Phins At 50: Top 10 Backs

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The Miami Dolphins are celebrating their 50th NFL season with a season long “Phins at 50” celebration. In fact the team has a new “Phins at 50” book coming out that can be downloaded from their teams website. The Dolphins have had a lot of great players, some who have made impacts on the field to a degree of Hall of Fame consideration to players who simply played a pivotal part in a scheme, or a system.

With each passing year and sometimes decade, the Dolphins added a player that would eventually become worthy of a top ten slot on the teams all-time player list. Here is a look at the top 10 running backs in the last 50 Miami Dolphins seasons. Starting with two who didn’t quite make it.

Honorable Mentions

Karim Abdul-Jabbar (later renamed Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar)

Dan Marino never did get much help from the running back position during his illustrious career. However, Karim Abdul-Jabbar did manage to provide Marino with his only 1,000 yard back during his 16-year career. Abdul-Jabbar broke the 18-year 1,000 yard back drought in his rookie campaign. Abdul never reached the 1,000 yard plateau again, but his three years in Miami were good enough for 3,063 rushing yards. All-time he is seventh in Dolphins history in rushing and his 1996 rookie campaign is also seventh in single season rushing.

Abdul had some controversy with his moniker. After being given his name by his Imam, Abdul was soon confusing sports commentators due to his name’s similarity to NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar filed a lawsuit against Abdul, who then changed his name to Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar. Which explained how his name plate went from “Abdul-Jabbar” in 1998 and 1999 to “Abdul” in 2000.

However, Abdul doesn’t make the Top 10 due to his rather inconsistent play and inability to provide any gamebreaking ability from the backfield. With Dan Marino at quarterback, one would figure Abdul would have had more room to make plays. But his career 3.4 yards per rush coupled with the fact his longest play was a 45 yard scamper indicates it was more of a chore for Abdul, who the Dolphins repeatedly tried to replace but to no avail in later drafts.

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Bernie Parmalee

Parmalee’s story is known by now. That of the former UPS employee who make the Dolphins on a tryout. Parmalee never hit the 1,000 yard mark, but his 1,959 rushing yards are good for 15th all-time for Miami. He also added 1,306 receiving yards and 289 in kick returns to finish his Dolphins career with 3,554 all-purpose yards.

Parmalee was never a starter for a full-season. In 1994 and 1995, he started 10 and 12 games respectively while compiling 868 and 878 rushing yards. With Karim Abdul-Jabbar drafted in 1996, Parmalee was phased out of the rushing attack and used primarily in the passing game. Despite this, Parmalee never matched his receiving yards from 1995 (345 receiving). Parmalee would never again match his mid-90s numbers as he only broke the 100 yard make for an entire season once…while with the New York Jets.