The number 23 gave us a some of our best numbers to date. I’m no sure if I would have selected Ronnie Brown over Troy Vincent and honestly I thought that Troy Stradford would get far more votes. There is no question though that Patrick Surtain was one of the best corner-backs the Dolphins have had. Memories of Surtain and Sam Madison still to this day resonate among many fans. We will see how Madison stacks up later. For now, let’s move along to the number 24. I feel like I should be skipping to some Sesame Street song.
Billy Hunter was the first player to wear the number 24. He did so in 1966 the teams inaugural first season. Jack Clancy wore it from 1967 to 1969, Delvin Williams wore the uniform from 1978 to 1980 and carved out a pretty nice career. Reyna Thompson wore from 1986 to 1988 but took some time off with the strike in ’87 to see his uniform worn by replacement player Floyd Raglin. Rodney Thomas wore it from 1989 – 1990, Vestee Jackson from 1991 – 1993, Pat Johnson in 1995, Jerry Wilson from 1996 – 2000, Jamar Fletcher in 2001, Omare Lowe in 2002, Sammy Knight from 2003 – 2004, Tebucky Jones in 2005, Renaldo Hill 2006 – 2008 and finally Sean Smith from 2009 to 2012. Today the uniform has been assigned to cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
Looking over the names who wore this well, Delvin Williams and Sean Smith stand out for what is basically a two man race.
In 1978, to shed a little historical light on Williams, Delvin rushed for 1,258 yards with eight TD’s. Williams also caught 18 passes for 192 yards. He made both the Pro-Bowl and first team all-pro that season. In 1979 he added 703 yards rushing and in 1980, his last with the Dolphins, he added 671 yards on the ground.
Williams began his career in 1974 with the San Francisco 49’ers and finished his career in 1981 with the Green Bay Packers. Now that you know a little more about Williams, who wore it best?
Moving on from 24 we move right into 25. Some of the names are recognizable while others are much more recent. Regardless you may have to think about this one just a little bit. From 1966 to 1969 Dick Westmoreland wore the number, then came Tim Foley who wore the uniform proudly from 1970 until 1980 spanning the entire decade of the 1970’s. Mike Smith wore it from 1985 – 1987 and then came Louis Oliver the hard hitting safety and he donned the uniform from 1989 to 1993, then he came back to Miami and wore it from 1995 – 1996. Corey Harris took it over in 1997, Greg Jeffries from 1999 to 2000, Jimmy Wyrick in 2003, Reggie Howard from 2004 – 2005, Will Allen from 2006 – 2011, Jimmy Wilson wore the number for part of 2011 as well. Finally R.J. Stanford last season. Today it’s being worn by Louis Delmas.
So who wore the number best? Historically Dick Westmoreland had a very good career with the Dolphins so you could the traditional route and give it to the guy who wore it first. Tim Foley was a vital part of the Miami Dolphins Super Bowl runs. He started 110 games out of the 134 he played in and was voted to the Pro-Bowl in 1979. The defensive back registered 22 interceptions on his career. Foley played only for the Dolphins in his career.
Louis Oliver was a bone crushing hitter. In his seven seasons with the Dolphins, he had 24 interceptions. He spent one year with the Cincinnati Bengals before returning to finish his career with the Dolphins. Will Allen spent 10 years in the NFL. His first five with the New York Giants and his last five with the Dolphins. He had 15 career interceptions spanning that decade.
Now it’s your turn.