The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami, Florida Metropolitan Area. They play their home games in the Miami suburb of Miami Gardens. Currently, the Dolphins are members of the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Dolphins began play in the American Football League as an expansion team in 1966, and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. The Dolphins are the oldest major-league professional sports franchise currently in the state of Florida.
The team made its first Super Bowl appearance following the 1971 season in Super Bowl VI, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys. In 1972, the Dolphins completed the NFL's only perfect season to date in the Super Bowl era, winning all 14 regular season games, two playoff games and Super Bowl VII. The team also won Super Bowl VIII, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, and the second overall team to win back-to-back championships. Miami also appeared in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX, losing both games.
The Dolphins began play in 1966, with running back Joe Auer returning the opening kick-off 95 yards for the team's first score. After four consecutive losing seasons, Don Shula replaced George Wilson as head coach. Miami joined the NFL in 1970 when the NFL and AFL completed their merger.
During the 2006 preseason, Sports Illustrated touted the Dolphins to be one of the teams heading to the Super Bowl XLI. They were predicted to lose by a field goal to the Carolina Panthers in their own Dolphin Stadium. Before the season began, Ricky Williams tested positive for the 4th time for violating the NFLs substance abuse policy, ending his season. The season started out with a rough loss to the defending Super Bowl Champions The Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins went on to start the season with a record of 1-6. However they had seemed to have turned something around midseason, much like the previous year's late-season surge. However, with a 6-8 record after a loss to Buffalo in Week 15, they were assured to once again miss the playoffs. The team finished 6-10 after a loss to the Colts in their final game.