MIAMI — Earl Morrall, an NFL quarterback for 21 years who started nine games during the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972, has died at age 79.
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 San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Baltimore Colts.
In Baltimore, he stepped in for an injured Johnny Unitas in the 1968 season and led the Colts to Super Bowl III. He started the title game, a 16-7 loss to Joe Namath and the AFL’s New York Jets.