Daniel Constantine “Dan” Marino, Jr. (born September 15, 1961) is a former American football quarterback who played for the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League. The last quarterback of the Quarterback Class of 1983to be taken in the first round, Marino became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in league history, holding or having held almost every major NFL passing record. Despite never being on a Super Bowl-winning team, he is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in American football history. Best remembered for his quick release and powerful arm, Marino led the Dolphins to the playoffs ten times in his seventeen-season career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Marino was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Italian and Polish ancestry. He is the oldest child of Daniel and Veronica (Kolczynski) Marino, and has two younger sisters, Cindi and Debbie. His father delivered newspapers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Marino grew up on Parkview Avenue in the South Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and attended St. Regis Catholic Elementary School. He attended Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where he started in baseball, and won Parade All-American honors in football. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Kansas City Royals in the 1979 amateur draft, but decided to play college football instead.
Marino played college football at the University of Pittsburgh from 1979 to 1982. As a freshman in 1979, Marino led the Panthers in a 24-17 triumph over West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. He led the Panthers to a last-minute triumph over the Georgia Bulldogs in the 1982 Sugar Bowl by throwing the game-winning pass to tight end John Brown with less than a minute remaining. His team lost the 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic 7-3 toSouthern Methodist and their “Pony Express” of Eric Dickerson and Craig James. His senior year was not his best year, and he finished ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1982, after finishing fourth the previous year. Marino finished his four college seasons with 7,905 passing yards and 74 touchdowns, with 64 interceptions.
Marino’s selection status in the 1983 NFL Draft plummeted after a subpar senior season at Pitt, rumors of drug useand rumors that knee injuries (resulting in four knee surgeries) were hampering his mobility. Five other quarterbacks (Ken O’Brien, Tony Eason, Todd Blackledge and Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and John Elway) were drafted ahead of him.
Marino was the first draft pick in the history of the United States Football League, selected by the Los Angeles Express. He did not sign with the team, choosing instead to sign with the defending AFC Champions Miami Dolphins who chose Marino with the 27th overall pick in the NFL draft. After starting the season as a backup to incumbent starter David Woodley, Marino was given his first NFL start in Week 6 versus the Buffalo Bills. Marino and Miami lost that game 38–35 in overtime. As a rookie, Marino set several records: he posted a 96.0 passer rating, he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, he had the lowest percentage of passes intercepted with 2.03, he was the only rookie quarterback to lead a conference in passing, and he had the highest passing completion percentage with 58.45.
The following year, Marino broke six NFL full-season passing records, including the records for most touchdown passes (48, stood for 20 years, broken by Peyton Manning in 2004, and later by Tom Brady) and most passing yards (5,084, stood for 27 years, broken by Drew Brees in 2011) in a season, and was selected as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. The Dolphins finished with a 14–2 regular season record, clinching home-field advantage for the playoffs. In the first round, the Dolphins avenged their playoff loss of the previous season to Seattle Seahawks 31–10, and they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game 45–28.
In Super Bowl XIX, Marino and the Dolphins faced off against San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana in Palo Alto, California. The Dolphins, who had 74 rushing attempts in the previous two weeks, ran the ball only eight times in this game. Marino finished with 29 completions out of 50 attempts for 318 yards, throwing one touchdown pass and two interceptions. The Dolphins lost 38–16 in what was Marino’s only Super Bowl appearance.
In 1993, Miami was strongly favored at the start of the year to make it back to the AFC championship game and possibly the Super Bowl. However, after throwing a swing pass at a game in Cleveland, Marino, who was untouched on the play, crumpled to the ground in pain with a torn Achilles tendon and was out for the season. Marino later said, “I felt like I’d been shot”. Backup quarterback Scott Mitchell had an impressive series of starts before suffering an injury of his own. Mitchell signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Lions, and Miami signed veteran quarterbackBernie Kosar from the Dallas Cowboys as a backup. Wearing a special shoe on one foot, and having a right calf that was visibly atrophied, Marino was the starting quarterback at the start of the 1994 season.
