Difficult Start In Miami
Griese was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins, then a struggling team in the now-defunct American Football League (AFL). As expected, Griese suited up for his first pro game to stand on the sidelines and watch his teammates compete against the Denver Broncos. However, when starting quarterback John Stofa broke his ankle in the first quarter of play, Griese was called in. The rookie stepped up to the challenge, connecting on twelve of nineteen passing attempts, and the Dolphins won the game. After that day, Griese never relinquished his spot as the team's starting quarterback.
Griese's first few years were a struggle. The Dolphins won only four games during his rookie season, five games in 1968, and just three in 1969. With little protection from a porous front line, Griese was often required to scramble away from defensive onslaughts, but he still managed to post consistently impressive numbers. In his sophomore season, he threw twenty-one touchdown passes and only sixteen interceptions. He was invited to play in the AFC All-Star Game two years.
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