Columns & Blogs

Fins at 50: Miami Herald columnists choose all-time Dolphins teams

Larry Csonka (39) cradles ball with both hands at Super Bowl 8 in Houston on Jan. 14, 1974. Blocking for him are Bob Kuechenberg (67) and Larry Little (66). All three were selected by Herald columnists for their all-time teams.
Larry Csonka (39) cradles ball with both hands at Super Bowl 8 in Houston on Jan. 14, 1974. Blocking for him are Bob Kuechenberg (67) and Larry Little (66). All three were selected by Herald columnists for their all-time teams. AP file

For an enhanced version of this story, click here

EDWIN POPE

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Bob Griese and Dan Marino (tie)

Griese, a Hall of Famer, was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion. He won 61 percent of the games he started (92-56-3). Marino, a Hall of Famer and nine-time Pro Bowl starter, also won 61 percent of his starts (147-93) and owned nearly every significant NFL passing record when he retired.

Running back: Jim Kiick

He rushed for 3,644 yards on 997 carries (3.7 average) and 28 touchdowns in seven seasons for the Dolphins.

Fullback: Larry Csonka

A Hall of Famer, Csonka started at fullback for seven seasons for Miami, rushing 1,505 times for 6,737 yards (4.5 average) and 53 touchdowns.

Receivers: Paul Warfield and Nat Moore

A Hall of Famer, Warfield was a Pro Bowler in each of his five seasons with the Dolphins, catching 156 passes for 3,355 yards and 35 touchdowns. Moore played 13 seasons for the Dolphins, catching 510 passes for 7546 yards and 74 touchdowns and was named first-team All Pro in 1977.

Tight end: Jim Mandich

He played eight seasons for the Dolphins during the glory years of the 1970s, catching 121 passes for 1,406 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Offensive tackles: Richmond Webb and Norm Evans

Webb started 163 games at left tackle and made the Pro Bowl his first seven years in the league for Miami. Evans, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, started 135 games at right tackle for the Dolphins.

Offensive guards: Larry Little and Bob Kuechenberg

Little, a Hall of Famer, started 153 games at right guard for Miami and was first-team All Pro every year from 1971 through 1975. Kuechenberg started 176 games at left for Miami guard and made the Pro Bowl six times.

Center: Dwight Stephenson and Jim Langer (tie)

Both are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Langer played in 129 games for Miami, Stephenson 114 before a knee injury

curtailed his career.

DEFENSE

Defensive tackles: Manny Fernandez and Bob Baumhower

Twice a second-team All Pro, Fernandez had 35 sacks in eight seasons for the Dolphins. Baumhower started 129 games in nine

seasons, recovered 16 fumbles and was a five-time Pro Bowler.

Defensive ends: Bill Stanfill and Jason Taylor

A five-time Pro Bowler, Stanfill had 67.5 sacks in 109 games through six seasons. A six-time Pro Bowler, Taylor had 131 sacks in

204 games for the Dolphins in 13 seasons.

Middle linebacker: Nick Buoniconti

He started 81 games for the Dolphins in seven seasons at middle linebacker, picked off eight passes, made three Pro Bowls and started on all three Dolphins Super Bowl teams in the 1970s.

Outside linebackers: Doug Swift and Mike Kolen

Both were starters on the Dolphins’ glory teams of the early 1970s. Kolen started 78 games in seven seasons; Swift started

71 in six.

Cornerbacks: Tim Foley and Sam Madison

Foley had 22 interceptions and one Pro Bowl appearance in 11 seasons for the Dolphins during their glory years in the 1970s.

Madison had 31 interceptions and four Pro Bowl appearances in nine seasons with the Dolphins.

Safeties: Jake Scott and Dick Anderson

Scott collected 35 interceptions in six seasons for Miami and started five consecutive Pro Bowls. Anderson had 34 interceptions in nine seasons and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1973. Both were standouts on Miami’s 17-0 team.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Garo Yepremian

He was a two-time All Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion in his nine-year Dolphins career, during which he made 68.2 percent of his field goals.

Punter: Reggie Roby

A three-time Pro Bowler, Roby averaged 43.3 yards per punt during his 10 seasons with Miami.

Special teams: Jim Jensen

A jack of all trades in 12 seasons for the Dolphins, “Crash” Jensen was named the NFL’s Special Teams Player of the Year in 1988.

GREG COTE

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Dan Marino

Bob Griese has the rings, but, sorry, this category is a runaway for the record-setting Marino. No contest.

Running back: Ricky Williams

Controversial, but also prolific and good enough to leave just 301 yards shy of Csonka’s career record, and to edge Mercury Morris for second RB spot.

Fullback: Larry Csonka

Zonk was key to those 1972-73 Super Bowl wins and remains club’s all-time leading rusher.

Receivers: Mark Clayton and Mark Duper

No Dolphin to this day has caught more passes than Clayton’s 550 or more for TDs than Clayton’s 81. Duper is the career leader in receiving yards (8,869) averaged a big 17.4 per catch, good enough to beat Paul Warfield and Nat Moore for second WR spot.

Tight end: Bruce Hardy

Marino’s security blanket on underneath routes, Hardy caught 256 passes and more for TDs (25) than any other Fins tight end. Jim Mandich a close runner-up.

Offensive tackles: Richmond Webb and Norm Evans

Webb made seven Pro Bowls and started more games (162) than any OT in club history. Evans was one of the unsung stalwarts who helped turn an expansion team into Super Bowl champions.

Offensive guards: Larry Little and Bob Kuechenberg

No Dolphin was more dominant at his position than Little during the club’s 1970s Glory Years, and only Marino and Jason Taylor started more games for Miami than “Kooch,” probably the greatest Hall-eligible Dolphin to not reach Canton, Ohio.

Center: Dwight Stephenson

Career abbreviated by a knee injury, but Stephenson still edges Jim Langer as Fins’ greatest center.

DEFENSE

Defensive tackles: Tim Bowens and Bob Baumhower

Overshadowed by Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, but only those two in club history started more games on defense than the steadily dominant “Tim-Bo.” Baumhower was a five-time Pro Bowler who had 16 career fumble recoveries.

Defensive ends: Jason Taylor and Cameron Wake

When Taylor retired he was sixth all-time in sacks and first on the Dolphins. Wake is third in team history, five sacks behind Bill Stanfill.

Middle linebacker: Zach Thomas

No defender in club history had more tackles. Isn’t that the point of defense?

Outside linebackers: Bob Brudzinski and Mike Kolen

Unsung among the “Killer B’s,” “Bru” nevertheless made the franchise’s All-Silver Anniversay team. Kolen was a steady fixture on the glory days defenses that helped to win consecutive Super Bowls.

Cornerbacks: Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain

CB -- Sam Madison (1997-05): Only the great safeties Dick Anderson and Jake Scott had more career interceptions for Miami than Madison’s 31. Surtain was second among cornerbacks with 29.

Safeties: Jake Scott and Dick Anderson

Anderson had 34 pickoffs, including a club-record four in one game. Scott had a franchise-best 35 INTs in only six seasons.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Olindo Mare

Won’t be popular choice, but Mare holds club’s career and season records for most points and field goals, with FG accuracy 11.9% better than runner-up Garo Yepremian.

Punter: Reggie Roby

Known for his booming height and hang time, Roby edges Brandon Fields and Larry Seiple.

Special teams: Larry Izzo

Jensen was a utilityman who played several positions, but none better than the kamikaze special-teams role that led to his nickname, “Crash.”

ARMANDO SALGUERO

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Dan Marino

He's perhaps the greatest thrower of all time and no one to wear a Miami jersey ever came close.

Running back: Ricky Williams

Yes, he quit, then he was suspended multiple times. But when he had the football in his hand, he was special.

Fullback: Larry Csonka

Carried tacklers to the end zone. Carried his team to Super Bowls.

Receivers: Paul Warfield and Mark Clayton

Warfield could be a 2,000-yard receiver in today's game; Clayton did it all, short, deep, across the middle, along the sideline.

Tight end: Bruce Hardy

Not fast but was always open. Not physical but was always open. Not a great blocker but was always open.

Offensive tackles: Richmond Webb and Norm Evans

Webb tamed Bruce Smith twice a year for a long time. Evans was a rock.

Offensive guards: Larry Little and Bob Kuechenberg

Little pulled as well as anyone in the NFL; Kuechenberg was a great combination of intelligence and toughness.

Center: Dwight Stephenson

Just watch his tape versus the Chicago Bears in 1985.

DEFENSE

Defensive tackles: Manny Fernandez and Bob Baumhower

Both were nose tackles and not classic defensive tackles, but both were best in their day.

Defensive ends: Bill Stanfill and Jason Taylor

Stanfill had the body of a modern day player. Taylor was a consummate playmaker.

Middle linebacker: John Offerdahl

He was the defense in the mid to late ’80s.

Outside linebackers: A.J. Duhe and Bryan Cox

Both were playmakers and game-changers.

Cornerbacks: Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain

Spent their Miami careers playing an unforgiving press coverage.

Safeties: Jake Scott and Dick Anderson

Both were smart, aware, made plays and erased mistakes.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Garo Yepremian

That kick against Kansas City in 1971? Classic.

Punter: Reggie Roby

Two-step boomer.

Special teams: Larry Izzo

The best there ever was on special teams.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments