Miami Dolphins: Franchise player

August, 18, 2008
8/18/08
1:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
 
 Andy Lyons/Getty Images
 Dan Marino was a rookie All Pro and the youngest quarterback to start a Pro Bowl.

Readers' pick: Dan Marino, QB

There was no way possible to get this one wrong. Dan Marino is the greatest Dolphin like the Beatles are the greatest band from Liverpool.

Marino finished with the third-highest percentage of any player in our franchise polls. Only by Barry Sanders and John Elway received higher shares.

Take a look at these numbers and then try to justify voting for Bob Griese:

Marino was a first-ballot Hall of Famer who retired as the most prolific passer in NFL history. His records, many since broken by Brett Favre, included most attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), yards (61,361) and touchdowns (420).

Marino was a rookie All Pro and the youngest quarterback to start a Pro Bowl. In his second season, he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns. He had six 4,000-yard seasons. He passed for 400 or more yards 13 times and 300 or more yards 63 times, both NFL records. His 37 fourth-quarter comeback drives are second to Elway's 43.

OK, so Griese won a pair of Super Bowls and Marino didn't win any -- the only accomplishment missing from a stellar resume.

Marino never had the runners, never had a Larry Csonka or a Jim Kiick or a Mercury Morris. Year after year, he slung the Dolphins over his shoulder without a complete offense around him.

"The greatest disappointment as a team owner and a Dolphins fan," Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga said at Marino's retirement announcement in March 2003, "is that you never won a Super Bowl."

That was the only disappointment.

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