Dan Marino Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins, much to their surprise at the time, found University of Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino still available when it came time to make their first pick in the 1983 National Football League Draft. Five other quarterbacks, including Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and John Elway, had been taken before the Dolphins grabbed Marino with the 27th pick overall.
Marino earned the starting role early in his rookie season and, for the next 17 years the fortunes of the franchise rode on his shoulders. By the time he retired following the 1999 NFL season, Marino had literally rewritten the passing section of the NFL's record book.
After two earlier relief appearances, Marino became the Dolphins starter in the sixth week of his rookie season. He immediately took charge of the Dolphins' offense and guided the team to a 12-4 record and the AFC East title. Marino threw 20 touchdowns and recorded a 96.0 passer rating to earn Rookie of the Year honors. He was also named to the first of his nine Pro Bowl selections.
Marino's performance the following season was unlike any seen in NFL history as he guided the Dolphins to a 14-2 record and a division crown. He became the first player ever to pass for 5,000 yards in a single season finishing with a remarkable 5,084 yards. His 48 touchdown passes obliterated the previous record, 36 touchdowns passes held by Y.A. Tittle and George Blanda. By season's end, he had set six league records and was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player. In the 1984 AFC Championship Game, Marino passed for 421 yards and threw four touchdowns in the Dolphins' 45-28 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning his first and only trip to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XIX, Marino completed 29 of 50 passes for 318 yards, passed for one touchdown and threw two interceptions as the Dolphins fell to the San Francisco 49ers 38-16.
Marino's passing prowess continued at a record pace and by the end of the 1995 season had supplanted Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton as the career passing leader in attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Marino's career totals are staggering as he completed 4,967 of 8,358 passes for 61,361 yards, and threw 420 touchdowns during his 242-game NFL career.
Thirteen times in his career Marino passed for 3,000 yards or more in a season which includes the six seasons he reached the 4,000-yard plateau. He passed for 300 yards in a game 63 times and threw for 400 or more yards in a game 13 times.
Marino was named first- or second-team All-Pro eight times and earned All-AFC honors six times.