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 will do that over the next few days as we build the Miami Dolphins' 50th Season Depth Chart.
Quarterbacks Running Backs Tight Ends Offensive Line Wide Receiver Defensive Ends Defensive Tackles Linebackers Cornerbacks Safeties
We are coming down to the end of our depth chart building, taking a look today at the specialists.
Punter: Reggie Roby
Kicker: Olindo Mare
Roby wore a watch. That's all you need to know. The man actually wore a watch on the field so that he could see the hangtime of his kicks. He had to learn to kick the ball ridiculously high, because he would out-kick the coverage otherwise; in 1987 he punted a ball 77 yards, only to see it returned 70 yards as the return was able to be set up before the rest of the Dolphins coverage team could get established. Roby was a weapon in the field position battle - similar to Brandon Fields' ability to change a game for the Dolphins now. After being selected in the sixth round of the 1983 Draft, Roby spent 10 years with Miami, punting the ball 555 times, with an average per punt of 43.3 yards. He led the league with the longest kick in a year in 1986 (73) and 1987 (77), as well as average in 1991 (45.7). He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1984 and 1989, and was the First-Team All-Pro punter in 1984 (additionally making the Pro Bowl and First-Team All Pro selections in 1994 as a member of the Washington Redskins). He is third all time for the Dolphins in punts, first in longest punt (77 yards), and third in yards per punt average (43.3; among players with 15 or more punts).
Kicker is actually a difficult position to select for the Dolphins, with several players deserving of the honor. Dan Carpenter, Pete Stoyanovich, Garo Yepremian, and Uwe von Schamann could all make a case for the spot, and if you want to tell me that I am wrong and it should have been Yepremian above all others, I would not argue against it. In the end, Mare gets the spot after 10 seasons with the team in which he made more field goals than any other player in team history even attempted; he converted 145 of the 303 field goals he attemped. His 80.9-percent conversion rate is second all-time for the team (among kickers with more than 25 attempts), only trailing Carpenter who finished his time with Miami at 81.9-percent. In 1999, Mare led the league in field goals made (39 - then an NFL record and currently 3rd most in an season in NFL history) and attempted (46), earning Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors. He led the league in 2001 with a 90.5-percent completion rate.
Tomorrow, we will review the full depth chart.