MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A lot can change over the course of 50 years.
There was a time when the Miami Dolphins made the playoffs, and a gathering of their greatest players serves as a reminder.
In celebration of the Dolphins’ 50th season, fans, alumni and media selected an all-time team, with the 50 players selected to be introduced at halftime Monday night against the New York Giants.
The Dolphins planned to wear throwback jerseys from 1966, their expansion season. The game culminates a weekend of festivities for a franchise that excels at honoring its past, even if things aren’t so good at present.
With nearly a month left in the season, the Dolphins (5-7) are virtually certain to miss the playoffs for the seventh year in a row, which would be a franchise record.
It has been 15 years since the Dolphins won a playoff game, 23 years since they reached the AFC championship game, 31 years since they made the Super Bowl and 42 years since their most recent NFL title.
The parade of 50 greats gives fans — and current players — a chance to savor the glory days.
“All the history those guys have made for our team, it’ll be great to have them back on Monday night,” center Mike Pouncey said.
Pouncey happens to be one of the 50, along with two other current Dolphins, cornerback Brent Grimes and injured defensive end Cameron Wake.
Receiver Jarvis Landry said he looked forward to putting faces with names he’s heard. But he confessed he was unfamiliar with the best Dolphins receiver of all, Hall of Famer Paul Warfield.
“Warfield? I’ll check him out,” Landry said.
The all-time team includes seven other Hall of Famers — linebacker Nick Buoniconti, fullback Larry Csonka, quarterback Bob Griese, center Jim Langer, guard Larry Little, quarterback Dan Marino and center Dwight Stephenson.
Interim coach Dan Campbell was optimistic some of the aura from the all-timers would rub off on his players.
“Anytime that you are able to be surrounded by greatness, that’s never a bad thing,” Campbell said. “These are some of the best that have ever played.
“This is a storied franchise. The guys on this team know and understand the history. They may not know every name, but they understand what it’s like to play. A lot of them want to be like those guys, to be part of a special team or to be great players.”
The all-time team includes 18 members of the 1972 Dolphins, who achieved the only perfect season in NFL history — as the franchise always seems eager to recall. Former players are well aware of criticism the organization, with little to cheer about lately, wallows in long-ago achievements.
“You can say, ‘Don’t dwell on the past,'” said Kim Bokamper, a Miami sportscaster and member of the all-time team. “But in sports, dwelling on the past is just recognizing the nostalgia for the game. What would sports be if you don’t remember the nostalgia of the game? This is what has made the Miami Dolphins what they are today.”
Bokamper, a linebacker and defensive end for the Dolphins from 1977 to 1985, noted the depth of talent on the all-time team. He said being chosen a member is his greatest thrill.
“Thank God they didn’t stop at 49,” he said.
Be sure to check out our FinsOn4 Live Dolphins Blog where we will be posting season-long coverage, updates, photos, video, commentary and more throughout the entire 2015 season.
Watch Miami take on the New York Giants this Monday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS4, your official Dolphins station, and don’t forget to catch our Dolphins 50 Seasons Gala Special which will air at 7 p.m. on Monday!
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