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Mark Duper and Mark Clayton--The Marks Brothers

     It seems that many I meet have to ask me one question:  "Why did you pick the Dolphins?"  Is it because of Dan Marino?  No, he arrived five seasons after I became a fan.  Is it because they had just won a Super Bowl?  No, the Dolphins hadn't been to a Super Bowl in the previous six seasons before I picked them.  Is it because of the colors?  No, although their colors are sensationally soothing, the colors didn't capture my heart and soul!
  What is the reason, then, that I chose the Miami Dolphins?  About all that I can tell people is that in third grade (1979) I saw the light.  It simply came upon me.  'Twas my calling, my destiny.
     The Dolphins went 10-6 in 1979 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Pittsburgh on December 30, 1979.  Sixteen days later, on January 15, 1980, I made a Dolphin "plaque" (below) that still hangs on my bedroom wall today.  I originally used to think that their colors were red and light blue and that the dolphin faced toward the back of the helmet.  I had much to learn!  (Click on the picture below to see a larger photo.)
This is my favorite Dolphins logo.

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Made on January 15, 1980

This is the newest Dolphins logo (2013-?).
1979 Miami Dolphins Team Picture
This is the team picture of the 1979 Dolphins.  Coach Shula is in the white shirt (front row).
     Before the beginning of the 1980 season, I persuaded my dad into allowing me to receive a one-year subscription to Dolphin Digest.  It was expensive, but I tried to convince him that it would motivate me to read more.  To my surprise he broke down.  An even bigger surprise was the fact that I really did read more!  I read every copy of that 1980 season (24 issues) from front to back.  The Dolphins went just 8-8 that year (no playoffs), but I was a Dolphin diehard for life.  I've been a subscriber to Dolphin Digest ever since and have kept every copy (now over 1,000 copies).
    Bob Griese was the quarterback in 1979.  David Woodley and Don Strock (also known as "Wood-Strock") shared quarterback duties from 1980-1983.  Then, some guy named Marino, the sixth quarterback chosen in the '83 draft, made his first appearance on September 19, 1983.  It was the third game of the season, and the Dolphins trailed the Oakland Raiders, 27-0.  Marino (first name Dan) guided the Dolphins to two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score 27-14.  He got his first start three weeks later.  The rest, they say, is a Hall of Fame career.  Having Dan join the team was a tremendous bonus to a team I had already loved.
     It is hard to imagine not having the Dolphins to cheer for seven months out of the year.  There's nothing like gameday.  I have DirecTV so that I can see every Dolphin game of the season.  I will follow the Dolphins, win or lose, for the rest of my life.  And as long as people continue to ask, "Why did you pick the Dolphins?", I will have to answer with these four words:  I SAW THE LIGHT!



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