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A sobering look at the history of the quarterback position in Miami

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The Dolphins have produced two Hall of Fame quarterbacks.  After that, there’s a gap.

A fairly big gap/

As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sees it, the third best quarterback in franchise history behind Dan Marino and Bob Griese is Chad Pennington.

Pennington joined the Dolphins in 2008, after the first annual Brett Favre unretirement tour brought him to the Jets — and after the Jets decided to part ways with one of their four first-round picks from April 2000.

But while Pennington led the Dolphins from a 1-15 record in 2007 to an AFC East title in 2008, the guy who came in fourth, Earl Morrall, started 10 games during the 17-0 season of 1972 after Griese broke an ankle.

Still, whether it’s Pennington or Morrall at No. 3 or No. 4 or No. 4 or No. 3, the full list of the top 10 quarterbacks in team history shows that, while the Dolphins have had two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, they’ve had plenty of guys who, well, weren’t.

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29 Responses to “A sobering look at the history of the quarterback position in Miami”
  1. sportmentary says: May 15, 2012 5:17 PM

    As a Dolphins fan we hope every year is the one where a QB will start to shine. Part of the blame has to go to Dolphins management who are clueless. This year is going to be another tough one for us to swallow.

  2. kane337 says: May 15, 2012 5:19 PM

    I miss the Don Shula and Joe Robbie era. 😦

  3. truthhurtstoo says: May 15, 2012 5:23 PM

    Too much coaching turn over after Shula retired. The Dolphins earned the best win-loss ratio in pro sports during Shula time but it has been a revolving door since.

    No team will be successful turning over staffs and systems every couple of years. Some teams have been stuck in this mode and they also haven’t faired well without stability at the top. Fat Tuna didn’t help much either…

  4. culturalelitist says: May 15, 2012 5:40 PM

    David Woodley led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl in 1982. Though he didn’t have a great or long career, I would say that’s enough to put him ahead of Pennington.

  5. steeltownpride says: May 15, 2012 5:41 PM

    The Steelers in all our greatness has had 2 QB’s worth mentioning . Bradshaw and Roethlisberger . After that its not much either . Stewart ? Maddox ? Brister ? Malone ? Pluuulease … Dolphins are doing ok in my book .

  6. spfripp says: May 15, 2012 6:09 PM

    If every QB is expected to be a HOF QB then what is so special of making the HOF? Up till Marino, Miami had a pretty good history of QBs. There was Woodley and Strock who were not great but did a good job of filling the gap between Griese and Marino. You can slam them for the last 13 years of mishandling the position but to say Miami has a had bad QB through out it history is a bit misleading. I would probably place Pennington as the 6th best QB behind Marino, Griese, Woodly Morrall and Strock. Everyone forgets that in the 1st 3 games in the 2008 season Miami’s offense was more stagnate then it ever was under Henne which is the reason Sparano turned to the wildcat. It was the addition of the wildcat that helped Pennington be an efficient QB.

  7. guvsta says: May 15, 2012 6:10 PM

    If you read the article, the top 2 QBs (Griese and Marino) account for 31 years. Most franchises would be happy with that. How have the 49ers coped since Young retired? Some franchises (eg Detroit before Stafford’s breakthrough season) have struggled for decades. It’s rare to have back-to-back legends like Montana-Young or Favre-Rodgers. I still wouldnt trade Marino and 12 years of crap- some memories are worth the pain. Mind you, the pain’s getting pretty unbearable lol …..

  8. steelymcbeam6 says: May 15, 2012 6:12 PM

    I agree steeltown. Although lets face it, if it wasn’t for bradshaws super bowls he wouldn’t even be remembered as a decent QB. Being able to throw to Swann and Stallworth and and the ball off to Harris made him look better than he really was. Also having the greatest defense of all time couldn’t have hurt him either. But that was just a different era of football, Bradshaw never had to throw 30+ times a game.

