thank my family and my friends for coming. I have over 115 people not family, but friends that came from Miami and I appreciate all you coming up and taking the time out of your schedules to come here. I want to thank my mother and my late wife, Judy. Mother thought I should be in here the day I hung up the helmet and Judy wasn’t far behind her. Of course, they thought with their hearts and not with their heads, but Ida was always there washing the socks when I was playing little league baseball and making sure she was at our games and being the fan and being the taxicab back and forth. And Judy always made the house an area where we could get things done and I never had to worry about raising the kids on Wednesday and Thursday nights when I brought films home, the dinner was always there and she made it very comfortable for me to get the work done I needed to. And I know she is having a good time up in heaven with my father looking down with a big smile on this ceremony today.

I grew up in Evansville, Indiana and I just want to thank the people from Evansville for making it an environment to which I could go out and play athletics. My dad died when I was 10, I turned to athletics and sports and the athletics were there, the coaches were there, the parks and recreations were there the fields were there, we weren’t’ out and participated. My high school coach, Ken Coudret, is here and Mike Minton and Rick Kingston are here, a couple of players. I played with, and I appreciate you guys coming over.

I went on to Purdue University and that's where I really learned how to throw the football and that is not taking away from my high school coach, Coudret, but he was a defensive lineman and he didn’t know much about throwing. Bob DeMoss, who is here today, was my quarterback coach and really taught me how to throw a football. I can remember him bringing Cecil Isabel over and working on the mechanics on throwing. I was a pitcher, I used to throw side arm, but he got me straightened out. Jack Mulinkough the head coach at Purdue, was as fine, a man as you ever would want to meet. Fred Hubney was the President at that time and Red Mackey was the Athletic Director and I cannot think of a better trifecta than those three Hubney, Mackey and Mulinkough to run a university. They gave me a scholarship and an opportunity to get educated and go on with my life and I am very thankful to Purdue and Bob DeMoss for being here today. I never thought, I never dreamt that I would be here, I never dreamt that I would go to college let alone play professional football.

When I was drafted by the Dolphins in the first round by Joe Thomas, Joe Robbie gave me the opportunity to play in Miami. I got along very well with Joe and I just know that be is very proud also to have another one of his players go into the Hall. George Wilson was the first head coach and I appreciate the things that he did for me. But the people that were really great for me in Miami were the fans. You know I was always sort of quiet and introverted and shy, I was never really very outgoing. I never threw my arms up in the air when we scored touchdowns and all that, but I appreciated the support all the fans gave me through the years. And I am happy for them today because a team that goes three years in a row in the Super Bowl, wins two championships and one of those teams go undefeated, the fans of Miami deserve to have some players in the Hall of Fame and I am honored to be representing those fans of Miami today.

I am wrapping up. I was never a great talent; I mean I couldn't carry anybody by myself. I wasn't a guy like Roger Staubach or Terry Bradshaw, I needed help. I needed help and I got a lot of help in Miami. I am the first to admit, give me some good players., some good players around me and I can do some stuff that may give you some problems defensively. Jim Langer, who I have talked about, was our center, Larry Little, one guard and Bob Kuechenberg and Ed Newman were the other guards who played. Norm Evans, who .is here today, Wayne Moore and Doug Crusan, our tight end, Marv Fleming and Jim Mandich. We had a great receiver in Paul Warfield. Howard Twilley was there, Nat Moore and Marlin Briscoe. In the backfield we had Csonka, who was great, and also Norm Bulaich when we wanted to throw, we got Csonka the hell out of' there. Norm came in, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick and Earl Morral, what a great guy Earl was to be with.

In closing, if there is any lesson to be learned from me going into the NFL Hall of Fame, it is to the young people. You don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest or the fastest or the quickest or the prettiest to be successful as long as you have desire and determination and you have heart and you have some intelligence and you have some persistence and you are consistent and yes maybe if you are stubborn, you can be successful and be successful in life. Thank you very much and God Bless.