Meet 2x Super Bowl Champion Larry Csonka

📸: Photo by Audrey Bradshaw

Larry, let’s start with the CliffNotes of your football and post-football life.

I’m a former Syracuse and Miami Dolphins fullback who played for Coach Don Shula in the Dolphins’ glory years. Under Shula, we went from the worst team in the league to playing in three back-to-back Super Bowls, winning two of them. I retired from football in 1980 as a Dolphin.

I then got involved in the front office side of things as the General Manager of the original USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls. In 1987, I was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Then, in 1997, I finally followed my dream to live and work in Alaska where I would produce an outdoor adventure TV series with my life partner Audrey Bradshaw for 16 years. We called it North to Alaska.”

We moved back east last year and now divide our time between Florida and North Carolina, with occasional visits to our Ohio farm and the Alaska wilderness. Locally, I’ve supported the Dolphins Challenge Cancer and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, both started by late Dolphins teammates of mine.

How does Miami continue to influence your day-to-day?

Miami will always be part of me. It’s in my blood. Great memories pop into my head often. I was in my prime and we were winning. I only visit now, but it still feels like home. During football season, I enjoy interacting with Dolphins fans on Twitter during games. It keeps me plugged in, and it’s a lot of fun.

Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about Miami?

Dolphins football is why I come back, but seeing my teammates and reminiscing with them is the best part of it. Being together in Miami takes us back, and watching a Fins game together really gets us jacked up.

Outside of your Super Bowl victories, what’s your favorite Miami memory? 

How the Dolphins helped bring Miami together. When I arrived in 1968, it was a divided city — racially and politically. But once we started winning, we created a real sense of community and a common interest. The crowds that started filling the old Orange Bowl became the twelfth man. People forgot about their differences. After the game, we’d join them in the parking lot at their tailgate parties. We got to know our fans by name. But one of my fondest memories from those days is occasionally walking a few local kids into games who couldn’t afford a ticket, much to the dismay of stadium security (which wasn’t much back then.)

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Joe’s Stone Crab, hands down.

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect South Florida day.
Check in at the Dolphins Practice Facility (it’s even open to the public on certain days), hang out ‘til it gets too blazing hot, then grab some takeout from Bru’s Sports Grill and head to the beach!

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Be more tolerant of each other.

What’s an unpopular opinion you have about Miami?

It’s always rush hour!

What’s a project you’re working on (big or small) and how can our readers help you with it?

Read my new memoir Head On and help me promote it on your social platforms!

How does writing a memoir compare to playing a football game?

It required almost the same amount of intensity, commitment and attention to detail, but getting it written and across the goal line took longer than I ever imagined.

What are you looking forward to between now and the end of the year?

That’s an easy one! Talking about Head On at Miami Book Fair with Dave Barry on Nov. 19, spending the holidays with our family, and the Fins marching toward the playoffs!

That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know, sponsored by Miami Book Fair. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2023.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.