AFC East: Joe Robbie

Flash Points: Dolphins' defining moment

May, 11, 2011
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Dolphins -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we'll give you our definitive moment on May 26.

The Miami Dolphins have had some glorious moments in their illustrious history, but later years haven't measured up to the 1970s.

Miami's course was set in 1970, when owner Joe Robbie signed Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula. The Dolphins went on an amazing run under Shula's guidance, including the NFL's only undefeated season in 1972. Shula led the Dolphins to five Super Bowls, including three straight in the 1970s. They won two championships.

They haven't won another title since, but Dan Marino thrilled Dolfans for nearly two decades. Marino rewrote the NFL record books with 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns and is considered the greatest quarterback never to win the Super Bowl.

More recently, the Dolphins made history by rebounding from a one-victory season to win the AFC East championship in 2008. They tied an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season with a rookie head coach, rookie general manager and a new quarterback.

Submit your vote with the SportsNation poll. If you vote Other, please give us your suggestion in the comments area below this article.

Fins Rushmore: Marino, Shula, Csonka, Thomas

February, 16, 2009
After two weeks of polling, votes have been tabulated to determine your picks for the Mount Rushmore of each AFC East team.

To play off ESPN's quest to determine the best sports Mount Rushmore from the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, I asked for your thoughts on the four legends who best symbolize the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets.

Dolfans responded with a poll-leading 19 nominations (23 if you count one zealot, who submitted a ballot of Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, Tony Sparano and Dan Henning). But the four faces etched into their Rushmore were never in doubt: quarterback Dan Marino, coach Don Shula, running back Larry Csonka and linebacker Zach Thomas.

Votes rolled in early and often, and despite a late charge for supporters of former owner Joe Robbie, the final four were uncatchable.

Thomas replaced Jason Taylor on my suggested Rushmore. I selected Taylor because he was a defensive player of the year and one year ago was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year for his unsurpassed community service. I thought that should count for something, but Thomas symbolizes an underdog spirit that's hard to deny.

Also interesting in the nominations was that five offensive linemen were mentioned. That indicates some hardcore fans were involved in the process.

Here is how voting broke down among the top 10 Dolphins:

  1. Dan Marino
  2. Don Shula
  3. Larry Csonka
  4. Zach Thomas
  5. Joe Robbie
  6. Bob Griese
  7. Dwight Stephenson
  8. Jason Taylor
  9. Paul Warfield
  10. Bob Kuechenberg

Here is a sampling of comments, explaining why you voted the way you did:

Cody in Mansfield, Ohio, writes: My Mt. Rushmore would have to be Dan Marino, Larry Csonka, Don Shula, and Zach Thomas. I think Zach meant more to this team than Jason did in their time here. He constantly led the team in tackles and was always puttin his helmet on the ball. The best linebacker of his era. Thats right, I said better than Urlacher and an overrated Ray Lewis

Shea in Newton, Iowa, writes: Hey Tim, I read your blog every day. Keep up the good work! If I could choose the four players on Miami's Mount Rushmore, I would pick Don Shula, Dan Marino, Zach Thomas and Larry Csonka. Shula is the Dolphins' most decorated coach and headed the perfect team. Dan Marino is a god in Miami and possibly the greatest passer of all-time. While Zach Thomas is now a Cowboy, he is still beloved by most Dolfans. He led an outstanding defense through the late '90s and early 2000s and was the face of the franchise during that time. I chose Larry Csonka because he was a tough runner and embodies the Dolphins' dominance in the '70s. I maybe could have chosen Jason Taylor, but he didn't exactly leave Miami on the best of terms. And I think that when fans remember Taylor's run with the Dolphins, they'll also think of how great he AND Zach Thomas

Jack in West Palm Beach, Fla., writes: Dolphins Mount Rushmore: Shula, Marino, Csonka and Z. Thomas. The first three are obvious, and I would add Z. Thomas because he represents a certain tenacity that all great players have...he gave 110% every day and every play. I will grant you that J. Taylor is also a good choice, but I believe that Z. Thomas, being an undersized player and a draft day afterthought, just had that extra drive and determination that would make him my choice.

David in West Palm Beach, Fla., writes: The four greatest dolphins of all time...Such a tough question with such obvious answers. The three most obvious choices are of course Dan Marino, Don Shula, and Larry Csonka, all hall of famers. The fourth one is the toughest one. If it truly encompasses every area of the Dolphins through every era of the Dolphins then it leaves me with three choices for the final pick. My final pick is tied between Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, and Bill Parcells. I leave that final pick up to America. Two of those final choices were the face of the Dolphins defense for years, but the "Big Tuna" was a legend before he came to Miami, now he is looked at as the "Godfather" of modern football in my eyes. I cannot decide on the fourth and final pick, I'm torn between Dolphin greats and a living legend.

Mr. Anonymous from Lawton, Okla., writes: hey Tim great topic. i think college players and pro players ought to be seperate and coaches and players should be seprated . I would put rb Jim Kiick , Mercury Morris , Paul Warfield and tightend Keith Jackson my reasoning is that Marino and Csonka always gets the nod so i am putting these players who dont get any attention .