The name was selected in a name the team contest. The bottlenose dolphin, an intelligent creature with an irresistible built-in grin, has inspired wonder for centuries. "The dolphin is one of the fastest and smartest creatures of the sea," Joe Robbie said in announcing the name on October 8, 1965. "Dolphins can attack and kill a shark or a whale. Sailors say bad luck will come to anyone who harms one of them."
Joe Philbin 2012-
First Game Played September 2, 1966
7500 SW 30th Street
Davie, FL 33314
Phone: (954) 452-7000
George Wilson 1966-1969
Don Shula 1970-1995
Jimmy Johnson 1996-1999
Dave Wannstedt 2000-2004
Jim Bates 2004
Nick Saban 2005-2006
Cam Cameron 2007
Tony Sparano 2008-2011
Todd Bowles 2011
Joe Philbin 2012-Present
Orange Bowl 1966-1986
Sunlife Stadium* 1987-Present
*-Known as: Joe Robbie Stadium 1987-95, Pro Player Stadium 1996-2004, Dolphin Stadium 2005-2008, Land Shark Stadium 2009
Super Bowl Champions: (2)
VII (1972)*, VII (1973)
Super Bowls Appearances: (5)
VI (1971), VII (1972), VIII (1973), XVII (1982), XIX (1984)
AFL/AFC Championship Games: (7)
1971, 1972, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1992
Division Champions: (13)
1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2008
Playoff Appearences: (22)
1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008
Record in Playoff Games:
Hall of Famers: (11)
Nick Buoniconti LB 1969-1976
Cris Carter WR 2002
Larry Csonka FB 1968-1974, 1979
Bob Griese QB 1967-1980
Jim Langer Center 1970-1979
Larry Little Guard 1969-1980
Dan Marino QB 1983-1999
Don Shula Coach 1970-1995
Dwight Stephenson C 1980-1987
Thurman Thomas RB 2000
Paul Warfield WR 1970-1974
Retired Numbers: (3)
12 Bob Griese QB 1967-1980
13 Dan Marino QB 1983-1999
39 Larry Csonka FB 1968-74, 1979
Pro Bowl MVP: (3)
1974 Garo Yepremian PK
2003 Ricky Williams RB
2012 Brandon Marshall WR
Coach of the Year: (2)
1970 Don Shula
1972 Don Shula
AFL Rookie of the Year:
Defensive Rookie of the Year: (3)
1977 A.J. Duhe DT
1986 John Offerdahl LB
1994 Tim Bowens DT
Offensive Rookie of the Year: (1)
1987 Troy Straford RB
AFL PLayer of the Year:
Defensive Player of the Year: (3)
1973 Dick Anderson S
1983 Doug Betters DE
2006 Jason Taylor DE
Offensive Player of the Year : (1
1984 Dan Marino QB
NFL MVP: (1)
1984 Dan Marino QB
Super Bowl MVP: (2)
VII Jake Scott S (1972)
VIII Larry Csonka FB (1973)
On the Air:
WBGG (105.9 FM) & WINZ (940 AM); WQBA (1140 AM)-Spanish
Jimmy Cefalo, Bob Griese and Joe Rose; Rafael Hernandez Brito and Raul Striker Jr.-Spanish
©MMXIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Miami Dolphins or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only.
All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page.
Page created on September 26, 2001. Last updated on February 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm ET.
1966: With the upstart AFL starting to catch on AFL owners and Commissioner Joe Foss decided it was time for expansion. Seeing the opportunity to make foothold on touched ground Miami is chosen to begin play in 1966: The team which is owned by Joe Robbie and Television Star Danny Thomas chooses the name Dolphins in a name the team contest. On September 2nd in front of crowd of 26,776 at the Orange Bowl the Dolphins get off to a fast start in their 1st regular season game when Joe Auer returns the opening kickoff 95 yards for a Touch Down;. However, the Dolphins would lose the game 23-14 to the Oakland Raiders. The Dolphins would not win their 1st game until October 16th against the Denver Broncos the highlight of the 24-7 victory was 24-7 QB George Wilson, Jr's screen pass to Billy Joe, which turned into a 67-yard TD. The Dolphins would not enjoy much success that first year finishing with a woeful 3-11 record.
1967: In the first common draft the Dolphins select Purdue QB Bob Griese with the 4th overall pick. Griese would see action almost right away when QB John Stofa breaks his ankle in the September 17th season opener against the Broncos. Griese would come on and lead the Phins to a 35-21 victory. However, winning still eluded the new franchise which finished 4-10.
1968: In the draft the Dolphins select Syracuse All-American Larry Csonka with the 8th overall pick. The Dolphins improve to 5-8-1 as Bob Griese sets then-club records with 2,473 yards, 186 completions and 21 TDs.
1969: The Dolphins make a splash by acquiring 2 future Hall of Famers in 2 separate deals. 1st they acquire LB Nick Buoniconti from the Boston Patriots, and a few months alter they acquire Guard Larry Little from the San Diego Chargers. Despite the moves the Dolphins experience injury and frustration as Bob Griese misses part of the season due to a knee injury. The Dolphins would go on to finish 3-10-1, which would lead to the firing of Coach George Wilson.
1970: To help bring legitimacy to the Dolphins the team gives up its 1st Round Draft pick to hire Don Shula as their new Head Coach. Shula had experienced a great deal of success in Baltimore leading the Colts to Super Bowl III, but a loss to the Jets made life uncomfortable for Shula, who hoped for a new start in Miami, ironically the same city where he experienced his biggest defeat. In addition to Shula the Dolphins add future Hall of Famer to a growing talented pool of players. Shula seems to be just what the Phins needed as he leads them to a 10-4 record, and earns Miami it's first ever birth in playoffs. The Dolphins would go on to lose their 1st playoff game 21-14 against the Raiders in Oakland.
1971: The Dolphins make another big acquisition in LB Bob Matheson who becomes the key to their 53 defense. With a ever improving gang of defense none of which are household names which earns them the nickname "No-Name Defense" the Dolphins start to establish themselves as the class of the AFC. The offense also continues to impress, as Bob Griese dose not have to work much with a talented trio of runners led by Larry Csonka who becomes the Dolphins first 1,000-yard rusher. Joining Csonka was Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris, as the Dolphins would win their 1st Division title with a 10-3-1 record. After winning the AFC East the Dolphins find themselves in a Christmas Day Classic games against the Chiefs in Kansas City. All day the Dolphins could not stop the Chiefs star runner Ed Podolak. However the Dolphins would claw back every time the Chiefs grabbed the lead. The game would go on into Overtime tied at 24. In OT both teams missed big opportunities to end the game, as it carried on into a second OT. The Dolphins would finally win the game 27-24 on Garo Yepremian's 37-yard Field Goal. The game, which lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds, is still the longest in NFL history. One week after the marathon in Kansas City the Dolphins hosted the Colts in the AFC Championship game. The Dolphins would win the game impressively 21-0 in front of 78, 629 at the Orange Bowl the clinching TD came when Safety Dick Anderson returned an interception 62-yards for a TD.
Super Bowl VI: The Dolphins faced the Dallas Cowboys at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Cowboys who have been knocking of the door of greatness for 6 years were determined not to let another Super Bowl get away from them. The Dolphins were simply over matched by the more experienced team from Dallas, which rushed for 252 yards in a 24-3 route of the Dolphins.
