By the time the Miami Dolphins selected Dan Marino to serve as their future franchise quarterback in the legendary class of 1983, the NFL had just four starting quarterbacks who owned more than 100 career wins in the league’s Super Bowl era: Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr. But when Marino hung up his cleats on March 13, 2000 — he’d passed them all, only trailing fellow class of 1983 quarterback John Elway on the NFL’s all-time wins list. Marino’s retirement saw him just 7 wins short of the record and placed him 22 wins ahead of third-place, which belonged at the time to 49ers legend Joe Montana.
The resetting of the NFL’s quarterback wins record book is the offseason content you didn’t know you needed. In this viral clip making the rounds, you can watch a visualization of the leaderboard of quarterback wins throughout the Super Bowl era. With how painstakingly close Marino was to the top of the charts at the time of his retirement.
Marino was closest to the all-time record in Week 17 of the 1996 NFL season, where he found himself with 129 wins, four off the record — which was held by both Elway and Montana at the time.
Of course, Marino is a bit further down the list nowadays after the latest generation of quarterbacks has shredded the passing records. Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady stands far and away alone at the top, the expected byproduct of two decades of dominance. But legends like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have also surpassed the marks set by Elway & Marino, leaving the Dolphin’s greatest passer 7th on the all-time list of wins for quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era.
He’ll remain there for at least one more season, too. The next closest passer is Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who won the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2020 and is 18 wins off the mark set by Marino of 155.