Dolphins–Patriots rivalry

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Dolphins–Patriots rivalry
Miami Dolphins wordmark.svg
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots wordmark.svg
New England Patriots
First meetingNovember 27, 1966
Patriots 20, Dolphins 14
Latest meetingSeptember 13, 2020
Patriots 21, Dolphins 11
Next meetingDecember 20, 2020
Meetings total110
All-time seriesDolphins, 56–54
Postseason resultsPatriots, 2–1
  • January 8, 1983: Dolphins 28, Patriots 13
  • January 12, 1986: Patriots 31, Dolphins 14
  • December 28, 1997: Patriots 17, Dolphins 3
Largest victoryDolphins: 52–0 (1972)
Patriots: 43–0 (2019)
Longest win streakDolphins, 9 (1989–93)
Patriots, 7 (1986–88; 2010–13)
Current win streakPatriots: 1 (2020-present)

The Dolphins–Patriots rivalry is an American football rivalry between the National Football League (NFL)'s Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. The Dolphins lead the all-time series 56–54.[1] Because both teams are members of the American Football Conference (AFC) East division, the two teams have been scheduled to play twice (home and home) every regular season since 1967.

While not as famous as some other rivalries, the rivalry has a long history that dates back to the 1960s. The beginning of the rivalry was dominated by the Dolphins, as the time the Dolphins were one of the NFL's most successful teams, while the Patriots were one of the worst. The Patriots finally made the Super Bowl in 1985.

Starting in 1986, the rivalry was a little bit more even, with the Pats having a 7-game winning streak from 1986 to 1988. The Dolphins then took over the rivalry once again, winning 13 of the next 15 matchups between the 2 teams. Both teams had great quarterbacks in the 1990s, with the Patriots having Drew Bledsoe and the Dolphins with Dan Marino, both of whom appeared in at least one Super Bowl; Marino in Super Bowl XIX and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI. The Dolphins continued to dominate the rivalry through the late 1990s with the Dolphins sweeping the Patriots in back to back years, 1999 and 2000.

Miami is one of 4 teams in the AFC with a winning overall record against New England (the others being the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs). Since 2003, the Patriots have dominated the rivalry, but not as much as their rivalries with their two other AFC East opponents. In 2004, one of the most famous moments in the rivalry happened where the Dolphins, 2–11 at the time, upset the defending champion Patriots, who were 12–1, in a game that has been known as "The Night That Courage Wore Orange".[2] The rivalry briefly intensified in 2005 when Nick Saban (whom previously served as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, coached by Bill Belichick at the time) was hired as the Dolphins head coach and when he nearly signed quarterback Drew Brees with the Dolphins, as well as in 2008 when the Dolphins became the only team other than the Patriots since 2003 to win the division. In Week 3 of the aforementioned 2008 season, the Dolphins used the Wildcat formation to throw the Patriots off and went on to upset them, 38–13, snapping their 20-game regular season winning streak that dated back to December 10, 2006, which coincidentally, the Patriots were also beat by the Dolphins.[3] In 2018, the Dolphins upset the Patriots in Miami for the second year in a row, this time with a last-minute hook and lateral scoring play in what is known as the "Miracle in Miami".[4]

Also notable is the fact that the Dolphins and Patriots are the only NFL teams to post undefeated regular season records following the NFL-AFL merger. The 1972 Dolphins finished with a 14–0 regular season record and went on to win Super Bowl VII, finishing the only complete perfect season in NFL history,[5] while the 2007 Patriots were the first team to go undefeated in the regular season since the league expanded to 16 games, but famously lost Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. Additionally, both teams have had long-tenured coaches in Don Shula and Bill Belichick, respectively.[6]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Season-by-Season Results

Connections between the teams[edit]


Name Dolphins' tenure Patriots' tenure
Dave DeGuglielmo Offensive line coach, 2009-2011, 2017, 2019 (asst) Offensive line coach, 2014-15
Brian Flores Head coach, 2019-present Scouting assistant, 2004-05
Pro scout, 2006-07
Special teams assistant, 2008-09
Assistant offense & special teams, 2010
Defensive assistant, 2011
Safeties coach, 2012-15
Linebackers coach, 2016-18
Chad O'Shea Offensive coordinator, 2019 Wide receivers coach, 2009-2018


Name Position(s) Dolphins' tenure Patriots' tenure
Will Allen Cornerback 2006-2011 2012
Danny Amendola Wide receiver 2018 2013-17
Brandon Bolden Running back/Special teamer 2018 2012-17, 2019-present
A.J. Derby Tight end 2017-18 2015-16
Jonathan Freeny Linebacker 2011-14 2015-16, 2017
Larry Izzo Special teamer 1996-2000 2001-08
Ted Larsen Guard 2017-18 2010
Wes Welker Wide receiver 2004-06 2007-2012
Junior Seau Linebacker 2003-2005 2006-2009
Eric Rowe Cornerback 2019-present 2016-18
Kyle Van Noy Linebacker 2020-present 2016-19


  1. ^ "New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins Results | The Football Database". Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  2. ^ Galicia, Thomas (October 4, 2010). "Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots: Greatest Games In The Series". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  3. ^ "Dolphins stun Patriots 38-13". The Seattle Times. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  4. ^ Hoffman, Benjamin (December 9, 2018). "Dolphins Shock Patriots With a Miracle in Miami". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  5. ^ 1972 Perfect Season - Miami Dolphins
  6. ^ "Giants prevent perfect season, beat Patriots". Sporting News. February 8, 2008. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2008.