Showing 1 - 10 of 17 posts found matching keyword: the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football

I haven't mentioned the Miami Dolphins in over two months and for good reason. They're bad. They're even bad at being bad. Their best achievement in 2019 was having Dan Marino named as one of the 10 greatest quarterbacks of the past century. Too bad Marino retired 20 years ago. The team hasn't had a consistently decent quarterback since.

To solve that problem, the team started the 2019 season with the intention of losing more than anyone has ever lost before to secure the first pick in the 2020 draft. They ultimately finished fifth in the race to be worst, meaning they won't get the best available quarterback. They might not even get the second, third, or fourth.

The best option, according to just about everyone, is Joe Burrow, whose LSU team mastered the art of having offensive linemen get away without being called for holding. He is followed in some order by Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason, and Jake Fromm. Two of them are/were Georgia Bulldogs, so I'd be fine cheering for them as Dolphins. On the other hand, Herbert is slow to make decisions, but is a nearly seven-foot-tall giant. Given that NFL scouts are size queens and Herbert is the one I like least, I figure he's the one most likely to be the Dolphins' eventual pick.

If there's any good news for the Dolphins, it's that their original target QB, Tua Tagovailoa, has fallen from his early projections and should still be available at five. (Maybe even at twenty.) Why? Because he's fragile. Would the team that famously passed on Drew Brees' wounded wing draft a player who's the real-life equivalent of a mid-80s G.I.Joe figure with a busted rubber band? We'll see.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins' last quarterback project, Ryan Tannehill, refuses to lose with his new team. Two games into the playoffs, two wins. That's two more than Ryan won in seven years with the Dolphins. Given that the Dolphins are still paying Tannehill against his last contract, they deserve at least some credit for those wins, right?

It remains possible, maybe even likely, that last year's starting QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick will return under center in 2020. In 2019, playing for his 8th team, Fitzpatrick became the oldest player (37) to lead his team in rushing yards (243) and rushing touchdowns (4) in a season, which implies that the Dolphins running game might be a bigger problem than whoever they've got under center. (Tannehill, for example, is now winning largely thanks to the legs of Derrick Henry.) I won't be surprised if the team decides to try losing another year's worth of games to address that problem in 2021.

Go 'Fins!

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Kicking off week 8 of the 2018 NFL season tonight, the Miami Dolphins will play the Houston Texans. Starting at quarterback for the Dolphins will be Brock Osweiler. This is notable because on March 9, 2016, the Texans paid Osweiler $72 million to be their quarterback. Exactly one year later, the Texans paid the Browns to take Osweiller off their hands. Then the Browns cut him. A QB of that calibre has to end up a Dolphin.

Osweiller gets the start for the Phins because oft-hurt Ryan Tannehill is hurt again. Tannehill has started 5 games in the past two seasons, and the writing may be on the wall. Tannehill has already started twice as many games for Miami as any other quarterback since Dan Marino, and his record isn't exactly sterling.

Tannehill's record is 40-42. The quarterback with the second-most starts is Jay Fielder — does anyone else outside Miami remember him? — at 36-23. For comparison, Marino was 147-93. *sigh* (And, since we're here, I might as well remind everyone once again that the Dolphins, under Head Coach Nick Saban, passed on signing free agent Drew Brees in 2006 because of medical questions about Brees' reconstructed shoulder. Brees has only gone 117-79 since, missing exactly 2 games over those 13 years. *double sigh*)

So with fragile Tannehill looking at the tail end of his mediocre career, why isn't there someone in the wings ready to take his place? Osweiller is obviously not a long-term solution, and the third QB on the team depth-chart, David Fales, was shown the door by the Chicago Bears who let him attempt only 2 passes during a 2017 season in which they won only 3 games. The problem here, obviously, is with whoever is in charge of player personnel for the Dolphins. According to his contract, that executive for the Dolphins isn't GM Mike Tannenbaum but Head Coach Adam Gase.

Giving this sort of power to the Head Coach might seem like a good idea after years of Jeff Ireland' blind eye for talent, but maybe Gase isn't the right man for that job, either. It was Gase's decision to trade star running back and "locker room cancer" Jay Ajayi to the Eagles (where he won a Super Bowl) for a fourth-round draft pick. It was Gase's decision to trade star receiver Jarvis Landry to the Browns for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. And it was Gase's decision to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement to do whatever it was he did last season. If there's no quarterback of the future on Miami's roster, that's Gase's decision, too.

Yeah, I'll be watching tonight as the Dolphins struggle to stay afloat in the race to the postseason, but all I see in the team's future is more of the same old canned tuna.

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Eleven years ago, I attended Dan Marino's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The crowd was made up almost entirely of Dolphins fans. I imagine it was much the same thing for Packers fans yesterday when Brett Favre was inducted yesterday. However, I don't know, because I spent all day watching the Olympics.

