Miami Dolphins Mount Rushmore
The Miami Dolphins Mount Rushmore was not an easy task due to all the great players over the years! Narrowing it down to four was very tough. For this blog, I kept it to players and coaches. With that said there is a special kudos to Joe Robbie for making the Miami Dolphins a reality for South Florida.
Dolphins Thirty’s Take on Miami Dolphins Mount Rushmore
I know others have done their versions for Mount Rushmore for other topics as well as the Miami Dolphins. But, I wanted to give it a go as well. There were many great names that were left off that could easily be on the mountain. Dwight Stephenson, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Paul Warfield, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Little, Zach Thomas, and many others were given consideration.
This is not a shot at other Dolphins’ greats, but the first three were quick decisions for me. The selections of Don Shula, Dan Marino, and Larry Csonka were no-brainers for me! My fourth selection of Jason Taylor was a bit more difficult, but not because he was not super. I just feel that 4th spot could have gone to some others as well (See above).
The name, Don Shula, says it all. The Dolphins were a franchise just getting going in their early years of 1966 to 1969. That all changed when Robbie hired Shula in 1970. Yes, how Robbie landed Shula is a story for a different post! But, needless to say, it was the right move. Shula was my first pick for Mount Rushmore of Miami Dolphins’ greats.
Shula immediately brought winning football to South Florida. The Dolphins made the playoffs in Shula’s first year as head coach which was the first playoff appearance for the franchise. In his second season at the helm, Shula would get the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. They lost that Super Bowl badly but perfection was brewing in South Florida.
What the Dolphins did in 1972 still has not been matched to this day by any NFL team. I say “matched” because it can never be beaten. As everyone knows, the Dolphins had a perfect season in 1972. Last year marked the 5oth anniversary of that accomplishment. The population in Perfectville is still 1.
Shula would lead the Dolphins to 5 Super Bowls in his time in Miami. Winning two of them. The legendary coach adapted over the years to keep winning despite changing game styles. Shula is currently the winningest coach in football history. Yes, I know that guy up in New England is hot on his heels. But, to me, Shula will always be the GOAT!
Dan Marino was my second choice for this honor. Marino came to the Dolphins as a 1st round pick (Pick 27 Overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft. Marino was expected to go higher in the first round but fell to Miami. He would like quickly set the NFL ablaze with his aerial assaults. The Dolphins were coming off a Super Bowl loss the previous season so many were surprised that Miami selected a QB.
If Marino had not been gift-wrapped to the Dolphins as he fell in the draft, Miami would have taken Mike Charles in the first round. They ended up getting Charles with their second-round pick. If not for the fall someone else would be on Dolphins Mount Rushmore. Dan may have never won a Super Bowl but he was the purest passer I’ve ever seen play. He brought years of enjoyment as a Dolfan. No reason to go on about Marino, his performance did all the talking! When he retired he virtually owned every key record that quarterbacks can do via the pass. Yes, those records have been surpassed in the now pass-happy NFL but Marino and the Dolphins were ahead of the curve.
Larry Csonka: Miami Dolphins Mount Rushmore!
Larry Csonka is the only Dolphins player to ever wear the number 39 for Miami. He was an easy selection for the Mount Rushmore of Miami Dolphins. It is impossible to think of the Super Bowl teams of the early seventies without thinking of Zonk! Csonka was the MVP of Super Bowl VIII when the Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings as Miami won their 2nd consecutive Super Bowl.
Csonka led the great rushing attack of those teams that also featured Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick. Zonk was a tough-as-nails football player but also had a humble side even during his prime years. He would often knowledge that he could not do what he did without his offensive line. Just look at some old highlights of Csonka running over people to get a feel of his game. I was too young at the time to remember Csonka playing in his prime but being someone that appreciates the history of the Dolphins, it is impossible not to think of Csonka when it come to Dolphins greats throughout franchise history.
Jason Taylor was my fourth and final pick for Mount Rushmore in Dolphins lore. A 1st ballot Hall of Famer would normally be an easy choice for a team’s top four players but as mentioned the Dolphins have lots of great players that have worn the aqua and orange. Taylor played for 15 seasons in the NFL with 13 of those seasons being for the Miami Dolphins.
All #99 did was put up double digits sack seasons in 6 of his 13 years with the franchise. He also has sack totals of 9.5 and 9 in two other seasons in Miami. His 131 sacks in a Dolphins uniform is the team record to this day. Taylor had 43 career forced fumbles with Miami as well as 27 fumble recoveries. He scored 6 defensive touchdowns for the Dolphins. For good measure, Taylor had 8 interceptions in his career.
There you have it! My Mount Rushmore of Miami Dolphins greats. Now, here are 4 of my favorite Dolphins players of all time. For this, I excluded any of the players that made it the greatest list.
Tell Dolphins Thirsty what you think here or on Twitter!