5. November 27, 1994 Miami 28 New York Jets 24

The Dolphins had pushed the Jets around on September 18th at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. QB Dan Marino had a easy day with 23 for 31 passing, 289 yards and two TD's. The Dolphins had the ball for 35 minutes in a 28-14 win.

On the Sunday following Thanksgiving at Giants Stadium, it was the Jets who held the ball for over 36 minutes. New York only rushed for 38 yards, but QB Boomer Esaison had a great passing performance on 31 of 44 for 359 yards and four TD's. New York just left too much time for Miami QB Dan Marino to pull off his trick play. The play was the brainchild of backup QB Bernie Kosar.

Training 24-21, the Dolphins had the ball at the Jets' 8-yard line with only one timeout. Running to the line of scrimmage,Miami QB Dan Marino nodded to WR Mark Ingram and yelled "Clock! Clock! Clock!" The Jets defense, anticipating a spike, relaxed. Marino took the snap; instead of spiking the ball, he threw to Ingram who ran to the corner of the endzone with rookie Jets cornerback Aaron Glenn biting on the fake.

The Jets never recovered from The Fake Spike Game. Head Coach Pete Carroll was fired after the season.

4. December 25, 1971 Miami 27 Kansas City 24 (OT)

The game is known as "The Longest Day" in NFL history. The 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins was knotted at 10 at halftime. Each team had a future Hall of Fame QB directed their offense. Both were former Purdue University signal callers, Len Dawson with KC and Bob Griese with Miami.

Although a total of 13 future Hall of Fame players were suited up that day, the real star was Chiefs’ running back Ed Podolak. In one of the greatest post-season performances ever, Podolak carried the ball 17 times for 85 yards, caught eight passes for 110 yards, returned three kickoffs for 153 yards, and ran back 2 punts for 2 yards. For the day, Podolak gained a combined total of 350 yards.

With 35 seconds remaining in regulation, Kansas City K Jan Stenerud missed a 31 yard field goal. His chip shot field goal had been set up by a 78 yard kickoff return by RB Ed Podolak. The missed field goal forced overtime.

In the first overtime, both teams had chances to win. KC had a 42 yard field goal blocked by MLB Nick Buoniconti while Miami K Garo Yepremian was wide from 52 yards. Nick would record 20 tackles in the game. Garo connected from 37 yards in the second overtime for the Miami double overtime victory.

The marathon game lasted eighty-two minutes and forty seconds in the mud. The Chiefs were now involved in the two longest games. The other one was the 1962 AFL title game when they were known as the Dallas Texans who were facing the Houston Oilers. The game was tied at 17, and the championship game went to overtime.

At the coin toss, Texans' RB Abner Haynes made a costly error. Dallas Coach Hank Stram, aware of the strong winds at Jeppesen Stadium, instructed Haynes, should the Texans win the coin toss, to choose the end of the field facing the stadium clock, which would give the Texans the wind at their backs. The Texans won the coin toss. Haynes told the referee, "We'll kick to the clock." However, by starting with the words "We'll kick," Haynes had made the election for the Texans to kick off and allowing the Oilers possession of the ball.

The Texans saved Haynes from embarrassment by not allowing the Oilers to score in that first overtime, then won the game on Tommy Brooker's field goal 2 minutes and 54 seconds into the second overtime (after the teams had switched ends).

3. December 2, 1985 Miami 38 Chicago 24

The 12-0 Chicago Bears visited the Orange Bowl on Monday Night Football. This was the last test on the schedule for the Bears. After Miami, only the Colts, Jets and Lions stood in the way of a perfect season. Almost all of the 1972 Dolphins were on hand to root against the Bears. One prominent player from the perfect season was in a local jail.

RB Mercury Morris could hear the Miami crowd from his jail cell.Wikipedia:
In 1982, Morris was convicted of cocaine trafficking. He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, with a mandatory fifteen-year term. On March 6, 1986, his conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court because evidence Morris had offered to prove his entrapment defense had been excluded under a mistaken characterization as hearsay. Morris was granted a new trial. He was able to reach a plea bargain with the prosecutor, resulting in his release from prison May 23, 1986, after having served three years.

The Bears held the ball for 36 minutes, but allowed six sacks and committed seven penalties. Chicago QB Steve Fuller threw two interceptions and fumbled once. In relief, Jim McMahon threw an interception as well. The Bears wasted a great effort by star RB Walter Payton who rushed for 121 yards on 23 carries.

Miami led 31-10 at halftime on a late second quarter TD on a 6 yard pass from Dan Marino to WR Nat Moore. The Bears scored on their first drive of the second half on a QB sneak by Steve Fuller to cut the lead to 31-17. Chicago had momentum and forced a third and 12. Marino's pass was tipped by DT Dan Hampton, and looked like a sure interception return. It sailed downfield for 30 yards before landing in the arms of WR Mark Clayton who scored on the play.

According to Chicago MLB Mike Singletary, "Well needless to say, there was something different about that game, and there were some things happen that night, that were really strange. I mean balls ricocheting off guys heads and flying into receivers hands. You couldn't buy a break, it was like a nightmare."

The Bears allowed 198 points on the season. 15 opponents averaged 10 points per game. The Dolphins scored 38. The Bears went on to win Super Bowl XX over the Patriots, 46-10. The Dolphins were the only blemish in a near perfect season.

2. November 25, 1993 Miami 16 Dallas 14

The Thanksgiving Day game for the Dallas Cowboys looked like a sure win, but the Miami Dolphins came in and stole a victory. It was gift wrapped by Dallas defensive tackle, Leon Lett. Leon had made headlines just 10 months earlier in Super Bowl XXVII when he picked up a Buffalo Bills fumble and started rumbling toward the end zone. Just before he reached the goal line, he stuck the ball out front to mimic the TD antics of WR Michael Irvin. The ball was knocked out of his hands by Bills' WR Don Beebe, and recovered by Buffalo.

The Cowboys defense had limited the Dolphins to two field goals in the second half. Miami RB Keith Byars had rushed for a 77 yard TD run in the first quarter. The snow and icy conditions had slowed down both offenses. The Cowboys had a four yard TD run and a 64 yard punt return TD from Kevin Williams for their scoring.

Kevin Nogle, SBNation:
With 14 seconds left in the game, a Dolphins game-winning field goal was blocked by Dallas' Jimmie Jones. The ball rolled near the goal line where Lett inexplicably tried to recover it, instead sliding across the ice and actually kicking it into the end zone, making it a live ball and allowing Miami center Jeff Dellenbach to fall on it to set up the game-winning field goal.

It was the last win for Miami on the season, and the Cowboys last loss. Dallas won Super Bowl XXVIII over the Buffalo Bills, 30-13.

1. January 14, 1973 Miami 14 Washington 7

Despite being undefeated, the Dolphins were actually 1 point underdogs. Miami had played only two opponents who finished with winning records. The Dolphins’ 1972 regular-season opponents had an aggregate winning percentage of .397.

Miami had made a QB change with Earl Morrall being replaced by Bob Griese. Bob had recovered from a Week 5 broken leg. The offense relied on the power running of FB Larry Csonka. Running backs, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris provided speed and pass catching ability out of the backfield. The Dolphins also possessed a punishing defense. The Dolphins allowed only 171 points in 14 games for an average on 12 points per game.

The Washington Redskins had started the season 11-1, with only a 24-23 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 3. Head coach, George Allen rested his veteran players in the final two regular season games in losses to Dallas and Buffalo.

Miami built a 14-0 halftime lead on a 28 yard TD pass from QB Bob Griese to WR Howard Twilley. The Dolphins also had a one yard TD run from Jim Kiick. Bob Griese would complete eight of 11 passes for only 88 yards and one TD. The only Miami turnover was the pass from K Garo Yepremian on the bad snap field goal attempt. The pass was intercepted by Washington DB Mike Bass and returned 49 yards for a TD.

Miami intercepted Redskins' QB Billy Kilmer threw times. The inept Washington offense in conjunction with the stout Dolphins defense allowed Miami to complete the perfect season.

The Miami Dolphins probably should have lost all five of these contests. Don Shula knew how to win. He had only two losing seasons in 36 years of NFL coaching, and won 347 games. On January 31, 2010, a statue of Don Shula was unveiled at Sun Life Stadium.

On August 20, 2013, four decades after their accomplishment, President Barack Obama hosted the 1972 Dolphins noting that they "never got their White House visit".

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 12/13/2014 08:00:00 AM Edit

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