First and Foremost - Let me state that this is not a "hate" thread, nor a "Henne, Sparano, Ireland, etc, bashing" thread. This includes our history as a franchise, and my honest opnion on why we have been a mediocre franchise the last decade!
We were pretty much the last AFL Franchise to be made in 1966 (For a historical side note, we were the Miami Seahawks (1946) before they turned into the Baltimore Colts). For you Madden players, I'm sure you noticed that we weren't on the Anniversary AFL mode that was available to download. Like most expansion teams, we had a losing record for the first few years, but unlike most before, and nearly all since, this was about to change!
After only 4 seasons, in which we were a losing franchise, we got Don Shula to be our head coach, and lost our first round pick in 1970 to the Colts for him. But I’d say he was well worth it! We got a franchise QB, Bob Griese, a first round pick, and made the playoffs our first season under Shula! Then, unlike almost any "newer" franchise in history, we made the Super Bowl in our 6th season! We also won the Super Bowl going undefeated throughout our 7th season, and won it again in our 8th season as a franchise.
We only made the playoffs 2 more times during the 70’s, and would not appear in another Super Bowl untill 1982. That same year (1983 as we all know SB’s are played at the start of the new year), we drafted another franchise QB in the first round, by the name of Dan Marino. Marino’s 2nd season saw all kinds of records being made & broken, along with us going to another Super Bowl in 1984 (but we lost to the Redskins). So by then we had made 5 Super Bowls in 13 years with Shula as our HC. We would make it to the playoffs 5 more times under Shula, And he retired following the 1995 season. His all time record coaching the Dolphins for 26 seasons is 257-133-2.
Counting this year, we are now 125-126 since Don Shula retired following the 1995 season. Our record while Shula was the coach for 26 seasons is 257-133-2. Out of the 26 seasons he was our coach, we had ONLY 2 losing seasons! In the 16 years since he retired (counting this season) we are only 7 losses away from matching the number of losses we suffered during a 26 year span! This could happen this season (although, I hope not!).
Maybe all of the early success is haunting us. We were not used to losing, and never had to endure what the likes of the Buccaneers, Jaguars, Texans, etc, have really had to go through! Also, not drafting another franchise QB since 1983, has hurt us tremendously! Under all 7 coaches since Shula's depature, counting Interim Jim Bates, we have traded picks and used free agency, but have never "really" found our top 5-10 QB! You can’t put the blame on Shula, as when he retired, it was only Dan Marino's 12th year & Scott Mitchell proved to be a good back-up to Danny Boy.
Our favorite team, that we bleed Aqua & Orange for, has a history of being a winning franchise - not a "losing" or "mediocre" franchise that it is today. There will always be arguments about things like "you need an O-Line before getting a QB", "Believe in Chad Henne", etc. BUT if history in the NFL as a whole has taught us anything, it's that a franchise QB is needed to become a winning franchise. (Editors note: The only exception to this general rule that comes to mind is the 2000 Baltimore Ravens winning with Trent Dilfer - LCFF) And 90% of current franchise QBs are 1st rd picks! I hate to say it, or the name, but Tom Brady is the exception! Also, painfully, Drew Brees is one of the only other ones.
And we went from 1978 until 1996 without a 1,000 yard rusher, this proves that even before the league went so "pass happy", you dont need a super RB to get to the playoffs every year!
To be truly legit contenders again, we need a franchise QB!