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1966 Miami Dolphins season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1966 Miami Dolphins season
OwnerJoe Robbie
Head coachGeorge Wilson
General managerChuck Burr
Home fieldOrange Bowl
Division place5th AFL Eastern
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro Bowlers3

The 1966 Miami Dolphins season was the team's inaugural year as an expansion franchise in the American Football League (AFL). The Dolphins were the first of two expansion teams in the AFL, founded by Minneapolis attorney-politician Joe Robbie and actor-comedian Danny Thomas.[1][2][3] Future Harlem Globetrotters and Montreal Canadiens owner George N. Gillett, Jr. was a minority partner,[4] and the team was led by head coach George Wilson.[3] The franchise was granted in August 1965 for $7.5 million.[1][2][5]

Their regular season debut on September 2 began with Joe Auer returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown,[6] but the Dolphins lost to the Oakland Raiders, 23–14.[7] Auer was the leading scorer for the season and was named team MVP. With an odd number of teams, each of the nine AFL teams had two bye weeks and played fourteen games. Miami lost its first five games before upsetting the Denver Broncos in the Orange Bowl. The Dolphins defeated the Houston Oilers the following week, but then lost the next six consecutive games. In Week 16, Miami won against the Oilers again to finish the season with a 3–11 record. Having defeated the Oilers twice, the Dolphins became the first ever expansion team in the Super Bowl era to sweep a division rival, and the last until the Jacksonville Jaguars did it in 1995 against the Cleveland Browns.


AFL Draft

With the first pick overall, the Dolphins selected running back Jim Grabowski out of the University of Illinois.[8] Grabowski was also drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League's draft. The result was a bidding war between the two franchises to obtain Grabowski's services. The Packers signed Grabowski and he played for them for five seasons.

1966 Miami Dolphins draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 1 Jim Grabowski  Running back Illinois
1 2 Rick Norton  Quarterback Kentucky
2 9 Frank Emanuel  Linebacker Tennessee
3 18 Larry Gagner  Guard Florida
4 26 Dick Leftridge  Fullback West Virginia
5 34 Grady Bolton  Tackle Mississippi State
6 42 Ed Weisacosky  Linebacker Miami (FL)
7 51 Don Hansen  Linebacker Illinois
8 64 Bob Petrella  Defensive back Tennessee
9 74 Bill Matan  Defensive end Kansas State
10 83 Pat Killorin  Cornerback Syracuse
11 92 Sammy Price  Running back Illinois
12 101 Howard Twilley  Wide receiver Tulsa
13 110 Kent Kramer  Tight end Minnesota
14 119 Phil Scoggin  Placekicker Texas A&M
15 128 Jerry Oliver  Tackle Texas State
16 137 Don Lorenz  Defensive end Stephen F. Austin
17 146 Mike Bender  Guard Arkansas
18 155 Rich Kestner  End Kentucky
19 164 Doug Moreau  Tight end Louisiana State
20 173 John Tooker  Defensive back Adams State
      Made roster  




1966 Miami Dolphins staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Kicking – Bobby Walston


1966 Miami Dolphins final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics




Week Date Opponent Result Record Attendance
1 August 6 at San Diego Chargers L 10–38 0–1
2 August 12 Kansas City Chiefs L 0–33 0–2 34,277
3 August 20 New York Jets (at Jacksonville) L 14–31 0–3
4 August 24 Denver Broncos (at Memphis) L 16–28 0–4

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Game
1 September 2 Oakland Raiders L 14–23 0–1 Miami Orange Bowl
2 September 9 New York Jets L 14–19 0–2 Miami Orange Bowl
3 September 18 at Buffalo Bills L 24–58 0–3 War Memorial Stadium
4 Bye
5 October 2 at San Diego Chargers L 10–44 0–4 Balboa Stadium
6 October 9 at Oakland Raiders L 10–21 0–5 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
7 October 16 Denver Broncos W 24–7 1–5 Miami Orange Bowl
8 October 23 at Houston Oilers W 20–13 2–5 Rice Stadium
9 Bye
10 November 6 Buffalo Bills L 0–29 2–6 Miami Orange Bowl
11 November 13 at Kansas City Chiefs L 16–34 2–7 Municipal Stadium
12 November 20 at New York Jets L 13–30 2–8 Shea Stadium
13 November 27 Boston Patriots L 14–20 2–9 Miami Orange Bowl
14 December 4 at Denver Broncos L 7–17 2–10 Bears Stadium
15 December 11 Kansas City Chiefs L 18–19 2–11 Miami Orange Bowl
16 December 18 Houston Oilers W 29–28 3–11 Miami Orange Bowl


  • Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
  • Two bye weeks were necessary in 1966, as the league expanded to an odd-number (9) of teams;
    one team was idle each week (three teams were idle in week one).
  • Three teams from each division were played twice, and one in each once (Boston, San Diego)

Game summaries

Week 1

1 234Total
• Raiders 0 1076 23
Dolphins 7 007 14
  • Date: September 2
  • Location: Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game start: 8:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 82 °F, wind 6 mph

The Dolphins' regular season debut was a home game against the Oakland Raiders on Friday night, September 2; Miami running back Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.[7][11] An extra point kick by Gene Mingo allowed the Dolphins to lead 7–0 barely into the start of the game. Miami was unable to retain the lead, however, with the Raiders scoring a field goal in the second quarter and two touchdowns (one each in the second and third quarters) – a total of 17 points. In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins narrowed the score with a touchdown reception from Rick Norton to Rick Casares. However, Oakland responded with another touchdown – a 16 yard pass to Tom Mitchell from Tom Flores. The game ended with a 23–14 loss for Miami.[11]

Week 2

1 234Total
• Jets 9 0100 19
Dolphins 0 0014 14

In their first ever intradivisional game, the Dolphins played against the AFL Eastern Division rival New York Jets at the Orange Bowl on Friday night, September 9.[12] Miami trailed the entire game, with the Jets scoring a safety (by tackling Rick Norton in the end zone) and a touchdown in the first quarter. New York added a field goal and a touchdown in the third quarter, while holding Miami scoreless until the fourth quarter. By then, the Dolphins scored a touchdown – a 43-yard reception from Norton to Dave Kocourek.[13] Later in the quarter, Jets quarterback Joe Namath was intercepted by defensive back Pete Jaquess, who returned the ball 27 yards for another touchdown. However, Miami was unable to complete a comeback and lost 19–14.[12][14]

Week 3

1 234Total
Dolphins 3 7014 24
• Bills 21 2737 58

For their first division rivalry game against the Buffalo Bills on September 18, Miami traveled to the War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. The Bills dominated the Dolphins throughout the game. In the first quarter, the Buffalo scored three touchdown before Miami kicked a field goal. The Bills then added four touchdowns in the second quarter, versus one by the Dolphins. After the first half, the score was 48–10 in favor of the Bills. The only score in the third quarter was a field goal by Booth Lusteg of Buffalo. Three touchdowns were scored in the fourth quarter, two for Miami and one for Buffalo. The Bills defeated the Dolphins by a score of 58–24,[15] which remains one of the worst losses by Miami in the history of the Bills–Dolphins rivalry.[16]

Week 5

1 234Total
Dolphins 3 700 10
• Chargers 0 61028 44
  • Date: October 2
  • Location: Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California
  • Game attendance: 26,444
  • Game weather: 71 °F, wind 9 mph

Coming off their first bye week, the Miami Dolphins traveled to Balboa Stadium in San Diego in Week 5 in search for their first win. The Dolphins began the game with a 10 point lead – a field goal by Gene Mingo and a Karl Noonan touchdown via a 20 yard pass from Dick Wood. However, the Chargers took the lead in the third quarter following two touchdowns and a field goal, with a score of 16–10 as the quarter ended. In the fourth quarter, San Diego put the game away and delivered another blowout for Miami, scoring four touchdowns (28 points), while preventing the Dolphins from receiving additional points. The game ended with a score of 44–10 in favor of the Chargers. The Dolphins win–loss record fell to 0–4.[17]

Week 6

1 234Total
Dolphins 3 700 10
• Raiders 0 1407 21

In a second game against the Oakland Raiders on October 9, the Miami Dolphins traveled to the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum. Miami took the lead in the first quarter, with a 47 yard field goal by Gene Mingo. In the second quarter, Oakland took the lead after a touchdown, while Miami re-took the lead with a touchdown of their own. However, before the end of the second quarter, Oakland again re-took the lead with another touchdown. The first half of the game ended with a score of 14–10 in favor of the Raiders. Neither team received additional points in the third quarter. Oakland put the game away in the fourth quarter by scoring another touchdown. The match ended with a 21–10 loss for Miami.[18]

Week 7

1 234Total
Broncos 7 000 7
• Dolphins 10 077 24
  • Date: October 16
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game attendance: 22,191
  • Game weather: 77 °F, wind 9 mph

After being on the road since Week 3, the Miami Dolphins returned home in Week 7 for a contest against the Denver Broncos on October 16. Miami scored a touchdown and field goal in the first quarter, with a 67 yard pass from George Wilson to Billy Joe and a Gene Mingo field goal. The Broncos scored a touchdown later in the first quarter. Subsequently, the Dolphins scored one touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters – 1 yard and 3 yard rushes by Joe Auer, respectively. However, Denver was unable to earn additional points following the first quarter. As a result, the Miami Dolphins won the game by a score of 24–7. This was the first win by the franchise and raised their win–loss record to 1–5.[19]

Week 8

1 234Total
• Dolphins 7 733 20
Oilers 0 3100 13
  • Date: October 23
  • Location: Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas
  • Game attendance: 21,999
  • Game weather: 70 °F, wind 5 mph

The Dolphins returned to the road again in Week 8, traveling to Rice Stadium to take on the Houston Oilers on October 23. Miami scored first with a touchdown in the first quarter – an 80 yard reception from George Wilson to Bo Roberson. George Blanda of the Oilers kicked a field goal in the second quarter, but the Dolphins responded with another touchdown. In the third quarter, Blanda kicked another field goal, but Gene Mingo of the Dolphins also scored a field goal. Houston finally reached the endzone later in the third quarter to narrow the match to a 4-point game. However, Mingo kicked another field goal in the fourth quarter, ending the game with a 20–13 win for Miami. The Dolphins improved to 2–5.[20]

Week 10

1 234Total
• Bills 0 10109 29
Dolphins 0 000 0
  • Date: November 6
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game attendance: 36,685
  • Game weather: 76 °F, wind 16 mph

After the second bye week, Miami returned home for another game against the Buffalo Bills on November 6. As during Week 3, the Bills again dominated the match. After neither club scored in the first quarter, Buffalo scored a touchdown and a field goal in both the second and third quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Bills scored a third touchdown. Later, Buffalo received two points from a safety after Marty Schottenheimer blocked a punt. Miami was unable to score points throughout the game and lost 29–0, their first regular season shutout loss. The Dolphins fell to 2–6.[21]

Week 11

1 234Total
Dolphins 0 1006 16
• Chiefs 17 1430 34
  • Date: November 13
  • Location: Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Game attendance: 33,733
  • Game weather: 45 °F, wind 6 mph

In the following week, the Dolphins traveled to Municipal Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Miami was quickly overtaken. Kansas City reached a 23 point lead – three touchdowns (one missed extra point) and one field goal – before the Dolphins finally scored a field goal in the second quarter. Miami followed up with a touchdown, but Kansas City scored another touchdown before the end of the quarter. In the third quarter, the Chiefs added another field goal to their score. The Dolphins scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the team fell well short of making a comeback. The game ended with a 34–16 loss for Miami, with their record falling to 2–7.[22]

Week 12

1 234Total
Dolphins 6 007 13
• Jets 0 10137 30
  • Date: November 20
  • Location: Shea Stadium, New York City, New York
  • Game attendance: 57,092
  • Game weather: 36 °F (27 °F wind chill), wind 16 mph

During Week 12, the Dolphins traveled to Shea Stadium in New York City for their second match-up against the Jets on November 20. Miami built a six point lead in the first quarter with two field goals by Gene Mingo. However, they would not maintain their lead. In the second quarter, the Jets scored a touchdown and a field goal, before adding another touchdown and two additional field goals in the third quarter. Miami, down 23–6 at the close of the third quarter, finally scored again with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins were unable to overcome the deficit, and New York scored another touchdown before the end of regulation. The game ended with a 30–13 loss for Miami, dropping their record to 2–8.[23]

Week 13

1 234Total
• Patriots 0 10100 20
Dolphins 0 077 14
  • Date: November 27
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game attendance: 22,480
  • Game weather: 63 °F, wind 6 mph

In their first game against the division rival Boston Patriots, the Dolphins hosted the Patriots at the Orange Bowl on November 27. After neither team scored in the first quarter, the Patriots scored twice in the first quarter, with a touchdown pass from Babe Parilli to Art Graham and then a 32-yard field goal by Gino Cappelletti. The first half of the game closed with a 13-0 lead for Boston. A rushing touchdown by Jim Nance allowed the Patriots to increase their lead to 20-0. Later in the third quarter, the Dolphins finally scored with a 32-yard pass from Dick Wood to Frank Jackson. In the fourth quarter, another Miami touchdown pass from Wood to Joe Auer for 38 yards further reduced the Patriots lead to 20-14. However, with no additional scores by either team, the game ended with a 20-14 loss for the Miami Dolphins, causing them to fall to 2-9.[24]

Week 14

1 234Total
Dolphins 0 700 7
• Broncos 0 1070 17
  • Date: December 4
  • Location: Bears Stadium, Denver, Colorado
  • Game attendance: 32,116
  • Game weather: 32 °F (28 °F wind chill), wind 4 mph

For Week 14, the Dolphins traveled to Bears Stadium in Denver for another game against the Broncos on December 4. The game was a low-scoring affair. After neither team scored in the first quarter, Denver put points on the board with a Gary Kroner field goal, before Miami countered with Tom Erlandson scoring a touchdown after returning an interception 26 yards. However, the Broncos responded with a touchdown before the end of the second quarter. Denver scored another touchdown in the third quarter. Following that, neither Miami nor Denver any additional points in the third or fourth quarter. The game ended with a 17–7 loss for Miami, dropping their record to 2–10.[25]

Week 15

1 234Total
• Chiefs 3 3013 19
Dolphins 0 1107 18
  • Date: December 11
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game attendance: 17,881
  • Game weather: 70 °F, wind 9 mph

Miami returned home for their second match against Kansas City on December 11. The Chiefs opened up with two Mike Mercer field goals, with one each in the first and second quarters. Later in the second quarter, the Dolphins scored a field goal and a touchdown (with a 2-point conversion) to close the first half 11–6. After no scores in the third quarter, Kansas City was the first team to put more points on the board with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Miami then scored another touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter. However, the Chiefs countered with a touchdown before the game ended. Miami lost by a score of 19–18.[26]

Week 16

1 234Total
Oilers 7 1407 28
• Dolphins 0 8714 29
  • Date: December 18
  • Location: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • Game attendance: 19,274
  • Game weather: 71 °F, wind 10 mph

In the final game of their inaugural season, the Dolphins hosted the Oilers at the Orange Bowl on December 18. The Oilers mounted a 14-0 lead before the Dolphins scored – a 27-yard pass from Don Trull to Hoyle Granger in the first quarter and an 11-yard pass from Trull to Larry Elkins. Miami then responded with a 27-yard pass from John Stofa to Joe Auer and a successful 2-point conversion. Houston added seven more points with a 2-yard pass from Trull to Bob McLeod. By the end of the first half of the game, the Oilers led by 21-8. The third quarter saw a 48-yard touchdown pass from Stofa to Frank Jackson, cutting the Oilers' lead to 21-15. In the fourth quarter, Houston scored again with a 1-yard rush from Trull. The Dolphins scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, via a 4-yard pass from Stofa to Bill Cronin and a 14-yard pass from Stofa to Auer. With no further scores by either team, the game ended with a 29-28 win for the Miami Dolphins. Miami ended their season with a win-loss record of 3-11.[27]


AFL Eastern Division
Buffalo Bills 9 4 1 .692 6–2 358 255 W1
Boston Patriots 8 4 2 .667 5–1–1 315 283 L1
New York Jets 6 6 2 .500 4–3–1 322 312 W1
Houston Oilers 3 11 0 .214 1–7 335 396 L8
Miami Dolphins 3 11 0 .214 2–5 213 362 W1

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Awards and honors


  1. ^ a b "Miami to join AFL in '66". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. August 17, 1965. p. 1C. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Miami granted AFL franchise". Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. August 17, 1965. p. 39. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Brody, Tom C. (August 8, 1966). "Win one for the Flipper". Sports Illustrated: 24. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Jenish, D’Arcy (2009). The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory. Toronto, Ontario: Doubleday. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-385-66325-0.
  5. ^ "Miami gets franchise for AFL team in 1966". Milwaukee Journal. Journal Wire Services. August 17, 1965. p. 11. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  6. ^ 100 Things Dolphins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Armando Salguero, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2020, ISBN 978-1-62937-722-3, p.19
  7. ^ a b "Raiders rip Miami, 23-14, in AFL debut". Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. September 3, 1966. p. 10. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  8. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 396
  9. ^ "1966 Miami Dolphins draftees". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Miami Dolphins: 1966 roster". Pre Football Reference. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins – September 2nd, 1966". Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Jets squeeze Miami, 19-14, in AFL debut". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. September 10, 1966. p. 10.
  13. ^ "New York Jets at Miami Dolphins – September 9th, 1966". Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  14. ^ "Miami Dolphins Throw Scare At New York Jets". Journal Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2017 – via open access
  15. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills – September 18th, 1966". Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  16. ^ "All Matchups, Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills". Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  17. ^ "Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers – October 2nd, 1966". Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders – October 9th, 1966". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  19. ^ "Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins – October 16th, 1966". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  20. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Houston Oilers – October 23rd, 1966". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  21. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – November 6th, 1966". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs – November 13th, 1966". Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  23. ^ "Miami Dolphins at New York Jets – November 20th, 1966". Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Boston Patriots at Miami Dolphins - November 27th, 1966". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos – December 4th, 1966". Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  26. ^ "Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins – December 11th, 1966". Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  27. ^ "Houston Oilers at Miami Dolphins - December 18th, 1966". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c "1966 Miami Dolphins Statistics & Players". Retrieved May 21, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 June 2021, at 23:34
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