The arch rival of my New England Patriot the Miami Dolphins are next on my top 5 greatest players ever list today. Which hurts worse is how much better shape the Dolphins are in the my Patriots as of right now. With Tua in tow at quarterback, a ton of draft capital and a good amount of salary cap room the Dolphins are in a position to take that next step, in my opinion. There is no doubt about it that the Miami Dolphins, the only team to ever have an undefeated season, are a very storied franchise and one of the best. So, I’m going to put my hate for this team aside and give you my 5 greatest Miami Dolphins of all time. Let’s get to it.
Zach Thomas, Linebacker (1996–2007)
Zach Thomas was a fifth round pick and the 19th linebacker selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, what a steal this guy was. Slated to just play special teams, Thomas impressed the Dolphins so much in training camp he earned the starting linebacker job as a rookie. Thomas finished his rookie season with 154 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two sacks and a defensive touchdown leading him to winning the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year and making the 1996 All-Rookie Team. He is a 7 time Pro Bowler, lead the league in tackles twice, a five time All-Pro and leads the Dolphins franchise in solo tackles with 1,042. Thomas was an absolute machine and thrived in an era with other great linebackers such as Tedy Bruschi and Ray Lewis, who were also a part of the draft class Thomas was in.
Larry Little, Guard (1969–1980)
Beginning his career as an undrafted free agent, starting his career with the Chargers and after three games being traded to the Dolphins, Larry Little’s career started off just a tad bit rocky. When Little landed on Miami is where is career took as turn for the better though. He immediately made an impact on their elite rushing game, earning a Pro Bowl selection in his first season with the team. Primarily playing right guard for the majority of his career, Little helped lead an offensive line in 1972 that saw the Dolphins set a then-record for rushing yards in a season with 2,960 yards. Little was also an great pass blocker. He was a huge part of why the Dolphins 1972 season ended without one loss.
Cameron Wake, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker (2009–2018)
After being undrafted in the 2005 NFL Draft and having to play in the CFL for three season, Cameron Wake signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2009. Granted he had minimal impact in his rookie season but his career took off from there. In 9 season with the team he recorded double-digit sacks in five of those seasons. When Wake left the Dolphins after the 2018 season he had recorded 98 sacks and 22 forced fumbles which is second in Miami Dolphins history. The guy who is number one in those categories might be on the list later. Anyway, Wake was selected to 5 Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro as well in his time with Miami. Wake was a great pass rusher for the Dolphins and just barely missed making the top 5.
5.) Dwight Stephenson Center (1980–1987)
I value the center position very much. I feel people take it for granted but if you think about it, it honestly is the most important position on the field. If the center isn’t there to hike the ball then how do you play? If he gets mauled over right away and your quarterback gets hit, how do you ever accomplish anything? That wasn’t a problem for Dwight Stephenson as he led an offensive line that allowed Dan Marino to set a record for most pass attempts without a sack. From September 25, 1988 to October 29, 1989, Marino threw 759 pass attempts without any interference from opposing defensive players. This record still stands today. That’s the definition of doing your job. Stephenson was a five time Pro Bowl selection (all consecutive), was named All-Pro 4 times (also consecutive) and played in 107 straight games before a player’s strike ended that streak. Dwight was then inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
4.) Bob Griese, Quarterback (1967–1980)
After a rough first three seasons in the league after the hiring of the great Don Shula in 1970, Bob Griese’s career turned around immediately. That year he went to his first of what would be 8 Pro Bowls during his career. After returning late in 1972 season after being injured to help the Dolphins cap off their undefeated season he led the team back to the Super Bowl the following year, making three trips in a row and winning his second in a row. Griese wasn’t the flashiest quarterback but he did end his career with two Super Bowl victories, being a two-time All-Pro and 1977 Bert Bell Award recipient. He’s also a Hall of Fame inductee, and his number has been retired by the team. Griese was the best quarterback in Dolphins history until someone else came along years later.
3.) Larry Csonka, Running Back (1968–1974, 1979)
Larry Csonka is the greatest running back in Miami Dolphins history. After being the 8th overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft Csonka ended up having a great career with the team. He led the Dolphins to being the best rushing team in 1971-1972 and the third best in 1973. Csonka leads many rushing categories for the Dolphins to this day, such as being their all-time rushing yardage leader with 6,737 yards and rushing touchdowns leader with 53. The greatest game in his career came in Super Bowl VIII when he carried the ball 33 times for a then-record 145 yards and two touchdowns. His performance earned him the MVP award for the game. Without him the Dolphins would not of been the dynasty of the 70s that they were.
2.) Jason Taylor, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker (1997–2007, 2009, 2011)
Before we get to the greatest offensive player in Miami Dolphins history, lets talk about the greatest defensive player. Jason Taylor was a quarterbacks worst nightmare, he recorded 131 sacks, 43 forced fumbles 27 fumble recoveries, 8 interceptions and 9 defensive touchdowns in his time with the Dolphins. Taylor holds the record for most defensive touchdowns total for a defensive lineman and fumble returns for touchdowns in general, in NFL history. His 131 sacks also still ranks 7th all time in NFL history. With an incredible ability to defend the run and rush the passer Taylor ended up being the Dolphins all time leader in sacks, forced fumbles, tackles for loss and tackles for loss as well as being a 6 time Pro Bowler, 3 time All-Pro, 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, member of the 2000s Hall of Fame Decade Team which all led him to being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. After sacking Tom Brady for years Taylor is one Dolphin I was thrilled to see retire and is only second on this list because of one man…
1.) Dan Marino, Quarterback (1983–1999)
Yes, Dan Marino never won the Super Bowl. But he did damn near everything else a quarterback could do. Dan “The Man” Marino was the man and is easily the greatest Miami Dolphin of all time. Marino had the greatest passing season of any quarterback in the league’s history, throwing for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, both NFL season records at the time and his 48 touchdowns destroyed the former record of 36. Which is a record that wouldn’t be broken for another 20 years, when Peyton Manning threw for 49 touchdowns in 2004. He was also the first quarterback to ever top the 5,000 yard passing mark, won an MVP, was a 3 time All-Pro, 9 time Pro Bowler, 1998 Walter Payton Man of the Year, 1994 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Also holding Dolphins franchise records for completions, passing yards and touchdowns, Marino isn’t only the best Dolphin but if you can ignore the face he never won a ring, you could argue he is one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
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