News

The 5 Best Dolphins of All-Time? Here’s one list.

Over the years the Miami Dolphins have seen some incredible talents walk through their doors, even if not as many the past decade or so. The latest of those is Tua Tagovailoa, who is just one of several that could have bright NFL futures ahead, but instead of speculating over what lays ahead we’re going to look back at some of the stars from yesteryear.

Here is a list of five of the best to have donned the Dolphins jersey.

 

Number 5. Zach Thomas 

Even allowing for the fact that Thomas was a round five pick, his arrival in Miami was underwhelming to say the least. He had a decent college career at Texas Tech but question marks remained over his size and attitude.

By the time he retired after a 13-year NFL career, those questions had been well and truly answered. Seven Pro-Bowls, five first team All-Pro honours and he was twice named Linebacker of the year.

All bar one of his professional years were spent with the Dolphins – the other being at the end of his career in Dallas – and he called it a day having landed 1,700 tackles. Doubters, what doubters?

And he should be in the Hall of Fame.

 

Number 4. Dwight Stephenson

Stephenson was snapped up in round two of the 1980 draft after he’d been part of the Crimson Tide side that had just won back to back National Championships. He wasn’t the headline maker of the Dolphins but he was a big player and was a vital cog as they made two Super Bowls in three years during the mid-eighties.

Of course, Stevenson might be held in even higher regard had he not been forced to call time on his career after just seven years. Then again, five Pro-Bowls and five All-Pro awards in consecutive seasons along side winning the NFL Man of the Year award and being named in the 100th anniversary side isn’t a shabby legacy.

 

Number 3. Larry Little

For a brief moment it looked like Little had missed his chance to compete at the top when he went undrafted. The San Diego Chargers offered him a chance though and two years later he was jetting into Miami. Little wasn’t keen on the move but he quickly had an impact on the Dolphins. Fast forward five years and he had made three Super Bowls – winning two – and had been honoured with five All-Pro and four Pro-Bowls. From there on out Little was a Dolphin through and through before retiring in 1980.

 

Number 2. Larry Csonka

Csonka was a machine that would not be stopped. He was the Dolphins round one pick in 1968 but a couple of serious blows to his head early on in his pro career left things in the balance. He overcame the odds to return to the field. Thank goodness he did. Four seasons followed with Csonka an ever present in the team.

Of those four years, the final three ended in Super Bowl appearances with the Dolphins triumphant in 1973 and 74. Csonka was named Bowl MVP for his contribution in the latter. He moved on after that but couldn’t stay away and returned in 1979 for one last season, which saw him awarded the comeback award after recording a career high of 12 rushing touchdowns. Who says ‘never go back’?

 

Number 1. Dan Marino

Then there was one – Dan Marino. Who else? We’ve touched on the team that dominated in the early to mid-seventies and it’s fair to say that if Marino played then, he would not have looked out of place.

For 17 years he loyally served the Dolphins as he carried them to 10 play-off appearances but, sadly, just one Super Bowl, which ended in defeat. If anyone deserved the glory of a Super Bowl win then it was Marino too. However, just like a horse who underachieves in the Kentucky Derby odds, Marino never quite made it as far as he deserved.

Over his career he threw more than 61,000 yards with his second season seeing him throw 48 touchdowns and 5,084 yards – records that stood for 20 and 27 years respectively. We could list all his honours but, quite frankly, that would be exhausting instead we leave you with the thought that this is just a snapshot of what Marino achieved – nine Pro-Bowls, five years of leading the league on passing yards, another three where he led on passing touchdowns, a league MVP award and a place in the Hall of Fame.

There you have it, five legendary Dolphins. Over to you, class of 2020, just some small shoes to fill.

 

Miami Dolphins: Zach Thomas snubbed for Hall of Fame

The Miami Dolphins great will have to wait another year.

The big day arrived for former Miami Dolphins great Zach Thomas. Saturday was the day that he would find out if he would be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The anticipation was building, with many legends chiming in and making the case for Thomas to be selected.

He certainly has an impressive resume. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and five first-team All-Pro selections are just some of the things he can hang his helmet on. In addition, he made the NFL 2000’s All-Decade team.

Unfortunately, Thomas did not make it. failing to be selected. Now, the hope is that he will have a shot in 2021. But it will only get tougher…

Among the first year candidates next season:

Automatic selections Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson.

 

The Miami Dolphoins legend should be part of class

This is extremely unfortunate that Thomas is not going to be a part of the 2020 class. He gets very little credit nationally. Unfortunately, I think it’s partly due to the fact that he played for the Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins have not really been in the national media spotlight over the last decade or so.

Thomas was an extremely consistent player throughout his entire career. He played in 184 total games, starting 182 of them. He played in all 16 games five times in his career. Especially for the way he played, that is certainly impressive due to his physicality.

The Texas Tech product was also a player that could do more than just tackling and sacking the quarterback. He recorded 17 interceptions throughout his career. Nowadays, that number is difficult for a linebacker to obtain.

Brian  Urlacher has comparable statistics, and he was able to earn a spot in Canton. Thomas should have been there as well.

It’s disappointing that he was not a part of this year’s Pro football Hall of Fame class. Hopefully next year will be the year that Thomas makes it. He certainly deserves the honor.

Zach Thomas header

Miami Dolphins: Zach Thomas named Hall of Fame finalist

The Miami Dolphins legend is one step closer to the pinnacle of football.

A Miami Dolphins legend is one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Linebacker Zach Thomas was announced as a finalist for the 2020 class on Thursday.  Thomas was named a semifinalist in November.

Zach Thomas had a tremendous career with the Miami Dolphins. He recorded 1,633 tackles with the Dolphins in a 12-year career. He started in 182 out of the 184 games he played in. His best year came in 2006. Recording 165 tackles, he also registered three sacks. Playing in all 16 games that year, he was truly a workhorse.

Thomas made the Associated Press All-Pro First Team six times. He made the Second Team once in 2001 as an inside linebacker.

The Texas Tech standout joins a class that includes Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca, Torry Holt, Troy Polamalu, Richard Seymour, and Reggie Wayne.

It’s time for the Miami Dolphins great to be in Canton

I have to say this, it’s about time. He truly was a tremendous linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. He was truly consistent year in and year out. Thomas never took place off, and was a tremendous part of the Miami defense. Thomas recorded six seasons of at least 150 tackles in a row. Not only that, he started in every single game five times in his career. With how ferociously he played the game, that is also remarkable.

Not only that, he played both the inside and middle linebacker positions. He was truly somebody defenses had to watch out for, and he was someone they had to gameplan against. Thomas was one of my favorite linebackers to watch growing up, and it’s great to see him get this nod. Hopefully, he will be able to get his call to the Hall. He is going up against a stacked class. I will just say this: Getting the opportunity to watch a potential acceptance speech in Canton would be pretty sweet.

 

Zach Thomas header

Zach Thomas named Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist

Zach Thomas is one step closer to heading to Canton.

The semifinalists for the 2020 Pro football Hall of Fame class were announced on Monday, and a former Miami Dolphins’ player was part of that illustrious group.  Furthermore, it was a name fans are sure to remember. Linebacker Zach Thomas was among the semifinalists.

Thomas, had a great career as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Playing from 1996-2008, he appeared in 182 games. Thomas started off his career strong, as he was selected as the AFC defensive Rookie of the year in 1996. Playing in a total of 184 games, Thomas recorded 1,727 combined tackles. He led the league in tackles in 2002 and 2006 with 156 and 165  respectively. In addition, he was also a seven-time Pro Bowler. Making the game in five consecutive seasons from 1999-2003, he was a familiar face in Hawaii.

