One of the most talented quarterbacks to grace the gridiron, Dan Marino brought pride to Miami every time he laced up for a game. This month, Marino can look back on some of the biggest highlights of his career.
In September, the 58-year-old celebrates the 25th anniversary of his 1994 comeback victory following a season sidelined with an Achilles tendon rupture. Fans also commemorate the anniversary of the Dolphins retiring his iconic No. 13.
An early career every QB hopes for
A first-round pick out of his hometown of Pittsburgh, Marino was drafted in 1983 by the Dolphins. As a freshman quarterback, he led the Dolphins through a 12-4 season and was the first-ever rookie to start in the Pro Bowl. Both feats led to Marino earning the Rookie of the Year award.
His sophomore year, 1984, was one of the best of his career. Marino threw 48 touchdown passes and 5,084 total yards, breaking both records at the time. This was also the year the Dolphins made it to Super Bowl XIX against the San Francisco 49ers. Facing off against Joe Montana, Marino threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions. They ultimately lost 38-16, and Marino never had the chance to redeem himself in another Super Bowl.
The quarterback continued to prove himself over the years by setting many records. He was the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in four seasons. In his fourth year in the NFL, Marino threw his 100th touchdown pass — the fastest any quarterback got to 100.
Dan Marino’s fateful injury
In a game against Cleveland in October 1993, Marino was sidelined after tearing his Achilles tendon. He was out for the rest of the season. An Achilles tendon rupture is one of the most difficult recoveries for an athlete. Marino opted for surgery, but it didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. The tendon atrophied, leading to an even longer recovery.
The 1994 season kicked off. Marino played in the preseason games, but he didn’t look much like himself. He was cautious and not as quick moving around the field. Many wondered if he had it in him to keep playing.
Dan Marino, comeback kid
While fans and media members questioned Marino’s remaining talent, the one person who didn’t doubt was Marino himself. He later told reporters, “I had no doubt that I could still win games.”
On September 4, 1994, the Dolphins laced up for their season opener against the New England Patriots, led by up-and-coming quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Although the Patriots quickly took off with a 7-0 lead, Marino was determined to prove himself once again.
In what quickly turned into a mud-soaked battle in the rain, Marino and Bledsoe kept one-upping each other with touchdown passes. At the end of the fourth quarter, the Dolphins were down by three points. Marino insisted on trying for a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal to tie the game. He threw the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Irving Fryar, and the Dolphins came out on top, 39-35.
A month filled with memories
For most of us, September is just a time to kick off football season. But for Marino, it means a lot more. This year marked 25 years since his comeback victory against the Patriots. He has since said that win is something “that will always be with me.” September is also the anniversary of the Dolphins retiring his number in 2000. To top it off, September 15 was his 58th birthday. Truly a month to celebrate!