Today is April Fools’ Day and instead of playing some silly prank, I decided it might be fun to look back at some of the best “trick” plays in Dolphins history. Enjoy the list (which is in chronological order) and be sure to vote for your favorite!
12/31/72, The “Fake” Punt: With the undefeated Dolphins and Steelers locked up in a tightly contested AFC Championship game, Larry Seiple dropped back to punt for Miami and looked for something he had seen on film: the Steelers would often turn their backs and start running to cover the kick a bit prematurely. When Pittsburgh did just that, Seiple took off and ran for 37 yards to pick up a critical first down en route to Miami’s 21-17 win.
1/2/82, The Hook-and-Lateral: One of the most famous plays in one of the most famous games in NFL playoff history and considered by many to be the greatest play in Dolphins history, the Don Strock to Duriel Harris pass (15 yards) was lateraled back to Tony Nathan, who ran it the final 25 yards for a touchdown that cut the Chargers lead to 24-17 at the half. The play took place with just six seconds left in the second quarter and was part of a ferocious period in which Miami erased a 24-0 deficit. San Diego, of course, would go on to win the game 41-38 in overtime.
11/27/94, The Fake Spike: This one doesn’t need much of a description. With the Fins down 24-21 and just 22 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Dan Marino hurried under center and motioned to everyone on the field that he was going to spike the ball to stop the clock. Mark Ingram, though, knew what was really going to happen, and sprinted towards the endzone to catch an eight-yard touchdown (his fourth of the day) to win the game for Miami, 28-24. The play stunned all 75,606 people in attendance, every player on the Jets roster, and many of the Dolphins, as well.
9/21/08, The Debut of the Wildcat: While not strictly a “play,” the unveiling of the Wildcat offense at New England certainly counts as trickery. When the dust settled on this Week 3 match-up, the Fins had a 38-13 win over the Patriots. Ronnie Brown ran 17 times that afternoon for 113 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw a 19-yard TD to tight end Anthony Fasano, as Dan Henning and the Dolphins began a direct-snap revolution in the NFL.
1/14/73, Garo’s “Pass:” While certainly not a trick play, it’s hard to forget kicker Garo Yepremian’s attempted pass (if you can call it that) in Super Bowl VII (can’t leave this out on April Fools’ Day). The ball found its way into his hands after his kick was blocked and his attempt to get it downfield was interrupted by Mike Bass, who returned the ball 49 yards for the lone Washington score of the day. Miami would finish the season a perfect 17-0, but the score was an imperfect 14-7 thanks to this play.
9/12/82, Nathan-to-Woodley: Running back Tony Nathan threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to QB David Woodley in a 45-28 blowout win over the Jets.
10/9/83, Clayton-to-Duper: One of the longest trick plays in team history, Mark Clayton’s 48-yard TD pass to fellow wide receiver Mark Duper was part of a wild 38-35 overtime loss to the Bills.
Jesse Agler is the host of The Finsiders. Follow him on Twitter @finsjesse.
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