In honor of the Miami Dolphins 50th Anniversary celebration, we're bringing you an exclusive special series commemorating fifty years of Dolphins football. As the season progresses, we plan on bringing you memories from Dolphins players throughout history, from every era possible.
Just to give you all a little preview of what's in store for the season, we at PhinManiacs bring you the first article of many to come, just to whet your appetite for the beginning of the season. First on our list of Dolphins alumni is former cornerback Sam Madison.
Madison was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft and it didn't take him long before he became a star in the Dolphins defense. Within the first three years of his career, Madison had already accumulated 16 of his career total 38 interceptions, and was a 4-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First-Team All-Pro during his career. Since his retirement as a member of the New York Giants after the 2008 NFL season, Madison has become a regular member of the Miami Dolphins daily radio show known as TheFinsiders, where he gives his perspective on all things Dolphins.
Luis Sung: What is your greatest memory from your career as a Miami Dolphin?
SM: Just really having an opportunity to play with all the great players that I came in with. One Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas coming in before me, but you know, just building that bond, coming from the University of Louisville, not many guys in the National Football League so I had an opportunity to make a bond with some guys and grow with those guys. Nine years here with the Miami Dolphins, a great, great experience for me.
But yet, and still, that one big memory for me is having three interceptions in one game and us coming up successful and winning that football game (vs. Tennessee in 1999).
LS: What memorable stories do you have that you look back on today and they give you a laugh?
SM: The one thing that I always remember about, my first road trip with the Dolphins. We ended up going to Indianapolis and I was a rookie so I always had to ride the first bus. So you ride that first bus, you know you had a lot of offensive linemen, you have your head coach on there and then you have your Hall of Fame franchise quarterback on there. So we pull up, and we're in Indianapolis and there's almost like 6,000, 7,000 fans sitting out there and they're screaming and going crazy and I'm sitting there like 'Man, this is amazing!'
And you know, Dan (Marino) gets off the bus, and you know, at that time for him to stop, he would've been out there all day long. For me, it was like a kid in a candy store! All these people screaming and yelling, they want somebody to sign autographs, I stood there the whole entire time just signing autographs, I thought that was so cool and I never, ever forget that.
And Dan was like 'Sam, man you're crazy!' and I'm like 'Dan, I was having fun man, they were looking at you and I'm just signing autographs!' so to be able to have that experience as a rookie, to be able to see how the fans really get behind their team and support their team and understand the tradition and know what it's gonna take to get to that level, it was really fun to be able to experience that.
LS: The first fifty years have been great for the organization. What are you hoping fans will see about the organization going forward into the next fifty years?
SM: The one thing that I really want them to see is that the Miami Dolphins still have fight. It's been a very long time for us to be in the limelight of winning lots of games, we have that rich tradition, and there's just been some bumps in the road over the last ten years. But hopefully we've gathered a group of guys that can go out on the football field and still compete and bring back those early glory days that you heard Shula talking about." (In reference to the comments Don Shula made during the 50th season celebration announcement.
About if you put in that work during the week to be successful, you'll be successful during those games on Sunday, and just having an opportunity to come out here and watch the guys in this first rookie mini-camp, but yet and still being able to see the things that Dennis Hickey has done since last year and then coming into this draft, understanding the guys on this roster and trying to build and put together a football team that can go out and compete every single week no matter who we're playing.
That's what I'm hoping that the fans will be able to get to have, having that confidence that they can come sit in those seats and enjoy a very good football game, but yet and still be entertained from the beginning to the end and come out with a 'W' at the end.