|Of all the kudos directed at quarterback Dan Marino during his four-year career at Pitt from 1979-82, this one from Florida State coach Bobby Bowden summed him up best: “He’s a pro quarterback in college, really.”
Marino, a hometown hero who attended Central Catholic High School in the shadow of the Pitt campus in Oakland, was one of the most eagerly sought high school athletes in the country.
By the time he graduated in 1983, he had become the Panthers’ all-time passing leader with 8,597 yards and 79 touchdowns.
“Dan Marino is the best quarterback I’ve ever coached against at the collegiate level,’’ said Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
The 6-4, 215-pound All-American had a rocket-launching right arm and a lightning release. Marino was a classic drop-back quarterback. But his success as a quarterback and as a leader transcended his physical skills.
“The four seasons I played at Pitt were four of the best years of my life,” said Marino, who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. “I played behind some great offensive linemen, including Jimbo Covert, Mark May, Russ Grimm and Bill Fralic, among others, and I never would have had the success I did without all of their help.”
Dan Marino – QB, Miami Dolphins (1983-1999)
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2005
Drafted as the 27th overall pick in the famous 1983 NFL Draft. Marino was one of six QBs taken in the first round including fellow Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Jim Kelly. In addition to the three other future Hall of Famers – RB Eric Dickerson, OL Bruce Matthews, and DB Darrell Green were also drafted in the first round that year.
Retired following the 1999 season as the league’s all-time leader in passing attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), yardage (61,361) and touchdowns (420).
Passed for 3,000 yards or more in a season 13 times and 4,000 yards or more six times.
Became first player to pass for 5,000 yards or more in a season and threw a then-record 48 touchdowns in MVP season of 1984.
Marino was a bona fide Major League Baseball prospect, both as a pitcher and a shortstop, and was drafted in the fourth round in 1979 by the Kansas City Royals.