Posts Tagged ‘dan marino’

Q&A: Former Dolphins QB Jay Fiedler

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Jay Fiedler - MetLife Takeover

By the time Jay Fiedler hung up his cleats – six years after unenviably following in franchise icon Dan Marino’s massive footsteps – only Marino and Bob Griese had won more games, thrown for more yards or tossed as many touchdown passes in Dolphins history.

For an undrafted free agent who’d been cut by two NFL teams in the span of a month, served as a volunteer assistant coach at Hofstra University and suited up for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe – all before attempting his first official NFL pass with the Vikings in 1998 – seeing his name among the all-time greats remains especially humbling.

“To be in the company of those two Hall of Fame names – to have the longevity of being the starting quarterback for the Dolphins for five years – means a lot to me,” says Fiedler. “Certainly, the road that it took me to become a starting quarterback made it even sweeter. Every time you get a chance to overcome challenges and come out on top at the end, it’s a heck of a lot more rewarding than being given that job.”

Ironically, the lopsided score of Marino’s final NFL game presented an opportunity for the then-Jaguars second-stringer to showcase he was ready for a starting role – and as it turned out, No. 13’s eventual replacement.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think it was definitely an audition for Miami,” recalls Fiedler, who completed 7 of 11 passes for a game-high 172 yards and two scores in a relief appearance on Jan. 15, 2000. “I think the thing that certainly helped me sign with Miami that following year was the fact that I not only came in that game and played well, but that I started the last regular-season game for Jacksonville. The Dolphins didn’t know who was going to start the game that week – we kind of kept it hush-hush whether (Mark) Brunell was going to come back or not – so it forced the Dolphins to scout me … and really opened up the eyes of the scouting department and the personnel.”

After helping guide the Dolphins to the AFC East division title in his first season in South Florida, the Dartmouth alum – who amassed a 36-23 record along with 11,040 passing yards and 66 touchdowns in aqua and orange – submitted his best year in 2001, notching 20 TDs (10th in the NFL), 3,290 passing yards (14th) and 7.3 yards per pass attempt (sixth) en route to leading Miami to a second consecutive 11-5 finish and playoff appearance.

In a recent phone interview, Fiedler reflected on his long road to NFL stardom, the challenges of succeeding Marino, Ryan Tannehill’s development and much more.

As a multi-sport athlete growing up, what ultimately led you to pursue a football career?

“I did every sport imaginable growing up. I remember when I was six or seven years old, I was into soccer, football, baseball, basketball, track and field – you name it. I did three sports in high school – football, basketball and track and field – and then football and track and field in college. Of course, being a multi-sport guy, I ended up doing the decathlon in track and field.

“I spent two years doing both at Dartmouth, and eventually, the idea of putting weight on for football and taking it off for track and field, (plus) the grueling non-stop competition, became too much. I’ve always loved football, I had some great success in Dartmouth my first couple of years, and I decided that was what I was going to keep pursuing.”

Which players did you admire growing up and model your own game after?

“My favorite quarterback growing up was probably John Elway. He was a guy who I tried to model my game after – just his versatility, his escapability out of situations. Although I couldn’t get up quite to his arm strength, I felt like I was able to do a lot of things out on the football field just like he was able to do.”

As an undrafted free agent, what were the keys to landing your first NFL contract with the Eagles?

“As an undrafted free agent, it was really just a matter of making the team. I had about four or five teams that offered me contracts right after the draft ended. I decided on going to Philadelphia because of two factors. One, Rich Kotite was the coach there, and he convinced me that he was going to give me a shot to really compete for the job and to make the team. And two, at the time they weren’t so set on their three quarterbacks. So, it looked like an opportunity for me to have a chance to make the team and to move my way up the depth chart as things went along.”

After being cut twice and out of the NFL for nearly two years, what did it take to make it back to the pros?

“That was probably the most difficult time in my career. Getting cut by the Eagles, it was really a situation of coaching and ownership changes – they were just going in a new direction, where they were kind of cleaning house. By the time they actually cut me, it was already a couple of weeks into training camp, so even though I got picked up by Cincinnati, I only had a very short window to try and prove myself. I was actually the fifth (quarterback) on the roster out there, so it was an uphill battle.

