He was Iron­man of ’72 Dol­phins

Tampa Bay Times - - Nfl | College Basketball - In­for­ma­tion from the South Florida Sun-Sen­tinel was used in this re­port.

MI­AMI — For­mer Dol­phins guard Bob Kuechen­berg, a six­time All-Pro and a mem­ber of the only NFL team to achieve a per­fect sea­son, died at age 71.

His death Satur­day was con­firmed by the Dol­phins, who had no fur­ther de­tails.

Mr. Kuechen­berg joined the Dol­phins as a free agent in 1970, coach Don Shula’s first sea­son, and played for them un­til 1983. He started ev­ery game for the 1972 team that went 17-0, and he started 16 games for the 1973 team that re­peated as Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons.

Mr. Kuechen­berg was an eight-time fi­nal­ist for the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame and a mem­ber of the Dol­phins Honor Roll.

“I was sorry to learn of the pass­ing of Bob Kuechen­berg, who was not only one of the best play­ers I ever coached but one of the tough­est as well,” Shula said. “He was one of the key per­form­ers on our cham­pi­onship teams.”

Shula said Mr. Kuechen­berg played with a bro­ken arm in the 1974 Su­per Bowl and still dom­i­nated Hall of Fame de­fen­sive tackle Alan Page as Mi­ami beat Min­nesota 24-7. That game was 45 years ago Sun­day.

For­mer team­mate Jim Langer, a Hall of Fame cen­ter, said he stayed in touch with Mr. Kuechen­berg, spoke with him in the past week and was shocked to learn of his death.

“He was the kind of guy you’d want in your fox­hole,” Langer said. “He played hard and was very in­tense about the game, which was typ­i­cal of our team. He was my room­mate for 10 years, and we talked foot­ball damn near all the time.”

A na­tive of Gary, Ind., Mr. Kuechen­berg played at Notre Dame be­fore be­ing drafted in the fourth round by the Ea­gles in 1969 but never played for them and was cut. He signed with the Fal­cons, but they soon cut him, too. He ended up play­ing a year for a semipro team in Chicago be­fore the Dol­phins signed him in 1970. His 196 games with Mi­ami was a team record un­til quar­ter­back Dan Marino broke it.

Shula pointed out that Mr. Kuechen­berg was pe­nal­ized for hold­ing only 15 times through­out his a ca­reer and only missed four games in his 14 sea­sons.

Mr. Kuechen­berg’s fa­vorite play be­came the name of his boat: “34 Trap.” He knocked out Bal­ti­more Colts de­fen­sive end Bubba Smith run­ning it and hit Cincin­nati Ben­gals de­fen­sive tack­ler Mike Reid so hard that, years later, when they met, Reid said, “Oh my god, there’s the man that hit me so hard I couldn’t fall down.”

Play of the day

Thanks to a snow storm in Kansas City, Mo., a num­ber of peo­ple in the area likely had trou­ble get­ting around Satur­day, in­clud­ing Chiefs of­fen­sive line­man Jeff Allen.

Allen made it to Ar­row­head Sta­dium in time for his team’s AFC divi­sion play­off game against the Colts thanks to a Good Sa­mar­i­tan named Dave.

Allen was ask­ing for the pub­lic’s help in find­ing Dave, be­cause Allen wants to re­pay the fa­vor.

The prize for lend­ing a help­ing hand? Tick­ets to the AFC Cham­pi­onship Game this week.

Here is what Allen tweeted shortly be­fore mid­night:

“My car got stuck in the snow be­fore the game & a nice guy named Dave help pull me out without know­ing I was a player. I want to give him tick­ets to the AFC Cham­pi­onship Game for help­ing but don’t have a way to con­tact him. He drove a 97 or 98 Black Sub­ur­ban. Pls RT #Chief­sKing­dom”

Even­tu­ally, Allen found his Dave.

He tweeted:

“Up­date: De­spite the re­cent in­flux in peo­ple chang­ing their name to Dave in the KC area lol, I was ac­tu­ally able to track down the Dave that helped me thanks to the power of so­cial me­dia and #Chief­sKind­gom. Thanks for your kind­ness @Davidco59434183”

David Cochran tweeted: “Look all I try to do is sur­vive and live life one day at a time and I love to go all out to try to help ppl” T.O. GOES OFF ON GAR­RETT: Cow­boys owner Jerry Jones might be mulling a con­tract ex­ten­sion for coach Ja­son Gar­rett, but one for­mer player said that if it was his call, he would fire “that sap­sucker.”

Ter­rell Owens tweeted his dis­plea­sure with Gar­rett af­ter Dal­las lost 30-22 Satur­day to the Rams in an NFC divi­sion play­off game. “Hey @re­al­jer­ryjones! Bout time for a coach­ing change don’tcha think?! 2 play­off wins in 10 years!! Gar­rett isn’t the an­swer & NEVER will be! Way to com­pete guys!! #re­altalk”

Owens, 45, played for the Cow­boys when Gar­rett was of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor (2007-08). The Hall of Fame re­ceiver said in May that it was “mind-bog­gling” that Gar­rett con­tin­ued to be the coach. “At the end of the day, how can you keep al­low­ing the play­ers to be the scape­goat for what’s not hap­pen­ing, es­pe­cially when you have a head coach that’s sup­posed to be of­fen­sive-minded?” he said.

Owens was cut in 2009, a move that he said “blind­sided” him, and he ac­knowl­edged in a Twit­ter re­ply that his feel­ings re­main bruised. “Yeh, maybe a lit­tle,” he wrote. “That sap­sucker got rid of me & had Jerry think­ing I was the prob­lem.”

Gar­rett is 79-62 as coach, a po­si­tion he has held since 2011, af­ter an eight-game in­terim stint in 2010. In the post­sea­son, though, his teams are 2-3.

As­so­ci­ated Press (2007)

For­mer Dol­phins guard Bob Kuechen­berg leads a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing the 1972 team that fin­ished the sea­son un­de­feated. Kuechen­berg once played in the Su­per Bowl with a bro­ken arm.

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