View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Miami Dolphins All-Franchise Team
Since their beginning in the American Football League (AFL), the Miami Dolphins have had a plethora of talent and successful seasons. The Dolphins have won 13 AFC East Championships, five AFC Championships, and two Super Bowls. The Dolphins also own the only perfect season in the Super Bowl era (1972).
Recent seasons may not show consistent success like the teams of the 1970’s and 1980’s, but the Dolphins still have had some of the greatest players in NFL history play for the franchise. These legends have made the Dolphins consistent since the 1970’s.
The writers at Last Word on Pro Football have put together a series marking the greatest all-time teams in the history of each of the 32 NFL franchises. This installment is on the Miami Dolphins. It’s time to take a look at the players who make up the Miami Dolphins All-Franchise Team.
Head Coach – Don Shula
Don Shula got his start as a head coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1963. After losing to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and missing the playoffs in 1969, Shula left Baltimore to become the Head Coach of the Dolphins. In Miami Shula led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl championships and five appearances overall. He retired in 1995 and still holds the record for the most wins in NFL history by a head coach with 328.
Quarterback- Dan Marino
The legendary Dan Marino began his career with the Dolphins in 1983. In his second season, Marino set a then NFL record with 48 touchdown passes in a single season. That same season he led the Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX against the San Fransisco 49ers. The Dolphins couldn’t overcome Marino’s two interceptions and lost 38-16 to the 49ers. Marino never won a Super Bowl but proceeded to be one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He went on to appear in nine Pro Bowls and won the 1984 NFL Most Valuable Player Award. On top of that Marino was named to three All-Pro teams and was named the 1994 Comeback Player of the Year. Marino retired after the 1999 season after the 62-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
Running Back/ Fullback- Larry Csonka
While the fullback is not used as much in today’s game, this list wouldn’t be complete without Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka. Csonka was the Dolphins bruising force behind their two Super Bowls. In Super Bowl VIII Csonka’s performance led the Dolphins to victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Csonka was awarded Super Bowl MVP. Csonka retired in 1979. He finished his career with 8,081 and 64 touchdowns. Csonka is a two-time Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, five-time Pro Bowler, three-time first team All-Pro, and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Wide Receiver – Paul Warfield
Paul Warfield began his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1964. Warfield was traded to Miami in 1970 and was a key piece to two Super Bowl Championships in the 1970’s. In 1971 Warfield led the Dolphins in receiving with 996 yards and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 11. In 1972 his 606 yards helped the Dolphins achieve a perfect 17-0 season. Warfield left Miami in 1974 and retired in 1977 in Cleveland. Warfield is a two-time Super Bowl Champion, a 1964 NFL Champion, eight-time Pro Bowler, six-time First Team All-Pro, one-time Second Team All-Pro, and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Wide Receiver – Mark Clayton
Mark Clayton is the first of the two Marks Brothers to be featured on this All-Franchise Team. Clayton was the favorite target of Dan Marino. He went to five Pro Bowls, and he was a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection. In 1984 Clayton caught a whopping 18 touchdowns, a then NFL record. Clayton retired in 1994 after a stint with the Packers. He finished with 8,974 receiving yards and 84 touchdowns.
Wide Receiver – Mark Duper
The second half of the Marks Brothers is Mark Duper. Super Duper played 11 seasons in Miami alongside Mark Clayton. His best season came in 1984 and 1986. In 1984 Duper caught 71 passes for 1,306 yards and eight touchdowns. Then in 1986 Duper tallied 67 receptions for 1,313 yards and 11 touchdowns. Duper retired from the NFL in 1992. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time First Team All-Pro.
