We move on to day ten in our countdown of the top numbers in Miami Dolphins history. Today, we take a look at the top number in team history.
I know, you are on pins and needles trying to guess what number our top jersey could be. Will it be Bernie Kosar's #19? Maybe Yatil Green's #87? How about our buddy Heath Evans and the #44? Or Karim Abdul-Jabar's #21?
Oh, it's a quarterback? (Shh....don't point out it's a safety too....). Chad Henne in the #7? I GOT IT! Pat White in the #6! That has to be it, right?
Oh, well, our top ranked jersey number of all time is the #13. (Not John Beck's #9?)
But, it wasn't always a quarterbacks number. (Now, you can point out the safety.)
The "unlucky" 13 has been incredibly lucky in Miami. It was first worn in 1970 by safety Jake Scott. While Scott's career gets overshadowed by the other 13 in team history, Scott was a dominate defensive player in his time.
As a rookie, Scott turned his seventh round draft pick status into a starting free safety and punt returner position for the Dolphins. He would play in all 14 games that season, with 13 starts, recording five interceptions and a fumble recovery. He also returned 27 punts on average 10.7 yards, with a touchdown, while his four kickoff returns average 29.3 return yards.
As a sophomore, Scott kicked his game into another gear, starting all 14 games, with 7 interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He also returned 33 punts for an NFL high 318 yards. His play earned him his first Pro Bowl berth, starting a streak that would last through the 1975 season, and Scott's Miami career.
During the 1972 Undefeated Season, Scott would move over to strong safety, starting 13 games, with one additional appearance. He would intercept five passes with two fumble recoveries. He also returned 13 punts for a 7.7 average yards. He would cap the season with not just a Super Bowl Championship, but would be named Super Bowl VII MVP.
In 1973 and 1974, Scott would not only make the Pro Bowl, he would also earn First Team All Pro selections for years featuring four and eight interceptions respectively. He also returned punts for the two highest yards per return average in his career, with 12.1 yards per return in 1973 and 11.2 yards per return in 1974.
Scott played for Miami for the final time in 1975, starting 14 games at free safety, coming away with six interceptions. However, he gave up his return duties, only returning one punt for 10 yards. He also made his final Pro Bowl.
With the NFL not counting tackles throughout his career, Scott is estimated to have around 320 tackles with the Dolphins. He is still the Dolphins' career leader in interceptions with 35. He would spend the 1976-1978 seasons with the Washington Redskins.
From 1976 until 1983, no one would wear the number 13. Then, some guy named Dan Marino took it over, and ended any chance for another number to be the team's best.
Marino was drafted in the first round of the 1983 season, ridiculously as the 27th pick that year. He would go on to set ever major passing record in NFL history by the time he hung up his cleats after the 1999 season.
As a rookie, Marino was not the team's starter when the season opened. Seven games into the campaign, however, he was given control of the team and would not give it up for 17 years. He would earn a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie, based on just 9 games worth of work, throwing for a then team record 2,210 yards (broken this past year by Ryan Tannehill), with a 58.4 completion rate and 20 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. He was the 1983 Rookie of the Year.
The next season, Marino would lead the Dolphins to a 14-2 record, NFL highs in completions (362), attempts (564) yards (5,084), touchdowns (48), yards per game (317.8), and passer rating (108.9). His 5,084 yards would stand as an NFL record for passing yards until 2011 (Drew Brees). His 48 touchdown passes would be an NFL record until 2004 (Peyton Manning). Marino would be named to his second straight Pro Bowl, along with his first First Team All Pro selection. He would also be selected as the NFL MVP.
The Dolphins would win the AFC Championship in the 1984 season, before losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Marino would back up his All Pro selection with repeat performances in 1985 and 1986, again leading the league in completions (336, 378), yards (4,137, 4,746), and touchdowns (30, 44) in each of those seasons. He also attempted an insane 623 passes in 1986, a league best number, his career high, but just one of three times he would top 600 attempted passes.
From 1987 to 1992, Marino continued to out up unheard of numbers, earning three Pro Bowls during that time, as well as breaking 3,500 passing yards all but once (1987, when he only played 12 games, and still recorded 3,245 passing yards).
Marino lost most of the 1993 season with a torn Achilles' tendon, just five games into the year. He had 1,200 passing yards at the point where he went down, giving him a pace for over 3,800 passing yards.
In 1994, Marino would be named the Comeback Player of the Year, earning his eighth Pro Bowl and throwing for 4,453 yards with 30 touchdowns. He would also earn a Pro Bowl trip in 1995.
Marino would continue to dominate the NFL through his final four seasons, including leading the league in completions and attempts in 1997. He was also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1998.
By the end of his career, Marino would be the NFL leader in career touchdown passes (420), 4-passing TD games (21), consecutive 4-passing TD games (4), 20+ TD passing seasons (13), consecutive 20+ passing TD seasons (10), 40+ passing TD seasons (2), touchdown passes in a season (48), passing yards (61,361), 400+ yard passing games (13), 4,000 yard passing seasons (6), most 3,000 yard passing seasons (13), most consecutive 3,000 yard passing seasons (9), most 300+ yard passing games in a career (63), career yards per game (253.6), passing yards in a season (5.084), passes attempted (8,358), and passes completed (4,967).
Marino was the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30,000 passing yards (114 games), 40,000 yards (153 games), 50,000 yards (193 games), and 60,000 yards (236 games). He also was the fastest to throw 100 career touchdowns (44 games), 200 TDs (89 games), and 300 TDs (157 games).
Between the two players to wear the number 13, there are 14 Pro Bowl selections, 5 First Team All Pro selections, 8 Second Team All Pro selections, a Super Bowl MVP, an NFL MVP, two Super Bowl rings, four AFC Championship trophies, a Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and a Comeback Player of the Year Award.
If that's not enough to claim the top spot in our countdown, the number 13 is one of two numbers to appear twice in the Dolphins Ring of Honor, as Marino was inducted in September 2000 and Scott following in November 2010. Marino's wear of the 13 also led the number to be retired, the second number in team history to be so honored (Bob Griese's 12 was first, Larry Csonka's 39 came later).
Marino was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, his first year of eligibility.