Dan Marino is probably the biggest star in Miami Dolphins history. He reached rock-star level in the 1980s and 1990s as quarterback for Miami despite never winning the big one. So, when Marino talks, fans usually listen, especially those located near South Beach. Marino joined Adam Schein on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio Wednesday and sounded confident that Tua Tagovailoa could lead Miami to a Super Bowl. As good as that probably sounds to the fan base, the front office may still have their worries.
“He just needs to continue to grow and I think he has done that.” -Dan Marino
Anytime a past legend speaks positively of a team’s current key piece, especially the QB position, it’s a time to rejoice. Based on his comments it sounds like if Marino was in charge, Tagovailoa would already have a long-term extension in place. As happy as Miami might claim to be with Tua, showing him the money with an extension is proof. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be cautious, it just means they should spare us all the nonsense.
“I believe that will happen,” Tagovailoa said while attending the Pro Bowl games in Orlando.
The past two years have been the best statistically in most categories for Tagovailoa. That alone would warrant an extension, but as of now, the first-time Pro Bowl selection is scheduled to play the final year of his rookie deal without an extension in sight. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, as the NFL offseason hasn’t officially begun.
It feels like Dolphins management is waiting to see more. As if career highs in touchdown passes, yards, and completion percentage aren’t good enough. Maybe it isn’t for them. One legitimate question entering the 2023 campaign was injury concerns. The main one, of course, is concussions. After having his 2022 season shortened due to multiple concussions, everyone wanted to see Tua stay healthy this year.
Tua didn’t only stay on the field, he started all 17 games, passed for 4,624 yards (league leader) and 29 TDs. Some would argue that without Tyreek Hill none of this would be possible, and that may be true to some extent. But the fact remains, Tagovailoa accomplished this and to risk him going into free agency after Year 5 would be crazy.
Potentially losing Tagovailoa (for nothing in return) and not having a backup plan would be a huge mistake. Sometimes we see a generational talent like Hill and think a team can throw anybody out there at QB. Until that happens. Miami is a playoff team already (even with falling off a bit at the end of the season) with Tagovailoa and a high-powered offense that matches up with some of the best we’ve seen. If the Dolphins get more consistency from the defense, we could be seeing some long playoff runs out of them soon.
Airing it out
Marino also made another appearance that caught folks’ attention Wednesday, and that was when he joined The Pat McAfee show for all the Super Bowl week festivities. When asked about how he’d fare in today’s game, the Hall of Famer said he’d throw for 6,000 yards. It sounded a bit tongue in cheek, but there’s no doubt Marino believes it. Dazzling Dan was the first QB in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards back in ’84. That’s when it was a run-first league and defenses were still allowed to annihilate the guy under center.
Put Marino from ’84 on this year’s Dolphins and he probably comes close to 7,000 yards. That’s how lethal he was in an era where most QBs barely sniffed 4,000 yards. Ten players passed for more than 4,000 yards this year and two more were within a few more completions of it. The year Marino went over 5,000, only two other players eclipsed 4,000.
That shows just how much the game has opened up over the years and how the NFL has changed the rules to where offense is the priority. The NFL (and most fans) want high-scoring rather than defensive-controlled contests. Things like fantasy football and legalized gambling have only added to this.
In his day, Marino was a beast, which is why his endorsement of Tua means something in South Florida. If Tagovailoa continues improving and can produce even half of what Marino did in his career, then he’ll likely be a Dolphins lifer, too. Get this contract situation handled and everyone will sleep a lot easier in Miami.