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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins are celebrating their 50th season and one of special things they are doing is selecting the top 50 players in team history.
The list is created by four different groups who vote on the composition of the team. The groups are fans, Dolphins alumni, South Florida media and a select blue ribbon panel.
Each group represents 25% of the overall vote.
Every week over a ten week span, five players on the 50th anniversary team will be announced leading up to the Dolphins home game against the New York Giants on Monday, December 14th.
The entire top 50 team will be honored as part of a tribute to the 50 seasons of Miami Dolphins football.
In addition, the Dolphins will be wearing throwback uniforms that night for only the second time in franchise history.
Last week the Dolphins announced the first five players, Dick Anderson, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, O.J. McDuffie and Jake Scott.
On Tuesday the team announced the next five players. They are Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Mandich and Dan Marino.
Bouniconti played eight seasons for the Dolphins at linebacker and was one of the most crucial players on the ‘No-Name Defense’ that was so dominant during the 70’s. He was captain of the team in 1972, when the Dolphins went 17-0 for the one and only perfect season in NFL history. He also led the Dolphins in tackles for five consecutive seasons (1969-1973). Bouniconti remains the only Dolphins defensive player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1991.
“When you are selected as one of the 50 greatest players ever in Dolphin history, it’s so meaningful. But the meaningful part of it is not individually. It’s the team. Football has always been about the team. And Don Shula, with his great coaching experience, was a guy who preached that continuously. I have to tell you if it wasn’t for Coach Shula I would not be one of the 50. I really appreciate what he did, along with Bill Arnsparger and the rest of the coaches that worked with him,” Buoniconti said.
Csonka played eight seasons for the Dolphins at fullback, leading one of the best backfield tandems in league history along with Jim Kiick and Eugene ‘Mercury’ Morris. Csonka is an NFL Hall of Famer and one of only three Dolphins players to have his number retired by the team. He’s the team’s all-time leading rusher and recorded three straight 1,000 yard seasons from 1971-1973. The Dolphins went to the Super Bowl in each of those three seasons. He was the MVP of Super Bowl VIII with 145 yards rushing. He was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1990.
“I’m happy to be a part of Miami Dolphins tradition and am always glad for any excuse to come back and celebrate with my teammates, other great players from the franchise and all the Dolphins fans! I’m humbled and honored to have been selected as one of the 50 greatest Miami Dolphins,” Csonka said. “The Dolphins were an expansion franchise I’d never heard of when I was drafted. … Now we all share an impressive 50 year legacy!”
Griese wore the aqua and orange for 14 seasons, quarterbacking the Dolphins to three Super Bowls and the 1972 Perfect Season. He is another one of the three Dolphins players to have his number retired by the team. Griese threw for more than 25,000 yards and 192 touchdowns during his Dolphins career and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1990.
“When I went to college, all I wanted to do was to get an education. I never even gave playing in the NFL a thought. To think about going to the Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls, having your number retired, making the Hall of Fame and now being named to the all-time 50th anniversary team, is amazing. I never even thought about things like that. But I never could have done it without the help of my teammates and coaches. I was blessed to play with so many great players and the best coach in the history of the game, Don Shula. I owe them so much credit for anything I was able to accomplish on the football field and all the honors that followed after that,” Griese said.
Mandich played eight seasons with the Dolphins at tight end and was an important piece on Miami’s three straight Super Bowl teams. His best season was in 1974 when he finished second on the team with 33 receptions and led the team with six touchdown catches. After retiring Mandich became a very popular member of the Dolphins radio broadcast team, known for his catch phrase “All-Right Miami!” He was selected to the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2011, the same year that he passed away.
“It’s a remarkable honor for the Mandich family to hear about the recognition my father received based on his playing and his contributions to this great franchise. I know how much my dad cared about the Dolphins, and as a family we all are so proud that the team recognized him like this – it’s truly an awesome honor,” Jim Mandich’s son Michael Mandich said.
Marino played his entire 17-year NFL career with the Dolphins and is one of the three players to have his number retired by the team. He threw for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns during his career. When he retired, Marino held the NFL’s all-time records for most passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns. After falling to the Dolphins in the 1983 Draft, selected 27th overall after five other quarterbacks were taken, Mario burst onto the NFL scene with a monster year in 1984. That season he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2000.
“It’s an honor to be picked as one of the top 50 players in Dolphins history. There have been so many great players in the organization for so many years, with all the Super Bowls, I’m just glad to be a part of it,” Marino said.
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