DWIGHT STEPHENSON

DWIGHT STEPHENSON

Class of 1998
Center >>> 6-2, 255
(Alabama)
1980-1987 Miami Dolphins

Dwight Eugene Stephenson ... Dolphins’ second-round draft pick, 1980 ... Exceptionally quick blocker with explosive charge off snap ... Recognized as the premier center of his time ... All-Pro, All-AFC five straight years, 1983-87 ... Elected to five consecutive Pro Bowls ... Started at center in Super Bowls XVII, XIX and 1982, 1984, 1985 AFC championship games ... Dolphins’ offensive captain ... Career cut short by severe knee injury ... Born November 20, 1957, in Murfreesboro, North Carolina.

Dwight Stephenson, a second-round pick and the 48th player selected in the 1980 NFL Draft, excelled at center for the Miami Dolphins for eight seasons from 1980 to 1987. An All-America at the University of Alabama, the 6-2, 255-pound Stephenson lived up to all his advance notices as a Dolphin.

In just a few years, he was universally recognized as the premier center in the NFL. He earned both All-Pro and All-AFC recognition five straight years from 1983 to 1987. He was named the AFC or NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in various major polls four years. Stephenson was selected for five straight Pro Bowl games, the first four as a starter. Injuries prevented him from playing in the 1987 and 1988 games.

Stephenson, who was born November 20, 1957, in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, was quiet, intense, hard-working and competitive. He was an exceptionally quick blocker and he possessed an explosive charge off the snap. He was the Dolphins offensive captain and his presence as the anchor of the offensive line was a major factor in the Dolphins’ record of allowing the fewest quarterback sacks in the NFL for six straight years.

In his rookie season in 1980, Stephenson spent much of his time on special teams while learning the rudiments of pro football offensive line play. His first NFL start came in 1981 when the regular center, Mark Dennard, was injured in the 11th game.

Stephenson played in 107 straight games and started in 80 consecutive games until the 1987 players’ strike ended the streak. He returned after the strike and started seven straight games before he suffered a serious left knee injury. Although he tried a comeback the next season, he was forced to retire when the injury failed to respond. Stephenson was the starting center in the 1982, 1984 and 1985 AFC championship games and in Super Bowls XVII and XIX.

Year
Team
G
1980 Miami
16
1981 Miami
16
1982 Miami
9
1983 Miami
16
1984 Miami
16
1985 Miami
16
1986 Miami
16
1987 Miami
9
Career Total
114

Championship Games

1982 AFC - Miami Dolphins 14, New York Jets 0
Stephenson started at center for the Dolphins.

1984 AFC - Miami Dolphins 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 28
Stephenson started at center for the Dolphins.

1985 AFC - New England Patriots 31, Miami Dolphins 14
Stephenson started at center for the Dolphins.

Super Bowls

Super Bowl XVII - Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17
Stephenson started at center for the Dolphins.

Super Bowl XIX - San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16
Stephenson started at center for the Dolphins.


All-Pro: 1983 (PFWA, NEA, PW) • 1984 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN, PW) • 1985 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN) • 1986 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN, PW) • 1987 (AP, PFWA, PW)

All-Pro Second Team: 1983 (AP)

All-AFC: 1983 (UPI, PW) • 1984 (UPI, PW) • 1985 (UPI) • 1986 (UPI, PW) • 1987 (UPI, PW)

(5) – 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987*, 1988*

* Did not play

Team Records

Dolphins Records held by Dwight Stephenson at the time of his retirement following the 1987 season

[Tied for 2nd] Most Pro Bowl Started – 4
[Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Pro Bowl Started – 4
[4th] Most Consecutive Games Played – 107
[7th] Most Consecutive Game Started – 80

All-Decade Team of the 1980s

Year Team W L T Divsion Finish
1980 Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 (3rd)
1981 Miami Dolphins 11 4 1 (1st)
1982 Miami Dolphins 7 2 0 (2nd*)
1983 Miami Dolphins 12 4 0 (1st)
1984 Miami Dolphins 14 2 0 (1st)
1985 Miami Dolphins 12 4 0 (1st)
1986 Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 (3rd)
1987 Miami Dolphins 8 7 0 (3rd)

 

Full Name: Dwight Eugene Stephenson

Birthdate: November 20, 1957

Birthplace: Murfreesboro, North Carolina

High School: Hampton (VA)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 24, 1998

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 1, 1998

Presenter: Don Shula, Hall of Fame coach

Other Members of Class of 1998: Paul Krause, Tommy McDonald, Anthony Muñoz, Mike Singletary

Pro Career: 8 seasons, 114 games

Drafted: 2nd round (48th overall) in 1980 by Miami Dolphins

Uniform Number: 57

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