When Dan Marino left the Miami Dolphins it came with a lot of controversy and swirling rumors. Marino could still play at a high level and had he been in a system like the Patriots ran with Tom Brady, he would have lasted into his 50’s. Sadly, that was not to be the case.
Marino faced a very tough decision at the end of the 1999 season. Blown out by the Jacksonville Jaguars in his last playoff appearance, Marino had the three choices in front of him. Leave, play, or retire.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Marino.
Leaving crossed his mind.
After the 1999 season the Minnesota Vikings were calling and wanted him to be their quarterback. The Vikings had all the pieces to make a run at the Super Bowl. A tough defense, very good offensive line, and weapons that Marino didn’t have in Miami. They didn’t have a quarterback.
After a lot of speculation, Marino decided that leaving Miami was not something he wanted to do which then left him with two choices.
Staying and playing under Dave Wannstedt.
It should have been Marino’s decision but it wasn’t. Wannstedt would not guarantee Marino he would be the starter but instead would have to compete with Jay Fiedler for the job. It was a slap in Marino’s face. Marino weighed his options and opted for number three.
At the age of 36, Marino retired and with it no one would see any real decline in his play, no nagging injuries that might pop-up in the next few years. Unfortunately, with the defense that Wannstedt had on the field, Marino may have elevated the Dolphins considerably and taken the team back to the Super Bowl.