Ranking the Best Miami Dolphins Teams of All Time: Who Joins Perfect 1972 Squad on Top 10 List?

Two Super Bowl wins. Five AFC titles. Seven trips to the conference championship game. The top 10 list of best Miami Dolphins teams includes some heavyweights.

The best Miami Dolphins team of all time is also the best NFL team of all time.

But beyond the legendary 1972 squad — whose perfection remains unmatched — here’s who else made PFN’s list of top 10 Dolphins teams ever.

Who Are the Greatest Teams in Miami Dolphins History?

10) 2000 Dolphins

Dave Wannstedt’s first season as Miami’s head coach was also his most successful. The 2000 Dolphins went 11-5, won the AFC East, and are responsible for the franchise’s only playoff victory this century (a 23-17 home win over the Colts).

Yes, the offense was hard on the eyes. But the defense was electric.

Six different defensive players made the Pro Bowl (Trace Armstrong, Jason Taylor, Larry Izzo, Zach Thomas, Sam Madison, and Brock Marion) from a unit that ranked top six in yards allowed, points allowed, and turnover differential.

9) 1974 Dolphins

The Dolphins’ dynasty didn’t abruptly end after their back-to-back Super Bowl wins. They went 11-3 in 1974, and it took the iconic Sea of Hands play to finally snuff out hope of a three-peat.

Had Raiders running back Clarence Davis not improbably reeled in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Ken Stabler with less than a minute remaining of the teams’ Divisional Round playoff game, the Dolphins would have returned to the conference championship for the fourth straight season.

Twelve different Miami players represented the Dolphins in the Pro Bowl that year.

8) 1992 Dolphins

South Florida needed a major pick-me-up after Hurricane Andrew wrecked the region, killing dozens and causing tens of billions of damage.

The 1992 Dolphins did their part, putting together an 11-5 regular season and reaching the AFC Championship Game for the last time in Dan Marino’s career (the franchise hasn’t been back since).

This was one of the most balanced teams of the Marino era (the Dolphins ranked top 10 in both offense and defense), and if not for the five turnovers they surrendered in a conference championship game loss to the Buffalo Bills, they probably would have gone to the Super Bowl.

7) 1985 Dolphins

Fans will always have a soft spot in their hearts for the ’85 Dolphins because of what they prevented as much as what they accomplished.

Certainly, a 12-4 division championship season and a trip to the AFC title game deserve recognition. But the highlight of 1985 came during an appearance on Monday Night Football in Week 13.

Marino and the Dolphins lit up the historic Chicago Bears defense for 31 first-half points and cruised to a two-touchdown win at the Orange Bowl. The win spoiled the Bears’ quest to match the 1972 Dolphins as the only perfect teams in NFL history.

6) 1983 Dolphins

Marino’s rookie year was, of course, an organizational inflection point, but the 1983 Dolphins’ story was about far more than just Dan becoming the Man.

Marino was one of three Dolphins quarterbacks to start games that year (David Woodley and Don Strock the others), and Shula’s bunch won 12 regular-season games due as much to its defense as its offense.

The 1983 Dolphins ranked first in points allowed (250) and second in point differential (+139). Marino made the playoffs as a rookie after Miami ripped off nine wins in its last 10 games to capture the AFC East for the third straight time and seventh overall in franchise history.

5) 1982 Dolphins

The Dolphins’ 1982 Super Bowl run might have been the best coaching job of Shula’s unmatched career. Miami went 7-2 and won the AFC East by stomping the Baltimore Colts in the last week of the strike-shortened season.

The 1982 Dolphins offense wasn’t a thing of beauty. Woodley threw just five touchdown passes, and the Dolphins turned the ball over 23 times in nine games.

But Miami’s defense was suffocating, holding its regular-season opponents to 4.2 yards per play and their three AFC playoff foes to 26 total points before falling to Washington 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII.

4) 1971 Dolphins

The Dolphins needed just six seasons to go from hapless expansion franchise to conference champions.

The 1971 season historically has been viewed as a table-setter for the greatness that followed the year after. But give this team its due.

Shula led the ascendant Dolphins to a 10-3-1 regular-season mark, their first division title, and a double-overtime road win over the Kansas City Chiefs for what was not only the first postseason victory in franchise history but also what is still the longest game in league history (82 minutes, 40 seconds).

3) 1984 Dolphins

The modern NFL should be viewed through two lenses: Before and after the 1984 Dolphins (who went 14-2). Among the NFL offensive records to fall in Marino’s second season:

  • Individual passing yards (Marino, 5,084)
  • Individual passing touchdowns (Marino, 48)
  • Team yards per attempt (9)
  • Team passing yards (321.6 per game)
  • Team touchdown passes (49)

But the most surprising part about a season full of them? It would be Marino’s only trip to the Super Bowl. What’s more, the Dolphins haven’t been back to the big game since their 38-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers four decades ago.

2) 1973 Dolphins

There’s a case to be made that the 1973 Dolphins championship team was actually better than the far more acclaimed one that preceded it.

According to Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS) advanced metric, the Dolphins were actually substantially more dominant in 1973 over 1972 (13.3 vs. 11), and their ’73 average margin of victory (13.8) was remarkable, considering it included two losses.

A big reason for Miami’s success? Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese started all but one game in 1973 after missing much of the previous season. He helped direct the Dolphins to 10 straight victories after the Raiders snapped Miami’s 18-game winning streak in Week 2.

The Dolphins didn’t let that special year go to waste, trouncing the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 for their second straight Super Bowl title.

1) 1972 Dolphins

Five decades after Super Bowl VII, Perfectville still has a population of just one.

The 1985 Bears and 2007 New England Patriots have come the closest to taking up residence in the most exclusive zip code in all of pro sports.

But there’s still been just one team go through an NFL season undefeated and untied: The 1972 Dolphins, who finished off a 17-0 regular and postseason campaign with a 14-7 victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII.

That team was so loaded with talent, it deserves its own floor in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Along with Shula and Griese, linebacker Nick Buoniconti, fullback Larry Csonka, center Jim Langer, guard Larry Little, wide receiver Paul Warfield, and director of player personnel Bobby Beathard are all enshrined in Canton.

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