Dan Marino is the best-looking young quarterback I have ever seen. No contest.
Now, I am not talking about his quick release, quick drop, fast read or eerie aim. I don't care whether he wins or loses.
I'm talking dimples. I have never seen such dimples on a quarterback in my life. I'm talking peaches-and-cream complexion. Bright blue eyes. Curly, honey-blond hair. I mean, we're talking matinee idol looks. Cupid's bow mouth. Just for one night, you'd like to look like that.
To look like that and be the best football player on the planet is overkill. It's unfair. It's like a Rockefeller finding gold, Liz Taylor having brains.
Great quarterbacks should be these kind of hunchbacked, pigeon-toed guys in high-top shoes like Unitas. Scarecrow-skinny pieces of rawhide like Sammy Baugh. They should kind of look like an unwrapped mummy like Kenny Stabler. Have a face like an exploded tomato like Billy Kilmer.
This guy doesn't have a wart on him. These nice, even white teeth, movie-star smile.
Nobody should get all that and the Super Bowl, too. When does God even up?
Look at him--6 foot 4 inches, 220 pounds, all these gorgeous muscles. Then he goes out and obliterates all these records. I mean, 48 touchdowns passing, 362 completions, 5,804 yards. It's obscene. And to look like something Hollywood would cast for the part is depressing.
A rival coach points out that Marino throws for a touchdown every eighth pass he completes. Or, for that matter, every 12th pass he throws. Match that around New York. He scores every 16 plays, Dick Vermeil points out.
You know something? He's 23 years old. You heard me. He's still got his baby teeth almost. He's broken the league regular-season records for passes completed, yardage, touchdowns, 300-yard games with nine, and 400-yard games with four. No telling what he'll do when he grows up. Probably walk across Biscayne Bay.
It's enough to make every quarterback who ever lived want to go home and trash the trophy room.
You're surprised he doesn't show up at the Super Bowl press conferences in a sedan chair, blessing the sick. As it is, he sits on a raised dais in the interview room. Reporters are perforce clustered around his feet. They do not have to kiss his ring, however, but the other mere players are more humbly arrayed at eye level with their interviewers.
A little waitress came in at breakfast the other morning and surveyed this gift of God to womankind. "My God, he's cute!" she said, overawed.
If you have to wonder why the Miami Dolphins waited till the 27th player (and six quarterbacks) to draft him, the clue may be found in the profile. The scouts took one look at that and decided nobody who looked that good could concentrate on football. You wonder how he gets out of bed. Away from a mirror.
Rookie quarterbacks, even ugly ones, aren't supposed to make it in the NFL. Not for three years. Marino made it in three games. They're supposed to throw a football like a guy loading pumpkins. Marino gets rid of his like it was an olive.
You're supposed to grasp the ball with two hands, hoist it behind your ear, wind up, plant your feet, close your eyes and heave. Marino just kind of flicks it 55 yards like a guy flicking lint off his tie. His father, he says, taught him that little trick.
No one had to teach him how to hit a receiver with it. He got that gift along with his dimples. He may be the deadliest end zone passer in the history of the game. He may not be able to hit a squirrel in the eye with a spiral but he can hit either one of two 5-9 receivers with it. Miami mythology has it he could complete a pass through two keyholes if he had to.
The Miami Dolphins are kind of an ordinary team without him. With him, they are a juggernaut. He can run just faster than junk mail but, at 23, he may be more dangerous than he'll be five years from now. Like all 23-year-olds, he's doesn't always know what he's going to do next but what he often does next is throw a 50-yard touchdown. He hasn't yet learned how tough that is, to the despair of defenses. And he's never mastered the art of eating the football. He could get rid of it from an iron lung.
Still, you're pretty sure no one consulted the homecoming queens when they put this hunk in a football suit instead of something he can tango in. In fact, it's a good thing he wears that mask. If the belles in the seats got a load of those dimples and curls, they might sack him before San Francisco could.
But one thing is for sure: When they say Marino throws the prettiest passes in the NFL, you can be sure they're right. Even if they get intercepted.