Welcoming Committee: Dan Marino

07/27/2005
<a data-popupid=Eric Dickerson" hspace="3" src="/cms/images/spacer.gif" width="55" align="left" vspace="3" border="1" />By Eric Dickerson, Class of 1999
Special to Profootballhof.com

Editor’s Note: Eric Dickerson was the second player selected overall in the famous 1983 National Football League Draft that also produced Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. Dickerson faced Marino twelve times in his NFL career – twice while with the Rams, nine times as a member of the Colts, and once while he played for the Raiders.

I think, by far, that the 1983 draft was the greatest ever. You had an accumulation of a lot of great players – you had linebackers, you had running backs, you had quarterbacks, you had offensive lineman – I mean, that class had a lot of players who had the possibility of being Hall of Famers. Dan, I think you’ll agree with me, it was just a great class!

<a data-popupid=Dan Marino mural" hspace="3" src="/cms/images/spacer.gif" width="150" align="left" vspace="3" border="1" />Dan, you truly were a great quarterback, and your release to get rid of the football was incredible. I don’t think anyone could get rid of the football as fast as you could. I remember playing against you and many times it was frustrating as an opposing playing being on the other sideline. You were just a great leader on the field, you had a sense of the game, and how to move the ball downfield – what receivers to hit, and you knew when to throw and when to run. You were just a great football player.

I recall our first game against each other in the NFL, it was during our rookie season. We went down to Miami. I had a big day running the football but you guys beat us. I always was happy when guys from my class played well. I hate to say I was pulling for you, but I was essentially pulling for you to do well; I just didn’t want you to beat us. I remember that day because I had some big runs. We’d score but you guys would score a lot faster because we were running the ball and you were throwing the ball.

Dickerson reminisced about three games in particular. Here’s a rundown of those games:

Oct. 30, 1983 – MIA 30, L.A. Rams 14
Marino, in his fourth NFL start, passed for 279 yards and 2 TDs and also ran for one TD. Dickerson had 101 yards on just 14 carries and scored once.

Dec. 14, 1986 – Miami 27, LOS ANGELES RAMS 31 (OT)
Marino threw for 403 yards and 5 touchdowns while Dickerson carried 28 times for 124 yards and 1 TD.

Dec. 4, 1988 – Indianapolis 31, MIAMI 28
Marino had 304 yards passing and three TDs. Dickerson rushed for 169 yards on 31 carries and 1 TD.

Our second game against each other a couple of years later, in Anaheim, I remember very well. Because we lost the coin flip in overtime, I remember I took my shoulder pads off and they were asking me what I was doing. I said, ‘it’s over.’ And, I think four plays later you were in the end zone.

I remember another big one, in 1988, and the Colts hadn’t had a lot of success in Miami in some time. But, I knew one thing was that the Dolphins had a problem stopping the run but they always had Dan Marino. You threw for a lot of yards that day and it was a close game. It was a turnover at the end that caused us to win that football game.

Man, would I have liked to play with you, Dan. It would have been a great thrill for me. It’s always great to have a quarterback who can take the pressure off of the running back. I wish we could have played together because I think we would have had a chance to win the Super Bowl, for sure.

Well, Dan, the main thing about being in the Hall of Fame, is it’s something that will be there forever. I mean, your kids’ kids, and their kids can always go back and look long after you’ve passed on and they’ll know how great their dad, or their grandfather, or great grandfather, really was. I think that is what makes it so great.

Dan, you most definitely were a great player, and I’m happy that I was in the class of 1983 with you.

I want to welcome you into the Hall of Fame. You’re a great Hall of Famer, you’re a great asset to the Hall of Fame, and it definitely couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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