To help celebrate and
recognize the Miami Dolphins’ 40th season, the team decided to
conduct a poll so fans could select the 40 Greatest Players in team history.
In my opinion, to be
considered “great”, a player must have exceptional accomplishments to his
credit. He must also have a history of consistent achievement as a Dolphin over
a reasonably long period of time. He must also be someone who represented the
Miami Dolphins, and their fans, in a positive manner.
The results of this
poll have now been posted. Quite frankly, I am disappointed.
Passionate and loyal
Dolfans spend a good deal of their time criticizing players and coaches. In
many cases, the criticism is well-deserved.
Well, now it’s
payback time. To the fans who voted: You blew it.
SHANKED OUT OF BOUNDS:
That Ricky Williams
is on this list is a travesty and injustice to all the great players who didn’t
make the cut.
Yes, he holds the
first and second spot in the record books for rushing yards in a season. Yes,
he has amazing talent.
He was on the road to
greatness. 2004 changed that.
His harmful actions last
year and his short tenure (Ricky has yet to play three full seasons as a Dolphin)
make him unworthy of such recognition at this time.
We should give Ricky
credit for working really hard this year to mend fences and to set things right.
By all accounts, he has been a model citizen.
But that does not…DOES
NOT…earn him a free pass onto the Top50 list, let alone the Top 40 list.
Every fan who voted
for Ricky ought to run 100 gassers right now for sheer stupidity, with Don
Shula standing over you to make sure you don’t cheat.
WIDE RIGHT: Keith
Jackson, Tim Ruddy, Trace Armstrong, Larry Izzo.
No question, Keith
Jackson was probably the most talented player at the tight end position in team
history. Had the Dolphins not allowed him to leave he would likely be worthy of
the honor. Bottom line here is that, to be considered “great”, you can’t be a
short timer. Jackson
only wore Dolphin colors for three seasons.
Tim Ruddy was a good
player and a good Dolphin. A good guy, too. Give Ruddy credit for making the
most of his natural ability. He even made a Pro Bowl cameo in the 2001 game, albeit
as a replacement pick (Tom Nalen). Ruddy was a steady, smart, durable worker. That’s
good, but not good enough to be a Top 40 guy.
stands seventh on the team’s sack list with 56.5 and was an outstanding team
leader during his six years as a Dolphin. That’s also pretty good stuff but not
nearly good enough to make the Top 40.
I love watching Larry Izzo play football.
He has everything that Nick Saban looks for in a competitor. He was also
colorful, the “Barney Rubble” to Zach “Fred Flintstone” Thomas. It was a dumb
decision to allow Izzo to go to the Patriots via free agency, just as it was
dumb when the Dolphins overlooked Reyna Thompson prior to his fantastic stint
with the Giants. That being said, it is difficult to see how a part-time player
with only four years of service as a Dolphin should be worthy of the Top 40
list, especially with so many great players ahead of him.
Those of you that voted
Ruddy, Armstrong, and Izzo, bypassing a slew of more deserving names (keep
reading), should immediately report to Saban’s office and get chewed out for
not doing your job “the right way”.
JUST CLIPPED THE
UPRIGHT: O.J. McDuffie, Keith Sims, Bryan Cox, Brock Marion, Pete Stoyanovich.
O.J. McDuffie is
fourth in career receptions, fifth in career yardage, and holds the team record
for the most receptions in a season (90). He was a great Dolphin and maybe even
a great player. Unfortunately, McDuffie didn’t get a lot of recognition during
his playing days. In something as difficult as a Top 40 poll, with so many
worthy candidates to choose from, scoreboard has to count. In this regard,
McDuffie comes up short.
Keith Sims went to
three consecutive Pro Bowls and was a pretty solid guard on the left side of
the line for eight seasons. However, when breaking ties amongst players vying
for the final 8-10 slots, Sims simply gets caught in a numbers game. Keep
reading and I’ll explain.
Don’t you just smile
when you hear Bryan Cox’s name? A 5th round draft pick, Cox came to Miami and defied the odds
just to make the team. The colorful Cox, never far away from controversy,
earned three Pro Bowl berths and was named the team’s Outstanding Linebacker
five consecutive times in his five Dolphin seasons. While it was hard not to
admire his fighting spirit, his actions didn’t always reflect positively on the
team. Still, if this was a Top 41 list, Cox would be #41 on mine.
Brock Marion was an excellent player,
perhaps better as a Dolphin than he was as a Cowboy prior to his arrival. He
made the Pro Bowl and had several 100 tackle seasons, which is remarkable for a
free safety. A Top 50 guy, no question.
Pete Stoyanovich was
the most prolific long distance kicker in team history, once nailing a 59
yarder (team record). He is also the second-most accurate kicker in team
history (.793). However, there is no way that three of the top 40 guys in team
history can be kickers…not when Stoyo is third-best behind Olindo Mare and some
guy named Garo Yepremian.
All of you who voted
for McDuffie, Sims, Cox, Marion, and Stoyanovich are soft. Immediately enroll
yourselves in the Jimmy Johnson seminar, “How to Cut Your Mother from the
Now let’s pull out
the ‘ol film projector and discuss all of the misses the fans had in this
exercise. Bring a box of tissues…you’ll need them.
Earl Morrall, QB
Sometimes a guy achieves
something so important and so significant, it becomes the stuff of legend.
Simply put, Morrall single-handedly saved the Perfect Season. It is an
inescapable fact that, without Morrall, there is no 17-0 and maybe no Super
Bowl title in 1972. That earns him an automatic Top 40 berth.
Norm Evans, T (1966-75)
Many Dolfans who
voted never saw Evans play. He was only the best Right Tackle the team has ever
Wayne Moore, T (1970-78)
Moore was a fixture on the left side during the glory years, a
critical cog in the run-oriented offense that powered the Dolphins to three
consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Every man on that offensive line must be in
the Top 40. After Richmond Webb, he was the best left tackle the team has ever
Ed Newman, G
Keith Sims was good;
Ed Newman was better. Newman was a terrific run blocker, a four-time Pro Bowler
who was twice named the team’s best offensive lineman.
Bruce Hardy, TE
Hardy was one of Dan Marino’s
favorite targets and leads the Dolphins with most receptions for a tight end. Hardy
was named to the Silver Anniversary team.
Doug Betters, DE
An important part of
the famed “Killer B” defense, Betters is third in career sacks with 65.5 and
was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1983, only the second Dolphin to
ever earn that honor (Dick Anderson was the other). He also was named to the
Dolphins Silver Anniversary team.
Vern Den Herder, DE (1971-82)
Den Herder is fourth
in sacks with 64, “the finest defensive end I've ever had play for me”,
according to Shula. If he’s good enough for Shula, it means he makes the cut.
Bill Stanfill, DE
A four-time Pro
Bowler and two-time All-NFL selection, Stanfill was a quarterback killer. He set
a team record for career sacks with 67.5 (since broken by Jason Taylor) and had
a monstrous 18.5 sack effort in 1973 (team record now shared with Taylor). He
twice set a team record with five sacks in one game.
Tim Foley, CB/S
Foley makes the Top
40 due to his versatility and outstanding play at three positions (CB, S, and special teams). He started as a major
contributor at CB on the No Name Defense. He then earned a Pro Bowl berth in
1979 as a Safety after making the transition from CB. He also set a team record
for blocked punts (3). Not too shabby.
Larry Seiple, P
Seiple, a combination
tight end, running back, and punter, holds the team record for the most punts
for the most yards by a Dolphin (633 for 25,347 yards). History is also on his
side as he is often remembered for his gutsy 37-yard run off of a fake punt in
the 1972 AFC Championship game against the Steelers, a play that may very well
have decided that game (a 21-17 Dolphin win).