Glory Days: Rundown of Every Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Appearance | Miami New Times


Super Bowl Starvation: A Look Back at Miami Dolphins' Championship Appearances

Relive the Dolphins' glory days before the team sunk into a Super Bowl drought.
San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig in Super Bowl XIX against the Miami Dolphins on January 20, 1985 in Stanford, California.
San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig in Super Bowl XIX against the Miami Dolphins on January 20, 1985 in Stanford, California. Photo by George Rose/Getty Images
Share this:
For the 39th straight season, the Miami Dolphins are watching the Super Bowl from home.

Let that sink in.

Middle-aged fans are now closer to social security than they are to the day when they last saw the Dolphins compete in a Super Bowl. To be one of the most storied franchises in NFL history and have this long a gap between title game appearances is absolute pain. Driving the knife a bit deeper, the Dolphins this season became the NFL team with the longest drought without a playoff win.

Through 1985, the Dolphins appeared in the Super Bowl five times. Because we have little to show for the four decades since, let's talk about the Phins' golden years in advance of Sunday's big game between the 49ers and Chiefs.

Here's a brief history of each Super Bowl in which the Dolphins played. Relive the good old days with us.

Super Bowl VI: Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3

The Dolphins' first title game appearance came in Super Bowl VI on January 16, 1972, when Miami faced a daunting Dallas Cowboys crew at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana.

After losing Super Bowl V and two conference championships in the prior six years, the Cowboys at the time had a reputation that the Dolphins now suffer: an inability to close out big playoff games.

But Dallas came out in full force and put up 252 rushing yards in a major stomping.

In their first Super Bowl, the Dolphins were overwhelmed by the Cowboys. The Dallas defense put the bricks to the Phins and held them to just one stinkin' field goal. The defensive feat would not be repeated in the Super Bowl until 2019 when the Patriots held the Rams to three points.
click to enlarge President Barack Obama honors retired players who were on the Miami Dolphins roster during the team's 1972 perfect season.
In 2013, President Barack Obama delivered remarks during a ceremony honoring the 1972 season Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins.

Super Bowl VII: Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7

The perfect season. Maybe you've heard about this before, as it's pretty much all Dolphins fans have had to brag about for half a century.

Super Bowl VII went down on January 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Dolphins faced the Washington Redskins to complete the NFL's first and only perfect season. The Dolphins' defense, nicknamed the "No-Name Defense," dominated their opponents and secured the win that finished Miami's season 17-0.

Veteran quarterback Earl Morrall had helped the Dolphins maintain their dominance after starter Bob Griese was sidelined with a broken leg early in the season. But Griese retook the helm for the Super Bowl and sealed the deal on Miami's storied run. 

Most remember the game because it completed an unbeaten season for Miami. Still, it's also famous for a folly by Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian, who made a comical throwing attempt after his blocked field gold, leading to the Redskins' only score.

Dolphins safety Jake Scott was awarded Most Valuable Player for his two interceptions in the classic game.

Super Bowl VIII: Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

Back-to-back — It's a dynasty!

On January 13, 1974, the Dolphins appeared in their third consecutive Super Bowl, facing the Minnesota Vikings at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Here's the recap: The Dolphins kicked the Vikings' entire ass.

Led by Larry Csonka, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, the win cemented the Dolphins' status as the team to beat in the early 1970s. It's totally sustainable and definitely going to continue for decades to come!
click to enlarge Vintage photo of NFL running back John Riggins dashing during 1983 Super Bowl
Washington Redskins running back John Riggins rushes during Super Bowl XVII against the Miami Dolphins on January 30, 1983 in Pasadena, California.

Super Bowl XVII: Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17

After missing a few years of playing in the big game, Miami returned in 1983 to face another stellar Redskins team.

It went poorly. A precursor for future fumblings? Yes. Yes, it was.

The game went down on January 30, 1983, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and is best remembered for John Riggins' 43-yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter, which gave the Redskins a lead they would not relinquish.
click to enlarge Miami Dolphins player Bruce Hardy running against the San Francisco 49ers
Miami Dolphins player Bruce Hardy during Super Bowl XIX

Super Bowl XIX: San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

No Super Bowl wins in ten-plus seasons? No worries — the Dolphins drafted a future Hall of Fame quarterback and will compete for championships until compact discs come out.


The Phins' most recent Super Bowl appearance came on January 20, 1985, when they faced the San Francisco 49ers at Stanford Stadium in California. It was a showdown of offenses, with the teams combining for more than 850 yards, a Super Bowl record at the time.

But the matchup was competitive for only a short while. The 49ers scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and never looked back, shutting the Dolphins out in the second half.

The game featured a matchup between two of the era's greatest quarterbacks, Dan Marino and Joe Montana, one of whom would end his career with four Lombardi trophies while the other would go on to win — none at all, not even one!

The beginning of Marino's career marked the peak of Marino's career. He would never return to the big game before retiring in 2000.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.