Mariners, Marauders, Mustangs, Missiles, Moons, Sharks, Suns none of those other names suggested to the American Football League expansion franchise in 1965 could raise a fin to the runaway winner.
"Dolphins" was submitted by 622 entrants in a contest which attracted 19,843 entries and more than a thousand different names. The dozen finalists were delivered to a seven-member screening committee of local media.
The bottlenose dolphin, an intelligent creature with an irresistible built-in grin, has inspired wonder for centuries. Plutarch observed 1,900 years ago that the dolphin "is the only creature who loves man for his own sake." Every trainer will have a tale of the dolphin's cleverness and ingenuity, and scientists are fascinated by a dolphin's natural equipment which far surpasses the range of Navy sonar equipment.
"The dolphin is one of the fastest and smartest creatures of the sea," Joe Robbie said in announcing the team name on October 8, 1965. "Dolphins can attack and kill a shark or a whale. Sailors say bad luck will come to anyone who harms one of them."
Mrs. Robert Swanson of West Miami won two lifetime passes to Dolphins games with her nickname entry. The tiebreaker was picking the winner and score of the 1965 game between the University of Miami and Notre Dame. It ended in a scoreless tie.