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  Revisiting the 1994 Clock Play
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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George Torres has an important job. He’s the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for the Miami Dolphins and for Dolphin Stadium.


It’s Torres’ responsibility to help create and promote a favorable image of the team. Done properly, ticket and merchandise sales, together with other revenue generating activities, are encouraged; this is vital to maintaining competitiveness in today’s NFL.


With the team’s performance at a historical nadir, one would expect this work to be more challenging than usual. Yet Torres and his colleagues have strived to maintain a forward thinking approach.


An example of this is the team’s advertising slogan for 2008, “A New Beginning…Believe in Now”, which leverages the fresh start under the leadership of Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano.


To promote this slogan, the team has turned to various creative media including an e-brochure, a wallscape on a building off of I-95, and even a bus that was wrapped with the slogan and an image of the offensive line.


But perhaps the most creative idea has been the use of the team’s rich history to remind the public why “Believe in Now” is not just an empty call, why 2008 can be an exciting season.


So the Dolphins decided to produce a video which re-creates the famous 1994 Clock Play in the current day. This video, which is running on the team’s web site, has been earning rave reviews.


For the uninformed, the Clock Play is regarded as one of the greatest in Dolphin and NFL history. It happened at the New Jersey Meadowlands, in a game against the New York Jets on November 27, 1994.


The Dolphins had fallen behind the Jets by as much as 18 in the second half. Storming back, they closed to within a field goal late in the fourth quarter.


Driving down the field for the final points in regulation, the Dolphins reach the Jets’ 8 yard line. With just 22 seconds remaining, quarterback Dan Marino indicated that he was going to spike the ball, thus stopping the clock for the assumed tying field goal attempt.


This is what everyone was expecting…everyone, that is, but the Dolphins. What happened next was nothing short of spectacular.


Marino took the snap, faked the spike, and, using his lightning quick release, zipped a pass to a wide open Mark Ingram in the front right corner of the end zone. CB Aaron Glenn and the Jets defense were completely fooled. The Dolphins won, 28-24.


The recreation of the play in the present day was done using 16 kids who participated in the Miami Dolphins Flag Football Camp. One kid was cast in the role of ‘Danny’, a boy playing QB in a pick-up football game at a playground. He is wearing a white #13 Dolphins jersey and cap.


The video opens with an actress playing Danny’s mom coming onto the field and telling him that it was “time to come home”. Danny begs his mom to let him have “just a couple more plays”, while the green-shirted kids on the other team gripe about the delay. Mom winks at Danny, his cue to run the trick play. Images of the actual play are interposed with the interpretation by the kids. In the background, the actual radio call by Bill Zimpfer and Jim Mandich rolls as Danny’s pass is caught by another white shirted kid for the winning score. Mandich goes wild as the kids celebrate.


At the end of the video, the real Dan Marino makes a cameo appearance.


“Way to go, kid”, says Marino.


It’s all very well done, with the timing made even more perfect with season opener being against the hated Jets.


So how did this idea come to “pass”?


“Jeff Griffith, our Senior Director of Production and Programming, had the initial idea about a year or so ago with the help of Brendan Nieto (on Griffith’s staff)”, Torres told Phins.com. “We thought the timing was right to do it with this year’s theme”.


“(They) wanted to re-create one of the most famous plays in not only Miami Dolphins history but in the NFL to help show the influence of Miami Dolphins Football on a community that transcends generations.”


After laying out the idea on a storyboard, casting was completed and filming began.


“Using a director and two cameras the entire spot was filmed in HD (high definition)”, explained Torres. “Our field was a local park in Davie, FL - Bamford Park - to give it an authentic neighborhood setting. The entire shoot was filmed in five hours on a single afternoon.”


According to Torres, the feedback has thus far been “all positive from the public with many requests to purchase.”


Even Marino liked it. Per Torres, Marino’s exact quote when he first saw the spot was “It gave me chills”.


Torres indicated that, due to the positive feedback from the Clock Play Replay video, other great plays from the team and NFL history may also be re-created. One such play could be the famous 1982 “hook and ladder play” from QB Don Strock to WR Duriel Harris to RB Tony Nathan, in a game many Dolfans believe was the greatest in team history.


To view the 1994 Clock Play Replay video, go to the Aquavision media player on MiamiDolphins.com.

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