Miami Dolphins legend Nick Buoniconti is struggling with his health, as it was reported earlier today. In the last few days, the family released a video of Nick, poolside, struggling to put on his t-shirt. Nick suffers from a degenerative brain disease, which is linked to his playing days, even though that is not fully determined at this time. This is a reminder the dangers of football and the effects it can have on people, long after their playing days are over.
For many, he will always be a vital part of this franchise and its history.
For those who do not know Nick Buoniconti, he was drafted out of Notre Dame in the 13th round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Boston Patriots. After he spent 6 season with the Patriots, he then moved on to the Miami Dolphins via trade. At 5’11, 220lbs, he was considered at the time, and even in today’s NFL, too small to play in the league. He moved to linebacker and made an immediate impact. After he arrived, it changed the Dolphins.
He became an immediate leader with the team. In 1972, he backed the team to an NFL best 12.2 points per game, having only given up 171 points in 14 games. Of course we know what happened that year. In 1973 and 1974, they followed up with 2 more Super Bowl appearances, having won in 1973. In 1973, Buoniconti helped the Dolphins get even better to 10.7 points per game.
After his playing days ended in 1976, he practiced law for a short time. He helped with the research with smokeless tobacco, and whether mouth cancer occurred from doing it. As he fights for his life, we are reminded of everything he did for the Miami Dolphins during his time there. He is a 2 time Super Bowl champion, 2 time pro bowler, 6 time all AFL all star, 5 time first team AFL, he is even in the New England Patriots hall of fame. He continues to be a big part of the franchise. He is there for pretty much every ceremony commemorating the 1972 and 1973 teams.
His small stature didn’t matter, it was his big heart. I hope he continues to use what he did throughout his career and continue to fight. Thank you Nick, for all that you did to put the Miami Dolphins on the map.