With March Madness well into its second week, the folks over at NFL.com have caught bracket fever. In honor of the insanity that is the NCAA Tournament, NFL.com has put together their own brackets, ranking the top quarterbacks of all time and pitting them against one another in a bracket style competition. Divided by the eras that they played in, 16 of the league’s best signal callers were ranked 1-16, and a certain Dolphins legend and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer was listed as the #4 overall seed.
Legendary Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was ranked 4th overall by NFL Media Analyst Elliot Harrison in the list of QBs going into the bracket, and had this to say about the man who was simple known as Dan The Man during his playing days.
Who cares if he never won a Super Bowl? I don’t, because I watched about 100 Marino games and left the TV set every time thinking he was the best quarterback in the league. Elway has been elevated over Marino in recent years, but bear in mind that Denver didn’t win the big one with Elway until Terrell Davis started humiliating defenses. In 1984, Marino put together what was, quite simply, the best offensive season ever: He racked up 5,084 yards and 48 touchdown passes in an era when defensive backs were both excellent and allowed to play ball. Oh, and Marino could wear some Isotoner gloves.
Cool fact: To say Marino was dominant from the get-go might be an understatement. He took the Miami Dolphins to the AFC Championship Game in his second season, throwing for 421 yards in that matchup … on just 21 completions! That’s 20 yards a pop. And Miami won, too.
After defeating Phil Simms in the first round, Marino’s current matchup within the Generation X bracket has him facing off against fellow Hall of Famer John Elway.
Of course both Elway and Marino are legends of the game and Pro Football Hall-of Famers. Both were incredibly prolific passers during their time in the league.
Marino played all 17 seasons of his career with the Dolphins and became one of the top, if not the top, passer in league history. A 9-time Pro-Bowler and 3 time first team All-Pro, Marino was the first player ever to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season, and also the first player ever to throw for 40-plus touchdowns in a season. He had possibly the greatest passing season ever by a quarterback in 1984, as #13 tossed 48 touchdowns and threw for 5,084 yards, in an era that was much less favorable to wide receivers and quarterbacks than the current game.
Marino holds 13 NFL passing records, including the most career 400-plus yard passing games (13), and the most game-winning drives in the 4th quarter/overtime in a career with 51. He has the 3rd most passing yardage in NFL history with 61,361, which is 9,886 more yards than the next closest quarterback in Elway. He also has the 3rd most passing touchdowns in NFL history with 420 (120 more than Elway in that category).
At one point, Marino also held the single season passing records for both touchdowns and passing yardage, but both have since been broken thanks to the NFL’s new emphasis on the passing game and the elite play of quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.
During his 16-year career with Denver, Elway was a 2-time Super Bowl champion, 9-time Pro Bowler and was the orchestrator of one of the most legendary sequences in football history with “The Drive” against the Cleveland Browns in the 1986 AFC Championship game. He also won the 1987 NFL MVP Award, and holds seven Broncos franchise passing records.
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With the victory, Marino would move on to face the winner of Jim Kelly and Joe Montana matchup in the finals of the Generation X region.
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