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 a foothold on an untouched ground, Miami is chosen to begin play in 1966, 20 years after an AAFC team failed. 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 a crowd of 26,776 at the Orange Bowl, the Dolphins get off to a fast start in their first regular-season game when Joe Auer returns the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins would lose the game 23-14 to the Oakland Raiders. The Dolphins would not win their first game until October 16th against the Denver Broncos. The highlight of the 24-7 victory was quarterback George Wilson Jr’s screen pass to Billy Joe, which turned into a 67-yard touchdown. 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 quarterback Bob Griese with the fourth overall pick. Griese would see action almost right away when 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. Winning still eluded the new franchise, which finished 4-10.
1968: In the draft, the Dolphins select Syracuse All-American Larry Csonka with the eighth overall pick. The Dolphins improve to 5-8-1 as Bob Griese sets then-club records with 2,473 yards, 186 completions, and 21 Touchdowns.
1969: The Dolphins make a splash by acquiring two future Hall of Famers in two separate deals. First, they acquire LB Nick Buoniconti from the Boston Patriots, and a few months later, 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 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 first-round draft pick to hire Don Shula as their new coach. Shula had experienced a great deal of success in Baltimore, leading the Colts to Super Bowl III. Still, 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 Paul Warfield to a growing talent pool of players. Shula seems to be just what the Dolphins needed as he leads them to a 10-4 record and earns Miami its first-ever birth in the playoffs. The Dolphins would lose their first 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 an ever-improving gang of defense, none of which are household names that earn 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 did 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 game against the Chiefs in Kansas City. 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 touchdown came when safety Dick Anderson returned an interception 62-yards.
Super Bowl VI: The Dolphins faced the Dallas Cowboys at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Cowboys, who have been knocking on the door of greatness for six years, were determined not to let another Super Bowl get away from them. The Dolphins were simply overmatched by the more experienced team from Dallas, which rushed for 252 yards in a 24-3 rout of the Dolphins.
1972: The Miami Dolphins started the season in Kansas City, and jumped out to a 20-0 lead, and held on to win 20-10 over the Chiefs in the 1st ever game at Arrowhead Stadium. In the home opener, the Dolphins 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 ten unanswered points to beat the Vikings 16-14. The Dolphins would improve to 4-0 a week later with a 27-17 win over the New York Jets at Shea Stadium. In Week 5, the Dolphins returned home and saw their road to the Super Bowl hit a road bump when quarterback Bob Griese broke his leg against the San Diego Chargers. Before the season, the Dolphins picked Earl Morrall off waivers, and Morrall filled in perfectly, helping the Dolphins improve to 5-0 with a 24-10 win. Morrall would start the rest of the regular season, helping Miami rally to beat the Buffalo Bills 24-23 in Week 6. The Dolphins would get to 7-0 easily with a 23-0 whitewashing 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 a 30-16 win. In Week 9, the Dolphins made a statement slaughtering the New England Patriots 52-0 at the Orange Bowl. Week 10 saw another test for the Dolphins, who 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 St. Louis 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 two field goals in the fourth quarter from Garo Yepremian to win 23-13. With 13 games down, the Dolphins had just one 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.
1972 Playoffs: The unbeaten Miami Dolphins faced the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional round. The Dolphins would jump out to a quick 10-0 lead, but the Browns defense would clamp down and hold Miami off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. After a Garo Yepremian Field Goal made it 13-7, the Dolphins were stunned as the Browns went down the field to take a 14-13 lead in the 4th quarter. Jim Kiick would score a touchdown from eight yards out to give the Dolphins a 21-14 win with time winding down. With the win, the Dolphins moved on to the AFC Championship game. The best record was not decided at the time home field. Instead, it was rotated among the three divisions. This meant the Dolphins had to through Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh to reach Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins appeared out of sync early as the Steelers recovered a fumble in the end zone to take an early 7-0 lead. The Dolphins would rally to tie it at halftime, but after the Steelers took a 10-7, Don Shula felt it was time for a change and sent Bob Griese back in at quarterback to replace Earl Morrall. The Dolphins’ offense was still sputtering as they were forced to punt. Looking for a spark, Shula decided it was time for some trickery as punter Larry Seiple ran the ball 17 yards to get a game-changing first down and the. Two Jim Kiick touchdowns gave the Dolphins the lead for good as they won the game 21-17 to become the first AFC team to make it to two straight 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 one and a 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 two 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 field goal. Had Yepremian connected, the score would have been 17-0, and the same record as the undefeated Dolphins was too perfect to be true. As it stands, it was as Yepremian’s kicked was blocked. After a poorly advised pass from Yepremian pass was intercepted and returned for TD by Mike Bass, the lead was down to 14-7 Yepremian was forced to sweat out the final minutes on the sidelines. However, the Dolphins’ defense was 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 a single-game rushing record of 197 yards on 15 carries with three TDs (24, 70, 35) in a 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 fourth time in row 44-0 as CB Tim Foley returned two blocked Punts for TDs. The Dolphins would close out the regular season with a 34-7 victory over the Detroit Lions, which was highlighted by four Touchdowns receptions by Paul Warfield. The win improved the Phins to 26-2 over the two-year stretch, which is the best record over a two-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 third consecutive Super Bowl, becoming the first 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 scored two touchdowns, as the Dolphins win their second straight Super Bowl with a 24-7 romp over the Viking, as the Dolphins become just the second team ever to win two straight Super Bowls. . So overwhelming was the Dolphins run game and ball control offense that QB Bob Griese only needed to make seven passes completing six 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 third 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, the Dolphins went to Oakland for the Divisional Playoffs, hoping for one last crack at the Super Bowl because of the loss of key players to the WFL. The game would go back and forth as the Dolphins led 26-21 late in the fourth 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 two-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. The Dolphins would still be competitive as they continued to beat up on the Jets and Bills. 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. The Dolphins would not quit, and with Don Strock leading the team at quarterback, the Dolphins went into the last game of the season in a first-place showdown with Baltimore Colts. However, the Dolphins would lose 10-7 in overtime 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 third place with a disappointing 6-8 record, suffering through their first losing season in seven 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 third 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 six touchdowns, 503-yard game in St. Louis against the Cardinals, is named Player of the year by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.