1972: Determined to complete their journey the Dolphins set out to finish the journey that ended in a Super Sunday disappointment the year before. The Dolphins started the 1972 season in Kansas City, and jumped out to 20-0 lead, and held on to win 20-10 in the 1st ever game at Arrowhead Stadium. In the home opener the Dolphins once again jumped out to a big lead early and cruised to a 34-13 win over the Houston Oilers. Week 3 saw an early test as the Dolphins were trailing 14-6 in the 4th quarter at Minnesota. However, the Dolphins would score 10 unanswered points to improve to 3-0. The Dolphins would improve to 4-0 a week later with a 27-17 win over the Jets in Shea Stadium. In Week 5 the Dolphins returned home, and saw their road to the Super Bowl hit a road bump when Bob Griese injured broke his leg against the Chargers. However, prior to the season the Dolphins picked QB Earl Morrall off waivers, and Morrill filled in perfectly helping the Dolphins improve to 5-0 with a 24-10 win. Morrill would have to keep it if the Dolphins were to go back to the Super Bowl since Griese would miss the rest of the regular season. One week later against Buffalo the Dolphins rallied again in the 4th quarter to improve to 6-0 with a 24-23 win. The Dolphins would get to 7-0 easily with a 23-0 white wash of the Colts in Baltimore. Week 8 saw a rematch with the Bills in Buffalo and the Dolphins found it much easier pulling away late to win 30-16. In Week 9 the Dolphins made a statement slaughtering the New England Patriots at the Orange Bowl 52-0. At 9-0 the Dolphins were undefeated with aback up QB, but most still thought a loss was just a matter of time. Week 10 saw another test as the Dolphins battled the Jets back and forth at the Orange Bowl before pulling out a 28-24 win. The Dolphins would improve to 11-0 with another home win against the Cardinals 31-10. The Dolphins moved into December still undefeated after another shellacking of the Patriots 37-21 in Foxboro. In Week 13 at Yankee Stadium the Dolphins pulled away from the Giants with 2 FGs in the 4th Quarter from Garo Yepremian to win 23-13. With 13 games down the Dolphins had just 1 more game to win to finish the regular season undefeated. True to form the Dolphins won the game16-0 over the Colts at the Orange Bowl. Though the Dolphins finished 14-0 it would all be forgotten if the Phins lost in the playoffs.
1972: Undefeated the Dolphins moved into the playoffs and faced the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Playoffs. The Dolphins would jump out to a quick 10-0 lead, but the Browns defense would clamp down and hold the Phins off the scoreboard until the 4th quarter. After a Yepremian FG made it 13-7 the Dolphins were stunned as the Browns went up the field to take a 14-13 lead in the 4th quarter. However, with time winding down Jim Kiick would score a TD from 8 yards out to give the Dolphins a 21-14 win. With the win the Dolphins moved on to the AFC Championship game. However, in 1972 home field was not decided by best record, and the Dolphins had to travel to hostile territory at Pittsburgh's 3-Rivers Stadium. The Dolphins appeared out of sync early as the Steelers recovered a fumble in the endzone to take an early 7-0 lead. The Dolphins would rally to tie it at halftime, but after the Steelers retook the lead10-7 Don Shula felt it was time for a change and sent Bob Griese back in as QB to replace Earl Morrall. However, the Dolphins were still stalled and were forced to punt. However, Shula decided it was time for some trickery and Punter Larry Sieple ran the ball 17 yards to get a 1st down, and the Dolphins never looked back. Too Jim Kiick TDs gave the Dolphins the lead which the held on to 21-17 to become the first AFC team to make it to 2 consecutive Super Bowls.
Super Bowl VII: The Undefeated Dolphins moved on to Super Bowl VII, and were still not believed by the experts who listed them as 1 and half point underdogs to the Washington Redskins. However, the No Name Defense clamped down on the Skins all game holding them to 87 yards passing, and 228 yards total offense. Jake Scott who intercepted 2 passes was named Super Bowl MVP as the Dolphins jumped out to a 14-0 lead which they held late in the 4th quarter as Garo Yepremian set up for a FG. Had Yepremian connected the score would have been 17-0 and the same record as the undefeated the Dolphins it was too perfect to be true. As it stands it was as Yepremian's kicked was blocked, and after a poorly advised pass from Yepremian pass was intercepted and returned for TD by Mike Bass the lead was down to 14-7, and Yepremian was forced to sweat out the final minutes on the sidelines. However, the Dolphins defense was just too good to be scored upon and time ticked away, and the journey was complete the Dolphins were the NFL's first team to finish the season and playoffs undefeated at 17-0.
1973: Coming off the undefeated season many feel the Dolphins are even better in 1973 as Dolphins finish the season 12-2. The quest for a second undefeated season ended early as the Dolphins lost in Week 2 to the Raiders in Berkley, CA. Among the highlights of the season is the September 30th game in which RB Mercury Morris sets single-game rushing record of 197 yards on 15 carries with three TDs (24, 70, 35) in 44-23 win over New England at Orange Bowl. Another high point came on November 11th when the Phins shut out the Colts for the 4th time in a row 44-0 as CB Tim Foley returned 2 blocked Punts for TDs. The Dolphins would close out the regular season with 34-7 victory over the Detroit Lions, which was highlighted by 4 TD receptions by Paul Warfield. The win improved the Phins to 26-2 over the 2 year stretch which is the best record over a 2 year stretch in NFL history. The Dolphins faced the upstart Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Playoffs. The Dolphins would have no problem winning this one pulling away early to cruise to a 34-16 victory, to advance to the AFC Championship Game. In the AFC title game the Dolphins faced the same Raiders who ended their winning streak. However, this game would be at the Orange Bowl and the Dolphins got revenge 27-10 behind 266 yards rushing. The win earned catapulted the Dolphins to their 3rd consecutive Super Bowl, becoming the 1st team ever to do so.
Super Bowl VIII: In Houston's Rice Stadium against the Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl VIII turns into the Larry Csonka show. Csonka who was named MVP rushes for 145 yards on 33 carries, and scores 2 TDs, as the Dolphins win their 2nd straight Super Bowl with a 24-7 romp over the Viking, as the Dolphins become just the second team ever to win 2 straight Super Bowls. . So overwhelming was the Dolphins run game and ball control offense that QB Bob Griese only needed to make 7 passes completing 6 for 73 yards, as the Dolphins rushed for 196 yards as a team. In their 3 playoff wins the Dolphins outscore their opponents 85-33.
1974: NFL-Player relations serve as a major obstacle for the Dolphins chances for a 3rd straight Lombardi Trophy as the start of the pre-season is held up due to a player's strike. Making matters worse is the start of the World Football League, which raids several Dolphins stars including Larry Csonka. However, the Dolphins would still have Csonka for the 1974 season, which started on time after players began to cross the picket line in August. The Dolphins would win the AFC eastern Division again with an 11-3 record, as the Dolphins win their NFL record 31st straight home game in the regular season's final game. Knowing this would be the last hurrah; because of the loss of key players to the WFL the Dolphins went to Oakland for the Divisional Playoffs hoping for one last crack at the Super Bowl. The game would go back and forth as the Dolphins led 26-21 late in the 4th Quarter. However, the Raiders were driving and with 26 seconds a pass from Kenny Stabler went through a sea of Dolphins arms to WR Clarence Davis to give the Raiders a 28-26 win, and ended the Dolphins 2-year run as kings of the NFL.
1975: With the loss of Larry Csonka weighing heavily the Dolphins lose their season opener at the Orange Bowl against the Raiders 31-21, ending their 31-game home winning streak. However the Dolphins would still be competitive as they continued to beat up on the Jets and Bills. However the Baltimore Colts would prove to be a big roadblock to the playoffs. In the first game against the Colts at the Orange Bowl on November 23rd Bob Griese tore a tendon in his foot as the Colts cruised to an easy victory. However the Dolphins would not quit and with Don Strock leading the team at QB the Dolphins went into the last game of the season in a first place show down with Baltimore Colts. However, the Dolphins would lose 10-7 in OT, and miss the playoffs for the first time in the Shula era despite a 10-4 record.
1976: With several of the key Dolphins from the Super Bowl teams gone, or showing the effects of age the Dolphins would struggle with mediocrity all season finishing in 3rd place with a disappointing 6-8 record, suffering through their first losing season in 7 years.
1977: After suffering their first losing season under Coach Don Shula, the Dolphins bounce back to finish 10-4. Despite missing the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row Bob Griese has a stellar year, despite being forced to wear thick eyeglasses due to a problem with his contacts. Griese whose season is highlighted by a 6 TD, 503-yard game in St. Louis against the Cardinals is named Player of the year by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.
