With the NFL celebrating its 100th anniversary this 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 linebacker corps!
Cameron Wake has the 2nd most sacks of any player in Dolphins history (98) and earned five Pro Bowl honors as well as an All-Pro selection in 2012 during his 10 years in Miami. Wake also led the NFL with 21 tackles for a loss in 2010 and had the 4th most sacks in the league in 2012 with 15. Wake was originally an undrafted free agent from Penn State in 2005 and played in the CFL with the BC Lions in 2007-2008.
Zach Thomas has the most interceptions of any linebacker in Dolphins history (17 Int’s, returned 4 for TD’s) and earned seven Pro Bowl honors as well as five All-Pro selections in his 12 years in Miami. Thomas also led the NFL with 156 tackles in 2002 as well as 165 tackles in 2006 before finishing his career in Dallas. Thomas was the 154th pick in the 1996 NFL Draft (Pro Bowl WR Jermaine Lewis was the previous pick).
Nick Buoniconti has the 3rd most interceptions of any linebacker in Dolphins history (8 Int’s) and earned two Pro Bowl honors as well as an AFL All-Star/All-Pro selection in 1969. Buoniconti also was a key contributor in Miami’s 1971-1973 Super Bowl runs and intercepted Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw in the 1972 AFC Championship. Buoniconti was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Kim Bokamper has the 6th most interceptions of any linebacker in Dolphins history (6 Int’s, had 1 return TD) and earned his only Pro Bowl honor in 1979. Bokamper also was a key player on Miami’s “Killer Bee” defense and had three sacks on Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts in the 1981 and 1982 NFL playoffs. Bokamper was the 19th overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft (Pro Bowl safety Tim Fox was the 21st pick).
Statistics from Pro Football Reference website