During the 2015 seasons, the Miami Dolphins celebrated their 50th season as a professional football franchise. And to commemorate the milestone, they named their 50 greatest players in team history. When you have a history as rich and deep as theirs is, you have a list that boast some of the greats that have ever played the game.
Think about the Dolphins as a franchise. They’re the only team to complete an undefeated regular and postseason (1972, 14-0; 3-0), a feat they won’t let us forget. That was followed by a second Super Bowl title (VIII) in the following season. In their 50 seasons of play, the Dolphins have also won 5 Conference Championships, 13 Division titles and made the playoffs 22 times.
They have the 4th best win percentage (.561) in NFL history, their 429 regular season victories is the most of any team with 50 season of play or less. 9 former Dolphins are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But these are the four of which I deem are the greatest in their history, and should be on the team’s Mount Rushmore.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Don Shula (1970-1995) is the Dolphins all-time leader in career wins (257) and is the NFL’s all-time leader in wins as coach (347) when you combine his record with the Baltimore Colts. A 6-time NFL Coach of the Year, Shula led the club to its only Super Bowl victories (VII, VIII), including the only undefeated season in NFL history (14-0, regular season; 3-0, playoffs in ’72). 5-times he led the Dolphins to the AFC Championship title, and he is tied for the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6). Shula is a member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team, Miami Dolphins Honor Roll, Dolphins top 50 players/coaches of all-time list, and the team’s ring of fame. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Dan Marino (1983-1999) is the Dolphins career leader in wins (147), passing yards (61,361), passing touchdowns (420), completions (4,967) and attempts (8,358). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 6-time All-Pro selection retired from the NFL with nearly every passing record in NFL history. When he retired he held 43 NFL records including most passing yards and passing touchdowns, since passed by Brett Favre, then Peyton Manning. Marino still holds 12 records, 9 of them he’s tied for 1st place. In 1984 he became the first QB to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season (1994), he won his only NFL MVP that season. He is only one of three former Dolphins players to have his jersey retired (#13) and holds the team record for most seasons played (17). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Larry Csonka (1968-1974) is Miami’s all-time leader in rushing yards (6,737) and rushing touchdowns (53). The 5-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro selection helped the team to 2 Super Bowl Championships (VII, VIII) and the MVP of Super Bowl VIII. He was a member of the 1972 perfect season. Csonka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and his jersey number 39 is one of only three retired by the organization.
Bob Greise (1967-1980) was the team’s career leader in nearly every passing category when he retired. While he’s mostly known today for his work in the broadcast booth, the 2-time AFL All-Star, 6-time Pro Bowl and 2-time All-Pro was named NFL MVP (1971, 1977) twice. Griese was under center for 2 Super Bowl Championship teams (VII, VIII) and the perfect season in 1972. He was the team’s MVP 6-times. In 1985 the team retired his jersey number 12, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Fins fans let me know what you think. Would this be your Dolphins Mount Rushmore? If not tell me who would make up your list.