[Lee Roy Selmon]
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Message to the Fans
Nicholas Anthony Buoniconti (born December
15, 1940) is a former American Football League and NFL Hall of Fame middle
linebacker, who played for the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
Born on December 15, 1940 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Buoniconti graduated
from Notre Dame, and was drafted by the American Football League's Patriots in
the thirteenth round of the 1962 AFL draft.
Date of birth December 15, 1940 (1940-12-15) (age 67)
Place of birth Springfield, Massachusetts
Position(s) Middle linebacker
College Notre Dame
AFL Draft 1962 / Round 13/ Pick 102
Jersey Number 85
AFL All-Star 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969
Pro Bowl 1973, 1974
Honors Boston Patriots 1960s All-Decade Team
AFL All-Time Team
Dolphins Silver Anniversary Team
Statistics Pro Football Reference
1970-1976 AFL Boston Patriots
AFL Miami Dolphins
NFL Miami Dolphins
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2001
As a tackle, Buoniconti was the captain of the 1961 Notre Dame football team,
but was considered by NFL scouts as "too small" to play Pro Football. Drafted by
the Boston Patriots in the 1962 American Football League college draft and
switched to linebacker, Buoniconti made an immediate impact with the Patriots,
being named the team's rookie of the year. The following year he helped Boston
capture the 1963 AFL Eastern Division title. With Boston, he appeared in five
AFL All-Star Games, and recorded 24 interceptions, which is still the
seventh-most in team history. He was named 2nd team All-AFL in 1963 and the
following season began a run of five consensus All-AFL seasons in the following
six seasons, missing only 1968 when he was named second-team All-AFL. Buoniconti
is a member of the Patriots All-1960s (AFL) Team and the AFL All-Time Team.
He was traded to the AFL's Miami Dolphins in 1969. He continued to play well
with the Dolphins, in 1969-1974 and 1976, and made the AFL All-Star team in 1969
and the NFL Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973. Named All-AFC in 1972 as well.
His leadership made him a cornerstone of the Dolphins' defense. During his years
there, the team advanced to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, one of
which was the team's 1972 undefeated season. In 1973, he recorded a then-team
record 162 tackles (91 unassisted). He was named to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in 1972
Buoniconti ended his career with an unofficial 24 sacks, eighteen with the
Patriots and six while with the Dolphins.
He was named the Dolphins' Most Valuable Player three times (1969, 1970, 1973).
In 1990, he was voted as a linebacker on the Dolphins' Silver Anniversary
All-Time team. A year later on November 18, 1991, he was enshrined on the
Dolphin Honor Roll at Joe Robbie Stadium.
Buoniconti got his law degree during his years with the Patriots. He was a
practicing attorney for a short time. He was also President of the US Tobacco
Company during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was a leading critic of
studies which showed that smokeless tobacco caused cancer of the mouth as well
as other types of cancer.
In recent years, he has become the most outspoken member of the 1972 Undefeated
Season team. It is rumored that he leads a champagne toast every year after the
last remaining undefeated team loses for the first time. Also, it is reported
that Buoniconti sends a Christmas card every year to former Minnesota Vikings
defensive end Bob Lurtsema, whose roughing-the-passer violation in an early 1972
game aided the Dolphins' undefeated season.
Nick put his verbal talent to use as a co-host of the HBO series Inside the NFL
until 2001. That same year, Nick was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1985, after his son Marc suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury making a
tackle for The Citadel, Nick became the public face of the group that founded
the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, now one of the world's leading neurological
Buoniconti is a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1960, As a junior, was second on the Fighting Irish in tackles (behind senior
captain Myron Pottios) with 71. As a senior in 1961 led the team with 74 tackles
as the Irish co-captain and was rewarded with 2nd-team All-America selections
from UPI, TSN, and the Football Coaches' Association.
Source: Wikipedia.org at