Dolphins’ Thomas Morstead relives Super Bowl memory in Miami
MIAMI GARDENS — When Thomas Morstead first plays in a home game as the Miami Dolphin, it will be the first time he’s played at Hard Rock Stadium since making a career memory of winning the Super Bowl 13 years ago.
Morstead was a 2009 New Orleans Saints rookie who won the Super Bowl over the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. Along with the punt, he also handled the kickoffs. And if you remember that game, the tide turned with an onside kick that Saints coach Sean Payton called to start the second half.
It’s considered an all-time Super Bowl moment, and Morstead was at the heart of it, pooping the ball about 14 yards out before a Colts player tapped it and the Saints won a scrimmage for recover the ball.
“I haven’t been back here for 13 years,” Morstead said on Tuesday, after training at the team facilities adjacent to the stadium amid his second week of organized team activities with his new squad. “The last time I walked off that court we won the Super Bowl and I had glitter all over my shoes. It was an awesome experience.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into the stadium. Even though it was a long, long time ago, in some ways it felt like yesterday. I’m delighted to be back in there.
During that rookie season, Morstead played twice at Hard Rock Stadium, which later switched to Land Shark Stadium, one of his many other nicknames since opening what was originally known as of Joe Robbie Stadium in 1987. These Saints also won 46-34. against the Dolphins in late October.
He hasn’t returned since because the Saints and Dolphins only play once every four years, alternating home games. The Saints’ only “Miami” game since, eight years later in 2017, was a transfer to London, a 20-0 win at New Orleans.
Morstead split his 2021 season between the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons, who combined to face the Dolphins three times last season, but his seven games with the Jets came before Miami’s home-and-away game. with the division rival late in the season and he landed with the Falcons after their October visit to Miami.
After 12 seasons with the Saints that included that Super Bowl win and a Pro Bowl selection in 2012, Morstead, now 36, comes to the Dolphins to prove he’s not at a point in his career where he becomes a picked up and dropped companion as teams punting needs arise. Miami’s scenery also helps.
“Look at this,” he said, pointing to blue skies and the Dolphins’ new practice facility. “I had a great career in New Orleans, and every time I finished there, I just didn’t finish.
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“My kids are old enough now to know what’s going on. They could see dad reacting to being fired and having to persevere a bit. It was a good opportunity for me to show them how I thought it was best to react. We wanted to give them a great experience that hopefully they will remember as a positive one.
The Dolphins replaced St. Thomas Aquinas High alum Michael Palardy as the punter this offseason. Palardy has had an uneven 2021 season in Miami, mostly struggling earlier in the year but also having some shining moments when gunner Mack Hollins knocked down his punts near opponents’ goal lines. Palardy averaged 44.7 yards on punts for the season, and he won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week once for his game against the Giants on Dec. 5.
Since Miami had the vacancy for a punter, Morstead actually contacted the Dolphins. He expressed to the team that he was willing to accept a team-friendly salary for his services.
“They said, ‘Well, get on a plane and come here and see if you like it,'” he said. “I’ve made a lot of money in my career, and those experiences are just, when it’s over, it’s over.”
Morstead has a career average of 46.6 yards per punt, and last year he was at 47.2 between his stints in New York and Atlanta.
Morstead’s signing with the Dolphins also reunited him with longtime Saints teammate, left tackle Terron Armstead. Although the two share the same initial and ending of their surname, it is Armstead who is widely known by his nickname, “T-Stead”. Armstead, who has also released music, uses it as his rap name and has an icy string with the nickname on it, which he flashed in his welcome to Miami post on social media on a Dan Marino jersey .
“Well, I’m the original ‘T-Stead’ because I’m older than Terron,” Morstead said in rebuttal. “I told him at one point that I had to get my number 13 [Dan Marino] jersey and pose like he did when he signed, get his ‘T-Stead’ chain. I have to borrow this from him.