New York Jets
The New York Jets are a professional American football team located in the New York metropolitan area. The Jets compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's American Football Conference East division; the team is headquartered in New Jersey. In a unique arrangement for the league, the Jets share MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey with the New York Giants; the franchise is and corporately registered as New York Jets, LLC. The team was founded in 1959 as the Titans of New York, an original member of the American Football League; the team began to play in 1960 at the Polo Grounds. Under new ownership, the current name was adopted in 1963 and the franchise moved to Shea Stadium in 1964 and to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in 1984; the Jets advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 1968 and went on to compete in Super Bowl III where they defeated the Baltimore Colts, becoming the first AFL team to defeat an NFL club in an AFL–NFL World Championship Game.
Since 1968, the Jets have appeared in the playoffs 13 times, in the AFC Championship Game four times, most losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. However, the Jets have never returned to the Super Bowl, making them one of three NFL teams to win their lone Super Bowl appearance, along with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Apart from the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, who have never reached the Super Bowl, the Jets' drought is the longest among current NFL franchises; the team's training facility, Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, which opened in 2008, is located in Florham Park. The team holds their annual training camp sessions in Florham Park, New Jersey; the first organizational meeting of the American Football League took place on August 14, 1959. Harry Wismer, representing the city of New York at the meeting, proclaimed the state was ready for another professional football team and that he was more than capable of running the daily operations. Wismer was granted the charter franchise dubbed the Titans of New York as Wismer explained, "Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants."
He secured the Titans' home field at the decrepit Polo Grounds, where the team struggled financially and on the field during its first three years. By 1962, the debt continued to mount for Wismer, forcing the AFL to assume the costs of the team until season's end. A five-man syndicate, headed by Sonny Werblin, saved the team from certain bankruptcy, purchasing the lowly Titans for $1 million. Werblin renamed the team the New York Jets since the team would play in Shea Stadium near LaGuardia Airport; the new name was intended to reflect the modern approach of his team. The Jets' owners hired Weeb Ewbank as the general head coach. Ewbank and quarterback Joe Namath led the Jets to prominence in 1969, when New York defeated the favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and solidified the AFL's position in the world of professional football; when the AFL and NFL merged, the team fell into a state of mediocrity along with their star quarterback, who only had three successful post-merger seasons after injuries hampered much of his career.
The Jets continued to spiral downward before enjoying a string of successes in the 1980s, which included an appearance in the 1982 AFC Championship Game, the emergence of the popular New York Sack Exchange. The early 1990s saw the team struggling. After firing coach Bruce Coslet, owner Leon Hess hired Pete Carroll who struggled to a 6–10 record and was promptly fired at the end of the season. Thereafter, Rich Kotite was selected to lead the team to victory. Kotite stepped down at the end of his second season forcing the Jets to search for a new head coach. Hess lured then-disgruntled New England Patriots head coach Bill Parcells to New York in 1997. Parcells led the team back to relevance and coached them to the AFC Championship Game in 1998. Hess died in 1999 while the team, plagued by injuries, produced an eight win record, falling short of a playoff berth. At the end of the season, Parcells stepped down as head coach deferring control to his assistant, Bill Belichick; the franchise obtained a new owner in Woody Johnson in 2000.
Additionally, through the 2000s the Jets visited the playoffs five times, a franchise record, under the direction of three different coaches. Rex Ryan was hired in January 2009. Ryan led the team to back-to-back AFC Championship appearances during his first two years but the team never made the playoffs again during his tenure. Harry Wismer, a businessman, had been interested in sports for much of his life when he was granted a charter franchise in the American Football League. A three-sport letterman, football stuck with Wismer who went on to play for the University of Florida and Michigan State University before a knee injury ended his playing career. Undeterred, Wismer began his career as a broadcaster with Michigan State and became a pioneer of the industry; as the Titans owner, Wismer formulated a league-wide policy which allowed broadcasting rights to be shared among the teams. Wismer, who had had a 25% stake in the Washington Redskins, was interested in the American Football League and was given a franchise to develop in New York.
Wismer, whose philosophy was who you knew mattered most, tried to make the team and the league a success. His efforts began to accrue debt as the Titans' first two
National Football League
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the highest professional level of American football in the world; the NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, held in the first Sunday in February, is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC; the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League in 1966, the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that season. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U. S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner; the players in the league belong to the National Football League Players Association. The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with thirteen; the current NFL champions are the New England Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII for their sixth Super Bowl championship. On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio; this meeting resulted in the formation of the American Professional Football Conference, a group who, according to the Canton Evening Repository, intended to "raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules".
