Dan Marino awed American football fans in 1984 by burning down passing records, throwing for 317 yards a game for the Miami Dolphins and signaling the advent of one of the most prolific quarterback careers the National Football League would ever see. Marino continued the long line of talent to emerge from blue-collar Pennsylvania and became a four-year starter and All-American at the University of Pittsburgh. Drafted by Miami in 1983, he became a starter mid-season and made his first Pro Bowl at season's end. Few could anticipate his sophomore campaign, however, as he led a high-powered Dolphins passing attack and became the first NFL quarterback to top 5,000 passing yards in a season on the way to his only Super Bowl appearance. Though he would never win the big bowl, he would keep the Dolphins a playoff team through much of his 17-year career, even as he rewrote NFL records in nearly every passing category. He retired in 2000 but went on to a high-profile career as a football analyst for HBO and CBS. One of the NFL's great clutch performers ¬- a record holder with 36 4th quarter comeback victories - Marino remained one of the most potent and efficient offensive weapons in the history of the game.
He was born Daniel Constantine Marino, Jr. on Sept. 15, 1961 in Pittsburgh, PA, the oldest of three children of Daniel and Veronica Marino. With the help of Dan Sr., who nurtured his son's athletic prowess, Dan Jr. blossomed into a two-sport standout at Catholic Central High School. His senior year saw him selected by the Kansas City Royals in the Major League Baseball draft and named a Parade All-American as a quarterback. Graduating in 1979, Dan opted for the gridiron and stayed home to play for the University of Pittsburgh. He started as a freshman and quarterbacked the team to an 11-1 record and a win in the Fiesta Bowl. He sharpened his almost intuitive skills in the pocket with a quick release for deadly accuracy. His junior year saw him pass for 2,615 yards on a remarkable 144.5 passer rating and led the Panthers to a last-minute Sugar Bowl win. His performance dipped his senior year, which resulted in his NFL stock plummeting for the next spring's draft. Miami took Marino with the 27th pick in the first round and, in Week 6 of the 1983 season, he moved into the starting lineup. He performed well enough in the second half of the season - including a 58.45 completion percentage and a 96.0 passer rating - to rate a selection to the Pro Bowl.
Marino exploded the next year. Working with a world-class receiving corps that included Mark Duper and Mark Clayton, Marino threw for 5,084 yards in the 1984 season and connected on 48 touchdown passes, just two of six passing records he would break during the Dolphins' 14-2 season. Marino won the league's MVP award. The Dolphins advanced to Super Bowl XIX but found themselves outmatched against the San Francisco 49ers and lost 38-16. Only days after the game, Marino married fellow Pittsburgh native Claire Veazey. They would adopt two children and have four of their own. When son Michael was diagnosed with autism, the couple started the Dan Marino Foundation in 1992 to raise funds for neurodevelopmental disability research. Marino would never top his sophomore output or go as deep into the playoffs, but he proved the '84 season was no fluke with another five seasons throwing for 4,000-plus yards and five more above 3,500. In spite of his numbers, though, the team hit a lull and only returned to form in the early 1990s. They won their division in 1992 and were 3-1 early in the 1993 campaign when Marino, playing against Cleveland, suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
He returned from surgery and rehab in 1994 less mobile but, in his first start, torched the New England Patriots for 473 passing yards and five touchdowns. He racked up 4,453 yards for the season, led the Dolphins back to the playoffs with a division best 10-6 record, and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year. In 1995, Marino's assault on NFL records book continued as he eclipsed Fran Tarkington's career records for total passing yards (48,841), touchdown passes (352) and completed passes (3,913). Marino suffered a neck injury in 1999, and, though he returned, the Dolphins stumbled into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Marino engineered a comeback win in their first playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, but it proved his last. The Jacksonville Jaguars routed Miami 62-7 the next week, and Marino found himself benched in the second half. When Miami refused to exercise the option on his contract, Marino turned down offers from a number of teams and decided to hang up his cleats.
He went out as a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. By 2013, only John Elway and Brett Favre topped his 147 wins as a starting QB and Marino still claimed the most 400-plus-yards-passing games for a career with 15 (including playoffs). He would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. In addition to his charitable and entrepreneurial ventures - which included a chain of restaurants bearing his name - Marino kept his hand in the game as an in-studio analyst. In 2001, he joined HBO's league week-in-review show "Inside the NFL" (1977- ) and, in 2005, bounced to a broader audience as pre-game/halftime/post-game analyst for CBS Sports' NFL game telecasts. He also took a high-profile, multi-year stint as the face of advertising for the NutriSystem weight loss program as it attempted to target male dieters. In early 2013, Marino made tabloid headlines when he admitted to an affair with Donna Savattere, a production assistant at CBS Sports, during his early years with the network. The coupling produced a child in 2005.
By Matthew Grimm
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Producer (Feature Film)
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Misc. Crew (Special)
During senior year of high school, was selected by Kansas City Royals in Major League Baseball draft and named Parade All-American as a quarterback
Was first draft pick in history of United States Football League, selected by the Los Angeles Express; did not sign with Los Angeles, but instead joined defending AFC Champions Miami Dolphins
Named National Football League MVP
With wife Claire Veazey, established Dan Marino Foundation for children with neurodevelopment disabilities
Played himself in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," starring Jim Carrey
Co-owned NASCAR Winston Cup racing team with driver Bill Elliott
Retired from professional football
Guest starred on "The Simpsons" (Fox)
Jersey number 13 retired
Made cameo in "Little Nicky," starring Adam Sandler
Hosted HBO's "Inside the NFL"
Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
Returned to Miami Dolphins as Senior Vice President of Football Operations; resigned from position only three weeks later
Elected into Pro Football Hall of Fame
Served as analyst for CBS Sunday pregame show "The NFL Today"
Named AARP's Men¿s Life Ambassador