Alumni 5: Five Questions With Mark Duper

Posted Jul 6, 2017

What is your second best sport?

Basketball and baseball. I used to be a great basketball player and I used to be a great catcher. If I had to play a professional sport besides football, it would be baseball. I think I was better at that than anything else, even though I was world-class at track. 

Running was something that I just did  – I could always sprint. Distance running was another story, especially when Coach Shula made us run the 12-minute run. I hated that; anything under 60 seconds and I was OK.

What was teh funniest thing you saw on the field? 

We were playing against Buffalo in the 1980s when they dominated us. On one play Dan (Marino) got up to the ball and got under the center. He looks over at Bruce Smith, who was killing him all day. Smith was over Delly (Jeff Dellenbach). Dan was calling the cadence, and he stopped in the middle and yelled, “Delly, you gotta block him  – you gotta block Bruce  –  nobody but him.” I died laughing, but I didn’t want to be in Delly’s shoes. But he did a good job against Smith on that play and the rest of the game. But there’s no way anyone can stop him all the time; Blocking Bruce Smith all game, he’s going to get loose sometime no matter who is blocking him.    

Who was the best player you ever saw? 

I didn’t watch a lot of people when we played, and I usually go to the end of the bench, sit down, and get my rest. But whenever we played the Detroit Lions and Barry Sanders, I said, “I’ve got to see this.” I really liked watching him play. And not to take anything away from the great running backs in the NFL, all the way back to Jim Brown, but Barry Sanders was a heck of a running back. He did some things on the field I couldn’t believe. Among people we played against, I thought Sanders was the best.

What was the greatest moment of your career? 

When we played in the Super Bowl (XIX), during the pre-game introductions coming out of the tunnel they announced my name as I was running onto the field. That was the greatest moment I can remember. “At starting wide receiver….number 85…MARK DUPER!” That was a great feeling.

I used to love to be introduced. It just pumped me up, even on the road. When I played back then, they used to introduce both the home and the visiting teams. I loved it when we were in an opposing city. The fans couldn’t boo me when I got introduced because my name was Duper, and the boos sounded like “Dupe.” So every time they went “BOOOO,” I thought they were saying “DUUUUUUPE.” That always got me psyched. But the Super Bowl intro was special.

what do you miss most about not playing?

  I miss going to practice and being around the fellows. You have a purpose in life  --  you have a purpose in everything. And I enjoyed working my body out and competing. I miss the competing, both at practice and in a game. 

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