Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins legends honored at game to culminate 50th season celebration

Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino holds his ball after being introduced during the halftime presentation as the Fins play the New York Giants at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 14, 2015.
Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino holds his ball after being introduced during the halftime presentation as the Fins play the New York Giants at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 14, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Killer B’s mingled with members of the No-Name Defense.

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino caught up with the “Marks Brothers,” Clayton and Duper, and the backfield of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris was reunited.

And all the while Don Shula sat and enjoyed the moment like the proud papa of 50 years of Dolphins tradition.

From the team’s original logo painted at midfield to the team wearing a retro version of its original jerseys to pregame and halftime ceremonies commemorating the Top 50 Greatest Players in franchise history, it was a night of nostalgia during Monday night’s Dolphins-Giants game at Sun Life Stadium.

“I’m just honored and grateful to be a part of something like this,” said former Dolphins safety Glenn Blackwood. “The game comes to you quick, and it’s quick to leave, but for the time it was here, it was great fun. I’m thankful for all the guys that are here tonight.”

The culmination of a weekend of festivities that included a gala at the Hollywood Diplomat Resort & Spa on Friday night marking the team’s 50-year anniversary ended with a series of retrospectives that included a laser light show before the game and the members of the all-time team being presented at halftime.

“I had a great stop here and played with some great football players in my time here like Dan Marino and Louis Oliver,” former Dolphins tight end Keith Jackson said. “We had a great time on the football field.”

Jackson was one of 41 members of the top 50 squad that attended the ceremony and was presented a commemorative football.

Relatives of the deceased members on the team — Reggie Roby, Garo Yepremian, Earl Morrall and Jim Mandich — were present and accepted their honors.

Before the game, a fireworks display and laser light show reminisced the team’s history with sound bites from memorable moments played on the loudspeaker, such as the voice of the late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announcing the team’s draft selection of Dan Marino in 1983.

Marino, Bob Griese, Larry Little, Dwight Stephenson and Nick Buoniconti were on the field for the game’s coin toss.

During timeouts, highlights from different eras of Dolphins football played on the Jumbotron, such as clips from the team’s Super Bowl victories in the early 1970s and its last two appearances in the early 1980s.

“The Dolphins run a great program to bring together all the retired players,” said Vern Den Herder, a member of the 1972 Perfect Season. “I just feel humbled to be on a team with some of the greatest players to ever play the game.”

Marino and Jason Taylor received the loudest ovations among the players.

The team’s eight Pro Football Hall of Famers were announced last. Seven were in attendance except for Jim Langer, who was unable to attend because of health reasons. Bob Kuechenberg, Ricky Williams, Bruce Hardy and Jake Scott were the other Top 50 members not in attendance.

The final introduction went to Shula, who received a standing ovation.

“We had a coach like Don Shula that respected the integrity of the game,” Blackwood said. “We were the least-penalized team in the league in those days. And those were the principles we all learned to live by. For me, and I know I speak for a lot of us, we wouldn’t be standing here today without what we learned from Coach Shula.”

Andre C. Fernandez: 305-376-4997, @AndreMHsports

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