1978: Despite QB Bob Griese missing the first 7 games due to a knee injury the Dolphins get off to a 5-2 start behind back-up Don Strock. Upon Griese's return the Dolphins go on to finish 11-5 and earn a birth to the playoffs as a Wild Card. Helping to lead the Dolphins back to the postseason is RB Delvin Williams who sets a team record with 1,258 yards rushing on the season. In the first playoff game involving 2 Wild Cards the Dolphins are stunned 17-9 by the Houston Oilers at the Orange Bowl.
1979: Prior to the start of the season the Dolphins re-sign Larry Csonka who left to join the WFL after the 1974 season. After the WFL folded after just a season and a half Csonka played 3 seasons for the New York Giants. Despite struggles from Bob Griese all year the Dolphins finish 10-6 and win their first division title in 5 years. Among the season highlights are the Dolphins 19th and 20th consecutive wins over the Buffalo Bills. For the entire decade of the 70's the Dolphins hold a perfect 20-0 record over the Bills, which contributed to O.J. Simpson never seeing any postseason success in his career. In the Divisional Playoff the Dolphins are no match for the Pittsburgh Steelers who jump out to a 20-0 lead in the1st Quarter to win 34-14 on their way to their 2nd Straight Super Bowl Title.
1980: QB Bob Griese, the 14th passer in football history to eclipse 25,000 yards, retires following a 14-year career with the Dolphins. He had presided over 101 of the 135 victories in the club's history (101-62-3) and was consensus All-Pro in 1971 and 1977. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback held records of 1,926 completions in 3,429 attempts, 25,092 yards and 56.2 percent passing accuracy. He guided Miami to Super Bowl triumphs in 1972 and 1973. However, in Griese's final season the Dolphins would only play mediocre football finishing in 3rd place with an 8-8 record.
1981: With the retirement of Bob Griese not much was expected out of the Dolphins, but a new group would emerge to bring the Dolphins back to the top of the AFC East. That group was the Dolphins Defense, which became known as the Killer Bees because of the number of players whose last name began with the letter B. The Bees were Bill Barnett, Bob Baumhauer, Lyle Blackwood, Kim Bokamper, and Bob Brudzinski they anchored a strong team without a true starting QB. During the 11-4-1 season Don Shula reached a milestone by winning his 200th game of his coaching career. In the Divisional Playoffs against the San Diego Chargers the Dolphins fell behind 24-0 early in front of a sold out crowd at the Orange Bowl. With time running out in the 1st Half the Dolphins desperately needed a score to get back in the game. Out of nowhere the Dolphins ran the old schoolyard hook and lateral play to success. On the play QB Don Strock threw a pass over the middle to WR Duriel Harris who latteralled to WR Tony Nathan who ran the ball in for TD. The play sparked the Dolphins who came back, and took a lead in the 4th Quarter. However, the Killer Bees could not contain Chargers QB Dan Fouts who tied the game, and forced overtime where the Chargers won the game on a Rolf Pernershka FG in the 14th minute of OT.
1982: After scintillating playoff game against the San Diego Chargers Playoffs there was reason for optimism, but the season was put in jeopardy when the NFLPA went on strike on September 21st. The strike would last 2 months and would force the NFL to go with a limited 9-game schedule. When the season resumed in November the Dolphins were in position to return to the playoffs. However, the Dolphins road to the postseason had one strange pothole. On December 12th in a snowy Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro the Dolphins and Patriots slid all over the field all game long and were unable to put any points on the board. Late in the 4th Quarter with Patriots in FG range one of the most bizarre controversial moments in NFL history occurred when a parolee working for the Patriots on a work release program cleared a path for Ron Franklin to boot the game winning FG and gave the Dolphins a bitter 3-0 defeat. The Dolphins would go on to finish with Number 2 seed in the AFC Playoffs with a 7-2 record. In the first round of the playoffs the Dolphins faced the New England Patriots. However, this time there was no snow, or convicted criminals to plow to give the Patriots an advantage. The Dolphins would get revenge with interest by destroying the Patriots 28-3. In the 2nd Round the Dolphins choked off the San Diego Chargers famed offense and defeat them 34-13 before 71,383 fans at the Orange Bowl. The Killer Bees held the Chargers to only 247 yards in total offense, 203 yards below their league-leading average. In the AFC Championship Game the Dolphins faced the New York Jets in a steady down pour at the Orange Bowl. A.J. Duhe sets an AFC playoff record with three interceptions, including one for a 35-yard touchdown romp, as the Dolphins defeat the Jets for the third time in one season to win the AFC crown, 14-0.
Super Bowl XVII: In the Super Bowl played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena the Dolphins are matched up against the Washington Redskins who they defeated 10 years earlier in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins were able to grab a lead into halftime thanks in part to the first kickoff return for a TD that went 98 yards by Fulton Walker. However, the Dolphins offense would sputter in the second half as QBs David Woodley and Don Strock only completed 1 pass. However the Dolphins lead stood up into the 4th Quarter when RB John Riggins broke a few tackles to give the Redskins a lead they would not relinquish. The Redskins would pad their lead to 27-17 as John Riggins took home Super Bowl MVP honors.
1983: Hoping to address their need at Quarterback the Dolphins draft Dan Marino with 27th overall pick in the 1st Round. Though many questioned the pick at first Marino would quickly become one of the premier passers in the NFL. Marino would make his first start on October 9th against the Buffalo Bills at the Orange Bowl. However, despite 322 yards passing from their star rookie the Bills beat the Dolphs for the first time in 17 years at the Orange Bowl 38-35 in OT. However, Marino would not experience much losing as the Dolphins won the AFC East with a 12-4 record. However the Dolphins success would not carry on into the playoffs, as the Dolphins were stunned 27-20 by the upstart Seattle Seahawks.
1984: In Dan Marino's first full year as starter the Dolphins get off to a fast start winning their first 11 games of the season. The Dolphins would end the season with a 14-2 record as Dan Marino sets the league on its ear while winning the league MVP. Marino sets records in TD passes and passing Yards in a season becoming the first QB ever to pass for over 5,000 yards and score over 40 TD in a season. In the Divisional Playoffs the Dolphins get revenge form the previous season by plucking the Seahawks 31-10 to advance to the AFC Championship game. In the AFC Championship game at the Orange Bowl the Dolphins were matched up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dan Marino would again light up the scoreboard as the Dolphins shot past the Steelers 45-28 to advance to their 5th Super Bowl in franchise history.
Super Bowl XIX: In the Super Bowl the Dolphins were matched up against the San Francisco 49ers in Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. Unfortunately for the Dolphins the game would be like a home game for the 49er. The game was billed as a match up of great QBS Dan Marino and Joe Montana. However, in the end the game would be won by Montana who won his second Super Bowl MVP while the 49ers beat the Dolphins 38-16. After the game many thought it was a learning experience for Dan Marino who would easily make several return trips to the big game.
1985: With a few injuries hampering both the offense and defense the Dolphins get off to a 5-4 start. However, Dan Marino continues to impress once again leading the league in all passing categories. On November 10th in a key game against the New York Jets the Dolphins rally for 21-17 win thanks to Mark "Super" Duper who returns from a broken leg to gain 217 receiving yards which was highlighted by a game winning 50 yard pass from Dan Marino late in the 4th Quarter. The win would spark a winning streak, which brought them up to a key Monday Night Match up against the Chicago Bears on December 2nd. Going into the game the Bears dominated all opponents and marched into the Orange Bowl undefeated with threat of equaling the mark of greatness achieved by the Dolphins in 1972. For the game the Dolphins had many members of that team on the sidelines for inspirational help. The move worked as the Dolphins swarmed all over the Bears for a 38-24 victory which score was closer then the game itself. The loss would be the only one the Bears would suffer on the way to the Super Bowl Championship while the Dolphins 1972 remained the only team to finish a regular and postseason undefeated. The Dolphins would go on to win the AFC East again with a 12-4 record. In the Divisional Round of the Playoffs the Dolphins find themselves down early to the Cleveland Browns 21-3. However, Marino would lead the Dolphins back into the game as the Dolphins won 24-21 to advance back to the AFC Championship Game. In the AFC Championship at the Orange Bowl the Dolphins were matched up against the New England Patriots. The Dolphins would bumble and fumble their way all through out the game with 6 turnovers as the Patriots stunned the Dolphins 31-14 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Bears.
