|Born:||November 20, 1957|
Murfreesboro, North Carolina
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||255 lb (116 kg)|
|High school:||Hampton (Hampton, Virginia)|
|NFL Draft:||1980 / Round: 2 / Pick: 48|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com|
Dwight Eugene Stephenson (born November 20, 1957) is an American former professional football player who was a center for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) from 1980 to 1987. He played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Stephenson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Stephenson was born in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. He played college football at the University of Alabama under coach Bear Bryant. Bryant called Stephenson the best center he ever coached, and described him as "a man among children".He was the Crimson Tide's starting center from 1977 to 1979, and was a member of Alabama's back-to-back national championship teams of 1978 and 1979. He was a two-time second-team All-American; in 1978 by United Press International (UPI) and 1979 by the Associated Press (AP) and UPI. "His speed, his foot quickness, was off the chart," said Mike Brock, a former Alabama lineman. "You couldn't compare it to other people who played at that time. There was no way for defenses to deal with him."
Stephenson was drafted by Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft. He was used on special teams only until late in the 1981 season, when starting center Mark Dennard was injured. A few seasons later, Stephenson was "universally recognized as the premier center in the NFL".
With the exceptionally explosive Stephenson as offensive captain, the Dolphins offensive line gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL for a record six straight seasons, from 1982 to 1987,which doubled the length of the previous record. He retired from pro football in 1987, after sustaining a left knee injury in a play involving New York Jets Marty Lyons and Joe Klecko.
Stephenson was voted as an All-Pro five consecutive times from 1983 to 1987. He was selected to play on five Pro Bowl squads over the same span. He was named AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFLPA five consecutive times (1983-87) and voted the Seagram's Seven Crowns of Sports Offensive Lineman of the Year three consecutive times (1983-85). He started at center in the AFC Championship Game three times, in 1982, 1984, and 1985. He was the starting center in the Dolphins' two most recent Super Bowl appearances: Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX. In 1985, Stephenson was the recipient of the NFL Man of the Year Award for "outstanding community service and playing excellence."
On December 12, 1994 he was added to Miami Dolphins Honor Roll.
Despite the brevity of his career, in 1999, he was ranked number 84 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Also in 1999, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2011, he was inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, for his contributions to sports in southeastern Virginia.
In 1998 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was quoted as saying that "I know I’m not going to make every block, but I don’t like to ever get beat. That’s what keeps me motivated. There’s always the next play to get ready for.”
In 2005, he was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year.
He is the namesake of Pro Football Focus' annual Dwight Stephenson Award, honoring the player the website considers best in the NFL regardless of position.
After retiring from football, and as of 2013, Stephenson has worked as a construction manager and general contractor in Florida. He remains a strong supporter of the University of Alabama's football team.
Robert Allen Griese is a former American football quarterback who earned All-American honors with the Purdue Boilermakers before being drafted in 1967 by the American Football League's Miami Dolphins. Griese led the Dolphins to a then record three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, including two Super Bowl victories in VII and VIII. Griese was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. He later worked as a television commentator, calling NFL games for NBC Sports and college football for ESPN and ABC Sports. Griese is one of three quarterbacks from Purdue to win the Super Bowl.
Daniel Lee Dierdorf is an American sportscaster and former football offensive lineman.
Michael Anthony Muñoz, is an American former professional football player who was an offensive tackle for 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). Muñoz is widely considered to be one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Joe Klecko is a former American football player, of Polish descent, best remembered for his days as a defensive lineman, a member of the New York Jets' famed "New York Sack Exchange."
Michael Anthony Munchak is an American professional football coach and former player who is the offensive line coach for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). A graduate of Penn State, Munchak played left guard for the Houston Oilers from 1982 until 1993 and was a nine-time selection to the Pro Bowl. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
John Allen Hannah, nicknamed "Hog", is an American former professional football player who was a left guard for the New England Patriots (1973–1985) in the National Football League (NFL). In 1999 the Sporting News ranked him as the second greatest offensive lineman in NFL history after Anthony Muñoz. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. Sports Illustrated dubbed him, on its August 3, 1981, cover, "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time." In 1991, he was the inaugural inductee in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
Thomas Henry Nobis Jr. was an American football linebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 11 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at the University of Texas and was the first overall selection in the 1966 NFL draft.
James Kent Hull was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League and United States Football League, more precisely a center for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and Buffalo Bills of the NFL.
Robert Glenn Baumhower is a restaurateur and a former American football player who played college football for the University of Alabama under Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1973 to 1976 and professional football for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) under coach Don Shula.
The 1983 NFL Draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 26–27, 1983, at the New York Sheraton Hotel in New York City, New York. No teams elected to claim any players in the supplemental draft that year.
Louis James Kelcher is an American retired professional football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL), spending most of his career with the San Diego Chargers. He was a four-time All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowl selection. Kelcher was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame and is a member of their 40th and 50th anniversary teams.
James John Langer was an American professional football player who was a center and guard in the National Football League (NFL) for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. BBC Sport reported him as one of the greatest centers in NFL history. Langer was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1987.
The 1980 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 29–30, 1980, at the New York Sheraton Hotel in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season. This draft is notable as the first that the nascent ESPN network aired in its entirety, and the first to be televised.
Robert John Kuechenberg was a National Football League guard for the Miami Dolphins for 14 seasons between 1970 and 1983, spending the 1984 season on injured reserve. He was a mainstay in a line that included Hall of Famers Jim Langer, Larry Little, and Dwight Stephenson and played in six Pro Bowls in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was selected as one of the top 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 2002–2006, and one of the top 17 finalists from 2007–2009, but missed the cut every year. He was inducted into the Miami Dolphin's Honor Roll on December 15, 1995. He was the brother of the retired Chicago Bears linebacker Rudy Kuechenberg.
Hugh Donell Green is a former professional American football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for eleven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, and was recognized as a three-time consensus All-American. Green was selected in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins.
Martin Anthony Lyons is a former American college and professional football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League for 11 seasons during the 1970s and 1980s. Lyons played college football for the University of Alabama, and earned All-American honors. Selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft, he played his entire professional career for the NFL's New York Jets. He was a member of the Jets' famed "New York Sack Exchange," the team's dominant front four in 1981 and 1982 that also featured Mark Gastineau, Abdul Salaam and Joe Klecko.
The 1968 National Football League draft was part of the common draft, in the second year in which the NFL and AFL held a joint draft of college players. It took place at the Belmont Plaza Hotel in New York City on January 30–31, 1968.
The 1967 National Football League draft was conducted March 14–15, 1967, at the Gotham Hotel in New York City. It was the first common draft with the AFL, part of the AFL–NFL merger agreement of June 1966.
Edward Kenneth Newman is a former All-Pro offensive guard who, from 1973 to 1984, played 167 games over 12 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He is now a judge in Florida.
Richard Barry Krauss is a former professional American football player who played linebacker for twelve seasons in the National Football League.