In the season opener, a home game versus the New England Patriots and quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the two quarterbacks put up a combined 894 yards (Marino, 473 yards; Bledsoe, 421 yards) and nine passing touchdowns (Marino, 5; Bledsoe, 4), with Miami winning 39–35. Later in the season, Marino led a comeback win on the road against the New York Jets (28–24), a game famous for Marino’s execution of a fake spike for the winning touchdown pass, a play known as “The Clock Play“. The Dolphins finished 10–6 that year, and Marino passed for 4,453 yards and was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Marino’s final win was his first playoff road win and his 36th comeback win, as the Dolphins defeated the Seattle Seahawks 20–17 on January 9, 2000 in the final football game ever in the Seattle Kingdome. In the next round (January 16), also on the road, Marino and the Dolphins lost 62–7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Dolphins’ 55 point margin of loss was the worst in AFC Playoff history. Marino was replaced by backup Damon Huard after playing one series in the second half. However, he did end the first half on a high note, leading the Dolphins on an 80-yard scoring drive and throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Oronde Gadsden with 20 seconds remaining. The Jacksonville game marked the end of Jimmy Johnson‘s coaching career; Johnson announced his retirement the next day.
Before the 2000 season, Marino decided to retire, after declining offers from Minnesota, Tampa Bay and his hometown of Pittsburgh when the Dolphins declined his option on his contract. When asked at his retirement press conference why he decided to retire, he responded:
- That is a good question. Boy, I really struggled with this. This has been the toughest month of my life as far as dealing with playing football or retiring. After the season, I pretty much thought that I was not going to play anymore and I felt that way for a while and I think it was because of the physical aspects of the game. It kept coming back to how my legs felt during last season, going through the neck injury; not knowing whether I was going to be able to throw the football, and family reasons also, but Claire and the kids, they were great. They wanted me to play, be honest with you. Really, it was my decision, a family decision and a health decision.
Marino later admitted that he seriously considered the offer from the Vikings, but that he turned it down not because of his arm, but because he wasn’t sure that his legs could take another season. He also appreciated the fact that unlike many of his contemporaries, he got to play his entire career with one team.
During Marino’s career, the Dolphins were perennial playoff contenders, reaching the post-season in 10 of his 17 seasons. He was selected to play in nine Pro Bowls (1983–87, 1991–92, 1994–95), seven times as a starter, but due to injuries he only played in two of the games (1984, 1992). He was named first- or second-team All-Pro eight times and earned All-AFC honors six times. Marino never had the benefit of a premier running back, and in his career only once had a 1000 yard rusher behind him (Karim Abdul-Jabbar, 1117 yards in 1996) although an effort was made by the Dolphins to acquire eventual Hall of Famer Barry Sanders after the 1998 season. A trade was reportedly close but never came to fruition, which led to Sanders’ abrupt retirement. In his first three seasons with Miami, Marino saw the Dolphins rush for 5,797 yards (1,932 per-season average) and the Dolphins broke 1,500 rushing yards each year in his first five seasons and eleven times total; fourteen of his seventeen Dolphins squads posted rushing attacks (over 3.4 YPA) comparable to or better than such teams as the 1966 and 2010 Packers, the 2003 Patriots, and the 2011 Giants.
In 1999, Marino was ranked number 27 on The Sporting News list of the 100 greatest football players, making him the highest-ranking Dolphins player. In 2010 he was ranked number 25 on the NFL’s Top 100 Greatest Players list. Marino was known for his quick release, and despite the fact that he was not skilled at scrambling, Marino possessed an uncanny awareness in the pocket, often sliding a step or two to avoid the pass rush. Marino is currently third, behind Brett Favre and John Elway, on the list of most wins by a starting quarterback, with 147. His winning percentage was .613.
Life after football
On Sunday, September 17, 2000, at halftime of the Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game at Pro Player Stadium, Dan Marino’s jersey number of 13 was retired. The only other Dolphins jersey number retired at the time was Bob Griese‘s #12. Since then #39, Larry Csonka, has been retired as well. Marino joined the Dolphins Honor Roll the same day. In a year of accolades from the franchise he led for many years, the Dolphins also installed a life-size bronze statue of Marino at Pro Player Stadium (now Sun Life Stadium) and renamed Stadium Street, Dan Marino Boulevard.
In early 2004, Dan Marino briefly returned to the Miami Dolphins as Senior Vice President of Football Operations, but resigned from the newly-created position only three weeks later, saying that the role was not in the best interest of either his family or the Dolphin organization.