1986: The Dolphins get off to a bad start as the Dolphins defense is pushed around all over the field. This is none more apparent then in the 2nd Game of the season when the Dolphins lose 51-45 in OT to the Jets at the Meadowlands. In the Game Marino passes for 448 yards and 6 TDs, as a disturbing new trend of spectacular Marino passing performances spoiled by a weak Dolphins Defense. The Dolphins would wind up their final season in the Orange Bowl with a disappointing 8-8 record, while Marino set a NFL record for pass completions in a season.
1987: After the first Regular Season Game at Joe Robbie Stadium is cancelled due to a player's strike the new state of the art stadium is forced to open with Replacement Players on the field as the Dolphins Scabs win 42-0 over the Chiefs on October 11th. Two weeks later the regulars returned for the first game featuring the regular players at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Dolphins would blow 21-point lead as the Bills won 34-31 in OT. The Dolphins would go on to finish the season with a disappointing 8-7 record missing the playoffs for the second straight season.
1988: Despite Dan Marino passing for over 4,000 yards for the 4th time in his career the Dolphins fall into the AFC East cellar with a 6-10 record as the Dolphins Defense is battered and bruised again. The season is only the 2nd losing season for the Dolphins under Don Shula; they would not experience another sub .500 year in Shula's tenure.
1989: After suffering just their second losing season in 19 years the Dolphins continue to play mediocre football missing the playoffs for the 4th straight season with an 8-8 record. On January 7th only 2 weeks after the Dolphins season ended Joe Robbie the co-founder, and longtime owner of the Miami Dolphins dies of respiratory failure at age 73.
1990: After 4 years of frustration and no playoff appearances the Dolphins get off to a fast start in their 25th season. Once again Dan Marino is at the top of the league in all passing categories and ties Joe Montana's record for 7 career seasons over 3,000 yards passing. The Dolphins would easily qualify for the playoffs with a solid 12-4 record, but they would lose a December 16th in Buffalo to the Bills for the Division Title. In the Wild Card round of the playoffs the Dolphins host the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Dolphins playoff game at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Dolphins would fall behind early but thanks to a NFL playoff record 58 yard FG from Pete Stoyanovich and a late TD pass from Dan Marino the Dolphins won 17-16 to advance to the Divisional Round. A week later in Buffalo, the Dolphins drop a 44-34-playoff decision to the Bills. The two teams combine for 78 points, for the highest scoring non-overtime playoff game in NFL history.
1991: On September 22nd in a game with Green Bay Packers the Dolphins win 16-13 to give Don Shula his 300th win in his coaching career. With the win Shula becomes just the 2nd coach ever to reach the 300 mark, and is only 24 behind George Halas' NFL record. Dan Marino also makes history by becoming the first QB to pass for over 3,000 yards 8 times in his career. Despite the milestones the Dolphins struggle with injuries to the Defense all season and lose a heartbreaking last game to the New York Jets at Joe Robbie Stadium to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs.
1992: The Dolphins first game of the season is delayed a week because of the devastation from Hurricane Andrew, this would cause the Dolphins to play 16 consecutive weeks without a bye. However, that would end up having no adverse affect on the Dolphins what so ever, as Dan Marino has another stellar year to lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 record. There 11-5 record was good enough to give them the AFC East title via a tit-breaker over the Buffalo Bills. The key victory of the season comes on October 4th in Buffalo as the Dolphins bomb the Bills 37-10 in a game highlighted by Louis Oliver's 103-yard Interception return for a TD. In the Divisional Round of the Playoffs the Dolphins are matched up against the San Diego Chargers. The game ends up being no contest as the Dolphins crush the Chargers 31-0 to advance to the AFC Championship Game. However, the Super Bowl dream will end a week later when the Bills beat the Dolphins 29-10 in Joe Robbie Stadium to advance to their 3rd Straight Super Bowl tying the Dolphins record. In the heart-breaking Championship game the Dolphins aid the Bills cause with 5 key turnovers.
1993: The Dolphins get off to a 3-1 start, as Dan Marino becomes the 4th QB to pass for over 40,000 yards in his career. However, on October 10th in Cleveland the Dolphins hopes for making it to the Super Bowl suffer a devastating hit when Dan Marino tears his Achilles tendon in his right foot. Backup Scott Mitchell rallies the Dolphins to a 24-14 win, but Marino will be out the rest of the season. Mitchell would go on to win his first 2 games as a starter helping Don Shula tie George Halas' record of 324 career coaching wins. After a November7th loss to the Jets the Dolphins go to Philadelphia for a November 14th game against the Eagles. In the 3rd the injury bug bites the Dolphins again as QB Scott Mitchell separates his shoulder. With the Dolphins trailing 14-13 in the 3rd Don Shula would have to relay on 3rd stringer Doug Pederson to break George Halas' win record. Pederson is so nervous he throws up when he is told to enter game. However, he is able to guide the Dolphs to 2 FGs as the Dolphins keep the Eagles off the board, and Don Shula becomes the all-time Winningest coach in NFL history with a 19-14 win. Despite the injuries to the QB position the Dolphins get off to an 8-2-start heading to Dallas for a Thanksgiving Game against the Cowboys. The game is played in a freak storm as wet snow and sleet cover the field all game and makes running, and scoring tough for both teams. Trailing 14-13 with 15 seconds left Peter Stoyanovich sets up for a 41-yard FG attempt. However, Jimmie Jones blocks the kick and it appears to give the Cowboys the victory, but Leon Lett attempts to pick up the ball and muffs it allowing the Dolphins to recover a fumble and set up for another FG this time from only 20 yards away. This time Stoyanovich nails it dead center to give the Dolphins a16-14 win to improve to an NFL best 9-2. Unfortunately the injuries would continue to pile up as key players on defense and offense were being added to the Dolphins mash unit. This would lead to the Dolphins losing their final 5 games, which causes them to miss the playoffs. However, as a consolation Don Shula is named Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year for breaking Halas' record.
1994: Returning from his injury Dan Marino makes a statement in his very first game passing for 473 yards and 5 TD in a 39-35 win over the New England Patriots. During the game Marino becomes just the 2nd QB to throw over 300 TD passes in his career. History of another sort is made on October 2nd when the Dolphins beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-7. What makes the game historic is David Shula coaches the Bengals, and it marks the first time ever in professional sports that a father faces his son in a coaching duel. The Dolphins would go o to finish the season with a 10-6 record good enough for the AFC East title. The Dolphins 10-6 record was good enough for the Division Title but not the Wild Card bye, and the Dolphins were matched up against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1st Round. in the Dolphins 27-17 at Joe Robbie Stadium win Dan Marino completes 22 of 29 passes for 257 yards with two touchdowns. The game will have a historic footnote as it ends up being the final game for Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana. In the Divisional Playoffs the Dolphins faced the San Diego Chargers. The Dolphins led all game until the Chargers took a 22-21 lead with just 35 seconds left in regulation.. The Dolphins had one final chance to win the game as Dan Marino drove the team to the Chargers' 30-yard line but Pete Stoyanovich's 48-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left was wide right.
1995: The season is a year full of milestones for Dan Marino as he breaks the NFL record for pass completions on October 8th against the Colts with 3,686. Then on November 12th against the Patriots Marino breaks the NFL record of yards passing of 47,003. Then 2 weeks later in Indianapolis Dan Marino throws his 343rd career TD pass breaking Fran Tarkenton's record. However, the Dolphins lose all 3 games and finish with a 9-7 record barely squeezing in to the playoffs as the 6th seed. In the Wild Card round against the Bills in Buffalo Dan Marino passes for 422 in a 37-22 loss. The game would prove to be the final one coached by Don Shula who is forced to retire by new owner H. Wayne Huizenga who wants to bring in Jimmy Johnson to run the team. Despite the way his career ended Shula would remain in the Dolphins front office. In Shula's 33 years as coach he collects a record of 347-173-6. During his 26 years at the helm of the Dolphins the team only suffers 2 losing season and wins 2 Super Bowls in 5 trips to the big game.
