When the upstart American Football League (AFL) was looking to expand from its original eight teams, the powers that be awarded both Miami and Cincinnati a new franchise. When Miami’s owners, Joe Robbie and Danny Thomas, held a contest to see what sort of killer name people could come up with, “Dolphins” won by a landslide. “The dolphin is one of the fastest and smartest creatures of the sea,” Robbie said in a statement. “Dolphins can attack and kill a shark or a whale. Sailors say bad luck will come to anyone who harms one of them.” And so the franchise was born.
Miami got off to a rough start during its 1966 inaugural season, going 3 and 11. After half a decade, however, the team turned it around. They pounded out winning seasons from 1970 to 1974, including two historical campaigns in 1972 and 1973. In fact, the 1972 Dolphins are currently the only team that has ever had a perfect winning season, including postseason and the Super Bowl. Rumors say that every time a modern team tries and fails to do the same, the members are reported to gather and celebrate after their first loss. (Spoiler: It’s not true.)
The Miami Dolphins also won the Super Bowl in 1973 and have gone to the big dance two times since (although they did not win). Appearances in which they fell short include the strike-shortened 1982 season and the 1984 season.
There’s no telling what the 2016 Dolphins team will produce on the field, but they definitely have the potential to make waves in the AFC East. Notable players include starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was selected eighth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He played college football at Texas A&M – where he threw over 3,700 yards his senior year and dazzled scouts enough to become the third quarterback selected in a draft stacked with QBs (including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III).
Jarvis Landry is another player to note. A more recent addition, he’s currently playing in his third season with the Dolphins and had over 1,100 yards receiving last season. This is not a huge surprise to anyone who followed him during his playing days at LSU, where he had similar stats his junior year. Ndamukong Suh is another popular player – this time on the defensive side – whose standout performances at Nebraska put him up high on draft boards in 2010.
Fans know where their favorite players went to school, but where do the rest of the players hail from? We did the research to determine the colleges that contributed the most to this year’s Dolphins roster.
Strong Southern Ties
A quick glance at the graphic shows one particular thing – Southern colleges dominate the Dolphins’ roster. Tennessee gets the top spot for contributing seven former college players. Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky also each have three players representing their state.
Even some Western states have strong ties to the Dolphins, such as Oregon (five players), California (three players), Utah (three players), and Arizona (two players). The Northeast region also shines, with four players from Pennsylvania and three players from New York.
The Tennessee Volunteers are represented well in Miami, with six of its former players on the roster. Oregon is another school that has a strong showing in South Florida, with four players making an appearance. Additionally, Oklahoma and Penn State have produced three Dolphins, while several universities have contributed two players – Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, and Michigan State.
Nod to the SEC
There are a few conferences that have produced quite a number of Miami players. Fifteen Dolphins hail from SEC schools, with seven players coming from the University of Tennessee. Other SEC schools represented in Miami are Alabama, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, and Georgia. The Pac-12 produced 11 players, the Big Ten produced 10, and the ACC contributed nine to the Dolphins’ roster.
While many colleges are represented on the Miami Dolphins roster, it’s easy to see that the power schools and conferences tend to produce more NFL players.
Whether you’re a Dolphins fan, or simply want to root for your college team, Fanatics has you covered.