I found out only after the fact that they canceled the Hall of Fame Game, the annual kickoff to the NFL preseason, because of poor field conditions. Apparently, no one had tested their field prior to today, and their choice of field paint made it too slick. That, or they worried that no one would be watching.

In years past, I've sometimes tuned into the HoF Game because there was nothing else to watch. But because of 5 NBC channels of Olympic coverage — including Michael Phelps own the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay, Novak Djokavich loose a fantastic first round match of tennis, Gabby Douglas place third overall and still be disqualified from the all-around gymnastics competition — it never occurred to me to turn on the NFL Network. I suspect that I wasn't the only one.

Maybe I'll watch next year, NFL. But don't count on it. The Olympics come only every four years, but the NFL preseason is always too long.

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While doing some maintenance to my tag cloud page on Monday, I realized that I currently have exactly 13 posts tagged "dan marino." That is too perfect.

Therefore, effective immediately, I am retiring the "dan marino" tag. From this point forward, all posts that reference Dan Marino will be tagged "the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football."

The Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game of Football

Take that, Peyton.

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"Word on the street" is that Miami Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin might not survive the day in that position following two terrible, terrible losses in a row as the now 1-3 team heads into their bye week.

As I type this, I don't really expect Philbin to get fired. I suspect that the axe will fall on some other scapegoat for the inept Dolphins organization, probably Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle who can be blamed for Ndamukong Suh's complete invisibility over four games or the defensive backs tendency to make the Bill's Tyrod Taylor and the Jet's Ryan Fitzpatrick look like Tom Brady and Bret Favre, respectively.

Besides, NFL teams whose organizations panic and fire their head coaches mid-season don't have a very good record of improving things in the short term. Most simply swap one losing coach for another. Only the Cowboy's Jason Garrett comes to mind as a step in the right direction, and he was already being groomed to eventually replace predecessor Wade Phillips anyway.

Assuming Philbin is fired before the end of the year — because let's face facts, this team stinks like dead fish no matter who is in charge — who would the Dolphins replace him with? An Offensive Coordinator who can't coordinate more than two touchdowns in a game? The 32-year-old Quarterbacks Coach? Certainly none of the defensive coaches deserve it. There don't seem to be any good candidates in the entire building.

Hmm. What's Dan Marino doing these days?

UPDATE 1:00PM: Philbin has been fired, replaced by the team's former tight ends coach, 39-year old Dan Campbell.

No team who has fired their coach 4 games into the season has gone on to post-season victories, so I guess everyone can now tune out for the remainder of the 2015 campaign. Unless you like watching train wrecks.

To be perfectly clear, this news doesn't disappoint me. Go back and check, and you'll see I've been no Philbin fan since the beginning of his tenure. But I'm also not eager to support any organization that gives a bad head coach a contract extension at the end of a bad season only to turn around and fire that same coach part way through the following bad season. The Dolphins have now done that twice in four years. Go team!

I don't know how owner Stephen Ross made his money, but he certainly doesn't manage it very well.

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So Tom Brady has won 4 Super Bowls? So what. He's still not half the quarterback this guy was:

(Am I already suffering from football withdrawal? You betcha!)

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Happy 53rd Birthday to the greatest quarterback in the history of football!

You can have a Manning. I'll still take a Marino. Even a 53-year-old one.

It's been 15 years since Marino retired, and about the only record those upstarts Peyton Manning and Drew Brees haven't stolen from him is the record mentioned on the 1998 card above. Dan led the league in pass completions for six years; that's as many as Manning and Brees have combined. It figures that it would take two quarterbacks to combine to topple Marino's stranglehold on the record book.

Enjoy your cake, Dan!

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Dan Marino has been named "Special Advisor" to the Miami Dolphins. I have no idea what this means.

Is Marino going to advise the coaching staff or management? Is he going to design plays or evaluate talent? Maybe he's going to be the water boy for the Quarterbacks Coach?

The last time the organization hired Marino in 2004, as "Senior Vice President of Football Operations," he quit after 3 weeks. At the time, ESPN reported a rumor that Marino was dissatisfied that he was being hired into a new, undefined position with no set responsibilities. I'm sure this new position of "Senior Advisor" is better defined.

In 2004, Marino was still the centerpiece of CBS's pregame show. I assumed then that Marino was unwilling to walk away from that comfortable television contract to return to the uncertain world of high-stakes football. Marino was fired from CBS earlier this year (the parlance in Hollywood is that "his contract was not renewed"), so maybe the Dolphins represent his fall-back position. "Special Advisor" looks better on business cards than "Beach Bum."

All snark aside, I wish Marino the best. I don't expect him to be able to turn the team around, but I admire his willingness to try. If John Elway can return the Broncos to the Super Bowl, Dan Marino should at least be able to get the 'Fins into the postseason.

