The Dolphins have been making waves in Miami since 1966, winning their way into the record books and the hearts of fans.
They trace their first victory back to their establishment year, when they bulldozed the Broncos by a score of 24-7. In ’71, not only did they earn their first shutout with a dazzling 34-0 victory over the Bills, but they also won the longest game in pro football history to date. That game, played on Christmas Day against the Chiefs, lasted a whopping 82 minutes and 40 seconds, and gave the Dolphins their first postseason victory.
In 1972, the Dolphins rocked the pro football world by achieving the perfect season. Undefeated and untied even in the playoffs, they won all 14 of their regular season games, all three postseason games and, unforgettably, Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins are the only team to date to hold this record since the AFL and NFL merged. Many fans speculate that the remaining ’72 Dolphins players celebrate every year with champagne as soon as the final undefeated NFL team loses, but this “tradition” has been disputed by former head coach Don Shula himself. The surviving members finally did get their customary White House visit 40 years later.
Of all the incredible Miami players, Dan Marino stands out as one of the pro football greats despite never actually winning a Super Bowl. A seemingly unstoppable powerhouse, Marino was the first NFL quarterback to pass over 4,000 yards four times in a career, as well as exceed the 50,000 yard passing mark. Marino also had a proven ability to perform under pressure. A torn right Achilles tendon caused him to miss 11 games of the ’93 season, but when he returned in ’94, he threw 473 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first game for a 39-35 victory over the Patriots. And in the same year, he successfully executed the “Clock Play” with wide receiver Mark Ingram to great notoriety. With fewer than 30 seconds left on the clock, the Dolphins were losing 24-21 to the Jets, but Marino’s trick play turned it all around for a blindsiding 28-24 Miami win. The “Clock Play” would haunt Gang Green for many games to come.
Outside of pro football, Marino is affiliated with various charitable projects, including the Dan Marino Foundation, which serves the needs of people with autism and other developmental disabilities. He has even appeared in a Hootie and the Blowfish music video, several advertising campaigns, and films like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Little Nicky and Bad Boys II.
Sure, the Dolphins have Dan Marino and big-name partners like Jennifer Lopez and Jimmy Buffett, but perhaps the most famous “dol-fan” of all is T.D., the Fins’ charming mascot. T.D. was nameless for a while after his debut in in April of ’97, but a contest changed all that. Out of thousands of entries from all 50 states and over 22 countries, Sara Fernandez of Miami scored the winning entry -- as well as two tickets to Super Bowl XXXII.
Fins fans will often see T.D. delighting the faithful at Sun Life Stadium. Also home to the University of Miami Hurricanes, Sun Life has hosted many events, from Super Bowls to the World Series to WrestleMania XXVIII. After a game, some fans head to sunny South Beach to relax in paradise. They reminisce about the glory days and speculate about their beloved Fins’ bright future, all with the warm waters of the Atlantic as a fitting backdrop.