Sam Madison was a 5'11" defensive back from Monticello, FL. He was a three-year starter and a second-team All-American in his senior season for the University of Louisville Cardinals. Miami drafted him in the second round of the 1997 NFL Entry Draft with the 44th overall pick. He would wear the number 29 throughout his Miami career.
As a rookie, Madison started three of the 14 games in which he appeared at right cornerback. He finished the season with 21 tackles and one interception in a week 13 victory over the Oakland Raiders, 34-16. He also forced a fumble. Miami finished the campaign with a wildcard earning 9-7 record, only to bow out to the New England Patriots, 17-3. Miami's rush defense ranked fourth in the NFL, allowing nine touchdowns.
Madison started every game for Miami in 1998, ranking second in the NFL with eight interceptions. This includes two games in which he picked off two, a week three 21-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and a week 11 26-23 loss to the Patriots. He finished the season with 44 tackles as Miami again clinched a wildcard slot, this time with a 10-6 record. Miami's defense allowed an NFL low 265 points on the season, with an AFC second best 4,435 total yards allowed, also posting NFL bests with 29 interceptions and six rushing touchdowns allowed. Miami's defense allowed opposing quarterbacks an NFL low 57.4 passer rating.
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In 1999, Madison led the NFL with seven interceptions, returning them for 164 yards and making his first Pro Bowl squad, one of three Dolphins to make the cut. He was also for the first time honored as a first-team All-NFL selection. He finished the season with 46 tackles and a forced fumble, starting every game. He collected three interceptions, returning them for 101 yards, in a week eight victory over the Tennessee Titans, 17-0. He also scored his first NFL touchdown, returning a pick 21 yards for a score in a week 12 37-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Miami finished the year at 9-7, making the playoffs as a wildcard. Miami's defense allowed an NFL fourth lowest 252 total first downs, the rushing defense allowed an AFC low six touchdowns.
2000 would see Madison again start every Dolphin's game, earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection, one of six Dolphin's defenders on the roster, among seven total. He was also one of five to be chosen as a first-team All-NFL squad member. Madison collected 39 tackles along with a Dolphins second best five interceptions on the season, forcing two and recovering two, returning one 20 yards in a week six 22-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Miami won the AFC East title with an 11-5 record, the scoring defense ranked third in the NFL by allowing 226 points on the season. Miami intercepted an NFL high 28 passes while holding opposing QB's to an NFL low 57.5 passer rating.
In 2001, Madison made his third straight Pro Bowl, one of two Dolphins to make the team. He started all 13 games in which he appeared, missing three games midseason to injury. He made 25 tackles and two interceptions, along with 13 passes defensed. Miami earned a wildcard spot with an 11-5 record. The defense ranked second in the AFC, allowing 4,608 total yards. The pass defense was especially stout, leading the NFL with 2,829 yards allowed.
Madison started all 16 games in 2002, again making the Pro Bowl, one of seven Dolphins representing the team. Madison made 34 tackles and picked off three passes as the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs for the first time in his six NFL seasons, at 9-7. Miami's defense led the AFC, with 301 points allowed and 4,656 yards gained against. Nine rushing touchdowns against placed Miami fourth in the NFL.
2003 would see Madison start all 16 games, making 50 tackles on the season. He also intercepted three passes, including two in a week five 24-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He returned one of them 29 yards for a touchdown. Miami posted a 10-6 record on the season, but missed the playoffs. Miami's defense allowed an NFL third lowest 261 points on the season and an NFL second best 12 passing touchdowns. Miami also placed third in the NFL with 44 sacks.
In 2004, Madison again started each of Miami's 16 games. For the first time in his career he did not record an interception, but did manage to force three fumbles and make 47 tackles on the season. Miami finished the season at 4-12, their first losing record in 16 seasons, and only their third since the AFL/NFL merger. Somehow, Miami's passing defense led the AFC by allowing only 2,592 yards gained on the season.
Madison started all 15 games in which he appeared for the Dolphins in 2005. He intercepted two passes and made 56 tackles. He also forced a fumble and knocked down 12 passes. Miami posted a competitive 9-7 record on the campaign, but for the fourth season in a row failed to make the postseason.
Madison signed with the New York Giants starting in 2006, and over three seasons with the club started 27 of his 35 games, making seven interceptions and 110 tackles. In nine seasons with Miami, he finished with 472 tackles, 31 interceptions for 487 yards and two touchdowns, 55 passes defensed, and four fumble recoveries with another touchdown. His 31 Miami interceptions rank him third on Miami's all-time leaderboard.
Who is your choice for the Dolphins best ever defensive back?
Sam Madison (2023 votes)
Jake Scott (1205 votes)
Patrick Surtain (1081 votes)
Tim Foley (36 votes)
Glenn Blackwood (172 votes)
Gerald Small (26 votes)
Brock Marion (148 votes)
Louis Oliver (268 votes)
Dick Anderson (526 votes)
5485 total votes