Marino was a first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 7, 2005 and was introduced by his oldest son, Daniel. During his induction speech, Dan threw “one last pass” to former teammate Mark Clayton, who was sitting in the audience.
Ownership in NASCAR
In 1997, Marino became involved in a marketing role with Team Cheever of the Indy Racing Leaguethrough FirstPlus Mortgage, the sponsor of the car. In 1998, Marino co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup racing team with driver Bill Elliott. The team’s car number was #13, Marino’s uniform number, and had primary sponsorship from FirstPlus Mortgage, whose company colors, coincidentally, were turquoise, orange, and white – similar to aqua and coral, the team colors of the Miami Dolphins. The team chose rookie driver Jerry Nadeau to pilot the car at the start of the season; he was later released and the team went through a rotation of drivers. The team failed to qualify for several races, but did post a top-5 finish at Phoenix International Raceway late in the season with Ted Musgrave driving. The team only lasted the 1998 season and closed afterward.
Marino lives with his wife, Claire, and their six children, Daniel Charles (born 4 September 1986), Michael Joseph (born 18 May 1988), Joseph Donald (born 26 July 1989), Alexandra Claire (born 13 May 1992), Lia (born 12 July 1995 in China) and Niki Lin (born 15 December 1996 in China) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also has vacation homes in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Marino opened two restaurants in South Florida called Dan Marino’s Town Tavern, with one location in Coral Springs and one on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The name changed around 2005 to Dan Marino’s Fine Food and Spirits. By 2006, both original locations had closed and the restaurant opened other locations in Miami, St. Petersburg, Las Vegas and Orlando. As of late 2010, the Miami and Las Vegas stores remain in service.
On April 27, 2008, Marino received an honorary doctorate degree in broadcast journalism from his Alma Mater, the University of Pittsburgh. Marino also delivered the Class of 2008 commencement speech. Marino is also a Laureus World Sports Academy founding member and is a voter for the Laureus World Sports Awards.
Appearances in other media
Marino acted in the 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective alongside Jim Carrey and Courteney Cox (he played himself) and made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler film Little Nicky wherein he asked Satan for a Super Bowl ring. In 1999, he voiced himself in a guest-starring role in The Simpsons Season ten episode “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday“. Marino also had cameo roles in Holy Man and Bad Boys II. He worked as a project consultant on Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, and some observers noticed a resemblance between him and Dennis Quaid‘s character, Jack Rooney. Marino’s actual house was used as the fictional quarterback’s house in the film
Marino is currently featured in advertisement campaigns for Hooters, NutriSystem weight loss programs, Maroone, Papa John’s, Nutrasource.com and Empi Select (aTENS device). Previously, Marino endorsed Isotoner gloves and FirstPlus Mortgage against whom he later filed suit due to contracts related to his racing team.
In April 2012, Marino became the AARP’s “Men’s Life Ambassador”, through which he planned to share his point of view and expertise on a variety of men’s interests, including health, fitness, sports, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, aging and community service, primarily through the website.
Dan Marino Foundation
The Dan Marino Foundation, was established in 1992 by Marino and his wife, Claire, after their son, Michael, was diagnosed with autism. The foundation has distributed over $22 million to research, services and treatment programs serving children with neurodevelopment disabilities. The Dan Marino Center, which opened in 1995 along with the Miami Children’s Hospital, is an integrated neurodevelopmental center specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of children at risk for developmental and psychological problems. The center saw more than 48,000 children last year alone.
On November 7, 2005, the National Basketball Association‘s Miami Heat honored Marino’s charitable works and recognized his service to South Florida with a halftime tribute, including a large donation to the Marino Foundation. Though a Heat jersey with his name and #13 was unveiled, this did not constitute retirement of his number by the Heat, and is currently worn by Heat guard/forward Mike Miller.
On March 23, 2010, The Dan Marino Foundation had their first Walk about Autism. Over 6000 walkers and over 420 Volunteer provided by the Miami Dolphins Special Teams, were on hand to make this event a special event. The money raised which Marino said he thought would be more than $500,000, will benefit the Autism Societies of Miami-Dade and Broward; the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities; the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities; and the Dan Marino Foundation.