Another meeting was held on September 17, 1920 with representatives from teams from four states-Akron, Canton and Dayton from Ohio. The league was renamed to the American Professional Football Association; the league elected Jim Thorpe as its first president, consisted of 14 teams. The Massillon Tigers from Massillon, Ohio was at the September 17 meeting, but did not field a team in 1920. Only two of these teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, remain. Although the league did not maintain official standings for its 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the APFA awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 record; the first event occurred on September 26, 1920 when the Rock Island Independents defeated the non-league St. Paul Ideals 48–0 at Douglas Park. On October 3, 1920, the first full week of league play occurred; the following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans.
On June 24, 1922, the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. In 1932, the season ended with the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first in the league standings. At the time, teams were ranked on a single table and the team with the highest winning percentage at the end of the season was declared the champion; this method had been used since the league's creation in 1920, but no situation had been encountered where two teams were tied for first. The league determined that a playoff game between Chicago and Portsmouth was needed to decide the league's champion; the teams were scheduled to play the playoff game a regular season game that would count towards the regular season standings, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but a combination of heavy snow and extreme cold forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which did not have a regulation-size football field. Playing with altered rules to accommodate the smaller playing field, the Bears won the game 9–0 and thus won the championship.
Fan interest in the de facto championship game led the NFL, beginning in 1933, to split into two divisions with a championship game to be played between the division champions. The 1934 season marked the first of 12 seasons in which African Americans were absent from the league; the de facto ban was rescinded in 1946, following public pressure and coinciding with the removal of a similar ban in Major League Baseball. The NFL was always the foremost pro
William Stephen Belichick ( or is an American football coach who serves as the head coach of the New England Patriots of the National Football League. His extensive authority over the Patriots' football operations makes him the general manager of the team as well, he holds numerous coaching records, including winning a record six Super Bowls as the head coach of the New England Patriots, two more as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. He is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NFL history by current and former players, his peers, the press. Belichick began his coaching career in 1975 and became the defensive coordinator for New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells by 1985. Parcells and Belichick won two Super Bowls together before Belichick left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1991, he was fired following the team's 1995 season. He rejoined Parcells, first in New England, where the team lost Super Bowl XXXI, with the New York Jets. After being named head coach of the Jets, Belichick resigned after only one day on the job to accept the head coaching job for the New England Patriots on January 27, 2000.
Since he has led the Patriots to 16 AFC East division titles, 13 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, nine Super Bowl appearances, with a record six wins. Belichick has won eight Super Bowl titles in total from his combined time as an assistant and head coach. Belichick is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach, as well as the first all-time in playoff coaching wins with 31 and third in regular season coaching wins in the NFL with 261, he is one of only three head coaches. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, 2010 seasons. Belichick was born on April 16, 1952, in Nashville, the son of Jeannette and Steve Belichick. Bill was named after College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Edwards, his godfather. Belichick is of Croatian ancestry, his paternal grandparents, Ivan Biličić and Marija Barković, emigrated from the Croatian village of Draganić, Karlovac, in 1897, settling in Monessen, Pennsylvania, he was raised in Annapolis, where his father was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy.
Belichick has cited his father as one of his most important football mentors, Belichick studied football with his father. Bill learned to break down game films at a young age by watching his father and the Navy staff do their jobs, he graduated from Annapolis High School in 1970 with classmate Sally Brice-O'Hara. While there, he played lacrosse, with the latter being his favorite sport, he enrolled at Phillips Academy in Andover, for a postgraduate year, with the intention of improving his grades and test scores to be admitted into a quality college. The school honored him 40 years by inducting him into its Athletics Hall of Honor in 2011. Belichick subsequently attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, where he played center and tight end. In addition to being a member of the football team, he played lacrosse and squash, serving as the captain of the lacrosse team during his senior season. A member of Chi Psi fraternity, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1975, he would be part of the inaugural induction class into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame in spring 2008.
After graduating, Belichick took a $25-per-week job as an assistant to Baltimore Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda in 1975. In 1976, he joined the Detroit Lions as their assistant special teams coach before adding tight ends and wide receivers to his coaching duties in 1977, he spent the 1978 season with the Denver Broncos as their assistant special teams coach and defensive assistant. In 1979, Belichick began a 12-year stint with the New York Giants alongside head coach Ray Perkins as a defensive assistant and special teams coach, he added linebackers coaching to his duties in 1980 and was named defensive coordinator in 1985 under head coach Bill Parcells, who had replaced Perkins in 1983. The Giants won Super Bowl Super Bowl XXV following the 1986 and 1990 seasons, his defensive game plan from the New York Giants' 20–19 upset of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV has been placed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. From 1991 until 1995, Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. During his tenure in Cleveland, he compiled a 36–44 record, leading the team to the playoffs in 1994, his only winning year with the team.
Coincidentally, his one playoff victory during his Browns tenure was achieved against the New England Patriots in the Wild Card Round during that postseason. In Belichick's last season in Cleveland, the Browns finished 5–11, despite starting 3–1. One of his most controversial moves was cutting quarterback Bernie Kosar midway through the 1993 season. Kosar was signed by the Dallas Cowboys two days and won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII. In November 1995, in the middle of the ongoing football season, Browns owner Art Modell had announced he would move his franchise to Baltimore after the season. After first being given assurances that he would coach the new team that would become the Baltimore Ravens, Belichick was instead fired on February 14, 1996, one week after the shift was announced. After his dismissal by the Cleveland Browns, Belichick served under Parcells again as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach with the Patriots for the 1996 season; the Patriots finished with an 11–5 record and won the AFC Championship over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI amid rumors of Parcells's impending defection.
The tight end is a position in American football, arena football, Canadian football, on the offense. The tight end is seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be effective blockers. On the other hand, unlike offensive linemen, they are eligible receivers adept enough to warrant a defense's attention when running pass patterns; because of the hybrid nature of the position, the tight end's role in any given offense depends on the tactical preferences and philosophy of the head coach. In some systems, the tight end will act as a sixth offensive lineman going out for passes. Other systems use the tight end as a receiver taking advantage of the tight end's size to create mismatches in the defensive secondary. Many coaches will have one tight end who specializes in blocking in running situations while using a tight end with better pass-catching skills in obvious passing situations.
Offensive formations may have as many as three tight ends at one time. The advent of the tight end position is tied to the decline of the one-platoon system during the 1940s and'50s. A rule limited substitutions. Players had to be adept at playing on both sides of the ball, with most offensive linemen doubling as defensive linemen or linebackers, receivers doubling as defensive backs. At that time, the receivers were known as either ends or flankers, with the end lining up wide at the line of scrimmage and the flanker positioned behind the line on the opposite side of the field; as the transition from starters going "both ways" to dedicated offensive and defensive squads took place, players who did not fit the mold of the traditional positions began to fill niches. Those who were good pass catchers and blockers but mediocre on defense were no longer liabilities. Many were too big to be receivers yet too small for offensive linemen. Innovative coaches such as Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns saw the potential of having a larger receiver lined up inside, developing blocking techniques and passing schemes that used the unique attributes of the tight end position.
Greater use of the tight end as a receiver started in the 1960s with the emergence of stars Mike Ditka and John Mackey. Until most teams relied on the tight end's blocking as a sixth offensive lineman using them as receivers. In addition to superb blocking, Ditka offered great hands receiving and rugged running after a completion. Over a 12-year career, he caught 427 passes for over 43 touchdowns. Mackey brought speed, with six of his nine touchdown catches in one season being breakaways over 50 yards. Starting in 1980 the Air Coryell offense debuted tight end Kellen Winslow running wide receiver-type routes. Tight ends prior to Winslow were blockers lined up next to an offensive lineman and given short to medium drag routes. Winslow was put in motion to avoid being jammed at the line, lined up wide, or in the slot against a smaller cornerback. Former Chargers assistant coach Al Saunders said Winslow was "a wide receiver in an offensive lineman's body." Back defenses would cover Winslow with a strong safety or a linebacker, as zone defenses were not as popular.
Strong safeties in those times favored run defense over coverage speed. Providing another defender to help the strong safety opened up other holes. Winslow would line up unpredictably in any formation from a three point blocking stance to a two point receiver's stance, to being in motion like a flanker or offensive back. Head coach Jon Gruden referred to such multi-dimensional tight ends as "jokers", calling Winslow the first in the NFL. Head coach Bill Belichick notes that the pass-catching tight ends that get paid the most are "all direct descendants of Kellen Winslow", there are fewer tight ends now that can block on the line. In the 1990s, athletic Shannon Sharpe's prowess as a route-runner helped change the way tight ends were used by teams. Double-covered as a receiver, he became the first tight end in NFL history with over 10,000 career receiving yards. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates pushed the position toward near wide receiver speed and power forward basketball skills. At 6' 6" Rob Gronkowski brought height, setting single-season tight end records in 2011 with 17 touchdowns—breaking Gates' and Vernon Davis' record of 13—and 1,327 receiving yards, surpassing Winslow's record of 1,290.
Jimmy Graham that season passed Winslow with 1,310 yards. Six of the NFL's 15 players with the most receptions that year were tight ends, the most in NFL history. Previous seasons had at most one or two ranked in the top. In the Arena Football League the tight end serves as the 3rd offensive lineman. Although they are eligible receivers they go out for passes and are only used for screen passes when they do. However, in Canadian football, tight ends are, in general, no longer used professionally in the CFL, but is still used at the college level in U Sports. Tony Gabriel is a former great tight end in Canadian football. There remain some tight ends in use at university level football, he was drafted by the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017, but instead signed with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent that same year. Some plays are planned to take advantage of a tight end's
Bryan Keith Cox is an American football coach and former player. His most recent position was as the defensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, he played college football for Western Illinois University, a small college football program, but received attention for his aggressive style of play. Although Cox was a late fifth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 1991 NFL Draft, he rose to prominence as a standout linebacker during his twelve NFL seasons from 1991 through 2002, he was a three-time pro bowler with the Miami Dolphins, was a member of the New England Patriots club that won Super Bowl XXXVI. Cox was a member of the East St. Louis High School Flyers high school football team, where he was coached by Bob Shannon. Cox attended Western Illinois University and was a mass communications major and a letterman in football. In football, he was a two-year starter; as a senior, he was named as a first-team All-America selection by the Football Gazette and was a first-team all-conference selection.
As a junior, he was named the Western Illinois Most Valuable Player. As a sophomore, Cox played in every game, finished his sophomore season with 54 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and three blocked kicks; as a freshman, Cox finished the season with 30 tackles. Cox was drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft, chosen 113th overall; as a rookie, Cox started 13 games as the Dolphins right outside linebacker, racking up a total of 61 tackles along with two sacks. Miami finished out the season 8-8. In his sophomore campaign, Cox blossomed and helped lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and the AFC Championship Game, he made his first Pro Bowl and was named to the All Pro team after recording 127 tackles, 14 sacks and five forced fumbles. Miami switched to a 4-3 defense in 1993 and Cox was moved to right linebacker; the team lost their last five to miss the playoffs. Cox again led the team with four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
He collected five sacks and an interception. Cox earned his second Pro Bowl selection in 1994, starting 16 games at middle linebacker, leading the team with 100 tackles. Miami finished the season 10-6, winning the Wild Card Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17 before losing the Divisional Playoff to the San Diego Chargers, 22-21. In 1995, Cox was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, third overall, he again started every game at middle linebacker, finishing the year with a team high 119 tackles, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. The Dolphins went 9-7 before bowing out in the Wild Card Game to the Buffalo Bills, 37-22; the defense tied for the AFC lead by allowing only seven rushing touchdowns. Overall, Cox spent five years with the Dolphins playing both outside and middle linebacker, starting 75 out of a possible 78 games. Cox would go on to play seven more seasons in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints. In a career encompassing 165 games, Cox recorded 764 tackles, tallied 51.5 quarterback sacks, caught four interceptions and forced 22 fumbles.
Among his most famous plays was a 27-yard interception-return touchdown against the Patriots in September 1999 while playing with the Jets. Throughout his NFL career, Cox was recognizable on the field due to the unusual headrest- or "surfboard"-style neck roll he wore and colored to match his uniform jersey. From 2004-2005 he worked as an analyst for TVG Network. Cox co-hosted an afternoon drive radio program for Fox Sports Radio in 2006 alongside Chris Myers, he was an assistant defensive line coach for the New York Jets for three seasons under Eric Mangini. After Mangini was fired and became the coach of the Cleveland Browns in January 2009, he brought Cox with him, where Cox was the defensive line coach. On February 21, 2011, Cox was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their pass rush coach. On February 17, 2012, Cox was hired to become a defensive assistant at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was hired the same day as Bill Sheridan. On January 11, 2014, Cox was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as their defensive line coach.
In the 2016 season and the Falcons reached Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. Against the New England Patriots, the Falcons would fall in a 34–28 overtime defeat. On February 8, 2017, the Atlanta Falcons relieved Cox of his duties as the defensive line coach. COX is now a football analyst on FS1. Bryan's son, Bryan Cox Jr. played football as a defensive lineman for the Florida Gators and was a member of the Carolina Panthers practice squad, but got promoted to the active roster in late September of 2017
The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's American Football Conference East division; the Dolphins play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are Florida's oldest professional sports team. Of the four AFC East teams, they are the only team in the division, not a charter member of the American Football League; the Dolphins were founded by attorney-politician Joe actor-comedian Danny Thomas. They began play in the AFL in 1966; the region had not had a professional football team since the days of the Miami Seahawks, who played in the All-America Football Conference in 1946, before becoming the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts. For the first few years, the Dolphins' full-time training camp and practice facilities were at Saint Andrew's School, a private boys boarding prep school in Boca Raton.
In the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, the Dolphins joined the NFL. The team made its first Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl VI, losing to the Dallas Cowboys, 24–3; the following year, the Dolphins completed the NFL's only perfect season, culminating in a Super Bowl win, winning all 14 of their regular season games, all three of their playoff games, including Super Bowl VII. They were the third NFL team to accomplish a perfect regular season; the next year, the Dolphins won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, the second team to win back-to-back championships. Miami appeared in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX, losing both games. For most of their early history, the Dolphins were coached by Don Shula, the most successful head coach in professional football history in terms of total games won. Under Shula, the Dolphins posted losing records in only two of his 26 seasons as the head coach. During the period spanning 1983 to the end of 1999, quarterback Dan Marino became one of the most prolific passers in NFL history, breaking numerous league passing records.
Marino led the Dolphins to five division titles, 10 playoff appearances and Super Bowl XIX before retiring following the 1999 season. In 2008, the Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to win their division and make a playoff appearance following a league-worst 1–15 season; that same season, the Dolphins upset the 16–0 New England Patriots on the road during Week 3, handing the Patriots' their first regular season loss since December 10, 2006, in which coincidentally, they were beaten by the Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins joined the American Football League when an expansion franchise was awarded to lawyer Joseph Robbie and actor Danny Thomas in 1965 for $7.5 million, although Thomas would sell his stake in the team to Robbie. During the summer of 1966, the Dolphins' training camp was in St. Pete Beach with practices in August at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport; the Dolphins had a combined 15–39–2 record in their first four seasons under head coach George Wilson, before Don Shula was hired as head coach.
Shula was a Paul Brown disciple, lured from the Baltimore Colts, after losing Super Bowl III two seasons earlier to the AFL's New York Jets, finishing 8–5–1 the following season. Shula got his first NFL coaching job from then-Detroit Head Coach George Wilson, who hired him as the defensive coordinator; the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970, the Dolphins were assigned to the AFC East division in the NFL's new American Football Conference. For the rest of the 20th century, the Shula-led Dolphins emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the NFL with a strong running game and defense, with only two losing seasons between 1970 and 1999, they were successful in the 1970s, completing the first complete perfect season in NFL history by finishing with a 14–0 regular season record in 1972 and winning the Super Bowl that year. It was the first of one of three appearances in a row; the 1980s and 1990s were moderately successful. The early 80s teams made two Super Bowls despite losing both times, saw the emergence of future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, who went on to break numerous NFL passing records, holding many of them until the late 2000s.
After winning every game against the division rival Buffalo Bills in the 1970s, the two teams developed a competitive rivalry in the 80s and 90s competing for AFC supremacy when Jim Kelly emerged as the quarterback for the Bills. The Dolphins have maintained a strong rivalry with the New York Jets throughout much of their history. Following the retirements of Marino and Shula and the rise of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Dolphins suffered a decline in the 2000s, including a 1–15 season in 2007, the worst in franchise history, they only made the playoffs three times in that decade and were unable to find a consistent quarterback to replace Marino, shuffling 13 quarterbacks and five head coaches. However, the Dolphins have been competitive against the Patriots despite their decline, with notable wins coming in 2004, 2008, 2018. While quarterback Ryan Tannehill provided some stability at the position throughout most of the 2010s, the team has nonetheless been mediocre, only having made the playoffs once during the decade.
