The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami, Florida Metropolitan Area. They play home games at Dolphin Stadium, in the suburb of Miami Gardens. They are headquartered at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins belong to the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Dolphins were founded by Joseph Robbie, began play in the American Football League as an expansion team in 1966, and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. The Dolphins are the oldest major-league professional sports franchise in the state of Florida.
The team made its first Super Bowl appearance following the 1971 season in Super Bowl VI, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys. In 1972, the Dolphins completed the NFL's first perfect season culminating in a Super Bowl win, winning all 14 regular season games, two playoff games and Super Bowl VII. To date, they are the only team to have done so. The 1972 Dolphins held the fourth perfect regular season in NFL history. The team also won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, and the second team (first AFL/AFC team) to win back-to-back championships. Miami also appeared in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX, losing both games.
For most of their history, the Dolphins were coached by Don Shula, the most successful head coach in professional football history. His Dolphins teams posted losing records in only two of his 26 seasons with the club. Six future Hall of Fame members played for Miami during the 1970s, including running back Larry Csonka and quarterback Bob Griese. During the 1980s and 1990s quarterback Dan Marino became the most prolific passer in NFL history, breaking numerous league passing records. He led the Dolphins to numerous playoff appearances and Super Bowl XIX.
The Dolphins were successful in the early 1970s, becoming the first team to advance to the Super Bowl for three consecutive seasons. They captured the AFC championship in 1971 behind quarterback Bob Griese, running backs Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick, and wide receiver Paul Warfield. The AFC Divisional Playoff Game, in which the Dolphins defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, was the longest contest in NFL history (82 minutes 40 seconds). In Super Bowl VI, however, Miami lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24–3.
In 1972 the Dolphins completed the NFL's only perfect season, winning 14 regular season games, two playoff games and Super Bowl VII, defeating the Washington Redskins 14-7. QB Griese fell victim to a broken leg and dislocated ankle in Week 5 versus the San Diego Chargers and was replaced by veteran Earl Morrall for the rest of the regular season, but returned to the field as a substitute during the AFC Championship game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and then started in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins set the NFL single-season rushing record, and running backs Csonka and Mercury Morris became the first teammates to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season. The offensive line included future Hall of Fame members Jim Langer and Larry Little and Pro Bowler Bob Kuechenberg. The 1972 Dolphins defensive unit, called the No-Name Defense because Miami’s impressive offense received much more publicity, was the league’s best that year. It was led by linebacker Nick Buoniconti, end Bill Stanfill, tackle Manny Fernandez and safeties Dick Anderson and Jake Scott.
Before the 1972 Dolphins, only the Chicago Bears, in 1934 and 1942, had finished an NFL regular season with no losses or ties. The 1934 team lost the NFL Championship Game that year to the New York Football Giants, and the 1942 team lost the Championship to the Redskins. The Cleveland Browns were undefeated in the 1948 All-America Football Conference season.
The Dolphins finished 12–2 after the 1973 regular season and repeated as NFL Champions, beating the Minnesota Vikings 24–7 in Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston. Miami reached the playoffs again in 1974 but lost in the first round to the Oakland Raiders, in what has entered NFL lore as the "Sea of Hands" game, considered one of the greatest games ever played. Following the 1974 season, the Dolphins lost Csonka, Kiick, and Warfield to the World Football League.
Miami rebounded from a 6–8 record in 1976 by winning ten or more games in four of the next five seasons. Shula built a solid defense around a new set of stars, including linebacker A.J. Duhe and linemen Bob Baumhower and Doug Betters. The Dolphins went 10–4 again in 1977, but again lost the division title (and playoff spot) to the Colts. They made the playoffs as a wild card in 1978, but lost in the first round to the Houston Oilers 17-9.
Csonka returned to the Dolphins in time for the 1979 season. After winning the division with a 10–6 record, the Dolphins lost the divisional playoff 34–14 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium.
The Dolphins were back on top of the AFC East in the 1981 NFL season, with an 11–4–1 record. That season, the Dolphins quarterback position was actually manned by both Woodley and back-up quarterback Don Strock, causing the local media to identify the Miami quarterback as "Woodstrock." They reached the divisional playoff against the San Diego Chargers, known as The Epic in Miami and remembered as one of the most memorable games in NFL history, After being down 24–0 after the end of the first quarter, back-up quarterback Don Strock entered the game and engineered a frenetic comeback, culminating in the historic "Hook and Lateral" play, in which wide receiver Duriel Harris caught a pass from Strock and immediately lateralled the ball to the streaking running back Tony Nathan for the score on the last play of the half, which cut the Chargers lead to 24–17. After the Dolphins took the lead in the 4th quarter, San Diego tied it up 38–38 with under a minute to play. Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow, playing through exhaustion, blocked Uwe von Schamann's field goal try on the last play of regulation. Von Schamann had another field goal attempt blocked in overtime, and Rolf Benirschke kicked the game-winner for San Diego in overtime after missing a chip shot field goal earlier in overtime. Strock finished the game with 403 passing yards and 4 touchdowns.
