Coming off of a 14-2 regular season and a Super Bowl run that would end with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the 1985 Miami Dolphins were a team that had something to prove to the fans. They were on a mission to get back to the Big Game.
After a sluggish first game against the well-oiled Houston Oilers, losing 26-23, Dan Marino recaptured his MVP form and led the team to four straight wins against quality competition, including the Steelers.
The offense's attack was becoming balanced because the team had drafted Rodney Hampton and Coach Shula's favorite running backs, Tony Nathan and Ron Davenport. Hampton was to gave a bigger role in the special teams as a kickoff return specialist, having gained over 1000 yards.
The knock on the Dolphins in the previous Super Bowl against San Francisco is that they could not keep the ball. The opponents wore down the Dolphins' defense.
These issues would show up again, as the team lost three of the next four games to the Jets, Lions, and Patriots.
Within the next eight weeks, the Marino-led Dolphins would put it all together and wear down their opponents by playing flawless football. Previous teams would focus only on a few impressive offensemen, but this new version would throw to seven different receivers, including names like Rose, Moore, Hardy, and the Marks Brothers.
Around that time, the '85 Bears had captured the attention of the nation. On a fateful Monday night, the Bears had the worst start of the year due to a fired-up Dolphins squad that quickly built the lead to 24-0 and would eventually prevail 38-24 to keep the perfect season intact for the Dolphin franchise.
The Orange Bowl had many great moments, but this game would exemplify why the home field advantage is so critical.
The Dolphins would come up short in their run back to the Super Bowl. On the same field wherein the Dolphins stopped the Bears, the Florida team was unable to best the Patriots.
This '85 Miami Dolphin team prevented a very capable Chicago Bears team from obtaining an undefeated record. From there, the franchise remained respectable, winning big games and entertaining the Miami home crowds.