The Miami Dolphins will celebrate their 50th NFL season this year, spanning from 1966 to 2015. Thousands of players have hit the field for the team over that time, helping the team appear in five Super Bowls, winning two of them, including the only undefeated season in league history. Despite spending the last decade stuck in a purgatory of mediocrity, the Dolphins are still hold the fourth highest winning percentage in the NFL at .565, behind just the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers.
The team has eight Hall of Famer players, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson, and Paul Warfield, plus one Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. Another three Hall of Famers, Cris Carter, Junior Seau, and Thurman Thomas, all had brief stints in aqua on their way to Canton.
As we all look forward to better days for the Dolphins from this rut that has been the franchise since the turn of the century, we can also look back at one of the premier franchises of the NFL as they turn 50. We've spent the last couple of weeks building the team's all-time depth chart. Now, we put it all together.
Quarterbacks Running Backs Tight Ends Offensive Line Wide Receiver Defensive Ends Defensive Tackles Linebackers Cornerbacks Safeties Punter and Kicker
We have now reached the point where the final spot on our depth chart is up to you. After a weekend of taking nominations, our finalists, based on your recommendations, are below. After a review of the full depth chart, as it stands currently, you will be able to vote for the final person to make the roster.
Our top four finalists all received more than one recommendation for inclusion on the list. The fifth nominee comes from the mass group of players who all received one recommendation, so I selected one.
Our nominees are:
Jim Jensen made his living as a "Slash" player before that was a thing, playing running back, wide receiver, and quarterback for the Dolphins. An 11th round pick in the 1981 Draft, Jensen saw the writing on the wall two years later when Miami selected a quarterback in the first round named Dan Marino. Jensen turned his attention to making as much as an impact for the Dolphins as he could, in any way that he could. He only started 10 games in his career, but he became a special teams ace and a do-everything offensive option. "Crash" caught 229 passes for 2,171 yards and 19 touchdowns in his time with the Dolphins (1981-1992), all of which are top 20 in team history.
Louis Oliver was a first round pick of the Dolphins in 1989, playing seven years over two stints with the Dolphins, from 1989-1993 and 1995-1996. He lined up as the starting free safety for the team in six of those seven years, moving to strong sfatey in 1996. During his Miami years, Oliver tallied 481 tackles, with one sack, three forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, and 24 interceptions with two touchdowns, including a 103-yard return in 1992. His five fumble recoveries in 1996 led the league.
Earl Morrall may have had the biggest impact a backup quarterback ever has had in the NFL. Morrall joined the Dolphins in 1972, 17 years into his career, and reunited with his former Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula, who was now the head man in Miami. Morrall was expected to sit on the bench behind Bob Griese, and provide veteran depth just in case something happened. And, something happened. Griese broke his ankle five games into the 1972 season, and Morrall stepped into the starter's role. He literally did not miss a beat, leading the Dolphins through the regular season and playoffs into the AFC Championship game without a loss. Griese returned at halftime of that AFC Championship contest, then started the Super Bowl, but without Morrall, the only Perfect Season in NFL history never happens. In five years with the Dolphins, Morrall recorded just 2,335 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 17 interceptions with 12 starts, going 11-1 in those games. His performance in the 1972 season earned him a First-Team All-Pro selection.
Bob Matheson joined the Dolphins in 1971 after four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He did not become a regular starter for the Dolphins until 1974, but was a integral part of the team's defense throughout his nine years with the club. Matheson wore number 53 on his jersey, which became an important part of Miami history as the team began using the "53 defense" throughout the 1970s Super Bowl runs. Matheson would work as a rush linebacker in the formation, with the 53 defense named for his jersey. More commonly known as a 3-4 defense in modern football, Matheson's skills made Miami the first team to win a Super Bowl using the formation. Over his nine seasons with Miami, Matheson recorded eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries. He is estimated to have around 550 career tackles.
Bob Brudzinski was selected in the first round of the 1977 Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. After four seasons with LA, he was traded to the Dolphins, where he spent nine years. Working primarily as a left outside linebacker, Brudzinski appeared in 125 games with 94 starts. He recorded 14.5 sacks, with 7 fumble recoveries, and five interceptions. He has an estimated 500 tackles in his career. Perhaps the most surprising part of Brudzinski's career is the fact that in nine seasons, he never made the Pro Bowl despite a level of play that should have easily garnered the honor.
|Receiver||Receiver||Left Tackle||Left Guard||Center||Right Guard||Right Tackle||Tight End||Receiver|
|Mark Clayton||Mark Duper||Richmond Webb||Bob Kuechenberg||Dwight Stephenson||Larry Little||Jake Long||Randy McMichael||Paul Warfield|
|Nat Moore||Chris Chambers||Keith Jackson||O.J. McDuffie|
|Dan Marino||Offensive Line Reserves|
|Half Back||Bob Griese||Fullback||Jim Langer|
|Ricky Williams||Ryan Tannehill||Larry Csonka||Ed Newman|
|Jim Kiick||Tim Ruddy|
|Mercury Morris||Keith Sims|
|Ronnie Brown||Jeff Dellenbach|
|Cornerback||Defensive End||Defensive Tackle||Defensive Tackle||Defensive End||Cornerback|
|Sam Madison||Jason Taylor||Bob Baumhower||Manny Fernandez||Bill Stanfill||Patrick Surtain|
|Terrell Buckley||Vern Den Herder||Tim Bowens||Daryl Gardener||Cameron Wake||Curtis Johnson|
|Nick Buoniconti||Zach Thomas||John Offerdahl|
|Kim Bokamper||A.J. Duhe||Bryan Cox|
|Dick Anderson||Jake Scott|
|Glenn Blackwood||Brock Marion|
|Reggie Roby||Olindo Mare|
Which of our five candidates best fits the depth chart? Who deserves the spot on the Dolphins's 50th Anniversary depth chart? Vote below.