It’s Christmas and it’s a day that is hopefully filled with joy and quality time spent with family. Of course, if you’re reading this, it could mean any of the following: You’re trying to avoid your family, you’re bored out of your mind at a family gathering, you don’t care to talk to any family members that you see only once or twice a year (maybe three if you’re lucky), you just can’t resist visiting PhinManiacs.com, you don't celebrate Christmas, or a combination of all that.
We decided to do something a little fun today on Christmas by looking back at our favorite memories of the Miami Dolphins. Some of our columnists contributed to this and their flashbacks into the past are written below. Enjoy and Merry Christmas to you all! If you happen to celebrate a different holiday, then Happy Holidays to you!
Matthew Cannata – Executive Director of Content and Production (Twitter: @PhinManiacs)
I’ve been a Dolphins fan for 19 years, beginning back in 1995. Therefore, it’s safe to say that I haven’t been able to experience much joy and success during that time. Writing this now, it’s crazy to think how 19 years have flown by and in the same breath, how the Dolphins have struggled to get out of that funk for so long. I have so many different memories of the Dolphins – whether it was Greg Camarillo’s game-winning catch in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens to win their first and only game of the season, Michael Thomas intercepting Tom Brady in the end zone last season or Ricky Williams running like an animal over the Chicago Bears defense on Monday Night Football in 2012.
My favorite memory though isn’t from a game but instead, a speech. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Dan Marino’s induction into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I went with my dad and it was a great weekend. We went to several parties, including a roundtable luncheon where we got to see Peter King talk with Dan Marino and Steve Young. Finally, the ceremony came and it was tough to sit through all the other speeches waiting for Marino. He finally came though and his son nailed the introduction and then Marino, just like on the field, was flawless with his speech. Then, to top it off, I got to see Marino throw a pass in person when he closed out the ceremony with a long throw to Mark Clayton.
It was amazing seeing all of the Dolphins fans invade Canton and it is an experience that I will never forget.
Benjamin Meyer – Miami Dolphins Columnist (Twitter: @BRMeyer7)
The day was September 21, 2008, and the Dolphins were visiting the New England Patriots in Foxboro for their first matchup of the season. Yes, the Patriots were without Tom Brady, but they were also riding a 21 regular-season-game winning streak into the game. The Dolphins, on the other hand, were coming off of its infamous 1-15 season.
But on this day, the Dolphins executed a perfect offensive game plan to upset the AFC East favorites. The Dolphins consistently used direct snaps to Ronnie Brown to effectively run the football, with him and Ricky Williams combining for 211 yards rushing and 4 TDs. This game also began the NFL revolution of the “Wildcat” formation, with other teams incorporating the direct snap to their best offensive playmakers into their playbooks. It’s not often you get to embarrass a divisional rival on the road, and to completely stump Bill Belichick for 60 minutes is about as enjoyable as it gets. I’ll never forget the combination of joy and pure awe I felt as the Dolphins stymied the Patriots 38-13 on their own turf.
Steven Hallett – Miami Dolphins Columnist (Twitter: @SHallett848)
My favorite memory as a Dolphins fan began in 2012 when I started a conversation with a neighbor with, “Dolphins fan?” More than 2 years later, following several weeks of careful planning, I brought that same lifelong Dolfan onto the pre-game SunLife field and she accepted my proposal. Making the day even better, the Dolphins proceeded to destroy the San Diego Chargers 37-0 and we closed out our amazing Dolphins experience with a post-game chat with OJ McDuffie. While the proposal was flawless, the ensuing game was, by far the best game I had ever been to and it will always be remembered as my best day ever as a Dolphins fan.
Eldon Jensen – Fantasy Football Columnist (Twitter: @EJFootball)
I had just turned 10 years old, and the Cowboys had beaten the Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI. I’d enjoyed watching both of these teams during the season, and really didn’t have a favorite in that game. But in the subdued locker room after the game, one of the Dolphins players was asked how he felt. I don’t remember who the player was, but in a very matter-of-fact tone, he replied, “It hurts to lose, but we’re going to come back here next year, and we’re going to win.” For some reason that resolute response stuck with me, and I decided right then and there that this was the team I was going to root for the following year. And I did. And they did make it back. And they did win. And I haven’t stopped rooting for them since.
The year is 1973, and I’m an almost-12-year-old watching the Dolphins play on TV in the basement of my parent’s home. Except I’m not an almost-12-year-old. I’m Larry Csonka. And with the football tucked in my arm I am barreling over a defensive lineman/footstool, and diving headlong into the couch/linebacker, knocking him/it backwards as I ram into the endzone for yet another Dolphins TD. My team is awesome, and I’m their hero. No one can tackle me, no one can stop us, and we are going to win another Super Bowl, you just watch.
So many years as a fan, so emotionally invested in my team, so devoted to everything aqua and coral (or aqua and orange, or teal and orange, or then aqua and orange again). So many great games, so many amazing players, so many incredible moments make it too difficult to pick a favorite memory. My Marino-autographed helmet. My Shula-autographed Hall Of Fame football. My Legends football signed by six Dolphins Hall of Famers. Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas autographed photos. My favorite Dolphins possessions are easy to categorize. Memories? Not so much. You see, trying to grasp the feeling of being a life-long Miami Dolphins fan is like trying to reach out and grasp the mild humidity of a tropical island. It’s there, it envelops and warms you, and it can’t truly be defined. But man, do you love it.
Justin Lemanski – Miami Dolphins Columnist (Twitter: @TheKidJTL)
My favorite Dolphins memory is when we won the AFC East in 2008, becoming the first team in NFL history to win their division after only having one win the previous season. It was awesome to see them in the playoffs as a young fan and it gave me hope for the future. Although we haven't been there since, I still believe!