The Dolphins franchise began play in the American Football League (AFL) as an expansion team in 1966, then joined the NFL in 1970 when the AFL-NFL merger occurred. After losing in Super Bowl VI in 1971, the 1972 Dolphins team completed the NFL's first and only perfect season culminating in a Super Bowl VII win, winning all 17 games. The Dolphins also won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls.
In head-to-head games against the Green Bay Packers, the Dolphins hold the distinction as the best NFL franchise to beat the Packers in terms of winning percentage. Since 1971, in 13 head-to-head contests, the Dolphins hold a 10-3 lead, including having won the first nine meetings.
For the 1966 season, the American Football League (AFL) awarded an expansion team franchise to lawyer Joseph Robbie and actor Danny Thomas. A contest was held in 1965 to choose the name of the new Miami AFL franchise, which included names such as the Mariners, Marauders, Mustangs, Missiles, Moons, Sharks, and Suns. The winning name would turn out to be "Dolphins". Robbie said he liked the name because, "The dolphin is one of the fastest and smartest creatures in the sea".
The Dolphins would join the National Football League (NFL) in 1970 as part of the AFL-NFL merger between both the leagues.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins capped the only perfect season in modern-era NFL history. Led by head coach Don Shula, the team went 14-0 in the regular season (prior to the extension of the regular season to 16 games in 1978 by the NFL), and won all three post-season games, including Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins, to finish 17–0. The win made the Dolphins, in their seventh season of existence, the quickest genuine expansion team to win a Super Bowl.
During the game, quarterback Bob Griese threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Howard Twilley, then a Nick Buoniconti interception set-up a 1-yard Jim Kiick run to make it 14-0 before halftime. The Dolphins' "No-Name Defense" forced four turnovers, including safety Jake Scott's second interception of the game, returning it 55 yards to clinch the game. Scott was the second defensive player to be named as the Super Bowl MVP.
The Dolphins entered the 1973 season in pursuit of reaching their third straight Super Bowl appearance, finishing the regular season with an AFC-best 12–2 record. The Dolphins cruised through the AFC playoffs, beating the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders on the way.
At Super Bowl VIII, the Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings to win their second consecutive Super Bowl title, winning 24-7. The Dolphins dominated with their rushing attack, as Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick both scored rushing touchdowns in the first quarter to take an early 14-0 lead. After a field goal and second Csonka touchdown, the Dolphins put the Vikings away. Csonka was named Super Bowl MVP on 33 carries for 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns.