Who Are The Miami Dolphins' Biggest Rivals?
The Miami Dolphins have been an NFL/AFL franchise since 1966. Over the years, the Dolphins have built some fierce rivalries due to divisional and playoff games. Read below to learn about Miami’s biggest rivalries in the NFL.
New York Jets
The Jets and Dolphins have been in the same division ever since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and have played each other twice a year since. Currently, the Dolphins have a large advantage in the rivalry, having beaten the Jets 100-56-1 as of 2023. New York and Miami have played many important games against each other, but the only time they met in the postseason came in the 1982 AFC Championship.
The Dolphins played host to the Jets that afternoon amid wet and muddy conditions. Miami stifled the New York quarterback Richard Todd, forcing him into five interceptions. The Dolphins’ hero was linebacker A.J. Duhe, who had three of those picks, and returned one of them for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Miami beat New York that day 14-0.
One of the most memorable games between these two teams came in Week 8 of the 2000-2001 season. The 5-1 Jets hosted the 5-1 Dolphins on Monday Night Football, and for most of the contest, it was looking like it would end in a Miami blowout victory. The Dolphins led 30-7 entering the fourth quarter, but the Jets scored 30 points in the final 15 minutes to force overtime. New York kicker John Hall then kicked a 40-yard field goal in overtime to give his team a 40-37 win. The game is known as “the Monday Night Miracle.”
The Bills and Dolphins are also AFC East Divisional rivals and play each other twice a year. As of 2023, the rivalry record is slightly tipped in the Dolphins’ favor, sitting at 62–56–1 in favor of Miami. This rivalry was truly at its peak in the 1980s-1990s, when both teams had two of the league’s top quarterbacks. The Bills were led by Jim Kelly, and the Dolphins were led by Dan Marino, both of whom are now members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marino and Kelly were both drafted in the famed 1983 NFL Draft, which featured seven Hall of Fame players. Kelly was the 14th pick, and went to Buffalo, while Marino fell all the way to pick 27, going to Miami.
The Bills appeared in four Super Bowls in a row from 1990 to 1993, and faced the Dolphins twice in the playoffs during that stretch. The first of these playoff matchups came in the 1990 AFC Divisional Round, where the Bills beat the Dolphins in a shootout 44-34. Marino and Kelly both tossed for over 300 yards, and each passed for three touchdowns.
Two years later, the squads met again in the 1992 AFC Championship Game, with Miami hosting the game. However, the Bills dominated the Dolphins from the start, finishing it off 29-10. The Buffalo defense forced five Miami turnovers, including three of them from Marino.
New England Patriots
The Patriots and Dolphins have also played twice a season every year since 1967, due to them being placed in the same division. Like the Dolphins-Bills rivalry, this one also began to pick up steam in the 1980s-1990s and has been fierce ever since. Currently, the rivalry record sits at 60–55 in favor of Miami, though the Patriots have gone 2-1 in their postseason matches against the Dolphins.
In the 1983 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected quarterback Tony Eason with the 15th overall pick, while the Dolphins picked eventual Hall of Famer Dan Marino. These two quarterbacks led their squads to the 1985 AFC Championship Game at the Orange Bowl. Miami was coming off of a Super Bowl appearance the previous season, and was favored to beat New England. However, the Patriots’ defense forced Marino into two interceptions. Eason, while only throwing for 71 yards, tossed three touchdowns and no picks in a 31-14 victory.
Overall, Miami and New England have met in the playoffs during three seasons: 1982, 1985, and 1997, but Eason and Marino’s only matchup came in that aforementioned 1985 game. Some other intense moments of the rivalry include Nick Saban’s brief tenure in Miami against Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, and the Dolphins upsetting the Patriots in Week 17 of 2019, which forced New England to lose a first-round bye week in the playoffs. This was also the final regular-season game for Tom Brady as a Patriot.
Who is the biggest rival of the Miami Dolphins?
The biggest rival of the Miami Dolphins is the New York Jets. While the Jets and Dolphins have only met in the playoffs once, they’ve been involved in other classics such as the Marino “Fake Spike Game” and the Monday Night Miracle. The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are also heated rivals of the Dolphins.