I had the privilege of watching Dan Marino's entire career, which though it didn't it net us any SB's and made you cringe in anticipated horror when the Fins traveled north to Buffalo in the snow during the Bill's dominance, was just like watching magic happen on TV every week. Down in the 4th quarter by 7, no problem. Dan hadn't thrown a TD pass, yet, no problem. Two minutes left and Miami is on its twenty and it's third and 25, and need that score—no problem. You just knew he would deliver, usually dodging two pass rushers while waiving to his receiver downfield to go past the marker to make the third down conversion.
I even watched him live twice in Indy, and once in Cinci. Couldn't believe how fast his throws were. There was a noticeable difference between his throws and the opposing QB's. It was like boom, you're eye couldn't track the ball hit the receiver, you just knew where he threw by the pile of bodies it left at impact.
But nothing was more special than that 1984 season. Despite living in Ohio, I got to see several games on TV but missed two in particular I really wanted to see. My favorite two Dolphins' games of all time are Miami beating Pittsburgh in the 1984 championship, and the 1985 Chicago game. Both I managed to download from Youtube, but these other two games eluded me. Miami vs Washington in the 84 opener, and Miami vs New England in 1984. Both games had a special place in my heart because at the time, the only Dolphins news I could get was from USA Today and Sports Illustrated.
The latter had a sports writer named Paul Zimmerman whose piece was featured in the issue covering the first week that year. Even when he wasn't writing about Marino and the Dolphins, I came to look forward to his pieces because he a certain flair and acumen that is extremely lacking in today's sports writing. He covered that 1984 season opener and here is the opening of his article:
On Sunday, in the opening game of his second NFL season, Dan Marino broke the bank at the Elias Sports Bureau, which handles all the league statistics. Send the croupiers home. Stack the chips. There will be no further play for the evening. The house is cleaned out.
The Miami Dolphins' 22-year-old quarterback went off the board in three of the four categories in the NFL rating system for his position when he led the Dolphins to a 35-17 win over the Washington Redskins. Marino threw five touchdown passes (in 28 attempts), had zero interceptions and completed 75% of his passes. Had he gone off the board in the other category (average gain per pass), Elias would have given him a ranking of 158.3. It's the ultimate. Marino got a 150.4, which is as close to perfection as we'll likely see this season—or any other, for that matter.
Oh, he'll come down to earth. They all do. But, lordy, wasn't the kid something, the way he was whipping the ball around RFK Stadium, sending the fans to the parking lot in the beginning of the fourth quarter, sending Redskin owner Jack Kent Cooke to the elevator just about the time the Skins started stopping the clock with time-outs.
There was something arrogant, even irreverent, about the way Marino bombed Washington. The Skins had prepared for a nasty kind of game, a slugfest, trench warfare, and indeed, if it had gone in that direction, the afternoon would have been theirs, because fullback John Riggins (15 carries, 98 yards) was just as unstoppable in his way as Marino was in his. The Dolphins had dedicated their preseason to stopping the run, and they'd done a good job of it. No team had rushed for 100 yards against them. Washington ran for 99 in the first half, 156 for the game. But Marino opened up the skies.
Modern football maxim: When you run the ball, four things can happen and three of them are bad—you can get stopped, you can fumble, the clock can run out on you. After two quarters and change, Marino's rainbows had taken the Skins off the ground and into the airways, and the game was over.
It was almost too easy, the way he did it.
The rest of the article is here:https://www.si.com/vault/1984/09/10/626201/did-he-pass-did-he-ever-give-him-an-a
By some random chance, even though I haven't looked for this game for some time, I ran into it last weekend on Youtube. It's shoddy quality, but watchable. For me it was like finding that one long lost treasure from your childhood. I just thought I would share this for those who might be interested. While the game is great, it takes on an even more special quality when you read the article first and know what was going on in during some of the plays. As an added bonus, Bob Griese is the color commentator.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBPmBXrEkcM