During the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s it was a great time to be a Dolphins fan. While the team only won two Super Bowls and appeared in five, the last of which following the 84 season the Dolphins were always relevant and competed. As the millennia changed from the 20th to the 21st century changes were on the horizon for the Dolphins. At the outset of the 1990’s the Dolphins had already seen an ownership change. The team saw only it’s 2nd coaching change when Don Shula retired mid-way through the decade. Now Dan Marino was ready to hang up his cleats and Jimmy Johnson his whistle.
The 2000’s would bring the Miami Dolphins the Dave Wannstedt years and a decade long search for a true franchise quarterback. While Jay Fiedler would take over for Dan Marino as the starter, Fiedler never truly embodied himself to the Dolphins fan base. The Dolphins would continue to push towards the playoffs however as the team became a ground control offense.
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The Dolphins beat Seattle to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. It’s the first road playoff win for the Dolphins since the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh in 1972.
The Dolphins lose by their biggest point margin in team history to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars post 62 points on the Dolphins while the Dolphins could only generate seven points. The game would mark the last game coached by Jimmy Johnson and the last game played in the NFL by Dan Marino. Marino would not finish the game.
A day after losing 62-7 Jimmy Johnson retires. Dave Wannstedt is named the teams new head coach
The most prolific passer in NFL history voids the final two years of his contract and becomes a free agent. It was rumored that Dave Wannstedt told Marino he would not be guaranteed a roster position and that he would have to compete for the starting job if he stays with Miami. Marino would heavily weigh an offer from the Minnesota Vikings who were close to making ground in the NFC North.
At a standing room only announcement, Dan Marino announces that he will retire from the NFL rather than play for another team. Marino retires owning most of the NFL’s passing records.
The Miami Dolphins seal Dan Marino’s locker and display it at the teams training facility in Davie.
A portion of NW 100 street that crosses the face of Pro-Player Stadium in renamed Dan Marino Boulevard
Dan Marino appreciation night is held at Pro-Player stadium. More than 50,000 fans show up for the festivities. Fans are treated to music by “Hootie and the Blowfish” and a fireworks finale. Marino is joined on the field by former coach Don Shula as well as the quarterbacks class from 1983. Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Ken O’Brien, Tony Eason, and John Elway.
Jay Fiedler opens the regular season as the teams new starting quarterback. The Dolphins beat the Seattle Seahawks 23-0. Fiedler throws one touchdown with no interceptions. It’s the first time since 1983 that a quarterback other than Dan Marino started the season.
In a steady downpour and at halftime of a loss to the Ravens, Dan Marino has his jersey retired and is enshrined in the Dolphins honor roll.
The Monday Night Meltdown. The Dolphins enter the 4th quarter against the Jets up by 30-7 but will surrender 30 points in the 4th quarter to lose the game. It’s the largest fourth quarter comeback surrendered by the Dolphins.
The Dolphins beat the Patriots to earn the AFC East
The Dolphins beat the Colts in the first round of the playoffs. The game becomes the last playoff game won by the Dolphins in the next 14 years
The Dolphins lose to the Raiders in the divisional round of the playoffs. The loss marks the last time the Dolphins advance past the Wild Card round.
Nick Buoniconti becomes the 8th member of the Miami Dolphins to be elected to the HOF on August 4th he is enshrined at the Canton HOF. He is the first defensive player to earn that honor and remains Miami’s lone Hall of Fame defensive player from the vaunted 1972 – 1973 No-Name Defense.
The NFL announces that there will be no games opening weekend due to the terrorist attacks on September 11th. The Dolphins home opener against the Bills is rescheduled for January 6th
The Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins face off for the last time as divisional rivals. The Dolphins beat the Colts 41-6 as the Colts would start the next season in a new division under NFL realignment. The game, a Monday night game, moves Miami into the all-time winningest team on Monday Night Football.
The Dolphins with a win over Atlanta clinch their 5th playoff appearance in a row. The Dolphins are the only team in the NFL to have reached the playoffs each of those five years spanning 1997-2001. They would not return to the playoffs until 2008.
The Dolphins lose to the Baltimore Ravens 20-3 eliminating them from the first round of the playoffs.
Dave Wannstedt announces that Norv Turner will be the teams new assistant head coach
Ricky Williams fails his first drug test
Ricky Williams makes his Miami Dolphins debut. The Dolphins traded two first round draft picks and more to New Orleans for the running back. Williams rushes for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries
The Dolphins snap an eight game losing streak to the Jets. Ricky Williams breaks the teams two game combined rushing total and is the first in team history to record three consecutive 100 yard rushing games. Williams’ two game rushing record is 283 yards. He would break it two more times by seasons end.
Ricky Williams rushes for 228 yards in a loss to the Bills. The yards puts Williams over 1,200 on the season and as part of the Dolphins trade with New Orleans, the 3rd round pick is escalated to a 2nd round pick in 2003
In a 27-9 win against Chicago on Monday night, Ricky Williams becomes only the 3rd back in NFL history to post back-to-back 200 yard games. At half-time the Dolphins retire Larry Csonka’s number 39.
Jason Taylor gets 1.5 sacks tying Bill Stanfill’s seasonal mark and team record. He would finish his season tied with Stanfill but lead the league in sacks in 2002.
The Dolphins lose in their first trip to the new Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. A win against the Patriots would have given Miami a 10-6 record and the AFC East. They finish the season 9-7 and lose tiebreakers to the Jets and Patriots. The Jets win the division. The Dolphins lose 27-24 despite Ricky Williams rushing for two touchdowns and 185 yards.
Ricky Williams earns the MVP at the leagues annual Pro-Bowl joining only Garo Yepremian with that honor.
Former Miami Dolphins quarterback and starter in Super Bowl XVII, David Woodley passes away in Shreveport, La.
Mike Shula becomes the head coach of the University of Alabama
Due to wild fires around San Diego, the Dolphins game against the Chargers is moved to Sun-Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Dolphins would win the Monday game 26-10. The Dolphins had been in San Diego but the game change forced the Dolphins to board a plane for Arizona the morning of the game.
For the first time in team history the Dolphins wear a uniform other than white or aqua debuting their orange alternative jerseys on Sunday Night Football. The Dolphins beat the Redskins 24-23.
The Dolphins return to Dallas on Thanksgiving for the first time since the Leon Lett game. The Dolphins wear throwback uniforms and beat the Cowboys 40-21 improving their record to 4-1 on Thanksgiving day.
Ricky Williams fails his 2nd drug test
The Dolphins enshrine Mark Duper and Mark Clayton into the Ring of Honor.
With three sacks in a win against Buffalo in Orchard Park, NY, Jason Taylor becomes the All-Time Dolphins leader in sacks passing Bill Stanfill’s 1976 mark of 67.5
The Dolphins remove Dave Wannstedts “GM” title and announce that the team will search for a new GM among other management changes to the organizations restructure.