“I found myself out of the game for the first time in my life. It was a frustrating time, but I also knew from playing for two years, seeing how guys practiced and seeing the games up close, that I was talented enough to make it. I didn’t let it discourage me and I didn’t give up on the game.”

How did you train and what did you focus on during that time?

“I decided to keep myself as close to the game as possible. I went home and became a volunteer coach at Hofstra University. I’d known a couple of the coaches over there, and they gave me an opportunity to use the weight room and work out with the team. I’d go out, throw to wide receivers and keep my arm loose. It helped me stay sharp and stay in the game.

“Then, I ended up going out to Europe for a season, and played in NFL Europe at Amsterdam. I was teammates with (current Chargers Head Coach) Mike McCoy at the time, and I saw all the way back then that he would be a coach. Even though I didn’t get an (NFL) opportunity again coming into (next) season, it kept me focused and kept my mind on the game.

“Finally, after another year of coaching at Hofstra, it took one last-ditch effort to get back into the league. I got together with my agent and my high school coach – who was a big mentor of mine throughout my career – and we came up with a game plan to put a package together, send it out to every single team and start calling up every quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and head coach. We got one response from Minnesota, and that’s all I needed. Chip Myers was the quarterback coach, and he gave me an opportunity to try out for the Vikings. I went out there, they signed me, and from that point forward, I just kept climbing the ranks until two years later, I was the starting quarterback in Miami.”

In addition to Chip Myers, which other coaches helped prepare you for a starting role?

“All the coaching I got was the biggest thing from playing on all those different teams. I played under Jon Gruden as a coordinator and quarterback coach in Philadelphia. In Minnesota, Brian Billick was the offensive coordinator. Down in Jacksonville, Tom Coughlin was the head coach and really ran the offense, and Bobby Petrino was the quarterback coach. I was able to pick the brains of each of them and mold their teaching to what I felt comfortable with and what I was able to do physically on the football field.”

How would you describe following in Marino’s footsteps as the Dolphins starter?

“I never looked it as a challenge to replace Marino. I had success every time I played – from high school, college and during the times that I was able to get into games in the pros prior to that. I did it my way. I wasn’t going to come in there and do it the way Marino did it. There are a lot of ways to win games – that’s really the way that I looked at the position.

“Certainly, there were challenges just from an off-the-field standpoint – having to deal with media and fan scrutiny as the next guy after Marino – but I always felt like I had thick skin and never let outside distractions or influences change the way that I approached the game. In that respect, just from a mental and psychological standpoint, I was the perfect guy to come in and do that.” (more…)

Dolfans Helping Dolfans

Friday, December 20th, 2013

If you guys didn’t hear about it, two of our members, Marissa & Bryan were injured in the Metro North train crash on the way to our #MetLifeTakeover Bryan was knocked out but he was fine, but Marisa was pretty badly injured. She broke her spine and has to get an artery repaired by a specialist. I wanted to help them raise money but they didn’t want it, so instead we got them some gifts.

Marisa had her Marino jersey cut off at the hospital so of course we had to get her a new one. We got her a vintage one, as well as a signed one! I wanted to get Bryan something as well since he missed the game and is dealing with all this stuff too so we got him a signed Don Shula helmet since he was a big fan. We also had a ton of people at Slattery’s sign a get well card for Marisa.

All the money we spent on this stuff came from money raised at the #MetLifeTakeover so if you threw in a few dollars or bought at t-shirt or a hat you helped make this tragedy a little better for them. We donate a ton of money to charity every year and I can’t think of anything better than helping out some fellow NY Dolphins fans.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few pictures with you. The first one is the last photo they Tweeted before the crash. That’s them on the way to Slattery’s to catch a bus with us to the game. Moments later their train crashed. The second is them in the hospital when Marisa finally left the intensive care unit. The last two are them with their gifts from DolfansNYC!

If you guys want to send some love to Marisa and Bryan you can reach em on Twitter! Marisa is @gemmati4 and Bryan is @miamifinfan. Try not to hold Bryan being a Rangers fan against him. His head got hit pretty hard in the crash.

Marisa & Bryan Marisa & Bryan

Marisa Bryan

DolfansNYC Reacts to Dolphins Drafting Tannehill

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Miami Dolphins finally selected a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft for the first time since 1983 (Dan Marino), taking Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick.

As Commissioner Roger Goodell walked up to the podium at Radio City Music Hall and announced the selection last night, more than 20 members of DolfansNYC were captured by television cameras, cheering and chanting from the stands.

Check out the video below from NFL.com to see us singing the Dolphins fight song and showing our support for the aqua and orange in New York around the one-minute mark.

While Tannehill comes with a lot of questions marks – he incredibly started more games at wide receiver in college (30) than quarterback (20) and passed for 5,450 yards with 42 touchdowns and 21 interceptions – he also played under Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman for four years and has the size, arm strength and athleticism to become the franchise QB the team has long desired.

Asked about the inescapable Marino comparison, Tannehill called it “humbling” and said he’s looking forward to getting some tips from the Hall-of-Famer.

“He’s a legend and was a great quarterback for the Miami Dolphins franchise, and I’m excited to hopefully reach out to him and learn from him,” he said. “I don’t think I’m trying to fill his shoes – I’m my own player and I have a lot to learn and I’m excited to get started.”

We’ll have plenty more thoughts and analysis down the line, including whether Tannehill should be the opening day starter over Matt Moore, but for now, let’s all welcome the newest member of the Dolphins to South Beach.

Dolphins Look to Continue Thanksgiving Day Dominance

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

For most Dolphins (and Cowboys) fans, a Dallas-Miami Thanksgiving match-up conjures up images of Leon Lett’s infamous blunder in 1993. Down one point with 15 seconds left on the clock, Dolphins kicker Pete Stoyanovich lined up for a 40-yard field goal to win the game, but slipped on the ice and had his kick blocked by Dallas defensive tackle Jimmie Jones. As the Cowboys players and coaches began to celebrate, Lett inexplicably attempted to fall on the rolling football, only to lose control of it as he slipped on the ice. Miami recovered the ball on the Dallas one-yard line, and Stoyanovich nailed a short field-goal as time expired to give Miami an improbable 16-14 victory.

18 years later, the video remains just as, if not more hilariously fun to watch.

The 1993 Snow Bowl is one of four Fins-Cowboys Thanksgiving games – Miami has won two of the other three contests on the holiday and leads the all-time series 7-5.

November 22, 1973 – Dolphins 14, Cowboys 7

The Dolphins jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a Larry Csonka one-yard run and a 45-yard touchdown strike from Bob Griese to Paul Warfield. Griese threw only 10 passes all game, as Csonka rushed for 80 yards and Mercury Morris chipped in with 49 to lead the Miami ground attack.

November 25, 1999 – Cowboys 20, Dolphins 0

This is one that the Dolphins, and especially Dan Marino, would like to forget. After a scoreless first half, the Cowboys took a 7-0 lead when Dexter Coakley returned a Marino interception 46 yards for the score. Troy Aikman later connected with Rocket Ismail for a 65-yard touchdown, and Emmitt Smith finished with 103 rushing yards. Marino completed only 15-of-36 passes for 178 yards and tied a career-high with five picks (good for a 17.8 quarterback rating). He was pulled late in the fourth quarter for backup Damon Huard. Let’s move on.

Jay Fiedler scores against the Cowboys.Novemeber 27, 2003 – Dolphins 40, Cowboys 21

That’s better. The last time these two teams met on Thanksgiving, the 8-3 Cowboys, led by QB Quincy Carter, never stood much of a chance. Miami took a quick lead on a Jay Fiedler one-yard scramble, and wide receiver Chris Chambers would go on to catch a career-best three TD passes. The Dolphins picked off Carter three times, and Jason Taylor returned a fumble for another score.

(more…)

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 10: Nat Moore

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Last Sunday, Miami Dolphins legend Nat Moore paid a visit to Third and Long, the home of DolfansNYC. The bar was packed with aqua-and-orange, and Nat took the time out to sign autographs and pose for pictures with every fan, helping us raise several hundred dollars for charity.

Afterwards, the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, whose name is prominent in the team record books, joined us on the podcast to discuss some of his career highlights and favorite memories; catching passes from Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino; the goals of the Nat Moore Foundation; and his impressions of DolfansNYC.