1978: Despite quarterback Bob Griese missing the first seven 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 running back Delvin Williams, who sets a team record with 1,258 yards rushing on the season. In the first playoff game involving two Wild Cards, the Dolphins are stunned 17-9 by the Houston Oilers at the Orange Bowl.
1979: Before 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 three 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 five years. Among the season highlights are the Dolphins’ 19th and 20th consecutive wins over the Buffalo Bills. For the entire decade of the 1970s, 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 the first quarter to win 34-14 on their way to their second straight Super Bowl title.
1980: Quarterback 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 third 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 quarterback. During the 11-4-1 season, Don Shula reached a milestone by winning the 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 first 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 quarterback, Don Strock threw a pass over the middle to WR Duriel Harris, who lateraled to WR Tony Nathan, who ran the ball in for Touchdown. The play sparked the Dolphins, who came back and took the lead in the fourth quarter. The Killer Bees could not contain Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts who tied the game and forced overtime, where the Chargers won the game on a Rolf Pernershka Field Goal in the 14th minute of Overtime.
1982: After a scintillating playoff game against the San Diego Chargers, there was a reason for optimism, but the season was put in jeopardy when the NFLPA went on strike on September 21st. The strike would last two months and would force the NFL to go with a limited nine-game schedule. When the season resumed in November, the Dolphins were in a 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 Field Goal 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 field goal and gave the Dolphins a bitter 3-0 defeat. The Dolphins would finish with the second 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 second round, the Dolphins choked off the San Diego Chargers’ famed offense and defeated 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 downpour 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 they defeated ten 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 Touchdown that Fulton Walker went 98 yards. The Dolphins’ offense would sputter in the second half as Quarterbacks David Woodley and Don Strock only completed one pass. The Dolphins’ lead stood up into the fourth quarter when 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 the 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. Despite 322 yards passing from their star rookie, the Bills beat the Dolphins for the first time in 17 years at the Orange Bowl 38-35 in Overtime. 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 a 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 quarterback to pass for over 5,000 yards and score over 40 TD in a season. In the Divisional Playoffs, the Dolphins get revenge from 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 fifth 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 matchup of great quarterbacks Dan Marino and Joe Montana. 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 a 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 fourth 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 the 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 was closer than 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. 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 throughout the game with six 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 than in the second game of the season when the Dolphins lost 51-45 in Overtime to the Jets at the Meadowlands. Marino passes for 448 yards and six touchdowns in the game, 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 an NFL record for pass completions in a season.
1987: After the first Regular Season Game at Joe Robbie Stadium is canceled 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 a 21-point lead as the Bills won 34-31 in Overtime. The Dolphins would 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 fourth 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 second 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 fourth straight season’s playoffs with an 8-8 record. On January 7th, only two 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 four 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 seven 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 an NFL playoff record 58 yard Field Goal from Pete Stoyanovich and a late touchdown 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 combined 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 second coach ever to reach the 300-win mark and is only 24 behind George Halas’ NFL record. Dan Marino also makes history by becoming the first quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards eight 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 Hurricane Andrew’s devastation. This would cause the Dolphins to play 16 consecutive weeks without a bye. However, that would have no adverse effect on the Dolphins what so ever, as Dan Marino has another stellar year to lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 record. Their 11-5 record was good enough to give them the AFC East title via a tie-breaker over the Buffalo Bills. The season’s key victory 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 Touchdown. 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 third straight Super Bowl tying the Dolphins record. In the heart-breaking Championship Game, the Dolphins aid the Bills cause with five key turnovers.
1993: The Dolphins get off to a 3-1 start, as Dan Marino becomes the fourth quarterback 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 win his first two games as a starter, helping Don Shula tie George Halas’ record of 324 career coaching wins. After a November 7th loss to the Jets, the Dolphins go to Philadelphia for a November 14th game against the Eagles. In the third, the injury bug bites the Dolphins again as quarterback Scott Mitchell separates his shoulder. With the Dolphins trailing 14-13 in the third quarter, Don Shula would have to rely on third-stringer Doug Pederson to break George Halas’ win record. Pederson is so nervous he throws up when he is told to enter the game. However, he is able to guide the Dolphins to two Field Goals 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 quarterback 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 Field Goal 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 Field Goal, this time from only 20 yards away. This time Stoyanovich nails it dead center to give the Dolphins a 16-14 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 five games, which causes them to miss the playoffs. 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 first game, passing for 473 yards and five touchdowns in a 39-35 win over the New England Patriots. Marino becomes just the second quarterback to throw over 300 touchdowns passes in his career during the game. 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 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 Wild Card Round. 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 historical footnote as it ends up being the final game for Hall of Fame Quarterback 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. Two weeks later, in Indianapolis Dan Marino, he throws his 343rd career touchdown pass, breaking Fran Tarkenton’s record. However, the Dolphins lose all three games and finish with a 9-7 record, barely squeezing into the playoffs as the sixth 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 two losing seasons and wins two Super Bowls in five 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 the Bills for the first time in ten years. Karim Abdul-Jabar became 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 three games, including a final week Monday Night Showdown with Patriots for the Division Title. The Dolphins would also lose to the Patriots six 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 Touchdown 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 matchup 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 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 every week with a sore shoulder. Marino would eventually have to sit out five games because of it. When the Dolphins played their best football during Marino’s absence, Johnson and Marino’s already stormy relationship worsened. 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 one touchdown 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. One week later in Jacksonville, the Marino era will come to a forgettable end as the Dolphins lost 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 Passing Yards’ record with 61,361 and Touch Downs with 420. However, he never got back to the Super Bowl after his second season. Whether 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 to 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. Marino is inducted in the Dolphins honor roll in the ceremony, 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. The defense establishes itself early with a season-opening shutout over the Seahawks at the Pro 23-0. The Dolphins make the playoffs, but they also 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 a smothering defense among the top in 10 in almost all major categories. Besides, corners Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain lead a secondary that leads 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. Running back Lamar Smith helps lead the Dolphins back into the game and into Over Time. In overtime, Smith again gave the Dolphins a 23-17 win with a 17-yard run with 3:34 left in the first overtime. 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). One week later, in the Divisional Round, the Dolphins get blown out for the third consecutive year 34-0 at Oakland against the Raiders.
