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 55–52. 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 90s, 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, whom were 12-1, in a game that has been known as "The Night That Courage Wore Orange". 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. 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".
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, 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 (whom would beat them again 4 years later in Super Bowl XLVI). Additionally both teams have had long-tenured coaches in Don Shula and Bill Belichick, respectively.
|Name||Dolphins' tenure||Patriots' tenure|
|Dave DeGuglielmo||Offensive line coach, 2009-2011||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-present||Wide receivers coach, 2009-2018|
|Name||Position(s)||Dolphins' tenure||Patriots' tenure|
|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|
|Wes Welker||Wide receiver||2004-06||2007-2012|
The 2004 Miami Dolphins season was the team's 39th overall, and 35th as a member of the National Football League. The Dolphins were unable to improve upon their previous season's output of 10–6, instead only going 4–12 after starting the season 0–6. The team was adversely affected by the premature (drug-related) retirement of their star running back, Ricky Williams, and the trade of holdout defensive end Adewale Ogunleye for wide receiver Marty Booker. With this season record below .500 the team would have their first losing season since 1988.
Despite the disappointing season, the Dolphins, at 2-11 were able to upset the defending Super Bowl champion 12-1 New England Patriots, a memorable game of the Dolphins-Patriots rivalry known as "The Night That Courage Wore Orange", and handed the Patriots their 2nd loss of the season. During Week 6, their match with the Buffalo Bills is the only time in the NFL since 1968 that the last two winless teams have met each other.AFC East
The American Football Conference – Eastern Division or AFC East is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). There are currently four teams that reside in the division: the Buffalo Bills (based in Orchard Park, New York); the Miami Dolphins (based in Miami Gardens, Florida); the New England Patriots (based in Foxborough, Massachusetts); and the New York Jets (based in East Rutherford, New Jersey).
Since the division's enfranchisement in 1960, with the creation of the American Football League, the division has been represented in nineteen Super Bowls and won eight of them. The most recent appearance in the Super Bowl by an AFC East team was the Patriots victory in Super Bowl LIII.
At the end of 2018, the Patriots had the most wins in the division's history, with a record of 500-392-9, with a playoff record of 35-19 (6-5 in Super Bowls) entering the playoffs of that season. The Dolphins were second at 446-350-4 (having played 84 fewer games than their division rivals) with a playoff record of 20-21 (2-3 in Super Bowls). The Bills were at 406-470-8 with a playoff record of 14-15 (with two American Football League titles) and 0-4 in four consecutive Super Bowls. The Jets held a record of 396-480-8, with a playoff record of 12-13 including a victory in Super Bowl III.In 2012, the Patriots broke a tie with the Dolphins for winning the most division titles; with subsequent division titles in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 the Patriots have won 20 AFL/AFC East division titles to Miami's 14. The Bills have won ten division titles, and the Jets have won four.
Two teams formerly in the division combined for ten AFL/AFC East titles – the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) won four division titles (and the 1960 and 1961 league titles) during the AFL era while the Baltimore–Indianapolis Colts won six division titles (and Super Bowl V) in the 32 seasons they were in the division.Bills–Dolphins rivalry
The Bills–Dolphins rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. The teams, who are members of the American Football Conference East Division, play two games against one another per season. In the 106 regular season games between the teams in the series, the Dolphins lead 60–45–1 as of 2018. The teams have also met four times in the NFL playoffs. The Bills are 3–1 in the postseason, including a victory in the 1992 AFC Championship Game.Miracle in Miami
The Miami Miracle, also known as the Miracle in Miami, was an American football play that took place at the end of a game on December 9, 2018, between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Down 33–28 with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins completed a 17-yard pass and two lateral passes resulting in a 69-yard touchdown by running back Kenyan Drake. It is the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL history to involve multiple lateral passes, and the first multi-lateral touchdown since the River City Relay in December 2003. After the game, the play was known by several names, most commonly the "Miami Miracle" and the "Miracle in Miami". The play went on to win the Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year Award at the 8th Annual NFL Honors Award Show on February 2.
|Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Season-by-Season Results|
1960s (Dolphins, 4–3)
1970s (Dolphins, 13–7)
1980s (Patriots, 11–10)
1990s (Dolphins, 14–7)
2000s (Patriots, 11–9)
2010s (Patriots, 13–5)
Summary of Results
|Division championships (13)|
|Conference championships (5)|
|League championships (2)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (21)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (6)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold