A California native, Manny Fernandez went undrafted out of the University of Utah, signing with the fledgling Miami Dolphins franchise in 1968 under then head coach, George Wilson. Fernandez was voted the Dolphins Outstanding Defensive Lineman his first five seasons with the team but his game began to raise to another level in 1970 as Don Shula took the helm. He was named a second team Pro Bowl performer that season and again in 1973, when he was also honored as the NFL’s Unsung Player of the Year. As consistent as he was throughout his eight-year career, it was the Super Bowl that brought the best out of him. During the Dolphins’ three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, Fernandez tallied 28 tackles and three sacks, including a 17 tackle, 1 sack performance in Super Bowl VII that many felt was worthy of the game’s MVP rather than Fins safety, Jake Scott. In 2014, Yahoo! Sports ranked him as the 10 th best player in Super Bowl history. In The Tank, Manny discussed his less than ideal relationship with his coach at Utah, revealed his reason for choosing Miami over two other teams interested in him out of college and recalled the dramatic change in Miami, as Don Shula’s incredibly tough but highly effective style would change the franchise forever. Manny also shared the true story behind the legend of the alligator that turned up in the iconic coach’s shower, the reason why a mysterious illness not only nearly caused him to miss his enshrinement in the Dolphins Honor Roll, but almost cost him his life, and explained why Zach Thomas may never go hunting with him again.
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