2001: With the starting quarterback 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 quarterback sneak with less than ten seconds left gave the Dolphins an 18-15 come from behind win. The Fiedler led Dolphins would get off to a fast winning six of their first eight games. 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. The Jets’ sweep caused the 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 running back 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. In a thrilling primetime game on the road against the Denver Broncos, quarterback Jay Fiedler injures his thumb as he Dolphins win in the final seconds 24-22 on a 55-yard Field Goal by Olindo Mare. With Fielder on the sidelines, the Dolphins would struggle as backup Ray Lucas struggled with turnovers as the Dolphins lost three straight games. Lucas would rebound to win two straight games, but the turnover bug once again was bit by the Buffalo Bills swept the Dolphins. Fiedler did return to play the second 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, two bad losses in the final two games to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots would drop the Dolphins out of the playoff completely as they finished in third 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 win their next four games to enter a showdown at Pro Player Stadium against the New England Patriots 4-1 with first place at stake. Simultaneously, 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 cost 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 Touchdown pass. Both of Mare’s misses came off the infield dirt. Injuries would once again take their toll on quarterback 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 father’s name as the Dolphins struggled to split the next four 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 Dolphins’ spirits, who carved the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving 40-21 to enter a must-win game against the Patriots with an 8-4 record. A blizzard would arrive in New England simultaneously, 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 two 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 in 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 than a month into the job Marino had a second thought about taking a job viewed mainly as a figurehead position and resigned. Randy McMichael would get arrested for domestic violence off the field, 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 too 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 six 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 matchup 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 quarterback A.J. Feeley was often mistake-prone throwing several interceptions that 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. The Dolphins defense intercepted Tom Brady twice in the final two minutes. Following the season, the Dolphins hoping to get the season behind them, hired LSU Coach Nick Saban to lead the future while releasing quarterback Jay Fiedler, who lost his job to Feeley during the season. The Dolphins would draft Ronnie Brown of Auburn with the second overall pick while leaving the door open for Ricky Williams.
2005: Ricky Williams would return to the Dolphins but would have to serve a four-game suspension for failing a drug test. Williams, the Dolphins, started the Nick Saban era in style by hammering the Denver Broncos 34-10 as Quarterback 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 one of their next seven games, including a horrible 22-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns as Frerotte and backup quarterback 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 fourth quarter trailing 23-3. With a Ricky Williams touchdown run, the Dolphins began creeping back into the game. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Dolphins got within a Touchdown 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 four-yard pass with six 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 an entire year. The loss of Ricky Williams would not sting too long as the Dolphins were proactive, as they acquired All-Pro quarterback Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings for a 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, optimism evaporated quickly as the Dolphins dropped the season opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-17. 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 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. Still, Culpepper continued to struggle. 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 two Touchdowns and three 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 crosswind 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. 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 quarterback. 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 their 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 Quarterback 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, like 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 he 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 the 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 their 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 Dolphins’ continued poor decision-making. 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 an 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 returning 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 North America. Nonetheless, the Dolphins were still as bad if not worse than their record suggested. Cleo Lemon demonstrated he had no business being an NFL starting quarterback 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 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 than Lemon as the Dolphins fell to 0-10 with a 17-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles 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 carries 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 fare any better in a 38-17 loss on the road to the Buffalo Bills that came one day before the first 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 breakthrough as Greg Camarillo turned a short pass from Cleo Lemon into a game-winning 64-yard TD dash. The win came more than 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 new President. As soon as the season was over, the house cleaning began as the Dolphins’ entire coaching staff and front office was purged. In his first front-office job, Parcells 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. eOne of his top assistants in Dallas was Tony Sparano, who would be the Dolphins’ eighth head coach. As the 1-15 season was still stinging and the Dolphins tried to dig through the ashes and find a foundation to build around the spirit and legacy of 1972, 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 matchup 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 halfback getting the ball from center and either running a 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. 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 Patriots exposed the Dolphins defense, who exacted revenge for the Week 3 loss by beating the Dolphins 48-28 in Miami. The Dolphins got back on track right away, beating the St. Louis Rams 16-12 and the Buffalo Bills 16-3 in Canada’s first NFL regular-season game. 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, the Dolphins’ ball control was the key as they tied an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game season with 13. In the Wild Card round, that ball control was nowhere 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 a division title’s momentum, the Dolphins started the season with a 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 for more than 40 minutes. 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. The Dolphins would lose Quarterback Char Pennington for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury in the game. With second-year quarterback 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 second 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 third 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 fourth 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 return 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, the defense 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 goal-line stand in the game’s closing minutes. The Dolphins would finally come home to face the New York Jets, but they could not 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 could not 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. Pennington would suffer a shoulder injury while leading the Dolphins down the field on the game’s first possession. Chad Henne would enter the game and suffer a knee injury forcing third-string quarterback 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, it was a different story at home 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. The Dolphins dropped to 6-6 on the season with the loss, posting a record of 1-5 at home. The Dolphins continued to channel Kenny Rodgers and won on the road 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 a 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 to their awful play at Sun Life 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 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 a half quarters. However, Tebow demonstrated his late-game magic with two touchdown passes surrounding an onside kick recovery. He then 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 snowstorm, the Dolphins again held a fourth-quarter lead. 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 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 before 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.