Tight End – Bruce Hardy
Burce Hardy has played in more games and seasons than any tight end in the history of the Miami Dolphins. Hardy came to Miami as a rookie in 1979. Hardy played in 151 games for the Dolphins over 12 seasons. He retired in 1989 and his career statistics are 256 receptions for 2,455 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Left Tackle – Richmond Webb
Richmond Webb was one of the best tackles of the 1990’s. Webb was named Rookie of the Year in 1990. He made seven straight Pro Bowls from 1990 until 1996. Webb is a two time First Team All-Pro and a two-time Second Team All-Pro selection. Webb’s dominance of protecting Dan Marino awarded a spot on the All-1990’s Decade Team. He left Miami after the 2000 season and retired after two years with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Left Guard – Larry Little
Larry Little is the best guard in the history of the Miami Dolphins. He was a part of one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history. Little led the Dolphins to two Super Bowls as a member of the offensive line. Little is a five-time Pro Bowler, five-time First-Team All-Pro selection, two-time Second-Team All-Pro selection, and a member of the 1970’s All-Decade Team. He became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Center – Jim Langer
The choice of the best Center in Dolphins history was a tough one to make. Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson are both Hall of Famers but the Langer separated himself just enough to be selected. Langer played 10 seasons in Miami. From 1973 until 1978 Langer made six Pro Bowls, four first-team All-Pro teams, and two second-team All-Pro teams. These accolades helped him land a spot on the 1970’s All-Decade Team solidifying his spot as the best center of his era.
Right Guard – Mike Pouncey
Mike Pouncey is one of the more recent members of the Dolphins to make this All-Franchise Team. Pouncey started all 93 games he played in Miami from 2011 until 2017. Pouncey was a force a right guard for the Dolphins since being switched from the center position. He made three straight Pro Bowlers from 2013 through 2015. Pouncey left Miami during the 2018 offseason.
Right Tackle – Norm Evans
Right tackle is not one of the richest positions in the history of the Dolphins. This makes Norm Evans an easy selection for the squad. Norm Evans joined the Dolphins after being selected in the 1966 AFL Expansion Draft. Evans made two Pro Bowls during his time in Miami. He played in three consecutive Super Bowls and won two with Miami. Evans left after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 Expansion Draft.
Defensive End – Cameron Wake
Cameron Wake is the only current Miami Dolphin to make this team. Cameron Wake began his career with the Dolphins in 2009 after a stint in the CFL. Wake has been a dominant force on the Dolphins defensive line. His best season came in 2012 when he eclipsed the 15.0 sack mark. After the 2017 season, his career statistics are 324 tackles, 92.0 sacks, one interception, 21 forced fumbles, and two touchdowns. The five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection will look to add on to his career totals in 2018.
Defensive Tackle – Manny Fernandez
Manny Fernandez was a dominant interior defensive lineman for the 1970’s Miami Dolphins. Fernandez played for the Dolphins from 1968 until 1975. Fernandez’s biggest moment in Miami came in Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins. Fernandez recorded 17 tackles and was snubbed for the MVP award. Fernandez finished his career with 35 sacks, and he was named to two Second-Team All-Pro teams in 1970 and 1973.
Defensive Tackle – Bob Baumhower
Bob Baumhower began his career with the Dolphins in 1977. Baumhower is a part of a dominant defensive known as the Killer B’s. During his 1983 season, he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus. Baumhower was named to five Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams. Baumhower retired after the 1986 season and was named to the Dolphins Ring of Honor in 2008.
