The Miami Dolphins came about as a franchise when lawyer Joseph Robbie and actor Danny Thomas secured an AFL expansion in 1965. The Dolphins set up camp in St. Pete Beach and got to work on the 1966 season.
Their hard work did not pay off, and the Dolphins were the worst team in the league over their first four seasons in the AFL. With a record of 15-39-2, Miami needed a big change to save the franchise from despair.
Then, in 1970, the Dolphins got that change when the AFL and NFL merged. The Dolphins were assigned to the AFC East division. With new coach Don Shula in tow, the Dolphins were one of the best teams in the early days of the merger thanks to a dominant run game. The Dolphins were so good in those early days that they went to the Super Bowl three years straight between 1971 and 1973 under Shula. They won the latter two, one over the Washington Redskins and the other over the Minnesota Vikings. They also won the AFC in those three seasons.
The early 1980s were another good time for the Dolphins after drafting QB Dan Marino with the No. 27 pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. Marino went on to set several NFL passing records and, along with Shula, led the Dolphins to two more Super Bowl games in 1982 and 1984. However, the Dolphins failed to win either and were beaten by the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX.
After Marino and Shula retired, the Dolphins fell on tough times thanks in large part to Tom Brady and the Patriots’ rise to dominance in the AFC East. The team bottomed out in 2007 when they went 1-15 in what was one of the worst seasons in NFL history. Since then, the Dolphins have made the playoffs twice with four winning seasons in the last 14 years.
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