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Dolphins have third-longest active streak of winning seasons in NFL

The Miami Dolphins, after a generation of mediocrity, appear to be coming out of their malaise.

NFL: JUN 08 Miami Dolphins Minicamp Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins, once the winningest team in NFL history, have fallen off since the end of the Dan Marino era at the turn of the century. For an entire generation, the Dolphins have been an afterthought with occasional seasons of surprise. There was a recent period where the goal was not a winning season, but rather just stop the losing seasons, with 8-8 being a celebrated accomplishment.

Over the past 23 seasons, the Dolphins have recorded a winning record 10 times. They have qualified for the playoffs five times. They have won the AFC East division twice. Miami has struggled to be relevant in the current era of the NFL.

That seems to be changing, however. Three of those winning seasons have been in the last three years. Miami made the playoffs last year. While they are still looking to win their first playoff game since 2000, the Dolphins seem to have finally turned the corner and be moving back toward being a perennial contender.

Having fallen from the winningest team in NFL history to now holding the sixth-best winning percentage in league history, Miami appears to be headed back toward being among the league’s elite.

As pointed out by Pro Football Focus over the weekend, the Dolphins currently have the third-longest winning-seasons streak in the NFL - tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers with three-straight seasons with a winning record. (The Steelers have not had a losing record since they went 6-10 in 2003, but they finished the 2006, 2012, 2013, and 2019 seasons with an 8-8 record, giving them neither winning nor losing seasons.)

The Kansas City Chiefs are dominating the league right now, having finished each of the last 10 seasons above the .500 mark. The Buffalo Bills, Miami’s AFC East rivals, are second with four-straight winning records. Then Miami and Pittsburgh.

The teams with back-to-back winning seasons are the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers.

Miami was 10-6 in 2020, finishing second in the AFC East but missing the playoffs. In 2021, they finished the year 9-8, but again missed the postseason with a third-place finish in the division. Last year, they were again 9-8, but the qualified for the playoffs, only to lose to the Bills 34-31 in the Wildcard round.

After years of watching the team struggle and hoping just to make it to mediocre, it is time to enjoy a return to relevance for the Dolphins. The team seems to have shaken off the malaise that descended upon the club around 2000. It feels odd to see Miami among the teams that have the most winning seasons lately, but they are there and they appear to be ready to not just settle for winning regular season records but to turn around the postseason results as well.