Tribute: Assessing Jake Scott's Place in Dolphins History

Former Miami Dolphins Super Bowl MVP Jake Scott passed away Thursday at the age of 75
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When safety Eric Rowe showed up for the Miami Dolphins game against the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday, he gladly showed the team's social media account his cleats for the day as he walked in the parking lot at Hard Rock Stadium.

The shoes were an ode to the past with the Dolphins wearing their throwback uniforms that day.

The shoes had the words "NO-NAME DEFENSE" on one side of each shoe as a tribute to the group that led the Dolphins to Super Bowl titles in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. On the other side on one shot was the name of Dick Anderson and on the other the name of Jake Scott.

"Two of the greatest safeties," Rowe said. "If you don't know who they are, you've got to look them up."

Indeed, Anderson and Scott probably were the two greatest safeties in Dolphins history and formed one of the top pairings in NFL history.

Scott, who died Thursday at the age of 75, actually belongs in the conversation as the best defensive player in franchise history.

He was that good.

Scott doesn't usually receive a lot of mention when the greatest defensive player discussion begins, but that's mostly because he just didn't have a very long Dolphins career when compared to others like Nick Buoniconti or Jason Taylor or Zach Thomas.

Scott only played six seasons for the Dolphins, but he was borderline spectacular in those seasons.

In those six seasons, Scott was selected to the Pro Bowl five times, was named an All-Pro twice, and had between four and eight interceptions every year.

Forty-five years after he played his last season with the Dolphins, Scott still holds the career franchise record for interceptions with 35, one more than Anderson. But it needs to be mentioned that Scott played 84 games for the Dolphins and Anderson played 121.

And Scott didn't stop in the regular season. He had four interceptions in 11 playoff games with the Dolphins, including two in the Super Bowl VII victory against Washington that capped the perfect season of 1972 to earn SB MVP honors.

Oh, did we mention that Scott was a great punt returner also?

Among the eight players with at least 75 punt returns for the Dolphins, Scott's average of 10.5 yards per return is tied for highest with Tom Vigorito and current Dolphins player Jakeem Grant.

Scott had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in his first year with the Dolphins in 1970 and led the NFL in punt return yards in 1971.

As a seventh-round selection in 1970, Scott will go down as one of the best draft picks in franchise history.

In reality, the Dolphins only were able to get Scott that late in the draft because he was playing in the Canadian Football League at the time, a result of his desire to leave the University of Georgia (where his career earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame) and NFL rules at the time prevented him from enter the NFL draft.

His departure also wasn't typical because it came as a result of a contentious relationship with legendary coach Don Shula.

It was bad enough that the Dolphins traded Scott to Washington in August 1976 for defensive back Bryant Salter — and the Dolphins threw in a fourth-round pick in the deal.

That was one of the worst trades in team history.

Salter, who was 26 when he got to Miami, didn't even make it through that 1976 season with the Dolphins, They waived him in December, he finished the year with the Colts and never played again in the NFL.

Scott, who eventually reconciled with Shula, went on to play three more years with Washington, closing his NFL career with a seven-interception season in 1978.

Jake Scott

The one thing he didn't do in Washington was add to his Pro Bowl resume.

Scott is one of 15 players who earned five or more Pro Bowl invitations with the Dolphins, and one of six on defense.

The others are Thomas (7), Taylor (6), Bob Baumhower (5), John Offerdahl (5) and Cameron Wake (5). All of them, though, played at least eight seasons with the Dolphins.

Of all the Dolphins players, only wide receiver Paul Warfield had a higher percentage of Pro Bowl seasons during his Miami career — Warfield batted 1.000 by making the Pro Bowl five times in five seasons with Miami (Scott batted .833).

Scott earned his rightful place on the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2010, three years after the Pro Football Researchers Association named him to the PFRA Hall of Very Good.

Yes, Jake Scott was very, very good.

He actually was good enough that it's not silly at all to suggest he may have been the most productive defensive player in Dolphins history.