Let's face it, we need a distraction from this season. So I've decided to start a friendly debate about something positive: who is the Dolphins' all-time unsung hero? For the purpose of these posts, I define "unsung hero" as a player who is unheralded at all stages of his career, coming out of college, while playing, and after retirement. Thus, in order to qualify as an unsung hero, a player must (1) have been drafted outside of the first round, (2) never have made a Pro Bowl, and (3) not be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The nuts and bolts of how we'll choose the all-time unsung hero: a good old-fashioned American Idol-style tournament. Below you'll find 12 unsung heroes. Each week for the next few weeks, you will vote for your favorite. After the first week, the lowest three vote-getters will be eliminated. After the 2nd and 3rd week, the lowest 2 vote-getters will be eliminated. And from the 4th week on, the lowest vote-getter will be eliminated until we have the All-Time Miami Dolphins Unsung Hero. After you vote each week, make sure to explain why you voted the way you did in the comments. If you have the most passionate, most convincing, or most entertaining argument for a particular player, I'll post your comment the following week along with some other tidbits about the player. So now, without further ado, the 12 candidates (in alphabetical order) after the jump:
1. Davone Bess (WR): With the Dolphins from 2008 to the present, Bess has proven to be one of the top slot receivers in the league. His reception totals in the 2009 and 2010 seasons are the 5th and 6th most receptions in a season by a Dolphins player, ahead of such names as Mark Duper, Irving Fryar, and Tony Nathan.
2. Glenn Blackwood (SS): With the Dolphins from 1979-1987, Blackwood was a solid part of the great Dolphins teams of the early/mid-80s, including starting every game for the 1983 team, which ranked first in total defensive points allowed that year.
3. Jeff Dellenbach (OL): With the Dolphins from 1985-1994, Dellenbach was the ultimate utilityman on the offensive line, starting at every position except RG and starting full seasons at LT and C.
4. Vern Den Herder (DE): With the Dolphins from 1971-1982, Den Herder started at DE for 2 Super Bowl-winning teams and unofficially led the perfect 1972 team in sacks. (Note, wikipedia says that Den Herder made the 1973 Pro Bowl, and therefore would be ineligible for this list, but Pro Football Reference says he didn't... I'm going to go with Pro Football Reference unless someone points to a more reliable source that says that he made the 1973 Pro Bowl).
5. Oronde Gadsden (WR): With the Dolphins from 1998-2003, Gadsden was known for being money on fade routes in the red zone and for one-handed circus catches.
6. Manny Fernandez (DT): With the Dolphins from 1968-1975, Fernandez came up the biggest in the biggest games, tallying 28 tackles and 3 sacks in 3 Super Bowl appearances.
7. Jay Fiedler (QB): With the Dolphins from 2000-2004, Fiedler led the Dolphins to 3 10-win seasons in 4 years, including the Dolphins' most recent playoff win, an overtime victory against the Colts in 2000.
8. Curtis Johnson (CB): With the Dolphins from 1970-1978, Johnson started 111 of his 125 games in aqua and orange, including 2 Super Bowl-winning teams.
9. Lousaka Polite (FB): With the Dolphins from 2008-2011, Polite converted 41 of 43 of his carries on 3rd or 4th and 1.
10. Lamar Smith (RB): With the Dolphins from 2000-2001, Smith accumulated 2,107 yards and 20 TDs, including a 209 yard, 2 TD game to lead the Dolphins to their most recent playoff win over the Colts in 2000.
11. Pete Stoyanovich (K): With the Dolphins from 1989-1995, Stoyanovich completed nearly 80% of his field goals attempted in Miami.
12. Jarvis Williams (S): With the Dolphins from 1988-1993, Williams accumulated 513 tackles in 6 years, including 118 in 1993.
So now that you've met the candidates, it's time to vote: