This Dolphin's name is thrown around as one of the all-time Team greats, but he should have gotten greater recognition for what he was able to do with his opportunities. He was one of the best in the NFL during his career, not just on our roster.
Tony Curtiss Nathan was born in Birmingham, Alabama in '56. He would go on to star for the Crimson Tide, being drafted in the 3rd Rd. (61st) in '79.
His impact was immediate as a returner, garnering 1st Team All Pro honors. He would go on to be our utility back extraordinaire for all nine of his pro seasons, gaining 8752 all purpose yards.
At each position he was asked to play, he excelled.
As a runner, four of his nine seasons saw him rush for 5 yards a carry or better (leading the league in 1981 for qualified runners with a 5.3 yard avg.). He scored 16 Tds. His career average is 4.8 per carry, a ridiculous mark considering he has 3543 yards as a runner. He certainly was no one year wonder.
He also had exceptional hands, and the image that most sticks in my mind of Tony is him catching those little screens out of the backfield, and getting us a first down. He has 3592 yards receiving, and another 16 Tds.
He had great instincts in the open field, and also scored on an 86 yard return of a Kickoff.
In this year of a resurgent Wildcat after a century of dormancy, it is interesting to note that Tony is 4-8 for 61 yards and a Td, No Ints. His QB rating is 115.1!
This is all in spite of the fact that he was seldom the focus offensively.
He also played his best in big games.
In the 1984 AFC Championship against Pittsburgh, Nathan touched the ball 27 times (8 receptions) for 178 yards and a Td.
In SB XIX, he logged 10 receptions, which at the time was the second-most in SB history.
He also scored the Td on the famous hook and lateral during the "Epic in Miami" playoff game between San Diego and the Dolphins.He had 169 all purpose yards and scored twice in the game.
All told, he scored 5 postseason Tds. The one that flashes to mind is that miracle flip from Duriel Harris, though! :)
Beyond the numbers, Tony was also an exceptional student of the game. Marino has said that he wasn't familiar with the playbook so early in his career it was often Tony (and Joe Rose on passing plays) who made the calls in the huddle.
He was and is a class act as well, a perfect example of an athlete-ambassador for the Dolphins. He was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame along with Curtis Martin and Michael Strahan in 2006.