Super Bowl-winning Dolphins player Mike Kolen passed away at 76

 April 5, 2024

Former pro football player Mike Kolen's alma mater, Auburn University, announced on Wednesday that the longtime NFL player had passed away.

Kolen was a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins Super Bowl team, which went undefeated. He was 76 at the time of his death, according to Fox News. He was 76.

During his tenure at Auburn, where he was selected for All-SEC honors twice and acquired the nickname "Captain Crunch." Kolen was selected by the Dolphins in the 12th round of the 1970 draft.

Over the course of his career, he played for Miami for an incredible seven seasons until calling it quits following the 1977 season.

From the Announcement

"Mike Kolen is one of the finest men I've ever known," former Auburn athletics director David Housel said in a press release. "Being a football player was secondary to Mike Kolen.

"He's one of the greatest football players Auburn ever had, but he was much more. A rock, a beacon.

"When I think of Mike Kolen, I think of toughness, competitiveness, and a quality of goodness. He was a great football player, but he was a better man."

Career Highlights

While playing for the Dolphins, Kolen played 84 games and had five interceptions.

Not only was he a member of the Dolphins team that went for an unbeaten season in 1972, but he was also a member of the club that went on to win the Super Bowl in 1973.

According to The Palm Beach Post, Kolen was also a participant in one of the most famous plays in the football league's history.

In the 1974 AFC Divisional Round, quarterback Ken Stabler of the Oakland Raiders successfully completed a miraculous touchdown pass to Clarence Davis. This play is commonly referred to as the "Sea of Hands" play.

Stabler was tumbling to the ground as he delivered the pass, and for some reason, the ball bounced around and managed to get past the clutches of Kolen, Larry Ball, and Charlie Babb. The Dolphins' dynasty came to an end when Davis came down with the ball, which was the final blow to their streak.

It has not been determined what caused Kolen's death. However, some speculation has arisen due to his previously announced conditions.

He disclosed to the Miami Herald in 2017 that he had been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, a disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to eventually die. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

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