Miami Dolphins Team History
pro football club in history ever advanced more quickly from
the first-year dregs every expansion team faces to the ultimate
achievement in its sport than the Miami Dolphins did in the
six-year period between 1967 and 1972. In 1967, they began their
pro football life as the ninth member of the American Football
League. Six years later, Miami became the only National Football
League team ever to record a perfect season.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins won the AFC Eastern division and AFC
championships and then defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7
in Super Bowl VII to complete an unblemished 17-0-0 record.
The Dolphins, who were founded by Joseph Robbie, also got off
to a perfect start in the first game of their first AFL season
when running back Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff for
a 95-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. But the Miami
team returned to reality even before the end of its first game.
Oakland rallied to win and the Dolphins finished their first
season with a 4-10 record.
George Wilson was the Dolphins' first coach. He finished his
four-year AFL tenure after the 1969 season with a 15-39-2 record.
But those were not wasted years for the Dolphins because they
were steadily adding new talent -- quarterback Bob Griese in
1967, running back Larry Csonka in 1968 and guard Larry Little
in 1969 -- that would eventually turn them into winners.
The transition from losing to winning came in just one season
in 1970 when new coach Don Shula led the Dolphins to an AFC
wild-card playoff berth with a 10-4 record. Miami then followed
with three straight AFC championships in 1971, 1972 and 1973
and victories in Super Bowls VII and VIII. Their combined 1972-1973
record was 32-2, also an all-time mark. From 1970 to 1974, their
cumulative record was 65-15-1.
There is no telling what heights the Dolphins might have reached
had not three of their finest stars, Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul
Warfield, defected to the rival World Football League after
the 1974 season. Miami never again reached the world championship
level the Dolphins attained in 1972 and 1973. But Shula, who
in 1993 surpassed George Halas' record of 324 coaching victories
to become the all-time leader, kept the Dolphins among the league's
elite year after year.
The Dolphins since 1970 have won 11 AFC Eastern division championships
and five AFC titles, the last two coming in 1982 and 1984. In
the 1984 season, quarterback Dan Marino threw a then-record 48
The Dolphins first playing home was the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Fan support was excellent … in 1973, the Dolphins established
an NFL record with 74,961 season ticket sales. But Robbie had
long dreamed of his own privately-funded stadium and, on August
16, 1987, he proudly unveiled a spanking new 73,000-seat stadium.
Two years later, the stadium served as the site for Super Bowl
XXIII and again hosted a Super Bowl in January, 1995.
The Joe Robbie era ended with his death on January 7, 1990.
Early in 1994, the NFL approved the acquisition of the Dolphins
by H. Wayne Huizenga, a well-known Florida sportsman. Following
the 1995 season, the legendary Shula retired as coach of the
Dolphins. Since that time, the team has been led by Jimmy Johnson,
Dave Wannstedt, and Jim Bates. In 2005, Nick Saban was
named the franchise's sixth head coach.