NFL records set by Dan Marino
- Most games, 400 or more yards passing, Career: 13
- Most Games, 400 or more yards passing, Season: 4 in 1984
- Most 4th quarter comeback wins, career (playoffs included): 36 
- Most game-winning drives in the 4th quarter/overtime, career (playoffs included): 51 
- Most seasons leading league, pass attempts: 5 (1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1997)
- Most seasons leading league, completions: 6 (1984–86, 1988, 1992, 1997)
- Most seasons, 40 or more touchdown passes: 2 (1984, 1986)
- 100 TD passes in fewest number of games to start career: 44 (9/7/1986 at San Diego)
- 200 TD passes in fewest number of games to start career: 89 (9/17/1989 at New England)
- Monday Night Football, most passing yards: 9,654
- Monday Night Football, most completions: 798
- Monday Night Football, most attempts: 1,303
- Monday Night Football, most touchdown passes: 74
- Monday Night Football, most wins as a starter: 20
- Most yards passing, Season: 5,084, in 1984 (surpassed by Drew Brees in 2011)
- Lowest percentage, passes intercepted, rookie season: 2.03 in 1983 (296-6) (surpassed by Charlie Batch, Detroit, 1.98 in 1998 (303-6))
- Most consecutive seasons, 3,000 or more yards passing: 9 (1984–92) (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2001)
- Most games, 300 or more yards passing, season: 9 in 1984 (surpassed by Rich Gannon in 2002 and Drew Brees in 2008)
- Most touchdown passes, season: 48 in 1984 (surpassed by Peyton Manning (49) in 2004 and by Tom Brady (50) in 2007)
- Most consecutive games, four or more touchdown passes: 4 in 1984 (surpassed by Peyton Manning in 2004)
- Most consecutive games, two or more touchdown passes: 12 (surpassed by Peyton Manning in 2004, Tom Brady in 2011, and Aaron Rodgers in 2011)
- Most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, playoffs: 13 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2004 and Tom Brady in 2007)
- Highest passer rating, rookie season: 96.0 (surpassed by Ben Roethlisberger in 2004)
- Most seasons, 3,000 or more yards passing: 13 (1984–92, 1994–95, 1997–98) (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2005)
- Most completions, career: 4,967 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2006)
- Most attempts, career: 8,358 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2007)
- 40,000 career passing yards in fewest number of games to start career: 153 (surpassed by Drew Brees with 152 games in 2011)
- Most yards passing, career: 61,361 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2007)
- Most touchdown passes, career: 420 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2007)
- Most wins against one team: 24 against the Indianapolis Colts (surpassed by Brett Favre against the Detroit Lions in 2007)
- Most games, three or more touchdown passes, career: 62 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2007 and Peyton Manning in 2010)
- Most wins in different stadiums: 31 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2008)
- 50,000 career passing yards in fewest number of games to start career: 193 (surpassed by Peyton Manning in 2009)
- Highest career TD-INT differential: +168 (surpassed by Peyton Manning in 2009)
- Most games, four or more touchdown passes, career: 21 (surpassed by Brett Favre in 2009 and Peyton Manning in 2010)
- Most regular season wins, quarterback/head coach: 116 with Don Shula (surpassed by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in 2011)
NFL records tied
- Most seasons leading league, yards gained: 5 (1984–86, 1988, 1992); tied with Sonny Jurgensen (Philadelphia, 1961–62; Washington, 1966–67, 1969)
- Most consecutive seasons leading league, completions: 3 (1984–86); tied with George Blanda (Houston, 1963–65)
- Most games, 300 or more yards passing, career: 63 (tied by Peyton Manning in 2010)
- Most games, 400 or more yards passing, playoffs: 2 (tied by Peyton Manning in 2007)
- Most consecutive games, 400 or more yards passing: 2 (1984); tied with Dan Fouts (San Diego, 1982), Phil Simms (N.Y. Giants, 1985), Billy Volek (Tennessee, 2004),Matt Cassel (New England, 2008), Cam Newton (Carolina, 2011), Tom Brady (New England, 2011)
- Most games, four or more touchdown passes, season: 6 (1984); tied by Peyton Manning in 2004
- 300 TD passes in fewest number of games to start career: 157 (9/4/1994 vs. New England); tied by Peyton Manning in 2007
- 30,000 career passing yards in fewest number of games to start career: 114 (11/25/1990 at Cleveland); tied by Kurt Warner, October 18, 2009