Miami Dolphins

Shula and Marino. Beepers and Blockbuster. The last time the Dolphins were 4-0

Miami Dolphins’ coach Don Shula, left, gives Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino a congratulatory hug as Marino was honored Monday night, Dec. 11, 1995 for breaking three standing passing records previously held by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
Miami Dolphins’ coach Don Shula, left, gives Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino a congratulatory hug as Marino was honored Monday night, Dec. 11, 1995 for breaking three standing passing records previously held by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton. AP

Friday night movies might mean stopping at Blockbuster. Young clubbers just out of college making just-out-of-college pay could have a nice high-rise apartment in South Beach without roommates.

And the Dolphins looked like the trendy preseason Super Bowl pick with a 26-23 win over the Cincinnati on Oct. 1, 1995.

That was the last time the Dolphins reached 4-0. OK, so they ended 9-7, but they made the playoffs — where Buffalo ran them out and ran head coach Don Shula into retirement.

Never mind all that. We’re talking 4-0, which the Dolphins can hit Sunday with a win against a New England team so discombobulated, it allowed a Detroit running back to run for over 100 yards. The Lions hadn’t had a running back run for triple digits since Reggie Bush.

the Patriots are doing that finding-themselves thing they do early each season. Which means the Dolphins have a chance to go up three games on the annual AFC East champions with their best start in 23 years.

Seven current Dolphins — five on the active roster, two on the practice squad — weren’t born yet. Another 27 current Dolphins (20 on the roster, seven on the practice squad) were under 3.

Don Shula was the Dolphins coach, as he had been for the 25 seasons immediately preceding 1995. The Dolphins coach in the 23 seasons since 1995? Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates (interim), Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles (interim), Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell (interim), Adam Gase.

The last year the Dolphins started 4-0 would be the last Pro Bowl season of Dan Marino’s record-shattering, Hall of Fame career. Marino threw to O.J. McDuffie to move the chains. His deep threats were Irving Fryar, who had domestic violence in his past and fraud in his future, and Randal Hill, future federal agent. Bernie Parmalee led the Dolphins in rushing.

Buffalo, not New England, was the AFC East standard-Super Bowl participant the Dolphins chased with rare success. New England was the division’s screw-up franchise. Indianapolis and the Jets stunk.

That’s right, Indianapolis, quarterbacked by Jim Harbaugh, was in the Dolphins’ division. The NFL still had only six divisions. All but the youngest football fans still had a tough time saying “Indianapolis Colts.”

We were still getting used to that score bug being on the screen all the time during Fox’s NFL telecasts. Heck, we were still getting used to the NFL on Fox after the network money muscled CBS out of the rights to NFC games the year before.

Fox Network’s “Cops,” the syndicated “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” and MTV’s “The Real World” summed up reality television.

Windows 95 had just been introduced with commercials that included The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” Yes, that song was only 14 years old and hadn’t been ground into cliché by deejays before opening kickoffs and face-offs.

Similarly not run into the ground, yet, because it had been a No. 1 the previous spring: Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.”

New cars — at least cars that regular folks bought — still came with cassette players. You went to that guy your friend knows in Hialeah if you wanted a CD player installed.

People didn’t burn CDs. They still made mix tapes.

Baby Boomers and Generation Xers pondered Prodigy vs. AOL 1.0 for their first email addresses. The AOL email addys are the same ones recently abandoned as still-working Boomers and Xers tried not to appear archaic to Millennial recruiters.

Some people had cellphones. More had beepers. Beeper stores were everywhere.

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A Blockbuster Video store at Alton Road and 15th Street in 1995. /Miami Herald FIle

So, were Blockbuster video stores. Friday might involve actual Blockbuster runs of a few blocks if you and your honey decided you just had to watch, say, “Trilogy of Terror” and that scary little doll chasing Karen Black around her apartment. Back then, only the middle-aged and up needed to have “Be Kind, Rewind” explained. Now, only the middle-aged and up can explain it.

Germany was on the rise, but the United States still worried about Japan as the main economic rival.

The Dolphins, University of Miami baseball and FIU men’s and women’s basketball played in their (renovated and added onto) current homes. The University of Miami Hurricanes football team played in the Orange Bowl. The University of Miami basketball team drew little in 7-years-old-and-already-outdated Miami Arena. The Heat drew more to Miami Arena but fought fan apathy they hoped might end with making new coach Pat Riley the latest New York-to-Miami transplant. Miami Arena’s other tenant, the Panthers, hoped their attendance wouldn’t slide too much from their first two seasons while they played younger players, employed a first time head coach Doug MacLean and tried to hustle up support for a new arena.

FIU football didn’t exist.

“Friends” showed that TV theme songs could still be pop hits. And we were only one season into Ross and Rachel.

Miami Gardens was called Carol City” Along with Aventura, Doral, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Miami Lakes, Sunny Isles Beach, it wasn’t a city, but a region of unincorporated Miami-Dade County. Aventura became a city that November, a few months after the mall added Bloomingdale’s.

Nobody who didn’t live in Wynwood went there after dark unless what they really needed was a 12-step program.

Cops rarely gave drivers tickets for running red lights near the Biscayne Boulevard freeway entrances and exits at night in downtown Miami. In fact, they sometimes encouraged drivers to do so for personal safety, something cops would never do now that people now walk shih-tzus and terriers downtown.

“Seinfeld” entered its sixth season first run, and its first season in daily syndication, causing viewers across America to try setting their VCRs.

The big Did He or Didn’t He concerning male violence against a woman wasn’t about a Supreme Court nominee, but a Hall of Fame running back-turned-actor. The verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial came down the day after the Dolphins beat Cincinnati. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and mother of his two youngest kids, Nicole Brown Simpson.

The hottest NFL coach on the market: Jimmy Johnson. Whichever team pulled him out of the Fox studio surely had a Super Bowl or two in its future.

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