The 100 Greatest Plays in Dolphins History: No. 97

Combining the countdown to the start of the Dolphins regular season with the best plays in franchise history
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To help count down the days to the start of the Miami Dolphins regular season last year, we marked each day with the corresponding jersey number and came up with the three best players to wear that number.

This year, we're counting down to the start of the regular season with a countdown of the top 100 plays in Dolphins history.

Given that the Dolphins have played 849 regular season games and 41 more in the playoffs, it's an awfully difficult task to narrow things down to 100 plays and then rank them. The plays selected were ranked on the basis of difficult, immediate and long-lasting impact and historical significance.

The countdown initially appeared in Dolphin Digest in 2019 but has been updated.

We continue with No. 97.

No. 97: Bryan Cox Takes on the Cincinnati Bengals Sideline in 1991

Setting the stage: The 1991 season wasn't particularly memorable for the Dolphins, who finished with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs one year after going 12-4. The last victory of the season was a 37-13 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals in a Monday night game in December at what was then known as Joe Robbie Stadium. Dan Marino passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Mark Clayton, that night, but the game became remembered for linebacker Bryan Cox sticking up for kicker Pete Stoyanovich after he was on the wrong end of a cheap shot.

The play: Stoyanovich had just kicked a 22-yard field goal to extend the Dolphins lead to 20-6 in the final minute of the third quarter when his ensuing kickoff was downed for a touchback. But after running slowly downfield after the kickoff, Stoyanovich was leveled by a blindside block by linebacker Alex Gordon, who at 246 pounds outweighed him by almost 60 pounds. The hit, while technically not illegal because Stoyanovich was fair game until the play was blown dead, was dubious at best. But what made things worse was that the Bengals were seen laughing on the sideline and Gordon even got a high-five from a teammate after the replay was shown on the scoreboard. That was all Cox could stomach, so he made his way to the Bengals sideline looking to challenge Gordon, though he couldn't get to him because he was restrained by a group of teammates. Cox ended up getting a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, but he absolutely won the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike for sticking up for a teammate like that.

The No. 100 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 99 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 98 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

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Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL. Feel free to submit questions every Friday for the All Dolphins mailbag.