2012: The Dolphins’ new start came with a spotlight as their training camp was featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” reality show. The Dolphins had planned to be a veteran presence was Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. However, Johnson’s odd behavior became an instant distraction as a profanity-filled press conference embarrassed the team while barging in on coaches’ meetings angered the team. When Chad Johnson was arrested for domestic violence, it became too much for the Dolphins, and the veteran receiver was quickly released. Ryan Tannehill would be given a chance to learn under fire as he was one of five rookie quarterbacks starting in Week 1. Facing the Houston Texans on the road, the Dolphins would lead early; however, the Texans had too many weapons and would win the game 30-10. Tannehill would look much better in his second start as the Dolphins hosted the Oakland Raiders in their home opener. The Dolphins would break the game open on a pair of Reggie Bush touchdowns in the 3rd Quarter, as Ryan Tannehill connected with Tight End Anthony Fasano for his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins earned a 35-13 win. Week 3 would see one of the sloppiest games of the season as Tannehill was inconsistent as the Dolphins lost to the New York Jets in overtime 23-20. A week later, Ryan Tannehill would pass for 431 yards highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline, but once again, the Dolphins would lose in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals 24-21. A week later, the Dolphins defense rose to the occasion forcing three turnovers to earn a 17-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. Returning home, the Dolphins would get back to .500, thanks to a 17-14 win over the St. Louis Rams at home, with Ryan Tannehill tossing two Touchdown passes. After the bye week, the Dolphins rolled into the Meadowlands ahead of Hurricane Sandy and laid a 30-9 beat down of the Jets. Earlier on, it was clearly the Dolphins day as Olivier Vernon recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown. The win got the Dolphins to 4-3 and into the playoff race, but it would not last as they stumbled in November, dropping games to the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, and Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins would end their losing streak with a 24-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks, as Dan Carpenter completed a 4th Quarter rally with a 43-yard field goal in the game’s final seconds. However, after losses against the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, the Dolphins’ playoff hopes faded away. Looking to finish strong, the Dolphins won their last two games at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. However, with a chance to finish 8-8, the Dolphins were shutout 28-0 in the season finale against Foxboro’s Patriots. Finishing the season 7-9, the Dolphins had some hopeful signs for the future as Ryan Tannehill had 3,294 yards with 12 touchdowns in his first season in the NFL. Though not as good as other rookie making their debut during the season, Tannehill looked at times like the franchise QB the Dolphins have waited for since Dan Marino retired. On defense, Cameron Wake continued to develop into one of the league’s best [pass rushers with 15 sacks as Karlos Dansby recorded 101 solo tackles.
2013: Ryan Tannehill entered his second season, the Dolphins looked to give him some better targets as they signed Pro Bowl Receiver Mike Wallace five-year contract for an estimated $60 million. The Dolphins also signed Tight End Dustin Keller, but he would never play an official down in Miami, suffering a devastating knee injury during the pre-season. The Dolphins had a new look, as a more realistic dolphin replaced the helmet-wearing dolphin, with a modification to the aqua and orange colors. The Dolphins would begin the season with two straight road games. They could not have played any better in the opener, beating the Cleveland Browns 23-10 as Tannehill passed for 272 yards with a touchdown. A week later, Wallace would catch his first touchdown as the Dolphins and Colts lit up the field in the first half, with each team scoring 17 points. The defenses took over in the second half as the Dolphins limited the Colts to a Field Goal, while Charles Clay scored a one-yard run late in the fourth quarter to win the game 24-20 as Phillip Wheeler secured the win with a sack of Andrew Luck. In their home opener, the Dolphins struggled to allow the Atlanta Falcons to build an early 10-0 lead. With the Falcons still leading 20-10 in the third quarter, the Phins began to get back in the game as Caleb Sturgis nailed a 50 yard Field Goal, while Brian Hartline caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to even the score. The Falcons would regain the lead with a Field Goal in the fourth quarter. However, the Dolphins would win the game in dramatic fashion. Dion Sims caught the go-ahead touchdown with 38 seconds left to give Miami a 27-23 win and their first 3-0 start in over a decade. The Dolphins would face a major test in Week 4 as they played a Monday Night Game on the road against the New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins would not come out well, losing 38-17. They would also lose the following week at home to the Baltimore Ravens as their comeback effort was thwarted when Ryan Tannehill took an ill-timed sack, forcing Caleb Sturgis to try a 57-yard field goal, which was missed as the Ravens won 26-23. The Dolphins would continue to struggle after the bye week losing to the Buffalo Bills at Sunlife Stadium 23-21. The Dolphins’ errors were often self-inflicted with three turnovers, including a pick-six on the game’s first possession. The Dolphins would recover and take a 21-17 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Dan Carpenter came back to haunt his former team with two field goals to win the game for the Bills 23-21. The Dolphins would drop a fourth straight game on the road to the New England Patriots. Early on, the Dolphins were in control, leading 17-3 at halftime. However, Caleb Sturgis missed a 46 yard Field Goal, opening the way for the Patriots onslaught as they scored twice in under two minutes to even the score, as Tannehill was sacked and fumbled. The Patriots would win the game 27-17.
