FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Larry Csonka played in five Pro Bowls during his Hall of Fame career, the final one coming in 1975 in his home stadium.
The Monday Night Football crew was there to carry it live on ABC. John Madden and Chuck Knox were the coaches.
James Harris, fresh off leading the Rams to the NFC Championship game, was the passing star of a defensive struggle and was named Most Valuable Player of the NFC's 17-10 victory.
Just don't ask the man known as "Zonk" to recall any specific details about that long-forgotten all-star game in the Orange Bowl, the last Pro Bowl played in Miami before its return this Sunday.
"You know, I honestly don't remember the Pro Bowl in 1975," says Csonka, the rugged old fullback. "I don't think I was involved in it."
According to the official records from Jan. 20, 1975, Csonka was indeed involved. He was one of 10 Dolphins selected for the game, and all but safety Jake Scott managed to play.
However, just 26,484 fans turned out to support their hometown heroes as they tried to move past the pain of a last-second playoff loss at Oakland one month earlier.
"Bittersweet," says former Dolphins offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg, another member of the AFC squad that lost 17-10. "The Pro Bowl is nothing compared to the Super Bowl."
The week before, the Dolphins had to sit at home and watch the Steelers beat the Vikings to claim the first of their six Super Bowl titles.
"Losing to the Raiders in the fashion we lost to them," Kuechenberg says, "that is one of two games I still cry in my sleep about, the other being losing to the Redskins in Super Bowl XVII. Those two games I still haven't learned to accept."
That Raiders loss marked the end of the Dolphins' championship era as the following spring Csonka, Paul Warfield and Jim Kiick defected to the ill-fated World Football League. Warfield and Kiick would never again play for the Dolphins, but Csonka would return to the team for one last fling in 1979.
However, the '75 Pro Bowl goes down as the unofficial sendoff for Csonka and Warfield, who caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Bob Griese to give the AFC a 7-3 lead in the third quarter.
Alas, this comes as news to Csonka.
"I don't remember," he says, smiling and shrugging. "I think I might have been on the roster, but in those years I had some injuries and that was the year I went over to the World Football League. If I did play, I didn't play very hard."
Griese is pretty hazy on the '75 game as well, which marked his sixth of eight Pro Bowl trips.
"All I remember is all the Pro Bowls I played in, there were never in Hawaii," Griese says. "Seventy-five? I'm forgetting now. You're going back. Last time it was in the Orange Bowl was '75? No, I don't remember much about that."
Maybe he chose to block that one out. After all, Cliff Harris of the Cowboys intercepted Griese in the third quarter to tilt the game toward the NFC.
Hall of Fame guard Larry Little remembers his fifth and last Pro Bowl a little better than some of his former Dolphins teammates.
"I remember not wanting to be in Miami," Little says with a rumbling laugh. "I remember being at home, playing in the Pro Bowl in the Orange Bowl and not being able to be someplace else where I could have a little more fun. I don't remember if we won that game or not."
Judging from the small crowd, the Pro Bowl didn't exactly captivate the football fans of South Florida that year either.
"That was just something we had to do," Little says. "I think it's going to be much bigger this time because they've promoted it more. They didn't promote it a whole lot the year we played, and there weren't a whole lot of people there. I remember that."
Any other specific memories from that game?
"I guess just the disappointment," Little says. "You have marketing now. You didn't have the same marketing back then. That hurt the game. I'm excited about it being here now. Maybe it will be a big crowd."
Indeed, the game is sold out and the NFL is trumpeting the largest attendance for the event since 1959.
Who knows? Maybe some of the future Hall of Famers will even remember playing in this Pro Bowl.