During the offseason, it's always good to go back and revisit some Miami Dolphins history. After all, there are only so many times we can sit here and debate the same old debates ("Pennington vs Henne" for example). We could break down the roster battles, but I plan on getting into that as training camp approaches in July as part of our in-depth "training camp primers."
So I thought that it might be fun to go through Miami's entire history and pick out the great Dolphins to ever put on a particular uniform number. I'll give you my picks and attempt to explain why I selected each player. Then I will open the floor up to you all to tell me if you agree or disagree. We will kick things off with the numbers 1 to 10 - meaning we'll see mostly kickers, punters, and quarterbacks here.
Number 1 - Garo Yepremian, K, 1970-1978
Sure, Garo made the bonehead play that ruined the shutout the Dolphins had going in Super Bowl VII against the Redskins. But Yepremian was a very solid kicker for his time. You look at his FG percentage during his time in Miami and you see he made just 68% of his kicks. But it was a different time then. And Garo was a two time Pro Bowler and voted a 1st team All Pro two times. That's enough for him to be the greatest Dolphin to ever wear #1.
Other candidates: Matt Turk
Number 2 - Cookie Gilchrist, FB, 1966
Gilchrist came to Miami in 1966 for the Dolphins inaugural season following 4 Pro Bowl seasons combined with Buffalo and Denver. He was also the AFL's Player of the Year in 1962. But Cookie played in just 8 games for the Dolphins in '66, rushing for 262 yards on 72 carries. But he's the only player wear #2 for the Dolphins to score a touchdown - catching a TD pass in his one season in Miami. So he gets the nod over Brandon Fields - though Brandon could leapfrog Cookie with a couple good seasons beginning here in 2009.
Other candidates: Brandon Fields
Number 3 - Joey Harrington, QB, 2006
As hard as it is to put Harrington on a "greatest anything" list, Joey's play in '06 was better than any other player to wear the #3 in Miami. Joey was 5-6 as a starter that year when he took over for Daunte Culpepper. He threw for 203 yards per game and had 12 touchdowns to go with his 15 interceptions. He was a contributer to some of the Dolphins surprising wins that year, including his 3 touchdown performance against the then-unbeated Bears and his 250 yard passing performance against the Vikings. He also played well, completing 60% of his passes, in Miami's 21-0 upset over New England. So "Joey Sunshine" is my pick here.
Other candidates: Jay Feely, Tom Orosz
Number 4 - Reggie Roby, P, 1983-1992
This one was easy. Roby is probably the best punter to ever put on a Dolphins' uniform. He was a 3 time Pro Bowler and was 1st team All Pro twice. He led the NFL in yards per punt one time (1991) and finished in the top five 8 times in his career.
Other candidates: George Roberts
Number 5 - John Stofa, QB, 1966-1967, 1969-1970
Not much to choose from here so I went with the player who has a 2-0 record as a starting QB for the Dolphins. Stofa started the final game of Miami's inaugural season and won 29-28 on the heels of two 4th quarter touchdowns passes from Stofa. That game saw Stofa go 22 of 38 for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns. Stofa then opened the 1967 season as the Dolphins starting quarterback, completed all two of his pass attempts in week one against Denver for 51 yards, scored a touchdown on the ground, and then got hurt and was replaced by some guy named Bob Griese. We all know how he turned out. If not for Stofa's injury, Dolphins' history could be a bit different.
Other candidates: Donnie Jones, Dan Carpenter
Number 6 - Joe Nedney, K, 1996
Nedney only played one season for the Dolphins and made just 62% of his field goals during his time here. But he gets the nod simply because I refuse to add Ray Lucas to any list like this. Lucas cost the Dolphins the season in 2002. The Fins started off 5-1 but Lucas was forced to take over at QB due to injury. He went on to lose 4 of the 6 games he started, including a four interception game against the Bills. So thanks to you, Ray, Joe Nedney makes this list.
Other candidates: Jim Arnold
Number 7 - Fuad Reveiz, K, 1985-1988
Reveiz spent the first four years of his NFL career in Miami. He had two solid years, making over 80% of his field goals, and two poor years, making under 70%. But his four years in Miami saw Fuad make 74% of his FGs and he finished 7th in point scored in his rookie year. His only competition is from A.J. Feeley for this spot and Feeley cost the Dolphins too much to be on this list. However, Reveiz shouldn't get too comfy being listed here - as a certain player wearing #7 is just awaiting his chance to prove himself.
Other candidates: A.J. Feeley, Craig Erikson
Number 8 - Daunte Culpepper, QB, 2006
Only two players have ever worn the #8 for the Dolphins. And lucky for Culpepper, the other guy was a punter who played one year in Miami. Daunte, for all his faults, was probably rushed into action to quickly by Nick Saban and company. He did win one of his four starts as a Dolphin and averaged over 230 yards passing in those 4 games. I suppose that's enough to be listed here. Well - that and the fact that I own his jersey (and learned a valuable lesson: don't buy any jersey too quickly.)
Other candidate: Klaus Wilmsmeyer
Number 9 - Jay Fiedler, QB, 2000-2004
Fiedler is a guy who doesn't get the recognition he deserves. He may not have been the most talented quarterback in the league, but he was one of the gutsiest and played well for the Dolphins. He has a 36-23 record as a starting QB for the Dolphins, throwing for over 11,000 yards and 66 touchdowns. He also left in Miami some terrific memories - such as his dive into the endzone against the Raiders with just seconds left on the clock and his 2003 Thanksgiving Day performance against the Cowboys, throwing for 239 yards and 3 touchdowns. I never understood why Dolphin fans got on Jay's case so much, to be honest. I guess it was part of the "post-Marino effect."
Other candidate: Scott Secules
Number 10 - Chad Pennington, QB, 2008-
This was the toughest one I've had to do so far. But when you win the Comeback Player of the Year award, come in 2nd in the NFL MVP voting, and lead your team to a division title, you deserve this recognition. Pennington was outstanding last year for the Dolphins. He was exactly what this franchise needed in every way and the Dolphins lucked out big time that the Jets are as dumb as they are. He led the NFL in completion percentage, was 2nd in passer rating, and 9th in passing yards. So Chad slightly edges out two former kickers for this spot - mainly because quarterbacks are far more valuable than kickers. And Chad is not only valuable on the field, but also as a mentor for Chad Henne off the field.
Other candidates: Pete Stoyanovich, Olindo Mare
So that's all for the first installment of this feature. Get at it with your thoughts below...