1983 Miami Dolphins season

1983 Miami Dolphins season

1983 Miami Dolphins season
Head coach Don Shula
Home field Miami Orange Bowl
Record 12–4
Division place 1st AFC East
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs vs. Seattle Seahawks
Previous season      Next season
< 1982      1984 >

The 1983 season was the 17th season in football for the Miami Dolphins and they sought to return to the Super Bowl after losing to the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII. It was also a turning point in the team's history, as in the 1983 NFL Draft a young quarterback slipped to deep in the opening round, being passed over by such teams as division rivals New York who drafted Ken O'Brien and New England who drafted Tony Eason. With the 27th pick, the Dolphins decided to take a chance on Dan Marino. In the draft's eighth round the Dolphins also selected receiver Mark Clayton.

David Woodley started the team's first five games but despite wins over Buffalo, New England, and Kansas City the offense didn't move to Don Shula's liking so in Week Six hosting the Bills the rookie Marino started. Marino had completed two touchdown throws in relief of Woodley in a 27–14 loss to the Raiders and then replaced Woodley during a 17–7 loss to the Saints with a touchdown and an interception, so the game against Buffalo was the third of his career but his first start. The game proved to be a wild affair as Robb Riddick of the Bills fumbled the opening kickoff at their 17 but Marino was intercepted by Steve Freeman on the next play. The Bills clawed to a 14–7 halftime lead but the Dolphins behind Marino stayed toe to toe as Marino threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns while handing off to Mark Clayton on an option pass for a touchdown to Mark Duper. The Bills tied the game in the final seconds and two Uwe von Schamann field goal attempts missed before Joe Danelo ended the game in a 38–35 Bills win.

Despite the loss Marino's performance cemented his role as the team's starter, and the Dolphins raced to win nine of their last ten games. Marino finished with 2,210 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions. With the division wrapped up following a 26–17 win over the Oilers at the Astrodome Marino sat for the final two games of the season as Don Strock quarterbacked the Dolphins to wins over the Falcons and Jets.


NFL Draft

Pick # NFL Team Player Position College
27 Miami Dolphins Dan Marino Quarterback Pittsburgh
55 Miami Dolphins Mike Charles Defensive Tackle Syracuse
76 Miami Dolphins Charles Benson Defensive End Baylor
167 Miami Dolphins Reggie Roby Punter Iowa
195 Miami Dolphins Keith Woetzel Linebacker Rutgers
223 Miami Dolphins Mark Clayton Wide receiver Louisville
250 Miami Dolphins Mark Brown Linebacker Purdue
278 Miami Dolphins Anthony Reed Running Back South Carolina State
306 Miami Dolphins Joe Lukens Guard Ohio State University

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance Notes
1 September 4, 1983 at Buffalo Bills W 12–0
2 September 11, 1983 New England Patriots W 34–24
3 September 19, 1983 at Los Angeles Raiders L 27–14
Dan Marino saw his first NFL action, throwing for 90 yards and two touchdowns
4 September 25, 1983 Kansas City Chiefs W 14–6
5 October 2, 1983 at New Orleans Saints L 17–7
6 October 9, 1983 Buffalo Bills L 38–35
Marino made his first career start
7 October 16, 1983 at New York Jets W 32–14
Marino's first career win
8 October 23, 1983 at Baltimore Colts W 21–7
Marino's first trip to Baltimore's War Memorial Stadium
9 October 30, 1983 Los Angeles Rams W 30–14
10 November 6, 1983 at San Francisco 49ers W 20–17
11 November 13, 1983 at New England Patriots L 17–6
12 November 20, 1983 Baltimore Colts W 37–0
13 November 28, 1983 Cincinnati Bengals W 38–14
14 December 4, 1983 at Houston Oilers W 24–17
15 December 10, 1983 Atlanta Falcons W 31–24
16 December 16, 1983 New York Jets W 34–14


Player stats


Player Att Comp Yds TD INT Rating
Dan Marino 296 173 2210 20 6 96.0


AFC Divisional Playoff

Seattle Seahawks 27, Miami Dolphins 20
1 2 34Total
Seahawks 0 7 71327
Dolphins 0 13 0720

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Seahawks converted three turnovers in the second half into 13 points, while running back Curt Warner rushed for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter: A 19-yard pass to Johnson and a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Duper. Seattle's only score in the first half was quarterback Dave Krieg's 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Cullen Bryant. In the third quarter, a fumble led to Warner's 1-yard touchdown. A fourth quarter interception from Marino then led to Norm Johnson's 27-yard field goal to give Seattle a 17–13 lead. After the Dolphins regained the lead off running back Woody Bennett's 3-yard touchdown, Seattle responded with Warner's 2-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Miami returner Fulton Walker fumbled, setting up Norm Johnson's 37-yard field goal.

Awards and honors

Notes and references

  • Miami Dolphins on Pro Football Reference
  • Miami Dolphins on jt-sw.com