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Why didn’t Dan Marino win a Super Bowl?

A look at why the Hall of Fame MVP never won a ring

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any conversation about Dan Marino’s career must be in want of a reference to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

I don’t talk about Marino’s acting stint in the above episode of Untitled, our video series that explores why exemplary athletes never won a championship in their chosen sport. I have, however, been thinking quite a bit about the movie, the plot, and Marino’s involvement with it. I looked up the movie’s entry on Wikipedia as a refresher, and boy howdy, this thing holds up worse than a soiled diaper in the sun. In this movie:

  • The Miami Dolphins mascot, a real dolphin named “Snowflake” which the team houses on site in Joe Robbie stadium, is kidnapped
  • The Miami Dolphins’ chief publicist hires a “pet detective” to locate the animal
  • The Miami Dolphins’ head of football operations is murdered
  • The Miami Dolphins have lost Super Bowl 17 in 1983 due to a missed field goal by fictional kicker Ray Finkle, which was held incorrectly by quarterback Dan Marino, who was still in college in January 1983
  • Ray Finkle succumbs to mental illness, escapes a medical facility, assumes the identity of missing female hiker Lois Einhorn, becomes a liutenant of the Miami-Dade Police Department, is revealed to have used her position to facilitate the murder of the Dolphins employee and kidnapping of Snowflake, and abducts real-life Dan Marino, whom she blames for the embarrassing Super Bowl mistake and intends to kill
  • Did I mention that a member of the Miami Dolphins organization is brutally murdered?
  • The Miami Dolphins make it to the Super Bowl, but it is not even shown if they win or lose

Reading the film’s recap, I kept asking myself one fundamental question: How the SHIT did the Dolphins allow this to happen?

Imagine that you’re working for the Miami Dolphins in 1994. Maybe you’re an assistant in the front office, working your way up the ladder. You like your job, because you like what you do, but more importantly, you’re proud to work for the Dolphins specifically. You’re excited to see the new comedy movie with Dan and the white guy from In Living Color. The organization has been working with the producers for a while now and apparently the team’s brand is all over this thing. You bring the kids. You settle in for a fun time, and halfway through, a team executive is found dead, and the film’s transphobic climax turns a fictional Dolphins player into a murderer.

Did… they send us a fake-out script? Or did someone at the organization actually look at all of the available information, all the ways this could play out, and decide that involving Dan Marino and the Dolphins in this was a good idea? (Also, why would a quarterback be holding a last-second field goal?)

Again: How the shit did the Dolphins allow this to happen?

That question is also at the core of this episode of Untitled, and one I hope I’ve come close to answering for you. Dan Marino came into the league as a top prospect, broke a ton of records on his way to the Super Bowl in just his first full season starting, and then failed to even get another shot at reclaiming the championship. The Dolphins were handed a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and sure, he didn’t stay that good for his entire career, but not being able to win your conference again with Dan Marino behind center deserves asking some tough questions.

Ace Venture: Pet Detective is on a long list of great examples demonstrating the organization’s questionable decision-making when it comes to Dan Marino.

“Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell,” says Ray Finkle’s mom with smile before offering Ace a cookie.

No ma’am. In our universe and yours, it’s not all Dan’s fault.