clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami Dolphins All-Time Top 100 Players: 53. Bruce Hardy

Bruce Hardy spent his entire 12-season NFL career with the Miami Dolphins, and is seventh all-time with 25 receiving touchdowns.

Bruce Hardy was a 6'6" tight end for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated while still in high school. Miami selected him in the ninth round of the 1978 NFL Entry Draft with the 247th overall pick.

Hardy would appear in every game during his rookie season as Miami's third tight end. He only caught four passes for 32 yards, but two were touchdowns. The Dolphins went 11-5, winning the AFC East.

Hardy was promoted to the starter in 1979 at tight end. He caught 30 passes, scoring three touchdowns and a team third-best 386 receiving yards. He started 14 of 16 games for the Dolphins as the team finished at 10-6, again winning the AFC East title.

The Dolphins went 8-8 in 1980 as Hardy started 12 of 16 games at wide receiver. He caught 19 passes for 159 yards and two scores.

In 1981, Hardy was moved back to tight end, where he would serve as number two on the depth chart behind Ronnie Lee. Hardy caught 15 passes for 174 yards starting four games as the Dolphins returned to the playoffs with a record of 11-4-1. Hardy caught five passes for 89 yards (a career high) and a touchdown in the Miami postseason epic against the San Diego Chargers.

Hardy started six of nine games for Miami in the strike shortened 1982 season, catching 12 passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns as the team marched to the AFC title. He also caught five passes for 64 yards and another touchdown in the playoffs.

In 1983, Hardy started eight of 15 games, catching 22 passes for 202 yards. Miami easily won the AFC East title with a 12-4 record before losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs.

Miami breezed through the NFL season with a combined 16-2 record in 1984 as Dan Marino rewrote the record book. For his part, Hardy started five of the 16 games, catching 28 passes for 257 yards and a career high five touchdowns. This includes a week 13 victory over the New York Jets, 28-17 in which he caught six passes for 51 yards and two scores. The team advanced to Super Bowl XVII, where they ran into the only team that could have possibly beat them, the 17-1 San Francisco 49ers.

In 1985, Hardy set new career highs with 39 receptions and 409 yards, starting every game for Miami. He scored four touchdowns as the Dolphins won the AFC East by going 12-4. He caught a career high seven passes, going for 84 yards in a week five 24-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He later had a two touchdown performance in a week 16 28-0 shutout of the New York Jets. In the playoffs, he caught eight passes for 103 yards in two games before the Dolphins were defeated by the New England Patriots in the AFC Title game.

Hardy eclipsed his prior career highs in 1986, starting every game and catching 54 passes for 430 yards and five scores. The team finished out of the playoff hunt, at 8-8.

1987 was marked by the replacement player experiment. Hardy started each of the 12 other regular season games, catching 28 passes for 292 yards and two scores as Miami finished with an 8-7 record.

Hardy caught a total of 256 passes for 2,455 yards over 12 seasons with Miami, both totals second only to Randy McMichael for Dolphins' tight ends. His 25 touchdowns are seventh on Miami's all-time list.

Hardy appeared in three games over the next two seasons for Miami, retiring following 1989. He coached for the Arena Football League Florida Bobcats in 1999 before joining the FIU Golden Panthers coaching staff.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.