1996: On September 1st in the newly renamed Pro Player Stadium Jimmy Johnson gets a win in his first game as coach of the Dolphins 24-10 over the Patriots, as Rookie Karim Abdul-Jabar rushes for 115 yards. However, the Dolphins will struggle to finish 8-8 in a year of transition. However, not all is lost as the Dolphins sweep the season series with Bills for the first time in 10 years. In addition Karim Abdul-Jabar becomes the first Dolphin to rush for more than 1,000 yards since Delvin Williams in 1978.
1997: Thanks to a 9-4 start the Dolphins are able to get back to the postseason, but the way they enter the playoffs can't satisfy any team, as they s lose each of their final 3 games including a final week Monday Night Showdown with Patriots for the Division Title. The Dolphins would also lose to the Patriots 6 days later in Foxboro as Dan Marino has one of his worst games ever while the Dolphins fall to the Pats 17-3.
1998: The Dolphins put together a solid 10-6 playoff season highlighted by Dan Marino surpassing the 400 Career TD mark on November 29th against the New Orleans Saints. However, the game of the year comes on a December 21st tilt against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night at The Pro. The game features the last match up of Dan Marino and John Elway in Miami. The Dolphins will win the game 31-21. The win is the Dolphins 34th all-time on Monday Night Football establishing a new NFL record. In the Wild Card Round against the Buffalo Bill at Pro Player Stadium, the Dolphins dispatch some past frustrations by beating the Bills for the first time ever in the playoffs 24-17. The win set up a Divisional Round rematch with Broncos in Mile High Stadium. However, the rematch turns into a mismatch as the Dolphins were never in the game and lose 38-3 to the eventual Super Bowl Champions. After the game Jimmy Johnson resigns, but he is talked into returning for one more crack at the Super Bowl.
1999: The season's theme from the start of the season is one last shot as not only Jimmy Johnson in his final season, but so is Dan Marino the all-time NFL passer. The Dolphins get off to a good start thanks to their 8th consecutive season opening victory at Mile High Stadium in Denver. However, the success does not last as Marino struggles more ever week with a sore shoulder. Marino would eventually have to sit out 5 games because of it and when the Dolphins played their best football during Marino's absence the already storm relationship between Johnson and Marino got worse. Despite the struggle the Dolphins manage to sneak in the playoffs with a 9-7 record. In the Wild Card round Dan Marino completes 17 of 30 passes for 196 yards with 1 TD and no interceptions in the victory, in which he guided a late drive that led to the game-winning touchdown with 4:48 remaining in Seattle over the Seahawks. However one week later in Jacksonville the Marino era will come to a forgettable end as the Dolphins lose 62-7 in the most one-sided AFC playoff game ever against their upstate rival Jaguars.
2000: On March 13th in a press conference at Pro Player Stadium Dan Marino announces his retirement from the NFL. During his 17-year career all with the Dolphins Marino shatters the record of Passing Yards with 61,361, and Touch Downs with 420. However, he never got back to the Super Bowl after his 2nd season. Weather it was a poor defense, injury, or age something always got in the way of Marino's Super Bowl Dream. The Dolphins would go on toe honor Marino several times including a pre-season tribute on August 23rd where 50,000 fans turn out just to see Marino honored even without a football game in a 4-hour tribute. The Dolphins also rename the boulevard outside the Northwest Corner of Pro Player Stadium in his honor. The new address of the Pro would now read 2269 Dan Marino Boulevard. However, the biggest honors come during a September 17th game against the Baltimore Ravens at halftime. In the ceremony Marino is inducted in the Dolphins honor role, his number 13 is retired, and a statue is unveiled outside the stadium.
2000: With the retirement of Dan Marino, and the previous failure of coach Dave Wannstedt in the NFL not much is expected from the Dolphins in 2000. However the defense establishes itself early with a season opening shutout over the Seahawks at the Pro 23-0. Not only do the Dolphins make the playoffs, but also they finish 11-5 and are a surprising winner of the AFC East. Highlighting the march to the Division Title is RB LaMar Smith rushes for 1,139 yards. Leading the way on defense are Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, and Trace Armstrong who lead smothering defense that is among the top in 10 in almost all major categories. In addition CBs Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain lead a secondary that lead the NFL in interceptions. In the First Round of the Playoffs at Pro Player Stadium the Dolphins find themselves down 14-0 to the Indianapolis Colts in the 3rd Quarter. However RB Lamar helps lead the Dolphins back into the game and into Over Time. In OT it was Smith again who gave the Dolphins a 23-17 win with a 17-yard run with 3:34 left in the 1st OT. In the game Smith rushes for 20 yards the second-highest figure in NFL playoff history and the most-ever by a Dolphin (regular season or postseason). However, 1 week later in the Divisional Round the Dolphins get blow out for the 3rd year in a row 34-0 at Oakland against the Raiders.
2001: With the starting QB job firmly in the hands of Jay Fiedler, the Dolphins got off to a 2-0 start and got a measure of revenge against the Oakland Raiders when Fielder's QB sneak with less then 10 seconds left gave the Dolphins a 18-15 come from behind win. The Fiedler led Dolphins would get off to a fast winning 6 of their first 8 games. However the New York Jets would prove to be a pest again, as the Dolphins lost 24-0 at home to fall to 6-3. Little did anyone know at the time that loss might have been the most devastating of the season. The Dolphins would win 3 straight before falling to 9-4, heading into a showdown for the AFC East title in New England against the Patriots. Facing a hostile crowd the Dolphins would lose and fall into a first place tie. However the sweep by the Jets caused eth Dolphins who finished 11-5 to lose the division by a tiebreaker. In the playoffs a banged up Dolphins would fall in the wild card game to the Baltimore Ravens 20-3, while the Patriots went on and won the Super Bowl.
2002: To help improve their offense the Dolphins acquire RB Rickey Williams a former Heisman Trophy Winner from the New Orleans Saints. Williams would have an immediate impact as the Dolphins got off to a terrific 5-1 start. However, in a thrilling Week 6 primetime game on the road against the Denver Broncos QB Jay Fiedler injures his thumb as he Dolphins win in the finally seconds 24-22 on a 55-yard FG by Olindo Mare. With Fielder on the sidelines the Dolphins would struggle as backup Ray Lucas struggled with turnovers as the Dolphins lost 3 straight games. Lucas would rebound to win 2 straight, but once again was bit by the turnover bug as the Buffalo Bills swept the Dolphins. Fiedler did return to play the 2nd half against the Bills but was clearly rusty. Despite the injuries and turnovers, the Dolphins appeared to be heading for the AFC East title behind the dominant running of Rickey Williams who set a franchise record with 1,853 yards, winning the league's rushing title. However, 2 bad losses in the final 2 games to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots would drop the Dolphins out of the playoff completely as they finished in 3rd place with a 9-7 record.
2003: The Dolphins came into the season with championship aspirations, but got off to a shaky start as they were caught with their pants down in the season opener losing at home to the Houston Texans 21-20. The Dolphins would recover and would win their next 4 games to enter a showdown at Pro Player Stadium against the New England Patriots 4-1 with first place at stake. At the same time the Florida Marlins were making a surprise run to a World Series Title so the Dolphins still had to play on the dirt infield. This would end up costing them what would turn out to be the most vital game of the season as Olindo Mare missed a 36-yard Field Goal in the final minute of regulation. Mare would miss a 35-yarder in overtime before the Pats won the game 19-13 on a Tom Brady 82-yard TD pass. Both of Mare's misses came off the infield dirt. Injuries would once again take their toll on QB Jay Fiedler as Brian Griese son of Dolphins Hall of Famer Bob took over the starting job in the middle of the season. Griese would fail to live up to his fathers name as the Dolphins struggled splitting the next 4 games. The Dolphins stared another loss in the face in Week 12, as they trailed the Washington Redskins at home 23-10 late in the 3rd Quarter when Fiedler came in off the bench to lead to 4th Quarter Scoring drives to keep the Dolphins playoff hopes alive with a 24-23 win. The win seemed to lift the spirits of the Dolphins who carved the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving 40-21 to enter a must win game against the Patriots with a 8-4. However a blizzard would arrive in New England at the same time and the Dolphins looked cold and confused in 28 inches of snow as they were shutout 12-0. The Dolphins would lose again to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night the following week to fall to 8-6, even with 2 wins the Dolphins would be unable to sneak into the playoffs despite a solid 10-6 record.
2004: Following the Dolphins second straight season without the playoffs would come the most turbulent off-season the elite franchise's history. Despite being unpopular with the fans the Dolphins decided to keep Coach Dave Wannstedt, while bringing in a General Manager, Rick Spielman to make personnel decisions. At the same time Dan Marino returned to the organization as club president, but less then a month into the job Marino had second thought about taking a job viewed mainly as a figurehead position and resigned. Off the field Randy McMichael would get arrested for domestic violence, while Ricky Williams tested positive for Marijuana and faced a suspension. Things would go from bad to worse a week before training camp when Williams failed another drug test and suddenly decided to retire, in protest to the NFL's strict schedule and rules against Marijuana use, leaving the Dolphins with a giant void entering the season, which was to late to fill. The turbulent off-season would lead to an absolute nightmare season as the Dolphins lost the opener 17-7 to the Tennessee Titans as Hurricane Ivan was bearing down on South Florida. After losing Week 2 on the road in Cincinnati to the Bengals 16-13, the Dolphins were forced to rearrange their schedule again for Hurricane Jeanne playing at night in a quagmire losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3. The losses would continue to mount as the Dolphins lost their first 6 games on the way to a dreadful 1-8 start that would lead to the resignation of Coach Dave Wannstedt. Under Interim Coach Jim Bates things would not get better as they dropped there next 2 games before beating the San Francisco 49ers 24-17 in a match up of 1-8 teams, marking the 20th anniversary of their Super Bowl XIX match up when the two were a combined 33-3. Nothing went right for the Dolphins all season as new QB A.J. Feeley was often mistake prone throwing several interception which were returned for Touchdowns, as the Dolphins spent the entire season in last place posting a franchise worst 4-12 record. However, one lone bright spot came on a Monday Night in December when the Dolphins stunned the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots 29-28 as the Dolphins defense intercepted Tom Brady twice in the final 2 minutes. Following the season the Dolphins hoping to get the season behind them hired LSU Coach Nick Saban to lead the future, while releasing QB Jay Fiedler who lost his job to Feeley during the season. The Dolphins would go on to draft Ronnie Brown of Auburn with the 2nd overall pick, while leaving the door open for Ricky Williams to return.
2005: Ricky Williams would return to the Dolphins but would have to serve a 4-game suspension for failing a drug test, without Williams the Dolphins started the Nick Saban era in style by hammering the Denver Broncos 34-10 as QB Gus Frerotte has a successful debut passing for 275 yards. After losing to the New York Jets in Week 2 the Dolphins bounced back strongly in Week 2 to upend the Carolina Panthers as Ronnie Brown rushed for 132 yards. The Dolphins seemed to be playing well as they sat with a 2-1 record, but things would quickly sour as they won just 1 of their next 7 games, including a horrible 22-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns as Frerotte and back up QB Sage Rosenfelds combined for just 55 total passing yards. Frerotte and the Dolphins would bounce back nicely the following week as they beat the Oakland Raiders on the road 33-21. A week later things appeared bleak again as the Dolphins trailed the Buffalo Bills at home 21-0 after the 1st Quarter. The Dolphins could not get their offense going all day as Rosenfelds replaced Frerotte again in the 4th Quarter trailing 23-3. However, with a Ricky Williams TD run the Dolphins began creeping back into the game. Midway through the 4th the Dolphins got with in a TD as Rosenfelds connected with Ronnie Brown on a 23-yard screen pass that made it 23-17. Then in the game's waning moments Rosenfelds found Chris Chambers on a 4-yard pass with 6 seconds left to give the Dolphins a stunning 24-23 comeback win. Charged up the Dolphins would win their third game in a row the following week as they stunned the San Diego Chargers on the road 23-21. The Dolphins would continue to stay hot the rest of the season winning their final six games to finish with a respectable 9-7 record, good enough for second place, but not for the playoffs, but renewing optimism in Miami. However, not all news would be good news as Ricky Williams, who finished the season strong, failed another drug test following the season and was suspended for a entire year. The loss of Ricky, would not sting too long as the Dolphins were proactive, as they acquired All-Pro QB Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings for second round draft pick.
2006: When the Dolphins season began there was renewed optimism thanks to their strong finish and the acquisition of Daunte Culpepper, even Sports Illustrated was on board picking the Dolphins to play in the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium. However, when the games played that optimism evaporated quickly as the Dolphins dropped the season opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-17 as Culpepper had an interception returned 42 yards by Joey Porter with three minutes left. A week later in the home opener Culpepper had a tough time just staying on his feet as he is sacked seven times in a 16-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins would win a week later against the Tennessee Titans, but Culpepper continued to struggle, as the Dolphins lost three of their first four games before lingering knee soreness forced Daunte Culpepper to the sidelines, for what turned out to be the rest of the season, as he compiled just 929 yards with 2 Touchdowns and 3 Interceptions in four games. With Joey Harrington under center the Dolphins did not play much better losing three straight as they entered the bye week with the worst record in the NFL at 1-6. Coming out of the bye the Dolphins suddenly caught fire thanks to their defense as they handed the Chicago Bears their first loss of the season in Soldier Field 31-13, as Jason Taylor was in the face of Rex Grossman all day even returning an interception for a touchdown. It would be the first of four straight wins culminating in a Thanksgiving 27-10 win over the Detroit Lions, as Harrington threw three touchdown passes. However, the Dolphins late season comeback started to take on a cross wind as rumors circulated that Coach Nick Saban was considering returning to the NCAA with Alabama, who had recently fired Mike Shula, the son of legendary Dolphins Coach Don Shula. After a 24-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dolphins defense led by Jason Taylor shutout the New England Patriots 21-0, as they sacked Tom Brady four times and held him to just 78 yards passing. However, that would be the last win of the season as the Dolphins were shutout themselves a week later in Buffalo 21-0 as Cleo Lemon took over the rest of the way at Quarterback with the Dolphins finishing in last place with a disappointing 6-10 record. As the Dolphins closed the season with three straight losses the Saban Alabama rumors continued to persist despite a flat boldface denial from Saban that he was committed to rebuilding the Dolphins, who had turned down Drew Brees the NFL's leading passer for Daunte Culpepper who looked to be finished as an effective starting QB. Naturally Nick Saban was lying as he left the Dolphins high and dry following the season signing a multi million dollar deal to Coach Alabama. In his wake the Dolphins were in shambles once again, as they were two years ago when Saban took over as both Coach and head of player personnel. The Dolphins would eventually tab Cam Cameron to replace Saban as coach, while Culpepper was released as the Dolphins acquired Trent Green from the Kansas City Chiefs.
