Mike Kolen

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John Michael Kolen (born January 31, 1948 in Opelika) is a former football linebacker who played eight seasons in the National Football League for the Miami Dolphins. Because of his hard-hitting style, he was nicknamed "Captain Crunch."

Kolen graduated from Berry High School in Hoover, and went on the play for the Auburn Tigers. He was drafted by Miami in 1970.

Kolen was involved in one of the most famous plays in NFL history. It occurred during the December 21, 1974 playoff game between the Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders, the so-called "Sea of Hands" game. With 35 seconds to play and the Dolphins leading 26-21, the Raiders had the ball 1st and 10 at the Miami 8-yard line. Quarterback Ken Stabler dropped back to pass and was flushed out of the pocket and nearly sacked by defensive end Vern Den Herder. As he went down, Stabler wristed a weak pass toward running back Clarence Davis in the end zone. Davis was surrounded by three Dolphins, including Kolen. Kolen got his hands on the ball and nearly knocked it away, but somehow Davis, amidst a "sea of hands," ended up with the ball and the touchdown, giving the Raiders the win and ending the Dolphins' dynasty.

In 2008, Kolen was awarded the Legend of Birmingham Award by the organizers of the Birmingham Bowl.


  • Mike Kolen. (2007, November 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:12, December 26, 2007 [1]