In the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, the Dolphins, led by the "Killer B's" defense (Bob Baumhower, Bill Barnett, Lyle Blackwood, Kim Bokamper, Glenn Blackwood, Doug Betters, and Bob Brudzinski), held five of their nine opponents to 14 or fewer points en route to their fourth Super Bowl appearance. During the first two rounds of the playoffs, they got revenge for previous losses, crushing the Patriots, 28–13 (revenge for the infamous Snow Plow game at Schaeffer Stadium played earlier in the season) and the San Diego Chargers, 34–13 at the Orange Bowl. After shutting out the New York Jets in the AFC Championship 14–0 (aided by Shula's instructions to the Stadium's grounds crew to leave the field uncovered throughout a week long rain in Miami). This was done to negate the Jets superior edge in team speed. They lost Super Bowl XVII to Washington, 27–17. After enjoying success rooted in a defense-first philosophy, and employing a ball control offense to take pressure off of lackluster quarterbacks, the next 17 seasons would be marked by an average rushing game and defense that limited a great quarterback.
During the third game of the 1983 season at the Los Angeles Raiders on Monday Night Football, Shula replaced quarterback David Woodley with rookie Dan Marino, who went on to win the AFC passing title helped by a ratio of 20 touchdowns versus 6 interceptions and the NFL Rookie of the Year award. Seldom sacked by defenders, Marino was protected by an outstanding offensive line as he passed to receivers such as Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. Despite the regular season success (the Dolphins went 12–4 winning their last five regular season games, the only team in the AFC East with a winning record), they were upset in the divisional playoff by the Seattle Seahawks at the Orange Bowl. Defensive end Doug Betters was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
In 1984, the Dolphins won their first 11 games en route to a 14–2 season (the franchise's best 16-game season to date). Marino, in his first full season, produced the most impressive set of passing statistics in NFL history, setting single-season records for most yards (5,084), touchdown passes (48), and completions (362). He was voted NFL MVP. Miami avenged the Seahawks loss from the previous year 31-10 and crushed the Steelers 45–28 in the AFC Championship to get to Super Bowl XIX. In the title game, however, Miami lost to the San Francisco 49ers 38-16. It would be Marino's only Super Bowl appearance.
Miami finished 12–-4 in 1985 and, in an epic Monday Night Football showdown, handed the previously-undefeated Chicago Bears their only defeat of the season. After rallying from a 21-3 third quarter deficit in the divisional playoffs to beat the Cleveland Browns 24–21, many people were looking forward to a rematch with Chicago in Super Bowl XX. The Cinderella New England Patriots, the Dolphins' opponents in the AFC Championship, had different plans. New England forced six turnovers on the way to a 31–14 win - the Patriots' first in Miami since 1966. The Patriots has lost 18 games in a row at the Orange Bowl. In 1969, the Boston Patriots had beaten the Dolphins at Tampa Stadium.
In 1986, the Dolphins, hampered by defensive struggles, stumbled to a 2–5 start and finished 8–8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1977. The Dolphins lost their last ever game at the Orange Bowl to the New England Patriots 34–27 on Monday Night Football. The problems continued in 1987, with an 8–7 (7-5 in non-strike games) record in a strike-shortened year, their first at new Joe Robbie Stadium. Miami had their first losing season (6–10) since 1976 in 1988, and finished 8–8 following the 1989 regular season.
On January 3, 2007, Saban announced that he had accepted a contract for eight years and a guaranteed $32 million to coach at the University of Alabama. Saban left despite making several public statements in the preceding weeks assuring fans and owner Wayne Huizenga that he would be staying on as coach of the Dolphins. Cam Cameron, previously the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, was then introduced as the new head coach of the Dolphins.
For the 2007 season, the NFL scheduled the Dolphins' home game against the New York Giants on October 28 to be played in London's Wembley Stadium; this was the NFL's first regular-season game to be played outside of North America. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13-10. Five games after one of Miami's top wide receivers Chris Chambers, who was acquired in 2001, was traded to the San Diego Chargers. On December 16, the Dolphins ended a 16 game losing streak and beat the Baltimore Ravens at home 22–16 in overtime on a 64 yard touchdown from Cleo Lemon to Greg Camarillo. Despite the win over the Ravens, the team would lose its next two games to finish 1–15, which tied the NFL record for most losses in a season with 15, a record shared by 7 other teams, according to Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau.
Parcells then proceeded to hire Tony Sparano, who was previously an assistant under Parcells during his days as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. With the first round draft pick, fans anticipated Parcells to make sure that the team did not draft another bust like last years' selection of Ted Ginn. The Dolphins ultimately took Jake Long, star offensive lineman out of the University of Michigan.
Going into week 4, the only Dolphins victory was at the hands of the New England Patriots. They had a bye week going into week 4. Their next game was against the San Diego Chargers on October 5, 2008 in which they defeated them 17–10 and have a .500 record at 2–2.
According to a local newspaper, St. Petersburg Beach hosted the Dolphins very first training camp in 1966. The players were housed next to Sea World.
