Combining the countdown to the start of the Dolphins regular season with the best plays in franchise history
To help count down the days to the start of the Miami Dolphins regular season last year, we marked each day with the corresponding jersey number and came up with the three best players to wear that number.
This year, we’re counting down to the start of the regular season with a countdown of the top 100 plays in Dolphins history.
Given that the Dolphins have played 849 regular season games and 41 more in the playoffs, it’s an awfully difficult task to narrow things down to 100 plays and then rank them. The plays selected were ranked on the basis of difficulty, uniqueness, immediate and long-lasting impact and historical significance.
The countdown initially appeared in Dolphin Digest in 2019 but has been updated.
We continue with No. 63:
No. 63: Dan Marino’s touchdown pass at Los Angeles in 1983
Setting the stage: Fresh off their Super Bowl appearance, the 1983 Dolphins started the season with two victories with David Woodley at quarterback while first-round pick Dan Marino waited his turn. In Week 3, the Dolphins faced the eventual Super Bowl champion Raiders in Los Angeles and found themselves trailing 27-0 with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter after Greg Pruitt’s 5-yard touchdown run capped a drive that consumed 8:50. It was the perfect time for Don Shula to give Marino his first taste of NFL regular season action and the rookie didn’t disappoint.
The play: After moving the Dolphins from their 34 to the Raiders 6-yard line thanks to a fourth-down conversion (completion to running back Tony Nathan along with a roughing-the-passer penalty), Marino faced a fourth-and-goal. Marino would then show his remarkable accuracy, floating a pass over cornerback Odis McKinney and into the arms of diving tight end Joe Rose for the touchdown on a play where the Raiders were flagged for pass interference. The Dolphins would recover the ensuing onside kickoff and Marino would engineer another touchdown drive, capping that one with a 2-yard pass to Mark Duper. But that first one was the big one.
Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL. Feel free to submit questions every Friday for the All Dolphins mailbag.