On September 15th this year, a Miami Dolphins legend, lifetime member of the NFL Hall of Fame, and arguably the face of the Dolphins, quarterback Dan Marino, will turn 56.
Creaky knees and face wrinkles aside, Marino is still the tanned and fit personality he was in his playing days, universally revered in South Florida (and anywhere else in the country that Dolphins fans reside).
And this fall, his life and career will be immortalized on his birthday this year with an NFL Films broadcast of “A Football Life.”
Here’s a little-known fact about Marino for you. It’s well documented that Marino watched five quarterbacks get drafted before the Dolphins grabbed him with the 27th pick of the 1983 NFL draft. But did you know that Marino was the first overall draft pick in the history of the United States Football league (USFL) by the Los Angeles Express?
Thankfully, Marino chose the Dolphins instead. Like Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, Marino was a joy to watch on the field. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Famous for his quick release, Marino struck fear in the hearts of many a defensive back, often staring down a player during his pre-snap cadence, then throwing to the receiver that player was covering. Many defenders through the years talked about how that piercing stare seemed to be looking through them, lending to an air of intimidation accorded few other great quarterbacks.
During his career, Marino was voted to nine Pro Bowls, was selected first- or second-team All Pro seven times, and was the NFL’s MVP (1984), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1994), and NFL Man of the Year (1998). The NFL’s passing leader five times, and touchdown leader three times, he ended his career with 61,361 yards and 420 touchdown passes, astronomical numbers for his era.
In the end, it was Marino’s legs, not his arm that contributed most to his decision to retire before the 2000 season. He endured numerous knee surgeries, and he jokingly referred to them as his annual oil changes. He turned down chances to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Minnesota Vikings, deciding that he wanted to retire having played for one team his entire career.
And just to show how dominant the guy was during his playing days, here is a list of his current and former records. Keep in mind that Mario retired having set or tied 46 NFL records, and practically fills the records section of Miami Dolphins media guides. The fact that many of these records took more than 30 years to be broken speaks to the enormity of the feats, as unlike today, Marino played in an era when teams rushed more than passed the ball.
NFL records tied
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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