Bullying Scandal: The Dolphins offensive line was clearly the team’s weak spot, and they attempted to make improvements by acquiring Brandon McKinney from the Ravens. However, under the surface, there were deeper problems in the Dolphins locker surrounding the line. Second-year tackle Jonathan Martin was being tormented by teammates, led by Richie Incognito, the de facto captain of the Dolphins line. Martin, fed up by the bullying, suddenly left the team as they prepared to host the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween. The Dolphins, despite the distractions and a short week, would jump out in front early. However, the Bengals clawed their way back to tie the game on a dazzling run by Giovanni Bernard. The Dolphins would win the game 22-20 as Cameron Wake sacked Andy Dalton in the endzone for a safety in overtime. It was the first-ever overtime game to end with safety. After the game, nobody was talking about the Dolphins’ win. Instead, the focus came upon the offensive line and the bullying of Jonathan Martin. The story would explode, leaping beyond the sports pages and into the national discussion. The story would lead on nightly cable news programs, as the Dolphins suspended Richie Incognito for the rest of the season. Jonathan Martin had been the target of Incognito’s taunts from the start of his rookie season. Hazing included forcing Martin to pay for the rest of the line to go to Las Vegas. They would routinely force Martin to pick up the check. There were also numerous racially charged text messages and terroristic threats. When Martin initially brought the charges to Dolphins Management, General Manager Jeff Ireland told him to just punch him in the face. An investigation would reveal that Jonathan Martin was routinely bullied by his linemates, including John Jerry and Mike Pouncey along with Incognito, and that offensive line coach Jim Turner had encouraged the hazing to “toughen Martin Up,” as they held unit meetings at a strip club. After his suspension, Richie Incognito tried to clear his name, as he said he treated Jonathan Martin as a brother, but the proof was there, and the story cast a dark cloud on the Dolphins for the remainder of the season.
2013: With the bullygate scandal erupting, it was no surprise that the Dolphins would suffer a humiliating Monday Night 22-19 loss against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, they would rebound to beat the San Diego Chargers 20-16 in their next home game. Following a 20-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Dolphins began September with a dominant defensive effort in the Meadowlands. They beat the New York Jets 20-3, holding them to 177 total yards while forcing three turnovers. A week later, they would get back in the playoff picture with a crazy 34-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the snow at Heinz Field. After leading 17-7, early in the third quarter, the Dolphins fell behind 21-17. The Steelers scored twice in 53 seconds, with Troy Polamalu returning an off-target pass from Ryan Tannehill for a 19-yard interception return. From there, the Dolphins and Steelers traded scores until Charles Clay scored on a 12-yard pass play to give Miami a 31-28 lead with 2:53 left. The Dolphins would add a Caleb Sturgis Field Goal as they just needed one more stop to win the game. That was easier said than done as the Steelers in desperation lateral mode nearly pulled off the most insane play in NFL history. However, Antonio Brown slipped his toe out of bounds as the Dolphins held on to win 34-28 after seeing their lives and sanity passed before their eyes. Returning home, the Dolphins would continue their second-half resurgence, beating the Patriots 24-20. This time it was the Dolphins with the comeback, as they trailed early 10-0 and won the game on a 14-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to Marcus Thigpen. There were still a few white knuckle moments as Tom Brady drove the ball down to the Dolphins’ goalline before being picked off by Michael Thomas in the endzone to end the game. At 8-6, the Dolphins just needed to win one of their two remaining games to get the sixth spot in the playoffs. However, the Dolphins’ offensive line woes remerged as their offense could do little in a 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The season finale at home would be more of the same as the Dolphins were grounded by the Jets 20-7, finishing the season with a record of 8-8. Ryan Tannehill was sacked an NFL high 58 times, once again eliminating the offensive line woes. Following the season as part of the bullygate fallout, Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner and GM Jeff Ireland would be dismissed.
2014: Following their late-season collapse that led to another disappointing 8-8 season, the Miami Dolphins looked for less drama as they began the season at home against the hated New England Patriots. After trailing 20-10 at the half, the Dolphins defense completely shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots the rest of the way scoring 23 unanswered points to win the game 33-20. Ryan Tannehill had a big day to start the season with two touchdowns as Tom Brady was sacked four times. The Dolphins would not build off their win over the Patriots as they suffered a 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Returning home, the Dolphins defense looked to wilt in the South Florida heat, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 35-14 allowing 174 yards on the ground. Flying to London for the second time in team history, the Dolphins got back on track with an easy 38-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. The game’s aftermath had some irony, as the Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen, replacing him with former Dolphins head man Tony Sparano for the remainder of the season. Following a bye week, the Dolphins hosted the Green Bay Packers in a back and forth battled at Sun Life Stadium. After taking the lead in the fourth quarter with two early scores, the Dolphins would suffer a gut-wrenching 27-24 loss, as Aaron Rodgers hit Andrew Quarless in the end zone with three seconds left in the game. The Dolphins would rebound to win their next two games on the road against the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars. Returning home, the Dolphins played their most complete game of the season to blank the San Diego Chargers to improve to 5-3 at the season’s midway point. However, as they started to roll, the Dolphins suffered another heart wrenching last-minute loss in Week 10 at Ford Field. With Miami leading 16-13, the Detroit Lions drove 74 yards, as Matthew Stafford found Theo Riddick in the end zone for an 11-yard catch with 29 seconds left to win the game 20-16. Playing just four days later, the Dolphins did not have time to think about the loss, as they beat the Buffalo Bills 22-9 in a Thursday night showdown. A week later, the Dolphins would be put to the test as they face the Denver Broncos on the road. For most of the game, Miami was in control, leading 28-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. However, in the Mile High altitude, the Dolphins seemed to wear down as the game went along, sustaining several injures as the Broncos rallied to win 39-36. Playing on Monday Night in the Meadowlands the following week, the Dolphins’ defense was trampled in the first half by the New York Jets. Despite allowing nearly 200 yards if the first half on the ground and 277 yards for the entire game, the Dolphins were able to stay in the game and took over in the fourth quarter, with ten unanswered points as Caleb Sturgis hit 26 yard Field Goal with just under two minutes left to give the Dolphins a 16-13 win. Returning home, the Dolphins continued to follow up big wins with disappointing losses suffering a backbreaking 28-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. That loss would all but end the Dolphins’ playoff hopes as they suffered a 41-13 loss to the Patriots in Foxboro to fall to 7-7. In the craziest game of the year, the Dolphins would beat the Minnesota Vikings 37-35. After falling behind early 14-0, the Dolphins and Vikings traded scores all game, with the Dolphins tying the game with 1:16 left as Damien Williams caught a three-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins defense would force a three and out and then blocked a punt out the back of the end zone for a safety to win the game with 45 seconds left. The win was not enough as the Dolphins were still eliminated from the postseason. The Dolphins season would end once again with a 37-24 home loss to the Jets. Once again, they finished with a record of 8-8. The game would have some controversy as Mike Wallace asked to rest in the second half. This would lead to his departure from Miami ending a disappointing tenure, in which he never hustled, never seemed to care, and affirmed himself to be one of the NFL’s worst ever free agent signings.
2015: Looking to strengthen their defensive line, the Miami Dolphins signed All-Pro Ndamukong Suh to a six-year deal worth $114 million. That defense was needed in Week 1 as the Dolphins fell behind early 10-0 against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. The Dolphins would rally and win 17-10 on Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter. A week later, the Dolphins would not be as fortunate as they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-20, once again falling behind early and rallying to tie the game. Still, a penalty-filled final drive allowed the Jaguars to win the game on a 28-yard Field Goal by Jason Myers. A week later, in their home opener, the Dolphins never bothered to show, suffering a 41-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It was more of the same in London, as the Dolphins played a listless game against the New York Jets, losing 27-14. When the Dolphins returned home, coach Joe Philbin was fired. With Dan Campbell promising more discipline as interim coach, the Dolphins were much sharper after the bye week, beating the Tennessee Titans 38-10 in Nashville. They finally got their run game on track with Lamar Miller, rushing for 113 yards with a touchdown. Returning home, the Phins continued their resurgence under Dan Campbell, crushing the Houston Texans 44-26 as Ryan Tannehill passed for 282 yards with four scores as they jumped out to a 41-0 halftime lead and never looked back. However, Miami’s winning streak ended in Foxboro, as they suffered a 36-7 loss to the New England Patriots. Making matters worse, Cameron Wake suffered a season-ending Achille’s injury. The Dolphins would also lose their next game to the Bills 26-14 and appeared to be heading for a third straight loss on the road as the Philadelphia Eagles raced out to a 16-3 lead in the first quarter. The Dolphins would rally after Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was knocked from the game, winning 20-19 as Tannehill had a pair of touchdown passes, while Reshad Jones’ interception in the endzone was key to securing the win. Back in Miami for Week 11, the Dolphins would suffer another letdown, losing to the Dallas Cowboys 24-14 as Tony Romo played for the first time since Week 2 and had two touchdowns to end the Cowboys seven-game losing streak. Against the Jets at the Meadowlands, the Dolphins saw their playoffs hopes all but wiped out as they suffered an embarrassing 38-20 loss as Ryan Fitzpatrick tore the Dolphins secondary apart with 277 yards with four touchdowns. The Dolphins would beat the Baltimore Ravens 15-13 at Sun Life Stadium in Week 13 but dropped their next three games reach ten losses. With no chance to be named permeant coach Dan Campbell in his final game with the Dolphins went out a winner as the Dolphins stunned the Patriots 20-10 to finish the season with a record of 6-10. The season-ending win against the rival Patriots was extra satisfying for long-suffering Dolphins fans as it coasts New England home field in the playoffs, which would end up costing them a trip to the Super Bowl.
2016: It was a year of new beginnings for the Miami Dolphins, as renovations were completed at their stadium, now named Hard Rock Stadium, while Adam Gase was named the team’s new coach. The Dolphins had a tough task in their first game as they faced the Seattle Seahawks on the road. The Dolphins put forth an excellent defensive effort and took a 10-6 lead in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Ryan Tannehill. However, the Seahawks would win the game 12-10, scoring the game-winner with 31 seconds left on a Russel Wilson touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. In Week 2, the Dolphins fell behind early 24-0 against the New England Patriots in Foxboro. A strong second half saw them nearly get back in the game, losing 31-24. In their home opener against the Cleveland Browns, the Dolphins dodged several bullets as Codey Parkey missed three field goals, including a potential game-winner at the end of regulation. Given a reprieve, the Dolphins won the game in overtime 30-24, on an 11-yard run by Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins’ early-season struggles continued as they lost their next two games to the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans to fall to 1-4. With their season on the brink, the Dolphins turned to Jay Ajayi to turn things around. In a Week 6 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Hard Rock Stadium, Ajayi had a breakout game, rushing for 204 yards with two touchdowns as the Dolphins won 30-15. Ajayi was just as big the following week, rushing for 214 yards as the Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills 28-25, as Kenny Stills 66-yard touchdown catch proved to be the difference. Hosting the New York Jets a week later, the Dolphins used special teams magic to get back to .500 with a 27-23 win, as Kenyan Drake returned a kickoff 96 yards in the fourth quarter after the Jets had taken the lead. Following the bye week, the Dolphins went to Southern California for two straight games. Against the San Diego Chargers, the Dolphins defense made all the big plays picking off Phillip Rivers four times, highlighted by a 60-yard pick-six by Kiko Alonso to win the game 31-24 with 1:01 left in the game. Against the Los Angeles Rams, a week later, the Dolphins trailed 10-0 late in the fourth quarter when Ryan Tannehill connected with Jarvis Landry with 4:02 on the clock. After shutting the Rams on offense, Tannehill drove Miami down the field one more time and connected with DeVante Parker for a nine-yard touchdown to win the game 14-10. Returning home for Week 12, the Dolphins ran their winning streak to six games, as they beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-24. Ryan Tannehill had a big game against the 49ers, passing for 285 yards with three touchdowns, while Kiko Alonso made a game-saving tackle on Colin Kaepernick as time expired. The Dolphins’ winning streak would end with a 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on the road. With the playoffs still in reach, the Dolphins survived a battle with the Arizona Cardinals, winning 26-23 on a 21-yard field goal by Andrew Franks as time expired. The loss came with a price as Ryan Tannehill, who had three touchdowns in the game, suffered a season-ending knee injury. With Matt Moore getting the start in a Saturday Night game at the Meadowlands, the Dolphins beat the Jets 34-13 as Moore passed for 236 yards with four touchdowns. A week later, the Dolphins needed a Christmas miracle to beat the Buffalo Bills. After the Bills took a 31-28 lead with 1:11 left, Matt Moore got them just across midfield to set up Andrew Franks for a 56-yard field goal that forced overtime. In overtime, the Bills blew a chance to take the lead when Dan Carpenter missed a 45-yard field goal attempt. The Dolphins would get another break in overtime as Jay Ajayi broke off a 57-yard run that enabled Franks to win 34-31 with a 27-yard Field Goal. Coupled with a loss by the Denver Broncos a day later, the Dolphins secured their first playoff berth since 2008. The Dolphins would lose the regular-season finale to the Patriots 35-14 to finish the season with a 10-6 record. A driving force for the Dolphins’ turnaround was Jay Ajayi, who finished the year with 1,272 yards rushing, while Jarvis Landry had 1,136 receiving yards. On defense, Cameron Wake returned to Pro Bowl form after missing half of 2015 with an Achilles injury.