The Dolphins share intense rivalries with their three AFC East opponents, but have had historical or occasional rivalries with other teams such as their cross-state rivals Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their former divisional rivals Indianapolis Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, to a lesser extent, the Jacksonville Jaguars
Drew McQueen Bledsoe is a former American football quarterback who played 14 seasons in the National Football League with the New England Patriots. He served as New England's starting quarterback from 1993 to 2001 and was considered the face of the Patriots franchise during his eight seasons with the team; the first overall pick in 1993 NFL Draft, Bledsoe helped improve the fortunes of the Patriots, who had fallen on hard times. Under his tenure as starting quarterback, the Patriots ended a seven-season postseason drought, qualified for the playoffs four times, made one Super Bowl appearance in XXXI, he was named to three Pro Bowls and became the youngest quarterback to play in the NFL's all-star game at the time with his 1995 appearance. Following a period of declining success and two consecutive seasons where the Patriots missed the playoffs, Bledsoe suffered a near-fatal injury early in the 2001 season and was replaced as starter by backup Tom Brady. Bledsoe was unable to regain his starting position after he was medically cleared to play due to Brady's success with the team, which culminated with the franchise's first Super Bowl title in XXXVI.
Bledsoe subsequently retired after short stints with the Buffalo Bills, where he made a fourth Pro Bowl appearance, the Dallas Cowboys. While his tenure with the Patriots would be eclipsed by Brady, Bledsoe is recognized for helping rebuild the franchise, including leading the team to victory in the 2001 AFC Championship after Brady was injured en route to their first Super Bowl win. For his accomplishments in New England, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011. Bledsoe attended Walla Walla High School and was a letterman in football and track. In football, he was named a first team All-State selection by the Tacoma News Tribune. In track, he competed in the throwing events, recording top-throws of 45.34 meters in the discus throw and 54.70 meters in the javelin throw. Bledsoe had a record-setting career in his three years at Washington State. After gaining the starting job in the end of the 1990 season as a true freshman, he became the face of the Cougars offense. In 1992 Bledsoe led his team to a 9–3 record and a 31–28 win against the Utah Utes in the Copper Bowl.
Bledsoe completed 30-46 passes for 2 touchdowns in the game. He established WSU records in single-game passing yards, single-season pass completions, single-season passing yards, he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Following an impressive junior year Bledsoe decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 1993 NFL Draft. In the 34 starts of his collegiate career he amassed 532 completions and 66 touchdowns. Bledsoe was drafted first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, he started right away for the Patriots in his rookie season. On November 13, 1994, the Patriots had won just three of their first nine games and were losing, 20–3, to the Minnesota Vikings at halftime. Bledsoe led a comeback victory in which the Patriots won, 26–20, in overtime, as he set single game records in pass completions and attempts; the win sparked the beginning of a new age for the Patriots, as they rallied behind Bledsoe and won their final six games to finish with a 10-6 record and captured the wild card.
Due to his performance, Bledsoe was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate. Following a difficult 1995 season, Bledsoe turned it around in 1996 ranking among the top passers in the league with the help of wide receiver Terry Glenn, thus pushing the Patriots to reach the playoffs again and winning the AFC championship against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20–6; this led to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 35–21. Bledsoe completed 25 of 48 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss, he was named a starter for the Pro Bowl that season, the second of his career. During the 1997 season, Bledsoe helped the Patriots win five of their final seven games to once again qualify for the playoffs, the fourth time in eight years as a Patriots starter he would lead the team to a postseason appearance; the Patriots lost in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, however Bledsoe built a career-high 87.7 passer rating, passed for 3,706 yards, tossed 28 touchdowns, earned his third Pro Bowl invitation.
The following year, he became the first NFL quarterback to complete game-winning touchdown passes in the final 30 seconds of two consecutive games. In doing so, he propelled New England into the postseason for the third straight year, he completed these come-from-behind efforts while playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, an injury that would sideline him for the postseason. Bledsoe started the 1999 season strong, with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions as the Patriots held a 6–2 mid-season record. However, Bledsoe subsequently threw only six touchdowns versus 17 interceptions, the team finished with an 8–8 record; the team's slide continued into the 2000 season as the Patriots ended with a record of 5–11. While Bledsoe threw a then-career low 13 interceptions that year, he was sacked 45 times. In March 2001, Bledsoe was signed to $103 million contract. Bledsoe did not finish his career with the Patriots, nor see the opening of the new Gillette Stadium. During the second game of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis and suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest, which resulted in his death