Ranking the Top 5 Miami Dolphins Quarterbacks of All Time

May 12, 2024

When it comes to the best quarterbacks in Miami Dolphins history, the field gets a little thin after Dan Marino and Bob Griese.

Dan Marino

Dan Marino isn’t just the best quarterback in Miami Dolphins history, but he’s also one of the best to ever suit up in the NFL. He may have never won a Super Bowl, but his resume speaks for itself.

The former University of Pittsburgh star rewrote the record books as he marched along during his 17 seasons in the NFL — all with the Dolphins. He’s unquestionably the greatest quarterback to put on a Miami uniform and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame soon after his career ended.

Marino is easily the franchise’s best, but who follows him when it comes to the top five quarterbacks in Dolphins history?

1Dan Marino

Dan Marino is far and away the best quarterback in Miami Dolphins history

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins QBTony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Marino’s illustrious professional football career, and it didn’t take him long to get started.

Marino was the last of six quarterbacks taken in the QB-rich 1983 NFL Draft, but he was well worth the wait for the Dolphins. Drafted after John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, and Ken O’Brien, Marino heard his name called with the 27th overall pick.

As a rookie, he earned the first of five straight Pro Bowl selections to begin his career by throwing for 2,210 yards and 20 touchdown passes in 11 appearances. He went 7-2 in his nine starts and finished second to future Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson in the Rookie of the Year voting. Dickerson was the No. 2 overall pick in the ’83 draft.

Dan Marino Dolphins Stats
Seasons 17
Games/Starts 242/240
Record 147-93
Comp% 59.4
Pass Yards 61,361
Pass TD 420
Interceptions 252
Rating 86.4

Marino was named NFL MVP in his second season after breaking numerous passing records during the 1984 campaign. He started all 16 games, leading the Dolphins to a 14-2 record and a berth in Super Bowl 19, where Miami lost 38-16 to the San Francisco 49ers.

During that season, Marino threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdown passes, shattering the previous records in both categories, while completing what turned out to be a career-high 64.2% of his throws.

Marino ultimately led the NFL in passing yards five times. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl, took All-Pro honors on six occasions, and finished his career with a regular-season record of 147-93. When he retired from the NFL after the 1999 season, Marino’s 61,361 passing yards and 420 touchdown passes were both league records. Each still stands among the top 10.

Marino was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

2Bob Griese

Bob Griese won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins

Bob Griese Miami Dolphins QBMalcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins selected Purdue’s Bob Griese with the fourth overall pick in the 1967 draft, the first draft to feature both NFL and AFL teams. As a rookie, Griese jumped right in with an AFL All-Star season that saw him throw for 2,005 yards and 15 touchdown passes. Despite the Dolphins going 3-7 in his 10 starts, Griese finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Like Marino, Griese spent his entire NFL career with the Dolphins, playing 14 seasons. Unlike Marino, Griese won a pair of Super Bowls. In 1972, Griese and the Dolphins stormed out to a 5-0 record before Griese suffered a broken leg and was relieved by Earl Morrall, who helped Miami finish the season unbeaten.

In the conference championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Griese relieved Morrall at halftime, and the Dolphins earned a berth in Super Bowl 7, riding the strength of their strong ground attack. Griese went 3-for-5 for 70 yards in the second half to help Miami to a 14-7 win over Washington, thus clinching what remains the only undefeated championship-winning season in NFL history.

Bob Griese Dolphins Stats
Seasons 14
Games/Starts 161/151
Record 92-56-3
Comp% 56.2
Pass Yards 25,092
Pass TD 192
Interceptions 172
Rating 77.1

In 1973, Griese led the Dolphins to a second straight title. He went 12-1 in his 13 starts and threw for 17 touchdowns. Miami went on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl 8.

In 1977, he led the league in touchdown passes with 22, six of those coming in just three quarters in a convincing win over the St. Louis Cardinals. For his career, Griese threw 192 touchdown passes, good enough for second place on the franchise’s all-time list. He is also second in team history with 25,092 passing yards.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

3Jay Fiedler

Jay Fiedler didn’t let the pressure of replacing Dan Marino get to him

Jay Fiedler Miami Dolphins QBPeter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

With all due respect to the remaining entries, let’s just say that after Marino and Griese, the quarterback pickings are a bit slim for the Dolphins. At No. 3, we’ll go with Jay Fiedler, who had the unenviable task of having to replace the legendary Marino.

While neither he nor anyone else was Marino-like, Fiedler exceeded expectations. After starting a total of one game in one season each with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fielder hooked on with the Dolphins in 2000 and made 15 starts after Marino’s retirement.

He went 10-5, leading the Dolphins to the postseason, and then earned a victory over the Indianapolis Colts, which remains Miami’s last playoff win.

Jay Fiedler Dolphins Stats
Seasons 5
Games/Starts 62/59
Record 36-23
Comp% 58.4
Pass Yards 11,040
Pass TD 66
Interceptions 63
Rating 76.8

Fiedler, who went undrafted out of Dartmouth, continued his winning ways in 2001 when he started all 16 games and went 11-5. He completed 60.7% of his passes and threw for a career-best 20 touchdowns and a career-high 3,290 passing yards.

Fiedler played five seasons with the Dolphins and had four winning seasons as the starting quarterback. He finished his career in South Beach with a 36-23 record and ranks fifth in Dolphins history in both touchdown passes (69) and passing yards (11,040).

4David Woodley

David Woodley took the Dolphins to the Super Bowl in the 1982 season

David Woodley Miami Dolphins QB-1Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

It’s too early to put Tua Tagovailoa on the list, and Earl Morrall and Don Strock, who both had solid Miami careers, were primarily backups, so David Woodley, who led the Dolphins to a Super Bowl berth in the 1982 season, gets the call at No. 4.

Woodley played between Griese and Marino and was an eighth-round pick by the Dolphins in 1980. He made 11 starts as a rookie, going 6-5 and finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He was elected the team’s MVP that year.

David Woodley Dolphins Stats
Seasons 4
Games/Starts 42/40
Record 27-12-1
Comp% 52.9
Pass Yards 5,928
Pass TD 34
Interceptions 42
Rating 65.4

In 1981, Woodley went 11-3-1 and threw for a career-high 2,470 yards. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he went 7-2 as the starter and led the Dolphins to a berth in Super Bowl 17. At the time, Woodley was the youngest quarterback to start a Super Bowl, a record Marino broke two years later. Miami, however, dropped a 27-17 decision to Washington.

In 1983, he opened the season as the starter and went 3-2 before he was replaced by Marino. The Dolphins traded Woodley after the 1983 campaign to the Pittsburgh Steelers, with whom he spent two seasons.

With Miami, Woodley compiled a record of 27-12-1 as the starting quarterback.

5Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill is third on the Dolphins’ all-time passing list

Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins QBTimothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill is known more for his time as the quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, but he did get his start with the Dolphins and is third on their all-time passing list with 20,434 yards.

Drafted by the Dolphins with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Tannehill went 7-9 as a rookie starter and racked up 3,294 yards with 12 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He played six years with the Dolphins but had only one winning season. That came in 2016, when Tannehill went 8-5 in his 13 starts.

Ryan Tannehill Dolphins Stats
Seasons 6
Games/Starts 88/88
Record 42-46
Comp% 62.8
Pass Yards 20,434
Pass TD 123
Interceptions 75
Rating 87.0

In March 2019, the Dolphins traded Tannehill to the Titans. In his first year in Tennessee, he earned the lone Pro Bowl honor of his career.

With Miami, Tannehill finished with a 42-46 record and ranks third in Dolphins history with 123 touchdown passes.