The Miami Dolphins are one of the few NFL teams whose players can enjoy lovely weather and beautiful beaches all year round. But don’t let that fool you. South Florida is synonymous with football.
The Dolphins were the home of Hall of Famer Dan Marino, whose football prowess led the Dolphins to victory for 17 seasons. The team has established several bitter rivalries since the Dolphins’ first season with the American Football League’s Eastern Division in 1966 and its subsequent induction into the NFL’s AFC East. Whether it’s because the rivals are in the same division or they see each other a lot in the playoffs, there are a few teams that Dolphins fans simply don’t like.
If you’re ready to prove the NFL Super Bowl weekly picks wrong, then you should identify who the Miami Dolphins’ biggest rivals are so you can be sure to place a wager against them. Don’t forget to take advantage of signup bonuses and make sure to play only with licensed bookkeepers so you are covered in case of any problems. That way, you can keep the games more interesting and always be super excited for the next matchup.
AFC East Rivals
Because the Dolphins have been an AFC East team since the 70s, it’s no surprise that they form rivalries with teams from the same division. They play against each other a couple of times a year, and only one will get the crown of being the division champions each year. Let’s look at the other teams in AFC East that have clashed with the Dolphins throughout the years.
The Bills haven’t been friends of the Dolphins for decades, but this rivalry was at its peak between the 80s and 90s. That was when both teams had Hall of Famer quarterbacks⎯Jim Kelly for the Bills and Marino for the Dolphins. It was a big deal every time these two teams played each other, and their respective fans’ support never wavered.
The Dolphins didn’t make it easy for the Bills, either. Even though Buffalo reached the Super Bowl four years in a row, from 1990 to 1993, the Dolphins were in the mix to give them trouble.
New York Jets
The Jets-Dolphins rivalry has been going since the merger of the AFL and NFL in the 70s, and they’ve played against each other ever since.
Thankfully, the Dolphins have a better record against the Jets than they do against the Bills, having only faced them postseason once. They won 14−0 against the Jets on that day, too.
It’s also from this rivalry that two key events took place: the “Monday night miracle’ and Marino’s ‘fake spike.’ None of the Dolphins’ other rivalries produced such notable events as those two.
The Monday night miracle occurred in Week 8 of the 2000−2001 season when the Jets hosted the Dolphins. Miami seemed poised to win the game with a 30−7 score in the fourth quarter and even scored another touchdown and a two-point conversion during those 15 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the Jets worked extraordinarily hard to score 30 points during those same 15 minutes, forcing overtime. And everything came tumbling down for Miami when Jets kicker John Hall successfully scored a 40-yard field goal, ultimately changing the score to 40−37 in their favor.
Meanwhile, the fake spike happened during a 1994 game, with the Jets also hosting the Dolphins. The Jets were winning 24−21 with 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Dolphins were at the 8-yard line with the ball. That’s when Marino’s trickery started.
Marino signaled that he would spike the ball to stop the game clock, which the Jets accepted. As the Jets’ defense relaxed to wait for the spike, Marino, instead, passed the ball to wide receiver Mark Ingram, Sr. who was already running toward the end zone. Ingram received the ball successfully without much trouble from the Jets, ultimately winning the game at 28−24.
New England Patriots
Perhaps the Dolphins’ longest rivalry (since ’67!), the Dolphins have been giving the Pats trouble for over five decades now. And the two have had plenty of big matchups throughout those years.
One of their biggest matches was for the 1985 AFC Championship game. The Dolphins were fresh off the Super Bowl but lost against the Pats 31−14. The Pats’ defense proved too much for Marino, while Patriots quarterback Tony Eason eased his team towards victory.
In 2019, the Dolphins proved to be an annoyance to the Pats again when they won in Week 17. Though it was a small victory compared to the bigger picture, it cost Tom Brady’s Patriots their first-round bye week for the playoffs.
Considering the Dolphins’ playoff appearances throughout the years, it was inevitable that they would also form rivalries with teams outside their division. Below are some of them.
Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC North)
The Steelers-Dolphins rivalry isn’t as intense as the Jets-Dolphins or Bills-Dolphins, but it’s still quite notable. They’ve only played against each other four times in the playoffs, but all of them were important matches.
The first three were during Dolphins coach Don Shula’s tenure, and one led to the Dolphins’ Super Bowl VII win.
Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)
This rivalry is a misnomer because it technically took place when the Colts were still in Baltimore instead of Indianapolis. Then-Baltimore Colts were in the AFC East with the Dolphins, facing each other on and off-season from 1970−2002.
Perhaps the most notable development was when Don Shula moved from the Colts to the Dolphins in 1970. And soon after Shula’s move, the Dolphins won against the Colts 21−0, despite the latter being the reigning Super Bowl champions. Miami made it all the way to Super Bowl VI that year, though their run ended when they lost against the Dallas Cowboys.
These rivalries may not be as intense as their conference-wide rivals, but they are nonetheless a source of division among Floridians. With three NFL franchise teams in Florida, residents must pick which one to support for the occasional playoff matches.
Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South)
The Jaguars and the Dolphins have only played against each other 11 times, with the former winning six times against the Dolphins’ five. But out of these 11 games, one stands out the most.
It was an AFC Divisional playoff game, and the Jaguars hosted the Dolphins. It turned out to be a massive loss to the Dolphins after the Jaguars trounced them 62−7. Unfortunately, this also became Dan Marino’s last game before his retirement.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South)
The Buccaneers and the Dolphins have faced off against each other 12 times, and the Buccs hold the lead at seven wins against the Dolphins’ five. But unlike the Jaguars, the Buccs don’t have any monumental wins against the Dolphins. The closest they got was when they won against the Dolphins 45−17 in October 2021.
Their only claim to the rivalry is that they’re both in Florida and that former Pats QB Tom Brady eventually moved to play for the Bucs.