The Miami Dolphins missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season. But there are several former Dolphins playing in Super Bowl XLIX in two weeks.
For the NFC-champion Seattle Seahawks, veteran defensive lineman Tony McDaniel is trying to win back-to-back titles. McDaniel was a solid role player for Miami’s defensive line from 2009-12. But he left for Seattle in free agency and his numbers improved. He recorded 84 tackles and two sacks the past two seasons and will play in his second career Super Bowl.
For the AFC-champion New England Patriots, defensive end Rob Ninkovich, running back Jonas Gray and receiver Brian Tyms all are former Dolphins. Ninkovich is the best player of the bunch. He was a tweener in Miami that couldn’t find his niche in 2007. Therefore, the Dolphins let Ninkovich go after one season. The Patriots picked him up in 2009 and put him at defensive end. Ninkovich has 36.5 quarterback sacks since joining New England.
Gray spent time on Miami’s practice squad two seasons ago and was mostly a training camp body. Now, he’s a backup for the Patriots and had his biggest game against the Colts during the regular season where he rushed for 201 yards. Gray also rushed for 412 yards and five touchdowns this season. Tyms also was a camp body and on the practice squad in Miami before being released. He’s developed into a special-teamer on the active roster for the Patriots.
The Patriots have made a habit of taking former Miami players and making them better. The most famous is former Dolphins and Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who will get Hall of Fame consideration due to his stellar career in New England. Miami must reverse this trend if it wants to make up ground against the Patriots in the AFC East.