Daniel Constantine "Dan" Marino, Jr. (born September 15, 1961) is a retired American quarterback who played for the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League. The last quarterback of the Quarterback Class of 1983 to be taken in the first round, Marino became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in league history, holding or having held almost every major NFL passing record. Despite never being on a Super Bowl-winning team, he is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in American football history. Best remembered for his quick release and powerful arm, Marino led the Dolphins to the playoffs ten times in his seventeen season career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Marino was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Italian and Polish ancestry. He was the second oldest child of Daniel and Veronica Marino, had an older brother Paul and had two younger sisters, Cindi and Debbie. Dan, Sr.delivered newspapers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dan grew up on Parkview Avenue in the South Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh and attended St. Regis Catholic Elementary School before going to Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where he also started in baseball, and won Parade All-American honors in football. As a high school baseball player, Marino hit high school highs by throwing pitches up to 95 mph. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Kansas City Royals baseball team in the 1979 amateur draft, but decided to play college football instead.
Marino played college football at the University of Pittsburgh from the 1979 to the 1982 season. As a freshman in 1979, Marino led the Panthers in a 24-17 triumph over West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. He led the Panthers to a last-minute triumph over the Georgia Bulldogs in the 1982 Sugar Bowl by throwing the game-winning pass to tight end John Brown with less than a minute remaining, a play that is considered among the greatest in Pittsburgh sports history. The next season (his senior year) was considered a disappointment with regard to the preseason Heisman Trophy and national championship hype. His team lost the 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic 7-3 to Southern Methodist and their "Pony Express" of Eric Dickerson and Craig James. Although he lost the Heisman Race, Marino's Panthers triumphed once again over rival West Virginia with a late touchdown drive to win 16-13 in one of the best games in the rivalry.