Ask any Miami Dolphins fan under 40 and they'll tell you the same thing: The Dolphins' undefeated 1972 season seems like a myth. The team going an entire season without losing a game doesn't seem possible. Not according to what these fans have witnessed in their lifetime.
Ask any Miami Dolphins fan over 50 and they'll tell you the same thing: The Dolphins' undefeated 1972 season happened and, dammit, it was glorious. Fourteen wins, zero defeats. Super Bowl champions. Literally perfect.
The Holy Grail of football seasons has yet to be matched in the 45 seasons that have followed that storied one in 1972. At this point, more than a thousand teams have started an NFL season since 1972, and they've all ended said season with a loss somewhere on the schedule. The Dolphins' record has stood the test of time, like a fine wine. Or beer.
Four years ago, Funky Buddha Brewery began a tradition that allows you to toast with an extremely special beer as soon as the Dolphins' perfect record is safe. Each season, after the last NFL team loses its first game, Funky Buddha releases a limited-edition beer, Undefeated Saison, to toast in celebration of the 1972 Dolphins still being the lone NFL team to finish a season unbeaten.
“There’s long been a South Florida urban legend that after the last undefeated pro football team loses each year, members of the 1972 Fins all raise a glass of champagne in unison,” says Ryan Sentz, co-owner and head brewer at Funky Buddha. “We made Undefeated Saison thinking how awesome it would be if... those teammates could toast their victory with this beer instead.”
Not only is the beer meant to be toasted like a glass of champagne, but, according to Sentz, it also is champagne. Partially. Sort of.
"We didn't just want to make a normal beer, but rather something taking inspiration from champagne. We brew the beer using Chardonnay grape must and then condition [age and carbonate] the beer in the bottle using champagne yeast. We don't release it until the final unbeaten team loses."
This year, Funky Buddha made a remixed version of Undefeated Saison, adding a little twist some drinkers might find quite interesting.
"Last year, we decided to take a portion of the beer and age it in Chardonnay barrels," Sentz says. "We didn't make as much of that as the regular Undefeated, but we should be releasing around 60 to 75 cases of it. We are aging some of this year's batch as well. I was really happy with the way it came out. If you are a white-wine fan, you will definitely like it!"
Funky Buddha makes the beer not only for locals but also for the team that takes down the NFL's last undefeated squad.
"A few years ago, we started sending two bottles to the coach of the team that beat the last unbeaten team, one that we sign and one that we ask the coach to sign and send back," Sentz says. "Two years ago, it was Dan Quinn [of the Atlanta Falcons], and last year it was Doug Pederson [of the Philadelphia Eagles]. We have their bottles signed, along with some players from the '72 team, including legendary coach Don Shula."
Now that the Kansas City Chiefs dropped their game this week to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's time to drink.
"The beer is bottled up and ready to go!" Sentz says. "All we needed was for the Chiefs to lose their first game. Now that they have lost, we will release the beer the following Sunday at the brewery only."
Undefeated Saison costs $14 per bottle and $20 for the barrel-aged version. It'll be released October 22 at the brewery.
Funky Buddha Brewery. 201 NE 38th St., Oakland Park; 954-440-0046; funkybuddhabrewery.com.