The biggest thing that turned me into a fan of the Miami Dolphins, on top of being born in the city of Miami, was the 1983 selection of Dan Marino. I sat in the Orange Bowl when he took the field of the second half during the win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He never relinquished the starting position again. But, as great as that was, nothing could prepare any of us for the magic he unleashed in 1984.
The 1984 Miami Dolphins are by far my favorite team of all time. That could leave some of you scratching your head and for good reason. The Miami Dolphins actually won Super Bowls during other campaigns, but, fortunately or unfortunately, I wasn’t around yet to enjoy those victories. So the most fun I have had in my lifetime was the 1984 season and I remember so much about that year.
The Dolphins started with one of the most spectacular season openers that most fans have ever seen. Miami had lost in 1982 to the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl and fans had to suffer the replay over and over of John Riggins running over Don McNeil en route to a TD and the eventual win.
But payback was inevitable and the Miami Dolphins led by Dan Marino torched the Skins that day for five passing touchdowns and over 300 yards in the air as they rolled the Skins 35-17 in RFK Stadium, no less. It was the beginning of a magical run that would lead them to winning eleven straight games to start the season. In fact, through the first nine games of that season, Miami outscored their opponents 271-124. They were averaging over 30 points per game on offense.
Marino broke many of the single season passing records that year highlighted by 48 TDs and over 5,000 passing yards. His greatest work was likely the Divisional and Conference Championship games. The Dolphins had been ousted out of the playoffs the previous year by Seattle and had a chance at revenge in the Orange Bowl. Miami blew past Seattle 31-10 and set up a showdown at home with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During the AFC Championship, Dan Marino was blitzed repeatedly; time and time again he beat those blitzes and threw for over 400 yards and four TDs. The Dolphins looked unstoppable.
The season obviously ended on a bad note with Miami falling hard to Joe Montana and the SF 49ers, but that one game did not diminish the entire season and body of work laid out by Dan Marino and his receiving corp, which included Mark Duper, Mark Clayton, and Nat Moore. It was truly a special bunch and one of the most prolific passing attacks in the history of the NFL. I became a die hard Dolphins fan and, even though the team is completely different now, my memories of my childhood and growing up rooting for Marino and the Miami Dolphins live on.