2007: With new Coach Cam Cameron the Dolphins entered the season with fans still puzzling over their draft strategy as they chose WR Ted Ginn Jr. from Ohio State with the ninth overall pick, passing over QB Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, while later choosing BYU QB John Beck who spent two years on a Mormon mission in the second round. With veteran QB Trent Green under center the Dolphins started the season in Washington hoping they could compete for a playoff spot. They would play well in the opener, but ultimately lost in overtime as the offense seemed stuck in neutral losing 16-13. A week later in the home opener nothing seemed to be going for the Dolphins as they were slammed by the Dallas Cowboys, with Trent Green throwing four interceptions. Against the New York Jets in Week 3 the Dolphins late charge fell just short as they dropped to 0-3 with a 31-28 loss. The Dolphins misery continued the following week as they were beaten up by the Oakland Raiders 35-17, as Daunte Culpepper who was released by the Dolphins after struggling in 2006 returned to Miami and scored three rushing touchdowns, while Trent green continued to remain out of sync with the Dolphins receivers. Trent Green would be knocked out in Week 5 as was taken off the field after attempting just two passes in the first quarter with a season ending concussion, while back up Cleo Lemon struggled, the Dolphins defense kept them in the game. However, Kris Brown nailed a 57-yard field goal as they game ended to give the Houston Texans a 22-19 win dropping the Dolphins to 0-5. The Dolphins losing streak extended to nine as they fell to 0-6 with a 41-31 loss on the road to the Cleveland Brown, following the game the Dolphins traded to top receiver Chris Chambers to the San Diego Chargers for a draft pick. Meanwhile in New England the Patriots were 6-0 with Wes Welker turning into an All-Pro, demonstrating the continued poor decision making of the Dolphins. When they came to Miami to play the Dolphins in Week 7 the two teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum as there were whispers being made the Patriots could make a run at undefeated season, something only accomplished by the 1972 Dolphins, while the 2007 team looked as if they would never win a game. The game was as ugly as expected as Welker had a big day in his return to Miami, while the Pats held a 42-7 halftime lead. The Dolphins would score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the game somewhat cosmetically look better as they dropped to 0-7 with a 49-28 loss. However, the loss was extra painful as RB Ronnie Brown suffered a season ending knee injury, the Dolphins would also lose Zach Thomas a few days later as the concussion he suffered earlier in the season was aggravated in a car accident. The Dolphins felt lucky to be going to London as they faced the New York Giants in the first regular season game outside of North America, nonetheless the Dolphins were still as bad if not worse then there record suggested as Cleo Lemon continued to demonstrate he had no business being a NFL starting QB as the Dolphins lost 13-10 in a game played in sloppy conditions at Wembley Stadium. While the Patriots continued their run at perfection the Dolphins continued their run of misery losing to the Buffalo Bills 13-10 following a bye week. The following week the Dolphins would give a shot to John Beck, but he was no better then Lemon as the Dolphins fell to 0-10 with a 17-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, with A.J. Feeley coming on for an injured Donovan McNabb to beat his former team. A week later on a Monday Night in Pittsburgh, Ricky Williams returned to the lineup after finally being reinstated by the NFL, but only made six carriers before suffering a season ending rib injury. The game would be one of the ugliest in NFL history as heavy rains turned Heinz Field into a quagmire, but not even dry ground would help the Dolphins anemic offense as they dropped to 0-11 with a 3-0 loss. Cleo Lemon would get the starting job back after the Dolphins fell to 0-12 with a 40-13 loss to the New York Jets in which Rookie John Beck looked awful with five turnovers. However, Lemon did not fair any better in a 38-17 loss on the road to the Buffalo Bills that came one day before the one year anniversary of the 0-13 Dolphins last win. With the cruel twist of the rival Patriots approaching an unbeaten season the Dolphins faced the Baltimore Ravens with a winless season looming the once great franchise. After trailing 13-3 at halftime the Dolphins found themselves with their first legitimate chance to win in weeks as they tied the game early in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins would then take the lead with 1:56 left as Jay Feely hit a 29-yard field goal. However, the Ravens drove down the field and had the ball at the Dolphins goalline. However, instead of trying to punch it against the Dolphins worn down defense the Ravens chose to send the game to overtime. In OT the Dolphins would finally break through as Greg Camarillo turned a short pass from Cleo Lemon into a game winning 64-yard TD dash. The win came more then a year after the Dolphins last win, and helped them avoid the first 0-16 season in NFL history. However, they would be helpless to watch the Patriots finish the season 16-0. The Dolphins would end the season with two more losses, as Bill Parcells was hired as the team's new President. As soon as the season was over the house cleaning began as the Dolphins entire coaching staff and front office was purged. Parcells in his first front office job was famous for helping to guide the Giants to two Super Bowl titles, while helping to turn the fortunes of the Patriots and Jets. In his most recent Coaching job he also helped the Cowboys become serious contenders again, on of his top assistants in Dallas was Tony Sparano, who would be hired to be the eighth head coach of the Dolphins. As the 1-15 season was still stinging and the Dolphins tired to dig to through the ashes and find a foundation to build around the spirit and legacy of the 72 Dolphins remained safe as the Giants stunned the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII 17-14, keeping the Dolphins as the only residents of Perfectville.
2008: The new regime had to make some tough decisions, and releasing Zach Thomas was part of it as the popular Linebacker who missed most of the season with a concussion was too expensive and too old for a team that needed to start from scratch. Bill Parcells would also eventually get rid of Jason Taylor whose appearances on the popular reality show "Dancing with the Stars" did not sit well with the straight laced Parcells. Taylor would be traded to the Washington Redskins from draft picks as training camp began, while the Dolphins signed Quarterback Chad Pennington after he was released by the New York Jets in favor of Brett Favre. Starting from scratch also meant rebuilding from the ground up and drafting a block of granite in Jake Long of Michigan to rebuild the Dolphins offensive line, with the first overall pick. The Tony Sparano era got off to a rough start as the Dolphins dropped their first two games against the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. Entering a Week 3 match up with the New England Patriots, the Dolphins looked for a way to get a jump start. Devising an offensive scheme called the Wildcat; the Dolphins stunned the Patriots in Foxboro 38-13. The Wildcat was nothing new it was a throwback to simpler days and leather helmets in what was called the single wing, with the half back getting the ball from center and either running an rushing play, an option play or a pass, it seemed to confuse the Patriots, as Ronnie Brown rushed four touchdowns, and passed for another. Following the Bye Week, the Dolphins returned home and had another strong performance to upset the San Diego Chargers 17-10. However, the Dolphins would hit a bump in the road, losing their next two games to the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens. Still at 2-4 the Dolphins felt they were making progress, especially coming off a 1-15 disaster. Against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins got back into the win column as Chad Penning passed for 314 yards in a 25-16 win that got them back on track. A week later they would get back to .500 with a 26-17 upset win over the Denver Broncos on the road. Following home wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders, the Dolphins defense was exposed by the Patriots, who exacted revenge for the Week 3 loss by beating the Dolphins 48-28 in Miami. However the Dolphins got back on track right away beating the St. Louis Rams 16-12, and the Buffalo Bills 16-3 in the first NFL regular season game played in Canada. At 8-5 the Dolphins were the big surprise of the NFL as they were not only in the thick of the playoff chase, they had a shot at the division title. Following wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs the Dolphins entered the last week of the season with destiny in their own hands as they faced the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. For Quarterback Chad Pennington it was the ultimate revenge as he led the Dolphins to the division title with 200 yards passing, and two touchdown passes, as the Dolphins defense intercepted Brett Favre three times as the Dolphins won the game 24-17 to win the AFC East with an 11-5 record; remarkable ten game improvement. While, the Wildcat got all of the media attention for the Dolphins turnaround, it was the Dolphins ball control that was the key as they tied a NFL record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game season with 13. However, in the Wild Card round that ball control was no where to be found, as Chad Pennington was intercepted four times in a disappointing 27-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at home.
