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 receiving corps!
Wide Receivers: 1. Mark Clayton (1983-1992), 2. Nat Moore (1974-1986), 3. Mark Duper (1982-1992); Honorable Mentions: Chris Chambers (2001-2007), O.J. McDuffie (1993-2000), Jarvis Landry (2014-2017), *Paul Warfield (1970-1974)
Mark Clayton, the Miami Dolphins all time leading receiver in receptions and touchdowns, led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 1984 (18 TD’s) as well as 1988 (14 TD’s) and earned five Pro Bowl honors. Clayton also had the 2nd most receptions in the league in 1988 (86 catches) and scored a touchdown in the 1984 AFC Championship against the Steelers.
Nat Moore has the 2nd most touchdowns of any wide receiver in Dolphins history and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 1977 (12 TD’s). Moore also scored a kick return TD in the 1974 “Sea of Hands” playoff game against Oakland and had a receiving TD in the 1984 AFC Championship. Moore also earned his only Pro Bowl/All-Pro selection in 1977.
Mark Duper, the Miami Dolphins all time leading receiver in receiving yards, had the NFL’s longest reception in 1986 (85 yard touchdown vs. Oilers in Week 9) and earned three Pro Bowl honors. Duper also led the AFC in receiving touchdowns in 1987 (8 TD’s; tied with Steve Largent) and scored a touchdown in the 1984 AFC Championship.
Paul Warfield led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 1971 (11 TD’s) and earned his only two All-Pro selections with the Dolphins in 1971 as well as 1973. Warfield also scored a touchdown in the 1971 AFC Championship and led the AFC in receiving TD’s in 1973 (11 TD’s). Warfield was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Randy McMichael has the most receptions as well as receiving yards of any tight end in Dolphins history and had a career high 73 catches in 2004. McMichael also caught 18 TD’s in his five years in Miami and finished his career with the Rams as well as the Chargers. McMichael was the 114th overall pick in 2002 (David Garrard was the 108th selection).
Bruce Hardy has the most receiving touchdowns of any tight end in Dolphins history (25 TD’s) and scored four touchdowns in 13 playoff games with Miami. Hardy also caught a TD in the “Epic in Miami” playoff game against San Diego in 1981 and was a 9th round pick in 1978 from Arizona St. (his teammate John Jefferson was a 1st round pick by the Chargers in 1978).
Anthony Fasano has the 2nd most receiving touchdowns of any tight end in Dolphins history (24 TD’s) and caught a career high 7 TD’s in 2008. Fasano also played in a big role in Miami’s “Wildcat” offensive attack in 2008 and was originally a 2nd round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2006. Fasano also played for the Chiefs and the Titans in his NFL career.
Statistics from Pro Football Reference website