Dan’s gone, but the dream is alive

Dan’s gone, but the dream is alive – Uncovering the Past

William Wagner

DAN MARINO’S FINAL APPEARANCE on the cover of FOOTBALL DIGEST was our December 1999 issue. As fate would have it, 1999 also wound up being his final NFL season.

The cover captured the desperation of the moment for the aging Miami Dolphins quarterback, with a subhead that read, “The clock is ticking on Dan Marino’s Super Bowl dreams.”

The clock finally stopped ticking on January 15, 2000, in Jacksonville, Fla. It was there that the Dolphins were humiliated by the Jaguars, 62-7, in the playoffs, marking the end of Marino’s futile, 17-year quest for a Super Bowl title.

When Marino was getting started in the NFL, there was no inkling that things would turn out this way. In just his second season in 1984, Marino led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. They lost 38-16 to the San Francisco 49ers, but everyone figured Marino would have plenty of other chances to get his ring.

He didn’t. The most prolific passer in NFL history came up short time and again for one simple reason: The Dolphins never developed a running game to complement his powerful arm.

Today, as Miami prepares for the 2002 season, Marino probably wishes he could come out of retirement. After trading for Ricky Williams in the offseason, the Dolphins should be able to run the ball effectively for the first time since the ’70s. And that’s why Miami is among our favorites to win Super Bowl 37.

But if the Dolphins were to go all the way, there would be a tinge of sadness mixed in with the euphoria. Why? Marino–the man who gave absolutely everything he had to the Dolphins in pursuit of his Super Bowl dreams–would be nothing more than a spectator.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Century Publishing

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group