Subscribe to the DolfansNYC Podcast on iTunes and get all future episodes.

Subscribe to the DolfansNYC Podcast via RSS.

Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

The Raiders

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

So this week we go to Oakland without Brandon Marshall and a quarterback question.  Fortunately for us Oakland can be run on and if we are going to have a good run game all year this has to be it.  Henne is probably going to get the start which is scary because Oakland has a decent pass rush and Henne will be in a knee brace.  On the other hand if Thigpen starts he is 1-11 as a starter but his one win came at Oakland.  I really have no idea what to expect from the game but I just hope it is a lot more fun than last week.

I also wanted to thank everyone who came out last week, we raised over $500 for The Miami Dolphins Foundation. It was a big success despite the game. This week at Third & Long we aren’t doing a raffle or anything but we do still have Dolfans NYC shirts for sale (although we are out of Mediums). All of the money still goes to charity minus random club expenses.

Speaking of the shirts… did you guys see Dan Marino with his? It’s a pretty good look…


Next week I am going to be in Miami for the Cleveland game and then we have the big trip to the Meadowlands for the Jets game so I won’t be at the bar for a few weeks so I hope to see everyone at Third & Long this week. No matter how badly the Dolphins play everyone still has a good time until the fat lady sings.

Go Dolphins!

DolfansNYC Meets Dan Marino

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Last Sunday is a day that DolfansNYC will never forget.

Through the help of Michelle’s coworker, we had the opportunity to attend a live taping of CBS’ “NFL Today.” We stood behind the set as James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason went through the highlights at halftime of the early afternoon games. Once the cameras were off, we walked onto the set and took a picture with the entire cast.

And then, we had the chance to meet our idol, the greatest quarterback in Miami Dolphins history.

It was a little intimidating when my fiancée, Michelle, introduced me to her first crush. I felt like I needed to challenge Dan Marino to a throwing contest to win over her affections. Luckily, I thought better of it and excitedly shook his hand. After all, the man looks like he could still hit open receivers 50 yards down the field with his cannon arm.

“Is this for me? Can I keep this?” asked Marino after we gave him a DolfansNYC t-shirt. He thanked us for the gift, posed for a picture, and autographed our football, jersey, and photo.

As Igor said afterwards, it was an epic day.

Combine

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Well it has been a minute since I hit you guys up.  Things are pretty slow this off season.  The combine is happening right now, but I haven’t been paying all that much attention. Most people say the Phins are looking at Rolando McLain or Dez Bryant.  There are also rumors that we are looking at stealing Karlos Dansby away from the Cardinals and possibly trading with the Cardinals for Anquan Boldin.  If we pulled off either of the Cards deals then our draft might look pretty different.  The one guy I am obsessed with in the draft is Eric Barry.  He is just the type of playmaking safety we need and having him back there with our two young corners would solve our secondary problems for years.  Unfortunately I don’t think he could possibly fall to us, but honestly with a lot of people trying to trade down, he might be worth trading up for. We also need a nose tackle since we have no shot at Vince Wilfork who was my #1 off season dream.  It’s pretty likely we will pick up a nose in the second round if anyone is still available.

If we could get Dansby and Boldin our main needs would be a nose and a safety.  We could also use another outside linebacker or two if we don’t resign JT, which we better.

Anyway, I have some planned updates for the next few weeks, so check back and pretty soon we are going to start working on our draft party plans.  It’s all pretty exciting.

In the mean time, check out this amazing Sports Illustrated article from 1984 on Dan Marino.  It talks about how he is a pretty boy icon and discusses things that will be really relevant in the coming years like his bad knees.  It aslo talks about how he really wanted to get some big sponsors which I always wondered about.  Dan was advertising gloves and Blockbuster but he never really had a big shoe contract or a drink sponsor which was very confusing to me.  He should have been on Nike and Pepsi ads.  I wonder why that never happened. He did have Upper Deck which was cool growing up and collecting cards.

Anyway, see you guys soon.

Ps. If I spelled anyone’s name wrong in this article, I apologise, I am very tired and very busy and I didn’t have time to double check anything…


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