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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.
So far the players named to the team have been Dick Anderson, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, O.J. McDuffie and Jake Scott were the first five, followed by Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Mandich and Dan Marino. Week three saw the Dolphins add Doug Betters, Bryan Cox, Bob Kuechenberg, Tony Nathan and Richmond Webb to the prestigious list, and on week four Tim Bowens, Manny Fernandez, Larry Little, Mercury Morris and Bill Stanfill were brought on board.
Week five saw the addition of Brent Grimes, Jim Langer, Reggie Roby, Paul Warfield and Ricky Williams.
On Tuesday the team announced the latest five players. They are Bob Baumhower, Sam Madison, Dwight Stephenson, Zach Thomas and Garo Yepremian.
Baumhower played ten seasons (1977-86) at defensive tackle with the Dolphins and was a key member of the “Killer B’s” defense. He notched 39.5 sacks in his career, which is tied for eighth in Dolphins history and is the most ever by a Miami defensive tackle. Baumhower led the Dolphins with nine sacks in 1981, and was one of only three DTs to lead the Dolphins in sacks in a season. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Dolphins. Baumhower was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2008.
“As a young guy going to Palm Beach High School and watching the Dolphins do their thing back in the day in the early ‘70s, going undefeated, going to Super Bowls, I’ve always been a huge fan. When I got the opportunity to play for Miami after moving to Alabama and going to Alabama and then getting drafted by the Dolphins and playing for Coach Shula, it was more than I could imagine as a young guy growing up in North Palm Beach and going to Palm Beach High,” Baumhower said. “And now to be picked as one of the top 50 players of all time for the Dolphins is beyond words for me. It’s something that runs deep. All my family is affected by it — my mom and dad, my wife, my kids, my brothers, my sisters, friends. It’s just a huge, huge honor.
“It makes me feel so proud and so appreciative of the opportunity I was given when I was drafted and had the opportunity to play for Coach Shula, Coach Scarry, Coach Arnsparger and the rest of the coaches, along with all of the great friends I made there — A.J. Duhe, Kim Bokamper, Doug Betters, Bob Brudzinski — all the guys. And then to get to know the young guys who came in when I was going out — John Offerdahl and so many others. All the super relationships. It was just a dream come true.
“It’s a huge honor — the biggest honor of my life, and I can’t wait to get down there and see everybody and catch up and just get back in that wonderful atmosphere of comradery and brotherhood and all the things that go with being associated with an organization like the Miami Dolphins.”
Madison played nine years (1997-2005) at cornerback with the Dolphins. His 31 interceptions rank third on the team’s all-time interception list and he tied for the team lead with eight interceptions in 1998, which matched the second highest single season interception figure in team history. Madison led Miami with seven picks in 1999. He was selected to four Pro Bowl teams (1999-2002), the second highest figure among defensive backs in Dolphins history.
“First of all I want to thank the Miami Dolphins for the opportunity in 1997 when they selected me in the second round of the draft. I never expected to come in and get all these crazy accolades and make all the Pro Bowls. You just try to come in and make some type of impact to help the organization win, and to me, being selected as one of the greatest 50 players in Dolphins history is mind-boggling,” Madison said. “Being from North Florida, I was able to watch great players in Dolphins history like Dan Marino, Larry Csonka, the Marks Brothers, and the list goes on and on. To be from Florida and have the opportunity to come to this state and be a part of the storied history of this franchise feels really good. The hard work I put in off the field definitely did pay off on the field and I hope the fans were happy with the things we were able to display when we were on the field.”
Stephenson played eight seasons with the Dolphins (1980-87) at center before having his career end prematurely, suffering a serious knee injury late in 1987. He was selected to five straight Pro Bowls during his time with the Miami Dolphins, including four starts. Stephenson anchored an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL each of his seasons as a starter. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and selected to the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1994.
“I’m truly honored to be named to the 50th team, especially because the Dolphins had so many great players over those 50 years. But whatever I did on the field I certainly didn’t do alone. I was blessed to have great teammates, especially my fellow offensive linemen. And I was fortunate to play under a great coaching staff, starting with Coach Shula and Coach Sandusky. I never would have been as successful without all of their help,” Stephenson said.
Thomas played 12 seasons (1996-2007) with the Dolphins at linebacker and started all 168 games he played in Miami, the most games played and started by any Dolphins defender other than Jason Taylor. Thomas recorded 100 or more tackles 11 times and led Miami in tackles ten times. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls, and is tied for the second highest total by any Dolphins player, trailing only Dan Marino. Thomas was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2012.
“Just looking back at how everything played out for me to be able to make the top 50 — I’ve come a long way, but it’s not done individually. I had so much around me — good talent, great coaches — that made me a better player. And just to be involved in the rich history of the Miami Dolphins and be in the top 50 is humbling because of my history: small town, small kid. There were so many doubts when I first joined the team,” Thomas said.
“I’m just thankful to have everything play out so perfectly for me, and I loved my time with the Dolphins, playing alongside a great set of teammates and for an outstanding coaching staff. I’m real appreciative for everything, including the fan support I got — my home is down here; I wouldn’t live anywhere else. And now I’m a huge fan of the Dolphins myself; I’m the team’s biggest supporter.” He continued: “I’m grateful just to have been selected to the all-time team and it’s an honor to join so many great players in Dolphin history.”
Yepremian played nine seasons (1970-78) as the Dolphins kicker. With 830 points, he ranks second on the Dolphins’ all-time scoring list. In the AFC Divisional playoff win on Dec. 25, 1971 in Kansas City, Yepremian’s 37-yard field goal in double overtime ended the longest game in NFL history. He led the NFL in scoring in 1971 and led the league in field goal accuracy three times. He remains the only Miami kicker named to two Pro Bowl teams. Yepremian passed away in May 2015.
“I am extremely honored to have my husband, Garo, be named as one of the 50 greatest players in Dolphins history. Although Garo is no longer with us, he lives on through his two sons, Garo Jr., Azad, and four grandchildren, who are unspeakably proud of his many accomplishments,” Maritza Yepremian, Garo’s widow, said. “To Garo’s loyal fans – we thank you with all our hearts for your support, and for recognizing Garo’s talent and his importance to his Dolphin teams. We also thank Mr. Stephen M. Ross and the Miami Dolphins for organizing this tribute.”
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