1983 Miami Dolphins season

1983 Miami Dolphins season
Head coach Don Shula
Owner Joe Robbie
Home field Orange Bowl
Record 12–4
Division place 1st AFC East
Playoff finish Lost AFC Divisional Playoff

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

Main article: 1983 NFL draft
1983 Miami Dolphins draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 27 Dan Marino *   Quarterback Pittsburgh
2 55 Mike Charles  Defensive tackle Syracuse
3 76 Charles Benson  Defensive end Baylor
6 167 Reggie Roby *  Punter Iowa
7 195 Keith Woetzel  Linebacker Rutgers
8 223 Mark Clayton *  Wide receiver Louisville
9 250 Mark Brown  Linebacker Purdue
10 278 Anthony Reed  Running back South Carolina State
11 306 Joe Lukens  Guard Ohio State
12 334 Anthony Carter *  Wide receiver Michigan
      Made roster       Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1983 Miami Dolphins staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defense – Bill Arnsparger
  • Defensive Line/Run Defense – Mike Scarry
  • Defensive Backs – Tom Keane

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Flexibility – Junior Wade


1983 Miami Dolphins roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics


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 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

Game summaries

Week 1

1 234Total
Dolphins 0 633 12
Bills 0 000 0



AFC East
Miami Dolphins(2) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 9–3 389 250 W5
New England Patriots 8 8 0 .500 4–4 6–6 274 289 L1
Buffalo Bills 8 8 0 .500 4–4 7–5 283 351 L2
Baltimore Colts 7 9 0 .438 3–5 5–9 264 354 W1
New York Jets 7 9 0 .438 3–5 4–8 313 331 L2

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. Barely enough time remained for the Dolphins to tie the game, but Fulton Walker fumbled the next kickoff as well, which sealed the game for the Seahawks.


  1. "1983 Miami Dolphins draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  2. "1983 Miami Dolphins starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  3. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Jan-16.

External links

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