The Dolphins trained at Biscayne College, later renamed St. Thomas University, from 1970 until 1993.
In 1993, the Dolphins opened the Miami Dolphins Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. In 2006, the facility added a domed field which allows the team to practice during thunder storms which are frequent during summer training camps.
Except for a few minor changes throughout the years, the Dolphins logo and uniforms have essentially remained the same. The logo consists of a dolphin wearing a helmet with the sun shining behind it. The uniform design consists of white helmets, orange trim, and either white or aqua green jerseys. The team also wears either white or aqua green pants. The pants are composed of a high grade cotton/lycra polymer.
When the team's logo debuted in 1966, the dolphin's head was positioned so that its head was near the center of the sunburst. By 1974, the dolphin's body was centered on the sunburst. Because of the team's name and mascot, the Dolphins are sometimes referred to as "The Fish" even though dolphins are really mammals, not fish. The Florida Marlins, a Major League Baseball team that plays in the same stadium, are also called "The Fish." Another common Dolphins nickname is "The Fins."
In 1997, dark blue was added to the logo and uniforms as an accent color. The hashmarks around the perimeters of the logo's sunburst were removed, while the dolphin's features were accentuated. The Dolphins also changed from numbers outlined in orange to drop-shadow numbers.
Miami is one of the three NFL teams that primarily wear their white jerseys at home (the others being the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins), although they wore their aqua jerseys during games held at night. Since the 2003 season, the Dolphins have worn an alternate orange jersey twice for home night contests. They are 2-0 in games wearing the alternate jersey (in comeback wins against the Washington Redskins in 2003 and eventual Super Bowl champ and division rival New England in 2004). They did not wear the orange jerseys in the 2005 season because they had no night games, and they didn't wear them in 2006 despite playing the Jets on Monday Night Football on Christmas Day.
In 2005 and 2006, the Dolphins did not wear the aqua pants with the white jerseys, instead opting for the all-white combination. From 2000 through 2004, the Dolphins usually wore all-white at home and aqua pants with white jerseys on the road under former coach Dave Wannstedt (2000–2004) and interim coach Jim Bates (2004). This trend continued in 2007 under head coach Cam Cameron. However, in a pre-season game on August 16, 2008 at Jacksonville and against the cardinials, the Dolphins did wear the white jersey/aqua pants road combination made popular in the 1990s/2000s. It is unknown if this will continue throughout the 2008 regular season.
On three occasions, the Dolphins have worn an all-aqua combination for prime-time games: defeating the Chicago Bears in 2002, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003, and defeating the Cleveland Browns in 2004.
In February 2007, it was announced that the Dolphins would make slight alterations to their uniforms. The navy blue outline on the Dolphins numbers will be thinned in hopes of making them easier to read for viewers. Despite this news and contrary to rumors, the Dolphins have no plans to change the team's logo.
Miami has the Dolphins,
The greatest football team!
We take the ball from goal to goal,
Like no one's ever seen!
We're in the air,
We're on the ground,
We're always in control.
And when you say Miami,
You're talking Super Bowl!
Cause we're the Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins Number 1.
Yes we're the Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins Number 1.
Each of these players is honored with a placard on the facing of the upper level of one end zone at Dolphins Stadium. So is team founder-owner Joe Robbie, who has not yet been elected to the Hall of Fame. In place of a uniform number, Shula has the number 347, representing his record number of NFL coaching victories, 274 of them as Dolphins head coach.
It was announced on June 16, 2008 that DT Bob Baumhower and DE Doug Betters will be the 18th and 19th inductees into the Miami Dolphin Honor Roll. Their names will officially be unveiled at Dolphin Stadium during halftime ceremonies of Miami's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 14, 2008.
|Name||From||To||Regular Season Record||Post Season Record|
|George Wilson (AFL)||1966||1969||15||39||2||--||--|
|Jim Bates (interim)||2004||3||4||0||--||--|
Most preseason games are seen on WFOR (CBS) in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, WTVX (CW) in West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, and WXCW (CW) in Naples, Florida/Fort Myers with announcers Craig Bolerjack, Bob Griese, and Nat Moore.
|Years||Flagship station||Play-by-Play||Color commentator||Sideline Reporter|
|1966||610 WIOD||Johnny Bell||Dan Bossler|
|1967-69||610 WIOD||Bob Gallagher||Henry Barrow|
|1970||610 WIOD||Joe Croghan||Larry King|
|1971||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Larry King|
|1972||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Lou Creekmur|
|1973||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Fred Woodson|
|1974-76||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Henry Barrow|
|1977-91||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Hank Goldberg||Henry Barrow|
|1992-93||610 WIOD||Rick Weaver||Jim Mandich|
|1994-01||610 WIOD||Bill Zimpfer||Jim Mandich|
|2002-04||560 WQAM||Howard David||Jim Mandich|
|2005-06||790 WAXY||Jimmy Cefalo||Joe Rose||Nat Moore|
|2007-present||560 WQAM||Jimmy Cefalo||Jim Mandich and Joe Rose|