The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Florida. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Dolphins play home games at Sun Life Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, and have their headquarters at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility in Davie, Florida.
The Dolphins team was founded by Joseph Robbie, and began play in the American Football League (AFL) as an expansion team in the year 1966 - an example of the AFL's expanding into to parts of the United States that had not possessed professional football teams. In 1970, the Dolphins joined the NFL when the AFL NFL merger occurred. The Dolphins are the oldest continually-operating major-league professional sports franchise in the state of Florida.
The team made its first Super Bowl appearance following the 1971 season in Super Bowl VI, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys. In 1972, the Dolphins team completed the NFL's first and only perfect season culminating in a Super Bowl win, winning all 14 of its regular-season games, both of its NFL playoff games, and also Super Bowl VII.
The Dolphins thus became the fourth NFL team to accomplish a perfect regular season and the fourth professional football team in any league to accomplish a complete perfect season. The Dolphins also won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, and the second team (the first AFL/AFC team) to win back-to-back championships. Miami also 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 winning games. His Dolphins teams posted losing records in only two of his 26 seasons as the head coach of the team. Six future Football Hall of Fame members played for Miami during the 1970s, including the fullback Larry Csonka, the quarterback Bob Griese, the linebacker Nick Buoniconti, and the safetyman Jake Scott.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Dophins' quarterback Dan Marino became the most prolific passer in NFL history, breaking numerous league passing records. He led the Dolphins to five division titles, 10 playoff appearances, and Super Bowl XIX before retiring following the 1999 football season.
The Dolphins originally played all of their home games in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. After the 1986 season, they moved to Joe Robbie Stadium. Later the stadium's name was changed to Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, LandShark Stadium, and, as of January 2010, Sun Life Stadium. The facility is located in Miami Gardens, a suburb of Miami located approximately fifteen miles north of downtown Miami.
The Dolphins fight song is played once at every home game at the end of the third quarter. The song was written and composed by Lee Ofman. Ofman approached the Dolphins with it before the 1972 season because he wanted music to inspire his favorite team. The fight song would soon serve as a good luck charm for the Dolphins that season.
The Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to record an undefeated season, going 17-0 en route to victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. The following season, Miami posted an equally impressive 15-2 record, and capped the season with another title, defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII.
The back-to-back championship runs, coupled with the popularity of the fight song amongst Dolphins fans, have ensured the song's longevity. The Dolphins revealed a new fight song by T-Pain & Jimmy Buffett featuring Pitbull on August 7, 2009 which will be introduced for the '09/10 NFL season.
The fight song was played during the preseason home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 17, 2009, but was not played during the second preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on August 22, 2009 after being booed heavily in the first game. Furthermore, the team has preferred to play Buffett's song "Fins" after scores during the 2009 regular season instead of the traditional fight song.
The Dolphins shorthand nickname, "The Fins," has been recognized and used by the team.