In a world where the NFL is more popular than ever, it’s easy to forget that the league has been around for over 100 years. That’s because in order to be successful, you have to start somewhere.
Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins and has been since he was drafted in 2012. In 2013, Tannehill led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and their first playoff berth in eight years. Although he didn’t have a great season in 2014, he bounced back with a solid 2015 campaign.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Tannehill, Ryan has been compared to Miami Dolphins icon Dan Marino since his debut in the NFL in 2012.
Tannehill was selected by the Dolphins almost a decade ago with the hopes of being the franchise quarterback the club has needed since Marino departed in 2000. Despite the fact that he is doing well in Tennessee rather than Florida, the 33-year-old quarterback is thankful for the counsel he got from the Pro Football Hall of Famer a few years ago.
Dan Marino gave Ryan Tannehill some basic advice early in his career.
NFL great Dan Marino gave Ryan Tannehill (L) career-changing advice early in his career | Abbie Parr/Getty Images; Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Tannehill is in his tenth NFL season, which serves as another another reminder that time flies in the NFL. Along the way, he’s had plenty of chances to pick the brains of some of the game’s best players.
Tannehill reminisced on his time with Marino while with the Dolphins from 2012 to 18 in a recent interview with the New York Post. After more than a decade at CBS Sports, the 1984 NFL MVP joined the Dolphins as a special advisor in 2014.
“Dan said a lot of nice things, but my favorite and most memorable was, “Pick your man and let it fly.” Something really basic that certainly translates.”
Tannehill would not say when Marino gave him the guidance, just that it happened when they were both in Miami. Following the Hall of Famer’s comeback in 2014, his statistics as a passer dramatically improved.
Marino’s counsel helped Tannehill get on the right track to resurrecting his NFL career.
Ryan Tannehill threw a beautiful long ball, and Kenny Stills worked hard to get open.
However, due of how near the stands are to the end zone, someone is certain to break a leg or rupture an ACL at some time. pic.twitter.com/36zOV8SC9K
September 24, 2018 — Will Brinson (@WillBrinson)
If you doubt Marino’s counsel, consider this: in his first 32 games with the Dolphins, Tannehill threw 36 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. In his next 56 games from 2014 through 2018, the first-round quarterback threw 87 touchdowns and 45 interceptions.
Without rewriting history, it’s fair to say Tannehill’s last years with the Dolphins were filled with memorable events and plays. It wasn’t his fault that he spent much of his tenure with the Dolphins without a true No. 1 receiver or a game-changing tight end.
Of course, there’s no justification for any of Tannehill’s shortcomings during his time in Miami. He had plenty of turnovers and passes he wished he could take back, and it’s still debatable how much of his overall issues should be blamed on Adam Gase, the Dolphins’ head coach from 2016 to 2018, and how much on the veteran quarterback.
Outside of a breakthrough season in 2014, when he passed for over 4,000 yards and 27 passing touchdowns, Tannehill’s time with the Dolphins was marred by advanced metrics. In Major League Baseball, we may overlook bad coaching if a batter has a low Wins Above Replacement score since the hitter is to blame. When analyzing a quarterback playing in one of Gase’s systems, the same reasoning can’t always be used, whether the metric in issue is quarterback rating or Pro Football Focus ratings.
The Dolphins did, however, trade Tannehill to the Titans in the spring of 2019. Over the past several years, the quarterback has perfected selecting his guy and letting it fly, as fantasy football managers and Titans fans will testify.
If Tannehill continues to follow Marino’s counsel, the Titans will go far.
In 31 games and 29 starts with the Titans, Tannehill has completed 67 percent of his passes for 7,317 yards, 59 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. In October 2019, he moved from being Marcus Mariota’s backup to starting the AFC Championship Game three months later.
Tannehill’s life has become a lot better since he moved to Tennessee. In 2020, he agreed to a four-year, $118 million deal with the Titans, which will keep him with the team until the 2023 season. He’s developed into a dependable starting quarterback, free of the lingering ailments that plagued him in Miami.
In the post-Marino era, the Dolphins are still looking for a true franchise quarterback. It’s unclear if it’ll be Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa, or Arch Manning.
Tannehill, on the other hand, is going to select his man and let it fly against a club that seems poised to win the AFC South for the second year in a row. Not bad for a quarterback who was written off by the football world two years ago.
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Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, but in the game that got him there, his opponents applauded him.
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