Changing of the Guard: Dan Marino To Peyton Manning, Tom Brady To Chad Henne

Sam DeerhillContributor IDecember 7, 2009

MIAMI - DECEMBER 06:  Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass against the New England Patriots at Land Shark Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

In 1999, a young Peyton Manning took his Colts to Miami late in the season and fought an epic battle. The seesaw battle was finally decided when he led a game-winning drive that started with only 36 seconds left in the game.

Colts 37, Dolphins 34. It was the first time Manning beat the Dolphins. The mantle was passed. Dan Marino's career was waning; Manning's career was blossoming.

Fast-forward exactly 10 years and one day, and another young quarterback with a bundle of potential took the field in Miami against a future Hall of Fame quarterback by the name of Tom Brady.

This time, though, the quarterback and the "W" both belonged to the Dolphins. The QB's name, of course, is Chad Henne

Although played a decade apart, these two games showed their respective teams and fanbases a glimpse of the future. Or at least for Dolphin fans, what the future might look like if Henne continues to develop into an elite quarterback like Marino, Manning, and Brady.

In addition, yesterday's game had another twist that may one day be viewed as the passing of the torch from one Michigan quarterback to another.

Tom Brady, the man who has gotten in done on so many Sundays, could not deliver at the end. This time it was the younger Henne, posting career-high numbers in almost every category, who kept his poise and, more importantly, the Dolphins in the game.

The biggest confirmation of this came on the final series. Facing a critical third down, Henne overthrew a wide-open Lousaka Polite, which would have resulted in a sure first down and more. On the next play, with the game on the line, Henne kept his cool and delivered a strike to Greg Camerillo.

That drive—or more importantly, those back-to-back plays—will be remembered for a long time, as Henne is bound to give Dolphin fans more days like this in the years to come.

"I love it. Put it in my hands. Put the pressure situations upon me. I really thrive on that," Henne said after the game.

And yes, I forgot to point out, it was the first time Henne beat the Patriots.