Marino was an outstanding quarterback for Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where he won Parade All-America honors. Because of his great passing ability, he was coveted by most of the top football programs in the country. He was also drafted by baseball's Kansas City Royals, but opted to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
Marino took over the starting quarterback job at Pitt somewhere in the middle of his freshman season. He developed into an outstanding college quarterback over the next couple years, and in his junior year threw 37 touchdown passes and was selected as an All-American.
After a disappointing senior season in which he saw his draft value slip considerably, the Miami Dolphins selected Marino with the 27th overall pick in the 1983 draft. He was the fifth quarterback selected in that draft class.
On Sunday, October 9, 1983, Marino made his first start in the NFL a success by throwing three touchdown passes and completing 19-of-29 passes for 322 yards. Unfortunately, the Dolphins lost in overtime to the Buffalo Bills.
In his first professional season, Marino would go on to throw for 2,210 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year and he was also the first rookie ever to start at quarterback in the Pro Bowl.
In 1984, Dan Marino really burst into the forefront of the NFL. It took him just eight games to beat Bob Griese's single-season team record for touchdown passes, and nine weeks to top Griese's team record for most passing yards in one season.
Marino capped off an incredible season by setting single-season NFL records for touchdown passes (48), completions (362), and yards (5,084). The only thing that could have made this dream season better would have been a Super Bowl victory. Unfortunately for Marino and the rest of the Dolphins, though, they were beaten in the Super Bowl by the San Francisco 49ers.
On November 12th, 1995, Marino broke the NFL record for career passing yards when he eclipsed Fran Tarkenton's mark of 47,003. Just two weeks later, he broke Tarkenton's record for most career touchdown passes by throwing number 343 against the Indianapolis Colts.
At the time he retired, Marino was the only quarterback to top the 60,000 yard career passing mark. He also became the only quarterback at the time to toss more than 400 touchdown passes and had thrown more pass attempts and more completions than anyone else in the history of the game.