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I woke up on Friday to a voicemail message asking if I wanted to attend the Dolphins/Falcons preseason opener that night. I had turned down the opportunity when Mom asked months ago, but in the pressure of the moment, I gave in and accepted fate.

This was all I saw of Stephen Jackson

The tickets had come to friend Brian through connections at his job, and he says he had a hard time finding someone to accompany him at the last minute. ("I said to myself, 'I'll call Walter. He'd never pass up football tickets!'," Brian explained.) Judging by the thousands of empty seats at the Georgia Dome, most people passed on the opportunity to pay $59.00 to watch a glorified practice.

The last time I attended a preseason game, it was to see Dan Marino take about 5 snaps. Not quite a decade back, I tried to get Eagles/Falcons Monday Night tickets, and ended up buying four Ravens/Falcons preseason tickets. (I blame that snafu partly on TicketMaster and partly on sleep deprivation.) I couldn't give those tickets away! The way I see it, going to this game for free is cosmic compensation for that wasted $300 all those years ago.

Preseason games in Atlanta draw about as many fans as reals game in Miami

I got my money's worth as the first-team Dolphins and first-team Falcons looked great last night on their opening drives. That wasn't too surprising. Offsenses always perform better than defenses at the beginning of the year. I considered it a better sign that the Dolphins' rebuilt O-line was able to protect Tannehill for a few plays. (The Dolphins didn't start giving up sacks until late in the game.) Maybe we'll be able to score some points this year.

Others were even more optimistic. "I think we could win the AFC East this year," said the Dolphins' fan behind me. "It's either us or the Bills." Given that the Bills haven't made finished better than .500 since 2004, I'd say those are pretty good odds. I wonder what the Patriots — division winner for nine of the last ten seasons — will have to say about that?

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For reasons I can't explain, I wound up at a picnic for some of the greatest retired NFL quarterbacks. Dan Marino is there, naturally, but so is Elway, Cunningham, Moon, and more, all dressed like they had just stepped out of a Land's End catalog.

After a brief introduction, we walk to the stadium. We move in slow motion, as though underwater. Dodging their wrinkle-free khaki legs, I realize that these giants of football are literally giants as I gaze up at them from the viewpoint of a child. Occasionally golden rays of sunlight pierce the space between them, back-lighting their smiling faces and making them look like bronze statues of gods.

The weather changes abruptly, and the Minnesota Vikings fans wait beside stacked snowdrifts to enter their domed stadium. The fans are mostly dressed in puffy pink snowsuits, giving them the appearance of cotton-candy Michelen Men.

Inside, the stadium seems far too small to host a football game. I'm seated in the upper deck facing a solid white wall with a bank of glowing windows. The field far to our right isn't even visible from our seats. Some of the fans seated near me titter excitedly when our bank of seats begins to rotate towards the field. Gradually, the field comes into view, a flat, lifeless artificial turf. No one, neither coaches, players, or stadium personnel, is on the field.

Our seats continue rotating. Despite the hopeful noise around me, I know that we're just going to rotate 360° and face the window again. Of course I'm right, and I smile smugly to myself.

I get up from my seat and begin walking downstairs towards the lower level when I trip and stumble over the railing running vertically up the middle of the white concrete stairs. Desperate not to fall and make a fool of myself in front of a full house of fans, I lithely roll horizontally around the handrail like an Olympic gymnast and land on my feet. The nearby crowd thinks I've done this on purpose and cheers its appreciation.

Someone from the Vikings organization has seen my performance and rushes me down the stairs into a wood-paneled backroom where the team is waiting. The players are all wearing their pink Vikings uniforms, milling around nervously in the too-small space. Some are talking, some are tossing a football, some are playing cards or listening to music; they are behaving like extras in the background of a Hollywood locker-room scene. I'm at least a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than everyone else in the room.

Someone -- the coach? the general manager? -- grabs my arm and tells me that they saw my "moves" in the stadium and they need me to replace their quarterback who has just broken his leg. On cue the quarterback, fully dressed for the game in his bright pink uniform and shoulder pads, rolls his wheelchair in from another room, his outstretched left leg encased in a white plaster cast. For someone with a broken leg, he looks indecently happy.

I try to explain that what they saw was an accident, merely an attempt to keep from making an idiot of myself. The man talking to me doesn't believe me. Chomping on his cigar, he orders the lame quarterback to throw me a pass. The football comes at me like a bullet aimed just above my head. Without time to think, reflexes born of self-preservation motivate me into a leaping backflip. In the process, my flailing arms snatch the ball from the air lest it hit and harm me. When I land, the entire team applauds, and I know I've lost the argument.

Moments later I'm running onto the field in my new pink Vikings uniform. The crowd goes wild, but I know this can't end well.

And that is why I have to stop eating pepperoni pizza and watching NFL Live just before bed.

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To be continued...