This Dan Marino Trade to the Raiders in 1990 Could’ve Changed the Entire Course of Dolphins History

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Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino spent his entire 17-year career in a Miami Dolphins uniform, but three decades ago, he came close to being dealt to the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald indicated that the combination of the Dolphins’ four consecutive years of missed playoff appearances and Marino’s growing frustration served as the reasons for the near trade.

Legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula had been asked after the 1989 season if Marino could be traded and originally rejected the idea. However, he again pondered the idea after speaking about a possible deal with then-Raiders owner, Al Davis.

“Shula, only the winningest coach in NFL history, not only considered the trade, but nearly took the step,” Salguero wrote. “The reason Marino didn’t play his final decade in silver and black is that Shula and Davis came to an agreement on the trade and then Shula increased his asking price not once but twice.”

The push by Shula to try to get more soured Davis on the deal, with Marino ultimately spending the final 10 years of his career in Miami.

While the Dolphins bounced back to reach the postseason seven times in those final 10 seasons, they only reached the AFC championship game once, losing to the Buffalo Bills in January 1993.

Exactly what sort of trade package they would have received in exchange for Marino is unknown, but it likely would have taken a massive haul to entice the Dolphins to send away the legend. Also unknown is if Marino would have been able to lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl title.

In Marino’s 17 seasons, he threw for an NFL-record 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns and was a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame selection in 2005.

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Brad is a freelance writer for and has been around long enough to remember the 1972 perfect season, and even when Don Shula was coaching the Colts. He still follows the Dolphins and other happenings in the NFL, so he can offer a little perspective when it comes to the ups and downs of each season. Some of his opinions may end up differing from the people who read them, but that's par for the course when it comes to life in South Florida.