2009: Coming off their stunning turnaround the Dolphins, welcomed back Jason Taylor who spent the 2008 season with the Washington Redskins. Hoping to build on the momentum of a division title the Dolphins started the season with tough 19-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In the game the Dolphins committed four turnovers, which was nearly a third of what they committed the entire 2008 season. In their home opener on Monday Night Football, the Dolphins played considerably better controlling the ball more than 40 minutes. However, the quick strike ability of Quarterback Peyton Manning allowed the Colts to leave Land Shark Stadium with a 27-23 win. Things got worse the following week as the Dolphins dropped to 0-3 with a 23-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers. In the game the Dolphins would lose Quarterback Char Pennington for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. With second year QB Chad Henne making his first start a week later, the Dolphins got their first win of the year by beating the Buffalo Bills 38-10, as Henne passed for 115 yards with a touchdown. A week later on Monday Night Football the Dolphins used the Wildcat to confound the New York Jets, winning 31-27 in a game that saw five lead changes in the 4th Quarter, with Ronnie Brown scoring the winning two yard Touchdown off a direct snap with six seconds left. Following the bye week, the Dolphins were beaten by the New Orleans Saints 46-34, in a game that simply got away from the Dolphins in the second half after they held a 24-3 lead late in the 2nd Quarter, with Chad Henne having two interceptions returned for touchdowns. The Dolphins would rebound by beating the New York Jets a week later in the Meadowlands, winning a game they had no business winning as they barely mustered 100 yards total offense. However, two long kickoff returns for a touchdown by Ted Ginn Jr. and a fumble recovered and returned for a touchdown in the 3rd Quarter proved to be the difference. Following a 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots on the road, the Dolphins took round one in the battle of Florida beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25-23 as Dan Carpenter nailed a 25 yard field goal with ten seconds left. The game would prove costly as they lost Running Back Ronnie Brown to a season ending ankle injury. The Dolphins would reach .500 for the first time during the season a week later by beating the Carolina Panthers 24-17 on the road. However, a frustrating 31-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills on the road again put them in a hole, as the Bills scored 24 unanswered points in the 4th Quarter. The Dolphins would recover a week later in Miami, as they rallied to beat the New England Patriots 22-21, winning the game on a 42 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. The Dolphins would climb to 7-6 and into playoff contention by winning the battle for Florida part two against the Jacksonville Jaguars 14-10 on the road. However, that would be the final win of the season, as the Dolphins comeback against the Tennessee Titans ended in disappointment with a 27-24 loss in overtime. Deflated the Dolphins would lose equally frustrating games to the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers to finish the season with a record of 7-9.
2010: After a disappointing finish, the Dolphins looked to rebound and get back to the playoffs as Chad Henne was named quarterback at the start of the season, while WR Brandon Marshall was acquired from the Denver Broncos for a draft pick. When the season started it was the defense that led the way as they beat the Buffalo Bills 15-10 in the season opener. A week later the defense played big again, as they picked off Brett Favre three times and recovered a fumble in the endzone to take a 14-10 lead against the Minnesota Vikings. The Dolphins would make that lead hold with a thrilling goaline stand in the games closing minutes. The Dolphins would finally come home to face the New York Jets, but they were unable to repeat their defensive effort from the first two games as they suffered a 31-23 loss, despite Brandon Marshall gaining 166 yards and his first touchdown of the season. A week later it would be more of the same as the Dolphins were beaten by the New England Patriots 41-14 on Monday Night Football. After the bye week the Dolphins were able to get back on track with a 23-20 overtime win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, winning the game on a 44 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. A week later back home in Miami the Dolphins suffered a controversial loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as officials were unable to determine who recovered a fumble by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, given a second chance the Steelers would win the game 23-22 on a chip shot field goal by Jeff Reed. After splitting the next two games on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens, the Dolphins turned to Chad Pennington to get their offense back on track. However, Pennington would suffer a shoulder injury while leading the Dolphins down the field on the first possession of the game. Chad Henne would enter the game, and would also suffer a knee injury forcing third string QB Tyler Thigpen into action. The Dolphins would end up with a 29-17 win as they used the wildcat significantly for the first time all season. The Dolphins would only have four days to prepare for their next game, as they hosted the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. With Thigpen under center, the Dolphins defense remained stuck in neutral as they managed just 187 yards total offense while losing 16-0. Chad Henne would return the following week and lead the Dolphins to a 33-17 win on the road against Oakland Raiders, with 307 yards passing. The win improved the Dolphins to 5-1 on the road. However, at home it was a different story as the Dolphins suffered an excusable 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns, as Mike Adams intercepted Henne late in the 4th Quarter to set Phil Dawson up for the game winning field goal. With the loss the Dolphins dropped to 6-6 on the season, posting a record of 1-5 at home. The Dolphins continued to channel Kenny Rodgers and won on the road again to get back over .500 and keep their fading playoff hopes alive as they stunned the New York Jets 10-6 on a chilly rainy afternoon in the Meadowlands. However, coming home the Dolphins continued to disappoint their home fans as they dropped two straight to the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. With the losses the Dolphins posted a terrible 1-7 record at home during the season. The Dolphins would end the season with 38-7 loss to the New England Patriots on the road. The Dolphins would finish the season with a solid 6-2 road record, but due their awful play at Sunlife Stadium they finished the year with a record of 7-9 for the second straight season. Having breakout seasons for the Dolphins were Cameron Wake and Randy Starks who each made the Pro Bowl for the first time.
2011: When the season began for the Dolphins it was clear that Coach Tony Sparano sat on the hottest seat in the NFL, as the team made no secret that it was looking into hiring Jim Harbaugh during the off-season. Starting the year on Monday Night against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins had a chance to make a strong early statement. However, their defense which included the returning Jason Taylor was shredded by Tom Brady who passed for 517 yards with four touchdowns, including a 99 yard pass to Wes Welker. Dolphins Quarterback Chad Henne had a good game, but his 416 yards and two Touchdowns went largely ignored. A week later the Dolphins struggles at home continued as their offense sputtered in a 23-13 loss to the Houston Texans. Leading the Cleveland Browns 16-10 late in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins again suffered heartbreak as Colt McCoy connected with Mohamed Massaquoi on a game winning 14 yard Touchdown pass with 14 seconds left as the Browns won 17-16. The following week, the Dolphins would lose again on the road to the San Diego Chargers 26-16, as QB Chad Henne separated his non-throwing shoulder and was lost for the season. With Matt Moore making the start, the Dolphins played a listless Monday Night Game in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets, losing 24-6. Returning home, the Dolphins appeared to be on their way to their first win, as they held a 15-0 lead against the Denver Broncos. In the game, Tim Tebow struggled for three and half quarters. However, Tebow demonstrated his late game magic with two touchdown passes surrounding an onside kick recovery. He than converted a two point conversion to tie the game and force overtime. In overtime Tebow shined again as the Broncos won the game 18-15 on a 52 yard field goal from Matt Prater. Back in the Meadowlands against the New York Giants on the weekend of a freak October snow storm the Dolphins again held a fourth quarter lead. However, the Giants rallied with ten unanswered points to win the game 20-17 as the Dolphins dropped to 0-7. A week later the Dolphins losing streak would come to an end, as Matt Moore was on fire early with three touchdown passes as the Dolphins clobbered the Kansas City Chiefs 31-3 on the road. A week later, with Reggie Bush running in two touchdowns the Dolphins would beat the Washington Redskins 20-9 to end their Sun Life Stadium losing streak. After a solid 35-7 win over the Buffalo Bills at home, the Dolphins faced the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving seeking a fourth straight win. It would be another strong effort from the Dolphins, but this time they would fall short as the Cowboys won 20-19 on Dan Bailey's 28 yard field goal as time expired. Led by Reggie Bush and Matt Moore, the Dolphins solid play continued as they improved to 4-8 with a 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. A week later the Dolphins were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 26-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Following the loss Coach Tony Sparano was fired, and replaced by Todd Bowles for the remainder of the season. Under Bowles, the Dolphins strong play would continue as they won two of their last three games, including a 19-17 win to eliminate the Jets from the playoffs in the last game of the season. The last game of the season was a send off to Jason Taylor who announced his retirement prior to the game. For a moment it looked as if JT would end his career with a TD of a fumble return, but the play was reversed as the runner was ruled down by contact. The Dolphins would begin anew following the season, as they sought a new franchise Quarterback and drafted Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M, they also brought in Tannehill's college coach Mike Sherman to be the Offensive Coordinator. Sherman had previously worked with Brett Favre with the Green Bay Packers, as did their new head Coach Joe Philbin.
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