Entering his second year in the NFL, Miami Dolphins’ QB Dan Marino was looking to improve on his solid rookie season. He finished his first year with a 9-3 record, completing 173 of 296 passes for 2,210 yards and tossing 20 TDs. He showed promise of being a good starting quarterback after year one, but he obliterated that outlook as he put up one of the best quarterback seasons in NFL history.
Early 1984 Season Success
Marino came out slinging the football in 1984. In Week 1 the Dolphins went on the road to the nation’s capital and faced off against the Washington Redskins. Marino threw 5 TDs and no interceptions, going 21-28 for 311 yards. The Dolphins won 35-17. He was just getting started.
In Week 2, he tossed two TDs in a 28-7 home win against the New England Patriots. A few weeks later in Week 5, the Dolphins (4-0) traveled to the Midwest to play the 2-2 St. Louis Cardinals. Marino went 24-36 for 429 yards, the first of four 400 yard games he had that year, along with 3 TDs as the Dolphins won their 5th game in five tries.
Dan Marino, Dolphins Suffer 1st Loss
The Dolphins had won their first 11 games of the season heading into a Week 12 matchup on the west coast against the San Diego Chargers. Marino was on pace to shatter all the major passing records. He had amassed 3,340 yards passing, 30 TDs and only 11 INTs up until that point. Miami’s undefeated run, however, would come to an end with a 34-28 OT loss to the Chargers. Marino threw for 338 yards and 3 TDs but it wasn’t enough.
Historic Finish For Dan Marino
The last four games of the 1984 NFL season for Marino were historic. The Dolphins, meanwhile, would go 3-1 over that span to clinch the number one seed in the AFC. For Marino, his stat line went like this:
- Week 13: vs NYJ 192 yards, 4 TDs
- Week 14: vs LAR 470 yards, 4 TDs
- Week 15: vs IND 404 yards, 4 TDs
- Week 16: vs DAL 340 yards, 4 TDs
Marino would set several major passing records during the 1984 NFL season. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards (5,084). He also tossed 48 TDs which was another NFL record. Other single season records he set included 300 yard games (9) and 4-TD games (6). His phenomenal play earned him the 1984 NFL MVP Award.
Super Bowl Bound
The success of Marino powered the Dolphins to a 14-2 regular season record and a trip to Super Bowl XIX against the San Francisco 49ers. Although the Dolphins would lose 38-16, the future seemed bright with their young superstar QB. They had found a franchise quarterback in Marino. Although the season didn’t have a story book ending, Marino’s sensational 1984 season will always rank as one of the best ever.