A long time ago, the Dolphins and Bills had a heated rivalry that stood from the late 80s through the 90s thanks to the emergence of draft classmates Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. The rivalry’s relevance took a dip in the first two decades of the 21st century thanks to the consistent mediocrity of both franchises, but thanks to a resurgence from both clubs in 2020, the rivalry is back on.
That is why with Sunday’s game just around the corner, it’s time to do some trash talking in the form of a decade of dominance against Buffalo. And by decade, I mean an entire decade.
See, the Bills currently have a five-game winning streak against the Dolphins, one away from tying Buffalo’s personal best mark in the rivalry. Wanna know what the Dolphins’ personal best is?
That’s correct. 20. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because this is the all-time record for consecutive wins against a single opponent. The Steelers never did this against the Browns in the 21st century, not even the Patriots against the Bills in the 2000s or 2010s.
And not only was this win streak 20 games, but all of it took place in the 1970s. All of it. From 1970 to 1979, the most dominant win streak against a single opponent began and ended.
You likely know all the players Don Shula and company farmed for this decade, and it would be weird if you didn’t. Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, Nick Buoniconti, Paul Warfield, Jim Langer, Nat Moore, Larry Little, Dick Anderson, Manny Fernandez, the list goes on, and on, and on.
And, as we know, this treasure trove of talent was not wasted, as the Dolphins pieced together the only undefeated season (including playoffs) in the post merger era in 1972, following up with a second consecutive Super Bowl win in 1973. In total, they went to three consecutive Super Bowls in the early 70s, won five AFC East titles, and made seven playoff appearances in the prime era of disco and funk.
As aforementioned, 1972 was the peak, with the team ranking first in points for, points allowed, yards for, and yards allowed, an ultra rare feat.
And as expected, this includes absolute ass kickings of the Bills. No one circled Buffalo’s wagons quite like the Dolphins in those days. As the two teams (once part of the AFL) joined the NFL in the merger between the two leagues, they were also relocated to the same division. And what a glorious time it was for Miami.
So how great were these 20 wins for the Dolphins? Well, why don’t you take a look for yourself?
These are the point differentials of each of the 20 wins the Dolphins had against the Bills in the 70s. Everything peaked in part two of the 1970 season, where the Dolphins sent Buffalo to the shadow realm in a point differential of 38. There’s also a 34 point win in 1971, each part of seven wins by three scores or more, 14 by two scores or more (including an eight-point win, as the NFL did not adopt the two-point conversion until 1994), and 12 by at least 10 points.
Interestingly, however, the Dolphins’ greatest season was almost not meant to be, as the first contest against the Bills was won by just a point, a 24-23 heart stopper. Buffalo’s punishment for their insolence was 15 more ass kickings for the rest of the decade.
That ended in 1980, when the Bills finally beat the Dolphins 17-7 at home. The Dolphins would then win 10 of the next 12 meetings before dropping six in a row once Jim Kelly rolled in to form a rivalry with Dan Marino’s squad. From 1987 to 1995 the Dolphins went 4-17 as the Bills became the team of the AFC in this span, going to four straight Super Bowls in the early 90s (and losing all of them).
However, no win streak from the Bills would last longer than six in this heated rivalry, and no streak from any opponent has come close to matching the Dolphins’ 20 game win streak in the rivalry ever since.
As it stands, the Dolphins are 61-52-1 against the Bills (1-3 in the playoffs), holding a nine-game lead in the series. Needless to say, Miami has at least five seasons left to hold the lead (if a sweep were to happen), but we don’t want that, do we? So what better way to get back in a rivalry that feels meaningful once more than to end a five-game streak against the Bills on Sunday?