  9. gmacbigd says: May 15, 2012 6:15 PM

    Im blessed as a Cowboy fan. We have had 5 great qbs, including 2 Hofers. Yes there was a big gap between Romo and Aikman but Dallas still has the greatest lineage of QBs in NFL history.

    Staubach, Aikman, Meridith, White, and Romo. Ill throw in Lebaron and Morton for good measure. Its a shame Meridith isnt in the HOF. If White would have won one of those NFCC he would be in and the jury is still out on Romo.

  10. mistrezzrachael says: May 15, 2012 6:19 PM

    It all starts @ the top…Wayne wasn’t a good owner…and Ross even worse.

    It’s not as if they have had…DECENT QB’s…they’ve been really bad.

    Throw in selecting Long instead of Ryan…and there you go…

    After the owners, GM’s have been pitiful.

    But,,,,Cam did select…Ted Ginn.

    As bad as Dolphins have been…jets have been worse…much worse.

  11. steelymcbeam6 says: May 15, 2012 6:20 PM

    Guvsta…I agree with you. Although i think 49ers had it pretty good even tho they haven’t had a great QB for a long time considering they had arguably the greatest QB of all time and then immediately went to Steve young! Most teams haven’t had two decent QBs their entire history let alone two hall of famers back to back! Steelers had bradshaw and then had to wait 20 years to get Roethlisberger! How long between unitas and manning? 30 years ish? As far as I’m concerned the 49ers have a few more losing seasons to make up for the luck of the draw they had with QBs in the past.

  12. jakek2 says: May 15, 2012 6:21 PM

    All these comments are starting to make me think that the Fins have been pretty blessed, just not recently. Who have the Skins, Browns, Seahawks and Jets had? Their best is Slinging Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, and Namath dating back before we landed on the moon. As for Seattle….Dave Krieg? :/

  13. allforfunnplay says: May 15, 2012 6:41 PM


    The Niners had Jeff Garcia who went to three of his four Pro Bowls while with the Niners. While Garcia isn’t even close to Montana or Young’s league, Garcia had some good productive years for the Niners.

    Before Montana were QB’s John Brodie and Y.A. Tittle. Both old timer legends for the 49ers.

  14. mistrezzrachael says: May 15, 2012 6:44 PM

    jakek2 says:May 15, 2012 6:21 PM

    All these comments are starting to make me think that the Fins have been pretty blessed, just not recently. Who have the Skins, Browns, Seahawks and Jets had? Their best is Slinging Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, and Namath dating back before we landed on the moon. As for Seattle….Dave Krieg? :/

    You can validate it all you want…but Seahawks, jets, Skins & Browns…along w/Dolphins…have won NOTHING,,,in what? the last 30 -40 years????

    Granted, of all those teams, Skins & Dolphins most competitive,,until last 15 years or so.

    Dolphin franchise a mess right now…and not because of coaching. Owners have been amongst league worst, and GM’s..god , really bad.

  15. icdogg says: May 15, 2012 6:45 PM

    I definitely would put Morrall over Pennington. But, probably most people who decide these things aren’t old enough to remember that season. It shouldn’t even be close.

  16. burgundyngold4evr says: May 15, 2012 6:47 PM


    The Washington Redskins has won three Super Bowls, each with a different quarterback (Joe Theismann in 1982, Doug Williams in 1987 and Mark Rypien in 1991).

    That doesnt include Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen

  17. mjkelly77 says: May 15, 2012 6:57 PM

    Don Shula and Earl Morrall a Michigan boy, both with connections to the Detroit Lions. The Lions didn’t know what they had in Shula. When the Steelers traded Morrall to the Lions for Bobby Layne, the Curse began.

    But now the Lions have Matthew StafFORD. Both Layne and StafFORD attended Highland Park High School in Dallas and both led their teams to the Texas State Championships. Coincidence? I think not. The Lions are Super Bowl bound. Probably next year.

  18. saintsfan26 says: May 15, 2012 7:17 PM

    the dolphins had their chance to get a great QB. But they chose Culpepper over Brees.

