October 18, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Dan Marino, 1983

Quarterback, Miami Dolphins

Age:  22 (Sept. 15)
College: Pittsburgh
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 214

While he had been the Univ. of Pittsburgh’s all-time passing leader, there were questions about Marino and, as part of a highly-touted class of available quarterbacks, he fell to the Dolphins as the 27th pick in the first round (and the fifth QB). Marino quickly put the doubts to rest, taking over from David Woodley as the starter after several relief appearances, with the club at 3-3, and passing Miami to 9 wins in the final 10 games. Marino displayed a strong arm and quick release, making up for a lack of mobility, as well as being a quick study in reading NFL defenses.

1983 Season Summary
Appeared in 11 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 296
Most attempts, game – 38 vs. LA Rams 10/30
Completions – 173
Most completions, game – 25 vs. LA Rams 10/30
Yards – 2210
Most yards, game – 322 vs. Buffalo
Completion percentage – 58.4 [16]
Yards per attempt – 7.5 [10]
TD passes – 20 [11, tied with Dan Fouts, Jim Plunkett & Ron Jaworski]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. Buffalo 10/9, at NY Jets 10/16, vs. Cincinnati 11/28
Interceptions – 6
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Buffalo 10/9
Passer rating – 96.0 [3, 1st in AFC]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 5

Attempts – 28
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 10 yds.) at San Francisco 11/6
Yards – 45
Most yards, game – 18 yards (on 2 carries) at New England 11/13
Yards per attempt – 1.6
TDs – 2

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Divisional playoff vs. Seattle Seahawks)
Pass attempts – 25
Pass completions – 15
Passing yardage – 193
TD passes – 2
Interceptions – 2

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: AP
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Dolphins went 12-4 to finish first in the AFC East. Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Seattle Seahawks (27-20).

Marino followed up his fine rookie year with a brilliant 1984 season in which he set NFL records for passing yards (5084) and TD passes (48). The Dolphins were AFC Champions, although they lost to the 49ers in the Super Bowl. He had three more 4000-yard passing performances in the next four years and threw 44 TD passes in 1986. The Dolphins made it to the AFC title game again in 1985, but failed to reach the Super Bowl during the remainder of Marino’s 17-year career. With his ability to get the ball away in a hurry plus excellent protection, he rarely was sacked and proved to be durable, putting together a streak of 145 consecutive starts in non-strike games before an Achilles tendon injury sidelined him five games into the ’93 season. Overall, he led the NFL in passing yards four more times, TD passes twice, completions five times and attempts on four more occasions. The Dolphins were 147-93 with him behind center, 8-10 in the postseason. Upon his retirement, Marino was the league’s career leader in passes (8358), completions (4967), TD passes (420), and passing yards (61,361). The Dolphins retired his #13 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2005.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL (including NFC/AFC), AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

[Updated 11/30/14]