With the NFL celebrating its 100th anniversary this upcoming season, it is time to analyze all 32 teams and remember some of the greatest players to ever play the game for each of these respected franchises.
The next team to be analyzed is… the MIAMI DOLPHINS! Beginning in 1966, the Dolphins struggled in their first four years in the American Football League with three 10+ loss seasons under head coach George Wilson. But, after hiring Don Shula as their new head coach in 1970, the Dolphins became a playoff contender with five consecutive postseason berths from 1970-1974 along with three straight Super Bowl appearances in Super Bowl VI (loss to the Dallas Cowboys), Super Bowl VII (17-0 season, win over the Washington Redskins), and Super Bowl VIII (win over the Minnesota Vikings).
However, after winning Super Bowl VIII, the Dolphins would not experience another postseason victory until 1982 when they advanced to Super Bowl XVII, but came up short to the Redskins. But, after drafting Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL Draft, the Dolphins advanced to their fifth Super Bowl appearance in 1984, but would fall short to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. Despite losing two Super Bowls in three years, Don Shula still remained in control and led the Dolphins to five more playoff berths (including two AFC Championship games in 1985 as well as 1992) before retiring at the end of the 1995 season.
With Don Shula’s departure from Miami, the Dolphins could not reclaim their postseason magic despite another five consecutive playoff berth streak from 1997-2001 under head coaches Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt with only three Wild Card victories. After recording their first losing season in 16 years in 2004, the Dolphins fell in the AFC East standings over the next three years before claiming a division title in 2008 under head coach Tony Sparano. However, the Dolphins continued their struggles as the 2010’s began and made one postseason appearance in 2016 under head coach Adam Gase.
Now, after this brief history of Miami’s NFL franchise, here is my all time roster of the Dolphins using the 53-man roster the NFL uses today. I will separate each section of the team’s personnel into different parts and post each section.
Part 1: Offensive Backfield (Quarterbacks, Halfbacks, Fullbacks)
Part 2: Receiving Corps (Wide Receivers, Tight Ends)
Part 3: Offensive Line Unit
Part 4: Defensive Line Unit
Part 5: Linebacker Corps
Part 6: Secondary Unit (Cornerbacks, Safeties)
Part 7: Special Teams Unit
Let’s take a look at the Miami Dolphins all time offensive backfield!
Quarterbacks: 1. Dan Marino (1983-1999), 2. Bob Griese (1967-1980)
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Tannehill (2012-2018), Jay Fielder (2000-2004)
Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins all time career passing leader, led the NFL in passing yards, TD’s, and passer rating in his league MVP season in 1984 (5,084 yards, 48 TD’s, 108.9 rating). Marino also led the NFL in 4th quarter comebacks in 1992 (6) and earned nine Pro Bowl honors as well as three straight All-Pro selections from 1984-86. Marino was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Bob Griese led the NFL in passing touchdowns and passer rating in 1977 (22 TD’s, 87.8 rating) to earn the Bert Bell Player of the Year award. Griese also led the Dolphins to their only two Super Bowl victories in 1972 as well as 1973 and earned eight Pro Bowl honors as well as two All-Pro selections. Griese’s son, Brian, also played quarterback in the NFL and Bob was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
Ricky Williams has the 2nd most rushing yards as well as TD’s of any HB/FB in Dolphins history and was the NFL rushing champion in 2002 with 1,853 yards. Williams also led the league with 392 carries in 2003 before briefly retiring in 2004 and missed the 2006 season due to substance abuse. Williams also played for the New Orleans Saints and finished his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
Ronnie Brown has the 3rd most rushing yards as well as touchdowns of any HB/FB in Dolphins history and had the NFL’s 6th highest yards per carry average in 2007 (5.1 yards). Brown and his teammate, Ricky Williams, were also instrumental to Miami’s “Wildcat” offensive attack in 2008 for Ronnie to earn his only Pro Bowl honor in his career. Brown also played for the Eagles, Chargers, and Texans.
Jim Kiick has the 4th most carries of any HB/FB in Dolphins history and led the AFL in rushing touchdowns in 1969 (9 TD’s). Kiick also scored a touchdown in each of Miami’s three postseason games in their run to Super Bowl VII and led the AFC in scrimmage yards in 1970 (1,155 yards). Kiick earned two AFL All-Star selections in 1968 as well as 1969 and his father, George, was a fullback for the Steelers in the 1940’s.
Larry Csonka, the Dolphins all time career leading rusher, was the AFC’s 2nd leading rusher in 1971 and led the NFL with a 5.4 yards per carry average in the same year. Csonka also scored two rushing TD’s in Super Bowl VIII to earn MVP honors and scored another touchdown in his final playoff game in 1979. Csonka won the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1979 and was elected into the HOF in 1987.
Andra Franklin led the NFL with 177 carries in the strike-shortened 1982 season and scored two rushing touchdowns in the Dolphins playoff run to Super Bowl XVII. After leading the Dolphins in rushing yards in 1983, Franklin only started in two games in 1984 before retiring at the end of the year. Franklin also was the 56th selection in the 1981 NFL Draft (Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson was the 51st pick).
Statistics from Pro Football Reference website