10 Greatest Miami Dolphins Teams of All Time

All of the teams on this list were coached by Don Shula

Although they are the oldest professional sports team in Florida, the Miami Dolphins are one of the younger franchises in the NFL. It probably doesn't seem that way because they started with a bit of a bang. Established in 1965, Miami suffered four straight losing seasons before hiring Don Shula in 1970. The rest is history.

 

Shula led the Dolphins to five Super Bowls, two Lombardi Trophies, and 257 wins. He also coached every one of Miami's 10 best teams ever. Take a look.

 

10. 1983

Finished: Lost to Seattle Seahawks 27-20 in the Divisional Playoff Round

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Rookie Dan Marino became the starting quarterback in Week 6 of the season and Miami won nine of its last 11 games and the AFC East. Unfortunately, the Dolphins could not overcome five turnovers against Seattle and were upset at home in the playoffs.

 

9. 1990

Finished: Lost to Buffalo Bills 44-34 in the Divisional Playoff Round

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Dan Marino recorded his sixth straight 3,000-yard season as the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time since 1985. Their run came to end in a shootout in the snow with the Super Bowl-bound Bills.

 

8. 1974

Finished: Lost to Oakland Raiders 28-26 in the Divisional Playoff Round

Regular Season Record: 11-3

Having been to three straight Super Bowls, the Dolphins were poised to go to a fourth one and potentially three-peat as champions. However, an unbelievable catch for a touchdown by Oakland running back Clarence Davis in the famous "Sea of Hands" game prevented that.

 

7. 1992

Finished: Lost to Buffalo Bills 29-10 in AFC Championship Game

Regular Season Record: 11-5

The Dolphins edged past the Bills for the AFC East title and then hosted them in the conference championship. There, Buffalo’s defense held Marino to only 108 yards in the first three quarters and shut down the Dolphins' running game en route to the Bills' third straight Super Bowl appearance.

 

6. 1985

Finished: Lost to New England Patriots 31-14 in AFC Championship Game

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Miami started the season 5-4 before rallying to win its final seven games. Along the way, the Dolphins handed the '85 Chicago Bears their only loss. A rematch in the Super Bowl could have been magnificent, but six turnovers by Miami and 255 rushing yards by New England in the conference championship game ended that dream.

 

5. 1971

Finished: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 24-3 in Super Bowl VI

Regular Season Record: 10-3-1

After four straight losing seasons, Miami hired Don Shula as head coach in 1970. He had the Dolphins in the Super Bowl the following year and although they lost to Dallas, the turnaround was remarkable.

 

4. 1982

Finished: Lost to Washington Redskins 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII

Regular Season Record: 7-2

One of Miami's two losses during the strike-shortened season was the infamous "Snowplow Game" in which New England Patriots head coach Ron Meyer directed the stadium's snowplow operator to clear off a spot for kicker John Smith to boot the game-winning field goal. Despite the chicanery, the Dolphins entered the playoff tournament as the No. 2 seed and cruised to the Super Bowl. They jumped out to a 17-10 halftime lead in the Super Bowl, but Washington scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to seal the win.

 

3. 1984

Finished: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX

Regular Season Record: 14-2

Marino threw a then-record 48 touchdown passes and became the first quarterback to cross the 5,000-yard threshold as Miami scored more than 500 points. The fact that the Dolphins lost to arguably the best team of all time in the Super Bowl should not diminish their greatness and influence on the game.

 

2. 1973

Finished: Beat Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII

Regular Season Record: 12-2

The Dolphins' 18-game winning streak was snapped in the second week of the season, but they only lost once more. In the playoffs, they beat all three of their opponents by at least 17 points to win a second straight Super Bowl.

 

1. 1972

Finished: Beat Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII

Regular Season Record: 14-0

The '72 Dolphins actually had to play the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh because of the league rules at the time. No matter. The Dolphins won as they did all their other games to record the last perfect season in NFL history.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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