  19. Deb says: May 15, 2012 10:05 PM

    steeltownpride says:

    The Steelers in all our greatness has had 2 QB’s worth mentioning . Bradshaw and Roethlisberger . After that its not much either . Stewart ? Maddox ? Brister ? Malone ? Pluuulease … Dolphins are doing ok in my book .

    You forgot the hometown guy the Steelers drafted in 1955 who was released before the season started because the coach didn’t think he was QB material.

    Johnny Unitas.

    We didn’t have the good sense to keep him, but he’s definitely a QB worth mentioning 😉

  20. cowhawkfan says: May 15, 2012 10:38 PM

    Don Strock was pretty darn good. And to the guy above who said Romo was a great QB, please raise your standards!!!! Good yes, great…hell no!!

  21. getsome99 says: May 15, 2012 10:44 PM

    It’s ok to be satisfied with the Cowboys history of QB’s. But not all those players on that list are that great. Meredith, Staubach, and Aikman sure. But Romo and Danny White are/was average. Plus, let’s not forget the Rodney Peete/Tony Banks/Quincy Carter/Henson/Hutchinson/Leaf/Cunningham/Bledsoe/Testaverde era. Funny thing is, even after all that, it didn’t take long for a lot of Cowboys fans to turn on Romo.

  22. gmacbigd says: May 16, 2012 12:10 AM

    White and Romo are/were both great. Elite like Staubach, Aikman, and Meridith? No. White would have been IF he could have got his team to a Super Bowl. If Romo can lead this team to a Super Bowl he will be considered elite. As far as the guy who listed all the crappy qbs, name a team who hasnt had a bunch of crappy ones. Like I said, tbe Cowboys have the best lineage of QBS in league history. The only other teams in tne discussion are the Packers, Niners and Colts.

  23. buckybadger says: May 16, 2012 12:18 AM

    I would say Jay Fielder was better but I could be mistaken. I thought he made the playoffs once or twice.

  24. johnnyquick says: May 16, 2012 1:01 AM

    The problem started when Huzienga took over as owner.

    By his own admission, he was a bottom line guy rather than a fan.

    Thus, he concentrated his efforts in hiring big name coaches that would raise team expectations and sell tickets.

    For example, when the league realigned the divisions, he kept the Dolphins in the AFC East, a non-geographical division for Miami, so he could sell more tickets to South Florida transplanted NewYorkers.

    Unfortunately for the team and its fans, all the mesiahs that Wayne brought always tried to remodel the kitchen when the smell came from the bathroom.

  25. warrenpeacephotography says: May 16, 2012 1:52 AM

    Um, Jay Fiedler, anybody? He’s not HOF material, but he was a decent starter for a lot of years. But I can understand why everybody seems to have forgotten he ever existed.

  26. phinfan says: May 16, 2012 9:20 AM

    Woodley? Feidler and honorable mention Mitchell

    All those combines is still better than most teams like cardinals and rams or even jets and patriots

  27. chrisjohnston10 says: May 16, 2012 9:40 AM

    Not many teams can get franchise QBs every era. Off the top of my head, I can think of two teams that have had back to back franchise QBs in the last two decades. New England (Bledsoe/Brady) and Green Bay (Favre/Rodgers).

  28. FinFan68 says: May 16, 2012 12:34 PM

    Every team has droughts when it comes to finding great players–especially when it comes to quarterbacks. It is a team game but QB is the biggest piece. It takes more than a great QB (see: Marino) and teams can overcome average or even sub-par QB play (Ravens/Bucs). Miami is not the only team with a horrible list of QBs. Ask a Bears fan what it is like to look for a great QB over the course of decades. Same can be said for the Saints, Jets, Falcons, Bucs, Raiders, Colts, Browns, Bengals, Steelers, Rams, Cardinals, Redskins, etc.) It just happens to have been the Dolphins main problem lately (since Marino retired).

  29. dolphins1399 says: May 17, 2012 4:45 AM

    What about Jay Fiedler?

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