Number 57 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson and Super Bowl linebacker Mike Kolen stand out above the rest
Miami Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson (57) against the Cleveland Browns during the 1985 AFC Divisional Playoff Game at the Orange Bowl.
Miami Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson (57) against the Cleveland Browns during the 1985 AFC Divisional Playoff Game at the Orange Bowl. / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
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The countdown to the start of the 2024 regular season has begun now that we're under 100 days away, so we'll honor every day the best players to wear the corresponding number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 57.

The top players at each number so far have been Jason Taylor at 99, Jared Odrick at 98, Phillip Merling at 97, Paul Soliai at 96, Tim Bowens at 95, Randy Starks at 94,  Trace Armstrong at 93, John Denney at 92, Cameron Wake at 91, Marco Coleman at 90,  Nat Moore at 89, Keith Jackson at 88, Andre Tillman at 87, Oronde Gadsden at 86, Nick Buoniconti at 85, Bill Stanfill at 84, Mark Clayton at 83, Brian Hartline at 82, O.J. McDuffie at 81, Irving Fryar at 80, Jon Giesler at 79, Richmond Webb at 78, A.J. Duhe at 77, Branden Albert at 76, Manny Fernandez at 75, Mark Dennis at 74, Bob Baumhower at 73, Terron Armstead at 72, Todd Wade at 71, Kendall Langford at 70, Keith Sims at 69, Robert Hunt at 68, Bob Kuechenberg at 67, Larry Little at 66, Jeff Dellenbach at 65, Ed Newman at 64, Mark Dixon at 63, Jim Langer at 62, Tim Ruddy at 61, Bert Weidner at 60, Doug Swift at 59, and Kim Bokamper at 58.

As a reminder about the ground rules, the top three will be determined only by what the players did while wearing that uniform for the Dolphins.

Players who wore 57 for at least one regular season game for the Dolphins:

LB John Bramlett (1967-68), LB Mike Kolen (1970-77), LB Sean Clancy (1978), C Dwight Stephenson (1980-87), G Tom Thayer (1993), LB Dion Foxx (1994-95), LB O.J. Brigance (1997-99), LB Corey Moore (2001), LB Corey Jenkins (2003-04), LB Lester Towns (2005), LB Keith Adams (2006), G Andy Alleman (2008), LB Micah Johnson (2010), LB Josh Kaddu (2012-13), LB Jordan Tripp (2014), LB Damontre Moore (2015), LB Trevor Reilly (2016), LB Brennan Scarlett (2021-22)

The breakdown of 57 with the Dolphins

There is no debate for number 1 here. Dwight Stephenson not only is a Hall of Famer, he might be the best player (regardless of position) in franchise history. Yes, I said it. In any ranking, Dan Marino will come in at number 1 because of the position he played and because of his longevity, but perhaps no Dolphins player — maybe not even Marino — dominated his position the way Stephenson did. Though he pales in comparison with Stephenson, Mike Kolen, who passed away earlier this year, was a very solid starter on the Dolphins' defenses of the 1970s after arriving in Miami as a 12th-round pick in 1970. O.J. Brigance also deserves mention as a very good special teams player from 1996-99, though he wore 58 in 1996 before switching to 57. Bramlett started 22 games in two seasons with the Dolphins, but he'll always be remembered for being part of the 1969 trade that brought Nick Buoniconti to Miami. Thayer joined the Dolphins after starting 120 games for the Bears over the previous eight years (including starting for the 1985 Super Bowl champs), but he appeared in only three games with no starts for Miami.

Worth noting

The top three Dolphins players with number 57

1. C Dwight Stephenson

2. LB Mike Kolen

3. LB O.J. Brigance

Dolphins 57's among the NFL's all-time best

Stephenson is one of only three Hall of Famers who wore mostly 57, along with longtime Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson and Class of 1963 inductee Johnny "Blood" McNally. While we can't speak on McNally, we can point out that Jackson never was an All-Pro selection, while Stephenson was selected each of his final four seasons. So we can safely here that Stephenson belongs in the top three at 57 and there's a case there for being right at the top.

Alain Poupart


Alain Poupart is the publisher/editor of All Dolphins and co-host of the All Dolphins Podcast. Alain has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989 for various publications and media outlets, including Dolphin Digest, The Associated Press, the Dolphins team website, and the Fan Nation Network (part of Sports Illustrated). In addition to being a credentialed member of the Miami Dolphins press corps, Alain has covered three Super Bowls (for, Football News and the Montreal Gazette), the annual NFL draft, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Scouting Combine. During his almost 40 years in journalism, which began at the now-defunct Miami News, Alain has covered practically every sport at one time or another, from tennis to golf, baseball, basketball and everything in between. The career also included time as a copy editor, including work on several books such as "Still Perfect," an inside look at the Miami Dolphins' 1972 perfect season. A native of Montreal, Canada, whose first language is French, Alain grew up a huge hockey fan but soon developed a love for all sports, including NFL football. He has lived in South Florida since the 1980s.