The Birth of a Franchise
The first professional American football team to be based in Miami and the state of Florida was the Miami Seahawks. The Seahawks entered the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) during its inaugural 1946 season, as the first major league-level sports franchise ever in Miami. However, the team only lasted one year before being confiscated by the league.
In 1962, the fledgling American Football League staged a preseason exhibition game between the Houston Oilers and the Dallas Texans. Three years later, the AFL awarded an expansion team franchise to lawyer Joseph Robbie and actor Danny Thomas for $7.5 million. Robbie had originally wanted to establish the franchise in Philadelphia, but AFL commissioner Joe Foss suggested courting Miami due to its warm climate, growing population, and lack of a football team. Thomas would eventually sell his stake in the team to Robbie. A contest was held in 1965 to choose the name of the team, which elicited 19,843 entries and over a thousand different names. The winning name, "Dolphins," was submitted by 622 entrants.