Thomas received other accolades along the way. He was a First-Team All-Pro five times and finished his successful career in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas’ 94 combined tackles that year was certainly a fantastic way to conclude a productive career.

As some of you may recall, he was a successful linebacker in college as well. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015 after what was a stellar career. He recorded seven interceptions during his four seasons at Texas Tech. In total, he amassed 157 return yards and two touchdowns. He was named a consensus All-American in 1995 .

Zach Thomas provided tremendous value for Miami Dolphins

Perhaps one of the more overlooked points was his value as a draft pick. He was selected in the fifth-round with the 154th-overall pick in 1996. The Dolphins certainly got tremendous production out of him and it’s amazing that Thomas slipped that far in the draft.

It’s great to once again see Thomas named as one of the semifinalists. Most importantly, I hope he gets the call to Canton, because he meant so much to the Miami Dolphins and the game of football. As a kid growing up, I remember watching him play with such ferocity and decisiveness. He was not somebody you wanted to face on Sundays. He never took plays off, and he always seemed to give 110% effort every single snap. Hopefully, he will have a bust in Canton very soon.

Zach Thomas header

Former Dolphins LB Zach Thomas gets ringing Hall of Fame endorsement

Almost anyone who watches the Miami Dolphins knows how good linebacker Zach Thomas was in his prime. Labeled as an undersized player throughout his whole career, he put hits on offensive players akin to someone twice his size. His career stats are also wow worthy, comparable and even surpassing the likes of Hall of Fame LB Brian Urlacher.

So why, after all this time, is Thomas still not in the Hall of Fame?

The theories are abundant, though some border on conspiracy. Some say it’s because Thomas was only a fifth-round pick, while Urlacher was a first-rounder. Some attribute it to Urlacher playing in playoff games and even a Super Bowl while Thomas did not. Maybe his shorter stature is to blame? Or maybe, it’s simply because Thomas is known as a Miami Dolphin, and most media don’t particularly notice or even like the Dolphins.

Whatever the reason, ask anyone who’s actually seen Thomas play, they will say that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Some will even admit they think Thomas was a better player than Urlacher altogether. Unfortunately, with changes being introduced to how Hall of Fame inductees are selected, it’s going to be difficult for Thomas to hear his name called. There are a lot of impressive names standing in his way. Not the least of which are six-time finalist John Lynch, and three-time finalist Isaac Bruce.

Thomas has only been named a semi-finalist, and that was one time.

There is hope, however. Players who played with or against Thomas know how dangerous he was on the football field. They know voters are grossly overlooking Thomas. So 2019 inductee Kevin Mawae, who went to eight Pro Bowls and was a three-time first-team All-Pro, went out of his way to give Thomas a serious endorsement.

“Zach Thomas was my nemesis.” He said during his induction speech. “My first year with the Jets before my first game we each played against each other, Bill Parcells told me in front of my entire team, ‘if you don’t block Thomas, we won’t win the game.’ And for the next 16 matchups I never forgot that. Zach was one of, if not the smartest player I ever faced. He loved the game, had fun when he played, and he brought the best out of me. When people ask me who’s not in the Hall of Fame, and that I think should be, it’s an easy one for me. Number 54 for the Miami Dolphins.”

Back in 2018, Thomas called Mawae the best offensive lineman he ever faced. That’s high praise coming from someone as disruptive as Thomas was. One could argue that Mawae only returned the favor now that he’s in the Hall of Fame. But however it’s contextualized, there’s clearly a high level of respect between the two.

There’s always time for Hall of Fame voters to come to their senses. Plugs like the one Mawae just gave are hard to ignore. If more inductees stand up and give Thomas the same amount of love Mawae did, then sooner or later, those in charge will have to concede.

Zach Thomas deserves a Hall of Fame induction. Fans vocally pull for him every year the voting process begins. Now, they have people with clout supporting their cause. One day, Thomas will get in the Hall of Fame. It’s only a matter of time.