Steve Towle, Linebacker, Miami Dolphins
Steve Towle still holds the Miami single season tackles record, with 217. All that in a 14 game season!
Steve Towle was a 6'2" linebacker out of the University of Kansas. Miami drafted him in the sixth round of the 1975 NFL Entry Draft with the 143rd overall pick.
As a rookie, Towle appeared in every game, starting five at middle linebacker. He collected his first career interception in a week five 43-0 victory over the New York Jets. The Dolphins finished 10-4, as the team allowed an NFL fourth best 222 points, or just under 16 point per game.
In 1976, Towle started all 14 games anchoring the Dolphins defense at the middle linebacker position. He set the Miami team record with 217 tackles, and was named the team MVP that season. The team would post a disappointing 6-8 record.
1977 would see the Dolphins finish tied for the AFC East lead, with a 10-4 record. Towle started 12 games, recovering two fumbles. Led by Towle, the Dolphins allowed an AFC second best 197 points (second only to the Orange Crush in Denver). Miami missed out on the playoffs as the Baltimore Colts won the division in a tiebreaker and the wildcard spot went to the 11-3 Oakland Raiders.
Towle started 13 games in 1978. He intercepted his second career pass in a week nine victory, 26-8 over the Baltimore Colts. Miami finished 11-5, winning a wildcard position. The Dolphins defense finished with an NFL high 32 interceptions and had the sixth best points scored against, with 254, or just under 16 points per game.
Towle would start all 16 games for Miami in 1979, as the team would sport a 10-6 record, winning the AFC East. The defense would allow an NFL low 238 first downs and an NFL second best 1,702 yards rushing, only nine yards more than the Denver Broncos.
The Dolphins finished with an 8-8 record in 1980, as Towle only appeared in nine games, all in relief.
Towle made the news in 2005 for felony first degree assault related to a road rage incident in Independence, a suburb of Kansas City. He eventually plead guilty to second degree assault, and was given a suspended sentence. He served five years probation and had to complete an anger management course.
Miami has a long history of game changing linebackers. Who was the most dominant linebacker in Dolphins history?
Nick Buoniconti (661 votes)
Larry Gordon (14 votes)
AJ Duhe (269 votes)
Zach Thomas (2855 votes)
Mike Kolen (11 votes)
John Offerdahl (403 votes)
Doug Swift (22 votes)
Brian Cox (158 votes)
Bob Brudzinski (23 votes)
4416 total votes