1978 Miami Dolphins season
OwnerJoe Robbie
Head coachDon Shula
General managerMike Robbie
Home fieldMiami Orange Bowl
Results
Record11–5
Division place2nd AFC East
Playoff finishLost Wild Card Playoffs (vs. Oilers) 9–17
The Dolphins playing against the Houston Oilers in the 1978 AFC Wild Card game.
The Dolphins playing against the Houston Oilers in the 1978 AFC Wild Card game.

The 1978 Miami Dolphins season was the franchise's 9th season in the National Football League, the 13th overall, and the 9th under head coach Don Shula. The team returned to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 1974, with an 11–5 record. Quarterback Bob Griese missed the first seven games due to a knee injury. The Dolphins got off to a 5-2 start behind back-up Don Strock. Upon Griese's return, the Dolphins earned a birth to the playoffs as a Wild Card. Helping to lead the Dolphins back to the postseason was Running Back Delvin Williams who set a team record with 1,258 yards rushing on the season. In the first playoff game involving two Wild Cards, the Dolphins were stunned 17-9 by the Houston Oilers at the Orange Bowl. In the process the Dolphins set two notable records: scoring first in all but one of their sixteen regular season games,[1] and never trailing at any point in eleven games.[2] The former record was equalled by the 2004 Patriots, and the latter was beaten by the 2005 Colts.

Offseason

NFL Draft

Main article: 1978 NFL Draft

1978 Miami Dolphins draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 51 Guy Benjamin  Quarterback Stanford
3 64 Lyman Smith  Defensive Tackle Duke
3 81 Jimmy Cefalo  Wide Receiver Penn State
4 93 Gerald Small  Cornerback an Jose State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Personnel

Staff

1977 Miami Dolphins staff
Front office

Head coaches

  • Head Coach – Don Shula

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams – Carl Taseff
  • Punting – Tom Keane


Roster

Miami Dolphins roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams


Rookies in italics

updated (({Date))}

(({Active))} active, (({PS))} practice squad, (({unsigned))} unsigned

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Standings

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
New England Patriots(2) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 358 286 L1
Miami Dolphins(4) 11 5 0 .688 5–3 8–4 372 254 W3
New York Jets 8 8 0 .500 6–2 7–5 359 364 L2
Buffalo Bills 5 11 0 .313 2–6 4–10 302 354 W1
Baltimore Colts 5 11 0 .313 1–7 3–9 240 421 L5

Regular season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 3 at New York Jets L 20–33 0–1 Shea Stadium Recap
2 September 10 at Baltimore Colts W 42–0 1–1 Memorial Stadium Recap
3 September 17 Buffalo Bills W 31–24 2–1 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
4 September 24 at Philadelphia Eagles L 3–17 2–2 Veterans Stadium Recap
5 October 1 St. Louis Cardinals W 24–10 3–2 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
6 October 9 Cincinnati Bengals W 21–0 4–2 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
7 October 15 at San Diego Chargers W 28–21 5–2 San Diego Stadium Recap
8 October 22 at New England Patriots L 24–33 5–3 Schaefer Stadium Recap
9 October 29 Baltimore Colts W 26–8 6–3 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
10 November 5 Dallas Cowboys W 23–16 7–3 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
11 November 12 at Buffalo Bills W 25–24 8–3 Rich Stadium Recap
12 November 20 at Houston Oilers L 30–35 8–4 Astrodome Recap
13 November 26 New York Jets L 13–24 8–5 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
14 December 3 at Washington Redskins W 16–0 9–5 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
15 December 10 Oakland Raiders W 23–6 10–5 Miami Orange Bowl Recap
16 December 18 New England Patriots W 23–3 11–5 Miami Orange Bowl Recap

Results

Week 3

1 234Total
Bills 0 7314 24
• Dolphins 7 7107 31

[3]

Playoffs

Round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Recap
Wild Card December 24 Houston Oilers (5) L 9–17 0–1 Miami Orange Bowl Recap

AFC Wildcard Playoff (Sunday December 24, 1978): vs. Houston Oilers

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Oilers 7 0 01017
Dolphins 7 0 029

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Game information
  • Scoring
    • MIA – Tillman 13 pass from Griese (Yepremian kick) MIA 7–0
    • HOU – Wilson 13 pass from Pastorini (Fritsch kick) 7–7
    • HOU – field goal Fritsch 35 HOU 10–7
    • HOU – Campbell 1 run (Fritsch kick) HOU 17–7
    • MIA – Safety, Pastorini ran out of end zone HOU 17–9

Awards and honors

Milestones

Notes and references