2016 Playoffs: The Miami Dolphins faced a tough task against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers jumped out early and fast on a pair of long touchdowns by Antonio Brown early in the first quarter. The Dolphins had their chances to get back in the game late in the second quarter, but a fumble by Matt Moore deep in Steelers territory seemed to end any chance they had at winning the game as the Steelers went on to win 30-12.
2017: The Miami Dolphins began the season hoping to build off their first playoff appearance in eight years but found themselves down a man before the season began as the knee that Ryan Tannehill injured at the end of the season was not ready, and surgery was needed despite initial diagnosis calling for rest. The Dolphins coaxed Jay Cutler out of retirement with a one-year contract worth $10 million to replace Tannehill. As the season was set to begin, the Dolphins found themselves running for cover as their opening week game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was postponed to Week 11 due to Hurricane Irma, meaning the Dolphins would play the 16-game schedule without a break. It also meant the Dolphins would travel around the world and back before playing their first home game. The Dolphins season began at the StubHub Center as the Los Angeles Chargers played their first home game since moving from San Diego. The Dolphins got off to a slow start and trailed 10-3 at the half, but came out strong in the third quarter as Kenny Stills reeled in a 29-yard pass from Cutler to tie the game. After the Chargers answered with a score from Antonio Gates, Miami’s defense stiffened as they got second-half field goals from Cody Parkey to take a 19-17 lead. A lead looked in jeopardy as Younghoe Koo set up to win the game with a 44-yard field goal attempt for LA. However, for the second week in a row missed Koo missed at the end of regulation, allowing the Dolphins to hold on to the win. A week later, the Dolphins were in the Meadowlands, where record heat and humidity made New Jersey feel like South Florida. The Dolphins wilted in the heat as their offense was simply atrocious as the only points they scored were in the game’s final seconds as the New York Jets 20-6 beat them soundly. In London in Week 4, things were just as bad as the Dolphins were shut out by the New Orleans Saints 20-0. At last, coming home was the Dolphins’ defense that had to put points on the board as Reshad Jones returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown to build a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Offensively the Dolphins remained anemic as the Titans rallied to tie the game in the third quarter. Looking to get something going, the Dolphins got a touchdown catch by Jarvis Landry in the fourth quarter, which was good enough despite a missed PAT to win the game 16-10. In Week 6, the Dolphins appeared to be heading for another ugly loss, down 17-0 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons at the half. However, after being dominated in the first half, Miami flipped the switch, shutting down Atlanta. At the same time, Jay Cutler, with a pair of touchdown passes and Cody Parky with a pair of field goals, led the Dolphins to a 20-17 comeback win. In the return match with the Jets in Miami, the Dolphins’ offense was much sharper, though the result appeared to be heading the same way as the Jets held a 28-14 lead in the third quarter. Making matters worse, Jay Cutler knocked out of the game with a chest injury after a hard hit by Jordan Jenkins in the second quarter. However, the Dolphins for the second week in a row came back from the dead, as Matt Moore tied the game with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Kenny Stills, then led them down the field to set up Parkey for a 39-yard field goal to win the game 31-28 with 22 seconds left. At 4-2, the Dolphins appeared to be in good shape as they prepared for a Thursday Night game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were named after the famous poem by Edgar Allen Poe, a noted author of thrillers and horror stories. That would be the best way, to sum up the game for Miami, a horror story as they lost 40-0 as Cutler was out recovering from his bruised sternum. After the loss to the Ravens, the Dolphins made a stunning move by trading their top rusher Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round draft pick. Jay Cutler returned in Week 9 and had a solid game passing for 315 yards with three touchdowns, but it was not enough as the Dolphins were topped by the Oakland Raiders 27-24 on Sunday Night Football. Playing in primetime a third straight week brought out more ugliness as the Dolphins were decimated by Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 45-21, as Newton had four touchdown passes. In Week 11, the Dolphins finally hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the game originally set to be played in Week 1, losing their fourth straight 30-20 as Jay Cutler was picked off three times. The Dolphins losing streak would reach five with a 35-17 loss to the New England Patriots, dropping the record to 4-7. Turning the page in December, the Dolphins defense helped get them back in the win column against the Denver Broncos, as they picked off Trevor Simemian three times, with Xavien Howard returning a pick-six 30 yards on the way to a 35-9 victory. A week later, the Dolphins welcomed the Patriots to Miami for a Monday Night game and delivered their best performance on the season. Jay Cutler was flawless, passing for 263 yards with three touchdowns, as the Dolphins pass rush flustered Tom Brady playing without a suspended Rob Gronkowski all game. The 27-20 win was an example of the best the Dolphins could be. However, that best was not achieved again, as they lost their final three games to finish 6-10. On the road against the Buffalo Bills, Cutler picked off three times in a 24-16 loss. A week later, the Dolphins had no answers for stopping the Kansas City Chiefs attack in a 29-13 loss at Arrowhead. Coming home and finishing the season with a second game against the Bills in three weeks, the Dolphins looked at rookie quarterback David Fales, who was hardly impressive as Miami’s late charge fell short in a 22-16 loss. After another disappointing season, the Dolphins decided to make some major roster changes trading Jarvis Landry to the Cleveland Browns, Mike Pouncey to the Los Angeles Chargers, and releasing Ndamukong Suh.
