Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/10/11
The listed attendance at the Miami-San Diego playoff game on Jan. 2, 1982, was 73,735 at the Orange Bowl. With what Don Strock has been listening to for the past three decades, that figure sure seems like it would be a lot higher. "Youd think there must have been 250,000 people there," Strock said of all those who have claimed to him that they were there that day. That was the game in which Strock cemented his reputation as one of the best backup quarterbacks ever. He came off the bench for the Dolphins, throwing for 403 yards and overcoming a 24-0 deficit before they fell 41-38 in overtime. Strock isnt the only legendary Dolphins backup quarterback. In 1972, Earl Morrall stepped in after Bob Griese broke his ankle in the fifth game. All Morrall did was lead the Dolphins to a 14-0 regular season, and the team would finish a perfect 17-0 after Griese returned during the playoffs. Now, Morrall and Strock are rooting for the next backup quarterback hoping to etch his name into Dolphins lore. That would be Matt Moore, who with Chad Henne having been lost for a season with a shoulder injury will make his first Miami start next Monday at the New York Jets. "I am cheering for him," said Morrall, 77 and retired in Naples, Fla. "Im looking for him to get it going. Hes got his opportunity. Thats what youre looking for. Just take it one step at a time. Dont rush it. Just go out and do the job and know the plays and do your extra homework." Of course, there are several big differences between Moore taking over and what Morrall did. The Dolphins are 0-4 and trying to avoid a no-win season. Morrall at the time was 38 and a seasoned NFL quarterback, while Moore is 27 and has just 13 career starts. Strock also was on some very good Dolphins teams. He played with them from 1973-87, an era that included the final eight seasons for Griese and the first five for Dan Marino. Strock remains in South Florida, serving as executive director for the Miccosukee Classic, a Nationwide Tour golf event this weekend in Miami. Hes keeping a close eye on Moore, who is about to become the 16th starting quarterback for the Dolphins since Marino retired after the 1999 season. "He was 4-1 in Carolina," Strock, 60, said of Moore finishing that way after taking over as the Panthers starter to close 2009. "I think that will help him. (Going) 4-1 would look awfully good here now. Given the opportunity, hes got to take it one game at a time. He played well against San Diego, although he was hurt by some drops." Henne went down in the first quarter of the 26-16 loss at San Diego on Oct. 2 with a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder. Days later, it was announced Henne was done for the season, and Moore would take over after having completed 17 of 26 passes for 167 yards against the Chargers. While Strock never has met Moore, hed love to offer pointers if given the chance. Strock started just 22 games in his career, which also included a 1988 stop in Cleveland, and won 16 of them. He also rescued the Dolphins on a number of occasions coming off the bench. In 1978, the Dolphins lost Griese for the first seven games because of a knee injury. Strock stepped in to go 5-2 in Grieses absence before the Dolphins finished 11-5 and made the playoffs. I prepared all week as if I was going to play," Strock said. And Im sure thats what Matt Moore has been doing. Hes been in all the (quarterback) meetings all season. . . . Im sure hes going to do well." Strock never was much of a candidate to be a regular NFL starter. He said that was a product of playing behind eventual Hall of Famers Griese and Marino, and because free agency in those days didn't make it easy to move to a team needing a starter. Playing behind two Hall of Famers is nothing compared with what Morrall went through in a career that spanned from 1956-76. He toiled behind four. In addition to backing up Griese his final five seasons, Morrall spelled Y.A. Tittle in San Francisco in the 1950s, Fran Tarkenton in New York in the 1960s, and Johnny Unitas in Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s. So Morrall was content to develop into perhaps the top reserve quarterback in NFL history. With Unitas suffering an arm injury in 1968, Morrall started all season, was named NFL MVP and led the Colts to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl V after the 1970 season, Morrall relieved Unitas in the second quarter after he suffered injured ribs and led the Colts to a 16-13 win over Dallas. Morrall has three rings for winning Super Bowls, but the one he wears regularly is from the perfect season. "That one means the most," Morrall said. "That was a special season. (When Griese went down), I just tried to come in, take it one step at a time. I wasnt trying to throw a touchdown every time. I wasnt throwing deep all the time. But I was prepared. I had been in the meetings. I was willing to speak up to the players." Morrall offers similar advice to Moore, a fourth-year man who played his first three seasons with Carolina. Dont come in and try to make the big play right away," Morrall said. Dont come in trying to be a hero. Read the defenses and make the adjustments. . . . Hes got an opportunity." If all goes well, Moore will start the final 12 games of the regular season. If he somehow were to start any playoff games this season, Moore would add to the lore of Miami backup quarterbacks.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Joe Girardi has interesting reason why no medical scans for Masahiro Tanaka

Ezekiel Elliott’s mom fires back after son criticized for being in car accident

Browns make Ryan Grigson senior personnel executive

Potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz looks positively jacked in recent photo

Manchester United wins Europa League Final, returns to Champions League

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ice Cube challenges LaVar Ball to make 4-point shot, will make it worth his while

D’Angelo Russell ‘likes’ tweet saying ‘no way’ Lakers should draft Lonzo Ball

Draft prospect Frank Jackson undergoes foot surgery

Bucks promoting Justin Zanik to interim GM

Antonio Brown tweets great reaction to relaxed celebration rules

Report: Timberwolves interested in signing Derrick Rose

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker