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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday…Dan Marino

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Hall of Famer marinoDan MarinoMarino

Marino was the first draft pick in the history of the United States Football League, selected by the Los Angeles Express.[6] He did not sign with the team, choosing instead to sign with the Dolphins. After starting the season as a backup to incumbent starter David Woodley, Marino was given his first NFL start in Week 6 versus the Buffalo Bills. Marino and Miami lost that game 38–35 in overtime. As a rookie, Marino set several records: he posted a 96.0 passer rating, he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, he had the lowest percentage of passes intercepted with 2.03, he was the only rookie quarterback to lead a conference in passing, and he had the highest passing completion percentage with 58.45.[9][10] The Dolphins finished the season with a 12-4 record and advanced to the AFC divisional playoffs, where Marino threw two touchdown passes in his playoff debut. However, he also threw two interceptions as the team lost to the upstart 9-7 Seattle Seahawks, 27-20.

In his second season, Marino broke six NFL full-season passing records, including the records for most touchdown passes (48, stood for 20 years, broken by Peyton Manning with 49 in 2004, and later by Tom Brady with 50 in 2007, and again by Manning with 55 in 2013) and most passing yards (5,084, stood for 27 years, broken by Drew Brees in 2011, and later by Manning in 2013) in a season, and was selected as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. The Dolphins finished with a 14–2 regular season record, clinching home-field advantage for the playoffs. In the first round, the Dolphins avenged their playoff loss of the previous season to Seattle Seahawks 31–10, and they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game 45–28.

In Super Bowl XIX, Marino and the Dolphins faced off against San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana in Palo Alto, California. The Dolphins, who had 74 rushing attempts in the previous two weeks, ran the ball only eight times in this game. Marino finished with 29 completions out of 50 attempts for 318 yards, throwing one touchdown pass and two interceptions. The Dolphins lost 38–16 in what was Marino’s only Super Bowl appearance.

In 1985, Marino threw for 4,137 yards and 30 TD’s while leading the Dolphins to the AFC Championship game. On 9/29/85, Marino vs. Elway I was played in Mile High Stadium in Denver and Marino threw for 390 yards and 3 TD’s in the Dolphins 30–26 victory. Then on 12/2/85, Marino threw for 270 yards and 3 TD’s against the vaunted Chicago Bears defense in the Dolphins 38–24 victory. The loss was the only one that the Bears experienced that season. Marino led the league in yards and touchdown passes and was named first team All-Pro in 1985.

In 1993, Miami was strongly favored at the start of the year to make it back to the AFC championship game and possibly the Super Bowl. However, after throwing a swing pass at a game in Cleveland, Marino, who was untouched on the play, crumpled to the ground in pain with a torn Achilles tendon and was out for the season. Marino later said, “I felt like I got kicked”.[11] Backup quarterback Scott Mitchell had an impressive series of starts before suffering an injury of his own. Steve DeBerg started the last 4 games of the season. Mitchell signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Lions, and Miami signed veteran quarterback Bernie Kosar from the Dallas Cowboys as a backup. Wearing a special shoe on one foot, and having a right calf that was visibly atrophied, Marino was the starting quarterback at the start of the 1994 season.

In the season opener, a home game versus the New England Patriots and quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the two quarterbacks put up a combined 894 yards (Marino, 473 yards; Bledsoe, 421 yards) and nine passing touchdowns (Marino, 5; Bledsoe, 4), with Miami winning 39–35. Later in the season, Marino led a comeback win on the road against the New York Jets (28–24), a game famous for Marino’s execution of a fake spike for the winning touchdown pass, a play known as “The Clock Play“. The Dolphins finished 10–6 that year, and Marino passed for 4,453 yards and was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

Marino’s final win was his first playoff road win and his 36th comeback win, as the Dolphins defeated the Seattle Seahawks 20–17 on January 9, 2000 in the final football game ever in the Seattle Kingdome. In the next round (January 16), also on the road, Marino and the Dolphins lost 62–7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Dolphins’ 55 point margin of loss was the worst in AFC Playoff history. Marino was replaced by backup Damon Huard after playing one series in the second half. However, he did end the first half on a high note, leading the Dolphins on an 80-yard scoring drive and throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Oronde Gadsden with 20 seconds remaining. The Jacksonville game marked the end of Jimmy Johnson‘s coaching career; Johnson announced his retirement the next day.

Before the 2000 season, Marino decided to retire,[12] after declining offers from Minnesota, Tampa Bay and his hometown of Pittsburgh when the Dolphins declined his option on his contract.

Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday salutes one of the all time greats…Dan Marino.

Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts 8,358
Pass completions 4,967
Percentage 59.4
TDINT 420–252
Passing yards 61,361
Passer rating 86.
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