2018: Ryan Tannehill returned after missing the entire 2017 season after knee surgery. The Miami Dolphins hoped his return would get the team back on track after they posted a disappointing season. Though, Trouble seemed to be brewing as players began requesting trades after clashing with coach Adam Gase. This included the Dolphins’ top receiver Jarvis Landry who was traded to the Cleveland Browns, while Mike Pouncey signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. Strom clouds were on the Dolphins’ horizon, as their season opener was interrupted twice due to thunderstorms. The game took seven hours to complete as the Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans 27-20. The Dolphins used the big plays with Jakeem Grant returning a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, while Kenny Stills reeled in a 75-yard touchdown reception. A week later, the Dolphins beat the New York Jets in the Meadowlands 20-12. The Dolphins would rally to get to 3-0, beating the Oakland Raiders 28-20 as Albert Wilson on a trick play heaved a 52-yard pass to Grant in the fourth quarter, later Wilson had a 75-yard connection with Tannehill. The 3-0 start would be the high point of the season, as the Dolphins lost four of their next five games. Their lone win came against the Chicago Bears with Brock Osweiler under center as Ryan Tannehill was sidelined again with a shoulder injury. The Dolphins got a pair of long receptions to Albert Wilson to force overtime, where they would win the game 31-28 on a 47-yard field goal by Jason Sanders. The Dolphins hovered near .500 the rest of the season, as the playoffs seemed just out of reach at the tip of their fingers. Sitting a 6-6, the Dolphins hosted the New England Patriots and appeared to be heading to certain defeat down 33-28 with seven seconds left on the clock. The Dolphins had the ball at their own 31 and needed a Hail Mary or a crazy lateral play to win the game. Ryan Tannehill completed a pass to Kenny Stills at midfield. Still pitched the ball to Devante Parker, who passed it back to Kenyon Drake. Drake found a seem and broke contain with Rob Gronkowski back for an expected Hail Mary; he could find a path to the end zone to give the Dolphins an improbable 34-33 win. As it was called, the Miracle in Miami was the play of the season, but as often had been the case, it was the last moment that could bring a smile to fans of the Dolphins. The Dolphins were embarrassed in their final three games, finishing with a disappointing 7-9 record. There was no intention to fire Adam Gase, but the combative coach snapped at Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and was dismissed following the season.
2019: After another mediocre season, the Miami Dolphins looked at their roster and decided that rebuilding from the ground up was the only logical decision. More players were traded or allowed to walk away, including Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins were under new management, General Manager Chris Grier got more control over the team with the departure of Mike Tannenbaum. His coach to lead the team was Brian Flores, who served as a defensive assistant for Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. The Dolphins made history with the hire, becoming the first NFL team with a black GM and coach. It was clear from the start of the season that this would be a season in which the Dolphins would take their lumps as they continued trading players away for draft picks, including Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil, who was sent to the Houston Texans for two first-round picks and second-round pick just before the season started. The Dolphins were steamrolled in their first four games, losing all four as they were outscored 163-26. Minkah Fitzpatrick was sent to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenyon Drake was sent to the Arizona Cardinals as the Dolphins were ready for a season of misery. After a bye week, the Dolphins hosted the Washington Redskins in a meeting of winless teams. Josh Rosen, who had been the starter, was benched in the game, as Miami trailed 17-3 entering the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench and almost led the Dolphins to victory, as a late two-point conversion failed in a 17-16 loss. The Dolphins dropped their next two games, falling to 0-7, but were much more competitive as the defense played better with the team buying into their new coach. In Week 9, their old coach Adam Gase was on the sideline for the New York Jets. In this game, Brian Flores earned his first win as Miami downed the Jets 26-18, as Fitzpatrick passed for 288 yards with three touchdowns. The Dolphins would earn a second win the following week against the Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins were more competitive the rest of the season, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 37-31 in Week 13 at Hard Rock Stadium. Following a pair of losses against the New York Jets and New York Giants in the Meadowlands, the Dolphins won their home finale 38-35 in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins would end the season in Foxboro. Earlier in the season, they were embarrassed at home by the New England Patriots 43-0. This time the rapidly improving Dolphins would play the ultimate spoiler, stunning the Patriots 27-24, as Mike Gesicki caught a five-yard pass from Fitzpatrick with 24 seconds left. The Dolphins finished the season with a record of 5-11, the Patriots, because of the loss to the Dolphins, would miss out on a first-round bye in the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
©MMXX 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 November 13, 2020, at 11:30 pm ET.