You may not know his name, but isn't that the whole point? Doug Swift manned the left side linebacker position for the better part of six Miami seasons.
Doug Swift was a 6'3" linebacker for the Division III Amherst Lord Jeffs. Undrafted, he was signed as a free agent by the Dolphins starting with the AFL/NFL merger in 1970.
As a 22-year old rookie, Swift started eight of 14 games for Miami at the left linebacker position. He racked up approximately 60 tackles for the burgeoning "No-Name Defense," which led the AFC by allowing only 228 points and 11.6 yards per catch through the season. The Dolphins new head coach, Don Shula brought a change of policy that would result in their first ever winning record and playoff appearance, going 10-4.
In 1971, Swift started every game through the regular season and the playoffs. Swift again made approximately 60 tackles as Miami finished 10-3-1, eventually advancing to a Super Bowl VI 24-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He made his first career interception in a week 10 17-14 victory over the Baltimore Colts, picking off Johnny Unitas in the third quarter. The defense allowed 174 points, behind only the Colts in the AFC.
Swift was a member of the 17-0 1972 Dolphins, starting every game. He made approximately 75 tackles and three interceptions for the leagues best defense, which led the NFL by allowing only 171 points and 3,297 yards. His blitz in the second quarter of the Super Bowl forced Washington Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer to make a hurried throw, which Nick Buoniconti intercepted and returned deep into Washington territory to set up the Dolphins' second touchdown in a 14-7 victory, cementing Miami's 17-0 season. (per wikipedia)
Miami posted a 12-2 record through the regular season. Swift made approximately 100 tackles as the "No-Names" continued to be the class of the NFL by allowing a league low 150 points, or just 10.7 points per game. They won their three playoff games by a combined score of 85-33, easily repeating as Super Bowl Champions. Swift made eight tackles, knocked a pass down, sacked the quarterback and blocked a punt in a 44-0 pasting of the Baltimore Colts in week nine.
1974 would see Swift play in eight games, amassing 50 tackles at left linebacker before an injury ended his season in a week eight victory over the Atlanta Falcons, 42-7. The Dolphins would go on to finish 11-3, losing to the Oakland Raiders 28-26 in the first round of the playoffs.
Swift would return to the starting lineup in 1975, starting 13 of 14 games for Miami. He made approximately 80 tackles for the Dolphins as the team finished 10-4, missing the playoffs for the first time since the merger. Miami's defense ranked second behind the "Steel Curtain" by allowing 222 points.
Swift was left exposed to the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the expansion draft of 1976, and sure enough was grabbed by the Bucs. Swift was opposed to the idea, and instead retired in favor of medical school. At last check he was an anesthesiologist in the greater Philadelphia area.
In six seasons with Miami he started 70 of 78 games at left linebacker. The Dolphins posted a 75-17-1 (regular and postseason) record with Swift on the roster.
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