Score: Dolphins 28, Jets 24
Date: Nov. 27, 1994
Site: The Meadowlands
We have a winner. Dan Marino's fake spike in 1994 against the rival New York Jets garnered nearly 80 percent of the votes as the most memorable play in Miami Dolphins history -- and I agree with the selection.
For starters, there is no debating that Marino is the best player in Dolphins history, and this was the most memorable play of his storied career. Marino had everyone fooled by yelling "Clock! Clock! Clock!" before throwing a perfect back-shoulder throw to receiver Mark Ingram for a game-winning touchdown. The Dolphins won despite trailing 17-0 in the third quarter.
Marino's fake spike also had extra meaning. It helped propel the Dolphins to the playoffs during the 1994 season and also tore the Jets apart. Miami went on to finish 10-6 and win the AFC East after this November game. New York lost five in a row to end the season, finishing with a 6-10 record. Yes, this was a time when the Dolphins, led by Marino, were regulars in the playoffs.
This is not to discredit the other two finalists. Hall of Fame coach Don Shula's hook-and-lateral call in January 1982 was a perfect play. But it happened in the second quarter of a playoff game the Dolphins eventually lost to the San Diego Chargers.
Greg Camarillo's 64-yard touchdown catch in 2007 might be the most exciting overtime play in franchise history. But the Dolphins were 1-15 that year. There were no high stakes other than to avoid the embarrassment of being the NFL's first 0-16 team. (By the way, the Detroit Lions set that mark the following year.) Also, the quarterback on Miami's overtime play was Cleo Lemon. You're going to choose Lemon's best play over Marino's best play?
All in all, there have been many tremendous plays and tremendous players throughout Miami's storied history. The Dolphins' franchise has won two Super Bowls and still boasts the only undefeated NFL team to win a championship. And now, after a tough run over the past five seasons, Miami fans hope the Dolphins will create more good memories sooner rather than later.
Special thanks to all the fans who participated this week.