The Dolphins were great throughout Don Shula’s tenure from 1970 to 1995 because stability at the quarterback position existed with Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Don Shula had a Hall of Fame quarterback 22 out of the 25 years with the Dolphins.
The less publicized center position also epitomized stability, consistency and greatness during this time of success under Shula. Hall of Famers held the center position in the Dolphins organization from 1970 through 1987.
The Dolphins experienced great success from 1966 to 2003 with only handful of men playing the center position. Four of those players will appear on this list.
From 2003 to 2011, no stability existed at the position and the Dolphins only made the playoffs once. Causing the Dolphins to draft a center in the first round of the draft. I will now try to rank the top 5 centers in Dolphins history.
Jeff Uhlenhake, Jeff Dellenbach, Bob DeMarco
Tom Goode 1966-69
Goode was taken in the expansion draft in 1966 by the Dolphins and would be the starting center for their first four years in the AFL. He started 55 games and was named an AFL All-Star in 1969. During his time with the Dolphins, he blocked for RB Larry Csonka, RB Jim Kiick and QB Bob Griese.
Tim Ruddy 1994-03
Dolphins drafted Ruddy out of Notre Dame in the 2nd round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He becomes the starting center in his second season and would start at the position for 140 games over the next 9 years.
Ruddy was a consistent presence on the Dolphins offensive line with coaches Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt. He made one Pro Bowl in 2000.
Mike Pouncey 2011-present
The Dolphins drafted Pouncey in the first round in the 2011 NFL Draft. Pouncey started 16 games his rookie season and has started 77 games over his 6 seasons with the Dolphins.
However, he has suffered from multiple injuries and has not played a full season since 2012. In his six seasons, he has made three Pro Bowls. When healthy, Pouncey is one of the most dominant lineman in the NFL. Even if, Pouncey says healthy the next 3 years and makes 3 more Pro Bowls, it will be difficult for him to crack the top two spots.
The next two players can be ranked as 1A and 1B on this list because both were outstanding at the center position.
Jim Langer 1970-79
Langer joined the Dolphins in 1970 and became the starting center. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, a two time Second-Team All-Pro, a four-time First-Team All-Pro and the center on the NFL 1970s All-Decade First Team.
Langer played on possibly the greatest offensive line in NFL history that led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl victories in 1972 and 1973.
He played with offensive line Pro Bowlers Larry Little, Bob Kuechenberg, Norm Evans and Wayne Moore during his time with the Dolphins. In his first year of eligibility, Langer was elected to the football Hall of Fame.
Dwight Stephenson 1980-87
Dolphins selected Stephenson from the University of Alabama in the 2nd round of the 1980 NFL Draft. Stephenson played for two of the greatest coaches in football history, playing for Bear Bryant in college and Shula in the NFL.
During his time with the Dolphins, he started 87 games at center and performed at an elite level. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, a five-time First-Team All-Pro and the center on the NFL 1980s All-Decade First Team.
Pro Football Focus has the Dwight Stephenson Award, which honors the best player in NFL of that year. They consider Stephenson one of the greatest players they ever graded compared to his competition.
His leadership on the offensive line led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s. He received the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1985 for his community service and excellence on the field.