Top 10 Miami Dolphins in NFL History
They are the only team to complete the perfect season in the Super Bowl era. Today, I rank the top 10 Miami Dolphins of all time.
10. Jim Langer
He went from being unwanted, to the Hall of Fame.
After going undrafted in 1970, Jim Langer was signed by Miami. After playing middle linebacker in college, he switched to center in the NFL and became one of the league's best. Langer anchored an offensive line that paved the way for great runners like Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris. He was praised throughout his career for being a hard worker and a quick blocker. Langer played in 141 consecutive games over eight seasons until a knee injury ended his playing days with Miami nine games into the 1979 season.
Langer spent his final two seasons in Minnesota before retiring after 1981. He was a six time All-Pro and pro bowler, two time Super Bowl champion, and a member of the 70's all decade team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
9. Nat Moore
He is considered to best all around receiver in team history.
A third round pick in 1974, Nat Moore played with both of the teams Hall of Fame quarterbacks during his career. In 1977, he led the league with 12 touchdown receptions. Moore is probably most famous for his "Helicopter Catch" in a 1984 game against the Jets when he was hit simultaneously from opposite directions by two Jets tacklers sending his body spinning into the air. The catch was a crucial third-down conversion leading to a score and a come from behind win in a closely contested divisional game. When he retired, Moore held every major Dolphins receiving record. In his 13 seasons, he recorded 510 receptions for 7,547 yards and 74 touchdowns.
Moore retired after 1986 as a pro bowler and All-Pro in 1977. He was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1999.
8. Nick Buoniconti
He was the leader of the "No Name Defense."
After spending seven seasons with the Patriots, Nick Buoniconti was traded to Miami in 1969. His leadership made him a cornerstone of the Dolphins' defense. During his years there, the team advanced to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, the second of which was the team's 1972 undefeated season. In 1973, he recorded a then team record 162 tackles. In his 15 seasons, he recorded 24 sacks and 32 interceptions.
Buoniconti retired after 1976 as a six time AFL All Star, five time All-AFL, two time pro bowler, and two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
7. Bob Griese
He quarterbacked the team to three consecutive Super Bowls.
A first round pick in 1967, Bob Griese was the field manager of the team for 14 seasons. While he never put up huge numbers, his leadership played an important role in helping the Dolphins compete. In Super Bowl VII, Griese connected on 8 of 11 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown as the team completed the first perfect season in the modern era. His best game came in 1977 when he threw six touchdown passes in three quarters to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 55-14 on Thanksgiving day. In Griese's 14 pro seasons, he threw for 25,092 yards and 192 touchdowns.
Griese retired after 1980 as a six time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, led the league in passing touchdowns in 1977, and two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
6. Larry Little
He is one of the greatest run blocking guards in league history.
After spending two seasons in San Diego, Larry Little was traded to Miami in 1969. His ability to plow over defenders made him a key factor on the offensive line. Little was a key contributor to the success of the Dolphins' punishing running attack of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris. He was a superb pass blocker, awesome on the scrimmage line, and especially effective as the lead man on the powerful Dolphin sweeps. Little displayed versatility, durability and dedication throughout his career.
Little retired after 1980 as a 1969 AFL All Star, five time pro bowler and All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
5. Jason Taylor
He is the best pass rusher in team history.
A third round pick in 1997, Jason Taylor quickly made an impact on the Dolphin defense. He became a starter in his rookie season and recorded five sacks and forced two fumbles. From there he established himself as one of the premier defensive ends in the league. In 2006, Taylor recorded 13.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns as he was named the NFL defensive player of the year. Taylor is the sixth all-time career sacks leader with 139.5 sacks, is the all-time leader in fumble return touchdowns with six, while his 246 fumble return yards are the second highest total in NFL history.
Taylor retired in 2011 after his third stint in Miami. He was a six time pro bowler, four time All-Pro, two time defensive lineman of the year, and the 2006 defensive player of the year.
4. Dwight Stephenson
If he would have had a longer career, he would have been remembered as the greatest center in history.
A second round pick in 1980, Dwight Stephenson was seen as the greatest player Alabama head coach Bear Bryant ever coached. He was used on special teams only until late in the 1981 season, when then starter Mark Dennard was injured. With the exceptionally explosive Stephenson as offensive captain, the Dolphins offensive line gave up the least sacks in the NFL for a record 6 straight seasons which doubled the previous record. He was seen as quiet, intense, hard-working and competitive offensive lineman. He was forced to retire after the 1987 when a serious knee injury ended his productive career.
Stephenson ended his eight year career as a five time pro bowler and All-Pro, and a member of the 80's all decade team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
3. Paul Warfield
He was one of the leagues first speed receivers.
After spending six seasons in Cleveland, Paul Warfield was traded to Miami in 1970. For most of his tenure in Miami, the Dolphins ran an offense which stressed running the ball. Warfield was considered a major threat on any given play due to his speed, fluid moves, grace, jumping ability, and hands. Even though he only caught 29 passes during the 1973 season, 11 of those receptions were touchdowns with four coming in the first half of the regular season finale. Three years earlier, when he arrived in Miami, he caught only 28 passes but he averaged 25.1 yards per catch. In his 13 NFL seasons, he caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards for 20.1 yards per catch, and scored 85 touchdowns.
Warfield spent his final seasons in the World Football League and back in Cleveland before retiring after the 1977 season. He was an eight time pro bowler, four time All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
2. Larry Csonka
He is one of the greatest power backs in league history.
A first round pick in 1968, Larry Csonka would become the focus of the Miami offense. After an injury riddled rookie season, he became one of the players defenders were afraid to tackle. Csonka was one of the biggest running backs of his day and pounded through the middle of the field with relative ease often dragging tacklers 5–10 yards. He's the only running back to receive a personal foul for unnecessary roughness while running the ball when in a game against the Bills in 1970, he knocked out safety John Pitts with a forearm shot that was more like a right cross. In 1972, Csonka's 1,117 yards combined with Mercury Morris contributing exactly 1,000 yards made them the first 1,000 yard rushing duo in NFL history while helping the team complete the perfect season. In Super Bowl VIII, he was named the games MVP after rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Spending time in the WFL and the Giants, Csonka retired with Miami after the 1979 season rushing for 8,081 yards and scoring 68 touchdowns. He was five time pro bowler, three time All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
1. Dan Marino
He rewrote the record book and established what the quarterback position could really do.
A first round pick in 1983, Dan Marino was the last quarterback to be selected in the first round. As a rookie, he set league records for passer rating, The only rookie to lead conference in passing, and lowest interception ratio in a season. In his second season, Marino broke six NFL full-season passing records including the records for most touchdown passes and most passing yards in a season, and was selected as the NFL's MVP while helping the team make an appearance in Super Bowl XIX. In 1986, he became the fastest quarterback to throw for 100 touchdowns in a career. During his career, the Dolphins were perennial playoff contenders, reaching the post-season in 10 of his 17 seasons. Marino retired throwing for over 61,000 yards and 420 touchdowns. If he would have had any sort of running game or defense, he would have had a better chance of winning a Super Bowl.
Marino retired after the 1999 season as a nine time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, 1984 NFL MVP, 1994 comeback player of the year, and the first quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.