Long before he was abducted by a gender-fluid thug in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dan Marino was the victim of a crime even more heinous: his Miami Dolphins were robbed of the Vince Lombardi Trophy by the unstoppable San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XIX in 1985. To this day, he remains the greatest quarterback sans a championship ring.
This Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes hopes to avoid a similar fate to Marino’s. No, not getting snatched mid-Isotoner plug—we mean losing the Super Bowl to the 49ers and never getting another shot. The parallels are certainly there: Mahomes, like Marino in his prime, is a rocket-armed passing wizard with the world seemingly at his fingertips.
Seeing as Super Bowl LIV is happening in Miami, we caught up with Marino—who was in Toronto this week to plug not Isotoner, but the fact that you can watch the game on DAZN with NFL Game Pass—to get his predictions. We also touched on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, the prospect of an NFL team coming to Toronto, and whether he or Dwayne Wade is the GOAT Miami athlete. Oh, and he also told us the wild story of how Jim Carrey made him feel alright(y then) with appearing in his movie.
So, not to start things on a somber note, but the tragic death of Kobe Bryant has obviously been on everyone’s mind this week. How did you react to the news?
Oh, I was in shock. Sunday was tough for me emotionally, just [thinking] of what his wife and his family are going through, and the other families involved in the tragic accident. I feel for them and pray that they can get through this. Kobe and I met him a couple of times; he was a great guy and just a terrific player, obviously. And he impacted so many people's lives, especially young basketball players, with the example he set on the court and off the court. So it was a sad day.
When Kobe tore his Achilles in 2013, many analysts suggested he could use you as inspiration for making a comeback, since you suffered the same injury in 1993 and managed to overcome it. Did you see any parallels there between your careers?
Well, there have been lots of guys who have come back from Achilles injuries. But in Kobe's case, after his comeback, the way he was still able to play at a high level—I felt like I was able to do that, too. It’s a tough injury. But, you know, if you're tough-minded like Kobe and the type of player he was, you find a way. I always say that you have to find a way to make it work and play at a high level. And he always did that.
Okay. Now give me your predictions for Super Bowl LIV.
Well, I'm excited. It's going to be a really good game. People might think it's going to be a high-scoring game, but I think it's actually going to be lower-scoring because of the 49ers’ defense. Mahomes is a good quarterback, a very good quarterback, for a young age. He's a guy that I really enjoy watching. And Garoppolo in the same way, he's performed really well when he's had to. In the last couple playoff games, he hasn't had to do much because the [49ers] have been able to run the football. So I think the big question is, ‘Can the San Francisco defensive line get pressure on Mahomes with just four or five rushers, which they do a lot of?’ And if they can do that, I think it'll give them a real good chance to make a big difference in the game with their defensive line. But I do like Kansas City winning this game. And I think it's going to be a lower-scoring game than people think.
Much has been written about how the role of the quarterback has changed since the days that you played. How much has the game changed in your view?
Well, I think the role of the quarterback, to me, it really hasn't changed much. It's just the way the rules are now. The rules have changed where the position—I wouldn't say it's easier to play because it's not easy to play at all. But as far as throwing the football, the way the rules are now, you can't hit a quarterback in the head, you can't hit him below the knees. For receivers, I think it's easier for them to go across the middle at times. So, that's the change in the game. But it still is the hardest position to play in all sports. It always has been—in a team game. But as far as some of the young players, there's some really great young quarterbacks today. So it's always exciting to watch. I enjoy it.
How do you think you, in your prime, would fare in today's game?
Well, since I don't have to prove it, I'd throw for 6,000 yards and 60 touchdowns. [Laughs.] And I think quarterbacks that played at a high level in the ’70s and ’80s would do well now, too.
What’s your pick for the best Super Bowl of all time?
Oh, wow. Favorite Super Bowl of all time. I wasn't prepared for this. [Laughs.] That's a good question. God. Well, my least favorite one was the one I played in because we lost. But as a kid, I grew up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers because I was a fan. I watched them win Super Bowls, and they had kind of a dynasty in the ’70s. And they were always such a great example for a young football player that was aspiring to be a great in the NFL. To watch those guys and the way they played—Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Mel Blount—all those great players they had were really inspiring. So their first Super Bowl win would be my pick.
There’s been lots of talk, for a while now, of bringing an NFL team to Toronto. Do you think that would be a good idea?
I know for a fact that there's a lot of football fans here, both in Toronto and in Canada. For sure. So yes, I think a team could be successful here in Toronto. But Buffalo's close also, so it might be difficult from that standpoint. But I do think because of the fans, it would be very successful. I think Toronto would be a great place for an NFL team. But once again, I'm not in a position to say whether they should have it or not.
Should the Buffalo Bills move here?
[Laughs.] I'm not answering that question, man! Wow...
Can we have the Dolphins then?
The Dolphins ain't going anywhere, man.
You had yourself a bit of a movie career in the ’90s. But I read you initially didn’t want to do Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. What made you change your mind?
Well really, I read the script for Ace Ventura and thought it was funny but a little weird. And Jim Carrey asked to have lunch. I was on my way to a Pro Bowl, so I said, “Yeah, I'll meet you in L.A. for lunch.” And he showed up dressed in his tutu. So he came dressed like Ace Ventura into this restaurant and basically acted the whole lunch like he was Ace Ventura. He was in character the whole time. It was a little crazy, but also fun. And after that, I thought, You know, this might be fun, to do this movie. So I ended up doing it and I always take credit for his career. I made Jim Carrey.
How did you wind up in Bad Boys II?
It was all Michael Bay. I have friends who know him and we were having dinner one night and he said, “Do you want to be in a movie?” I was like, ‘Yeah, I'll be in a movie.” That was kind of it. He said, “Well, show up on Thursday and we'll do your scene." It ended up being a great movie, obviously.... It would have been fun to be in Bad Boys III.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that they decided to make a Bad Boys spinoff starring you. Which other athlete would you choose as your buddy cop film sidekick?
Oh man, are you serious with these questions? [Laughs.] Who would I choose? I guess John Elway would be a good one. There's Elway to Marino [the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary], that whole thing.
You think you guys would have good on-camera chemistry?
Sorry to ask this but do you ever get confused for David Hasselhoff?
David Hasselhoff. Yes, I have. It's happened before, yes, a couple of times. But I'm a much better actor than he is, so I ain't worried about it.
Maybe your next acting role can be in a Baywatch reboot!
Nah, that's okay. [Laughs.]
Since Super Bowl LIV is happening in Miami, I must ask you something that’s been hotly debated for quite some time. Who is the greatest Miami athlete of all time: you or Dwayne Wade?
It's not funny. It's Dwayne Wade.
He's won three championships and he is, without a doubt, an incredible player. I've gotten to know him a little bit, and he's just a good man. Great player. So yes, he's the best player to ever play in South Florida.
But you changed football, man!
Yeah, I did a little bit. [Laughs.] But I still take him.