Nobody played harder than John Offerdahl in his prime. For eight seasons he was the Miami Dolphin's beating heart on defense.
John Offerdahl was a 6'3" linebacker for the Western Michigan Broncos. His 694 tackles remain a school record. Miami picked him up in the second round of the 1986 NFL Entry Draft with the 52nd overall pick.
Offerdahl made his mark right away, starting 15 games at right inside linebacker as a rookie. He collected approximately 130 tackles, along with 2 sacks, an interception and eight passes broken up. Miami finished 8-8 as Offerdahl was invited to his first Pro Bowl, also earning honors as a second team All-NFL selection by the Associated Press.
In 1987, Offerdahl was limited by injuries and the player's strike to nine starts. He made 67 tackles and 1.5 sacks in limited time, earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl invitation as Miami finished out of contention at 8-7.
Offerdahl started all 16 games for Miami in 1988, earning another Pro Bowl slot as the team finished 6-10. He made around 110 tackles and picked off two passes, one of few bright spots for the Dolphins.
In 1989, Offerdahl made 72 tackles even thought he only started eight of 10 games for the Dolphins. The team again missed the playoffs at 8-8, while Offerdahl again made his yearly trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.
1990 may have been Offerdahl's best year with the Dolphins, as he was named to the All-NFL First Team while also playing in his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl. He made in the neighborhood of 120 tackles, including 16 in a late season 23-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Miami finally got back to the playoffs, sporting a 12-4 regular season record. After squeaking by the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-16 in the wildcard round, they lost to the Buffalo Bills, 44-34 in a slugfest.
Offerdahl was scaled back in 1991, and played a total of 24 games over his final three seasons in Miami, retiring after 1993. In his first five seasons he totalled around 500 tackles while anchoring the Dolphins in the middle. He currently owns a seven restaurant chain, Offerdahl's Cafe Grill, in South Florida, and lives in Fort Lauderdale.
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