Defensive End – Jason Taylor
Jason Taylor is the greatest defensive player in the history of the Miami Dolphins. The dominant force had three stints with the Dolphins. Taylor’s first stint with Miami began in 1997. During this first term, Taylor was named to six Pro Bowls, three First-Team All-Pro selections, two AFC Defensive Player of the Year awards, one NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and was the 2002 sack leader. After spending 2008 with the Redskins Taylor returned in 2009. Taylor then left again and finished his career in 2011 with Miami. Taylor has 139.5 sacks, 775 tackles, and the NFL record for fumbles recoveries with 29. He received football’s highest honor by being inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Linebacker – Nick Buoniconti
Nick Buoniconti became a Dolphin in 1969 after seven years with the Boston Patriots. Buoniconti’s leadership made him a vital piece of the Dolphins defense. In 1973 he set a then-team record of 162 tackles. Buoniconti is a part of the 1972 Dolphins and won two Super Bowls in Miami. He made two Pro Bowls and is a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection. Buoniconti retired after the 1976 season. He is a member of the Dolphins Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Linebacker – Zach Thomas
Zach Thomas is the most dominant linebacker in Dolphins franchise history. In 1996 Thomas became a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie in Miami. Due to his successful 1997 and 1998 campaigns. Thomas made his first two All-Pro teams. Due to his 133 tackle 1999 season, Thomas became a Pro Bowle starter for the first time. Thomas continued to dominate in the 2000’s making the Pro Bowl three more times. Thomas left Miami after the 2007 season and retired after one season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Linebacker – John Offerdahl
John Offerdahl made his presence felt immediately in Miami. Offerdahl became a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 1986. This kicked off a stretch of five consecutive Pro Bowls for Offerdahl from 1986 until 1990. During 1986 and 1990 Offerdahl was named First-Team All-Pro. Injuries began to limit Offerdahl later in his career. Due to his injuries, he retired after the 1993 season.
Cornerback – Sam Madison
Sam Madison is the most dominant remember if the 2000’s Miami Dolphins secondary. Madison’s 1999 season started a streak of four consecutive Pro Bowls. Madison led the league in interceptions in 1999 with seven. He is a four-time All-Pro selection, aking all four from 1998 until 2001. Madison left Miami after the 2005 season and won a Super Bowl in 2007.
Cornerback – Patrick Surtain
The second member of the 2000’s Miami Dolphins secondary to crack the team is Patrick Surtain. Surtain was a part of a dynamic duo with Sam Madison. In 2002 and 2003 Suratin’s 13 combined interceptions landed him two All-Pro honors. His dominant performances earn him three straight Pro Bowls from 2002 through 2004. In 2005 Surtain was traded to Kansas City.
Safety – Brock Marion
Brock Marion is a member of one of the best secondaries of the early 2000’s. Marion came to Miami after winning a Super Bowl in 1995. As a result, Marion was the perfect fit to blanket Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison in the Miami Dolphins secondary. Due to his hard-hitting and ball-hawking abilities, Marion became a three-time Pro Bowler in Miami. Due to salary cap restrictions, Marion was released after the 2003 season.
Safety – Louis Oliver
Louis Oliver is one of the most consistent contributors to the 1990’s Dolphins. Oliver was always in the right place at the right time. In 1992 he intercepted a pass from Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and returned it 103 yards for a touchdown, a franchise record. Oliver left for Cincinnati after five seasons but later returned to finish his career with the Dolphins.
Kicker – Olindo Mare
Olindo Mare is well regarded as one of the best kickers if the early 2000’s. Mare’s 1999 season is his best. Mare led the league in field goals attempted and made. Due to his performance, he made the 1999 Pro Bowl and was named All-Pro. Mare is a model of consistency and remained in Miami until the end of the 2006 season.
Punter – Reggie Roby
Reggie Roby is one of the best punters to ever do it. Roby made an impact for the Miami Dolphins from day one. Due to his dominance, Roby made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team in Miami. Roby is also a member of the 1980’s All-Decade Team. Roby left Miami in 1994 and retired after the 1998 season.
Kick Returner/Punt Returner – Mercury Morris
Due to limited slots at the running back position, Mercury Morris lost the nod to Larry Csonka. No Dolphins squad would be complete without Mercury Morris, so I have decided to showcase his return abilities. For five of his seasons, Morris was the Miami Dolphins featured return man. In this stretch, Morris returned three kicks for touchdowns and averaged 26.5 yards a return. Morris is best remembered in the backfield, but his returning abilities can’t be overlooked.
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