I wish I could have been there to see this: One Last Game in Orange Bowl Sign In to E-Mail or Save This Print Reprints Share Del.icio.usDiggFacebookNewsvinePermalink By CHARLIE NOBLES Published: January 27, 2008 MIAMI, Jan. 26 â€” Joe Rose, a tight end for the Miami Dolphins in the 1980s, agreed to play in a flag football game Saturday between the Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes that would serve as a ceremonial final game in the Orange Bowl. Yet Rose, now a radio and television broadcaster in South Florida, was not confident about his conditioning. Skip to next paragraph Interviews, insight and analysis from The Times on the competition and culture of college football. Go to The Quad Blog Â» Division I-A 2007 Bowl Schedule 2007 B.C.S. Rankings A.P. Poll | USA Today Scores: Top 25 | All Div. I-A Conferences and Teams Small Colleges Div. I-AA | Div. II | Div. IIIâ€œIâ€™m just hoping not to pull a muscle, blow out a knee or get hit in the back of the head by a Dan Marino pass,â€ Rose said before the game. Kim Bokamper, a former Dolphins linebacker whose nine-year career ended in 1985, knew exactly what approach he would take. â€œSelf-preservation,â€ he said without hesitation. â€œI think a lot of the guys feel that way.â€ More than 20,000 people were at the Orange Bowl on Saturday for a final goodbye. They listened to players from the Dolphinsâ€™ unbeaten 1972 team and from the University of Miamiâ€™s 1983 national title team talk about their accomplishments. Nostalgia filled the air while memorabilia was sold and fans mulled whether to purchase a souvenir seat from the stadium when it is taken down next month. Then came the flag football game. The star attraction was Marino, the Hall of Famer whose 17-season career, spent entirely with the Dolphins, ended after the 1999 season. But the Hurricanes came with a virtual army of quality quarterback depth. They started Jim Kelly, another N.F.L. Hall of Famer, but also played Bernie Kosar, the 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta, Ken Dorsey, Steve Walsh and Craig Erickson. All but Kelly won a national title at Miami. The Hurricanes, who wound up winning, 65-51, also had the unusual specter of the former Giants nose tackle Jim Burt not only playing wide receiver but catching a touchdown pass. Burt said he had not been a receiver since sixth grade, but he did not hesitate when game organizers invited him down from Bergen County, N.J. â€œIt was a chance to see all the guys, meet the â€™72 Dolphins and say goodbye to a historic stadium,â€ Burt said. Marino did not disappoint. With his rapid-fire delivery, he threw touchdown passes on the Dolphinsâ€™ first three possessions â€” two to the current Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor â€” then allowed Don Strock, his longtime backup with the Dolphins, to play the next two series. Strock threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in each series. â€œMarino looks like he never left,â€ Don Shula, who has the N.F.L. record for coaching victories, said at halftime. Of Strock, Shula told the crowd with a chuckle, â€œYou wonâ€™t see any more of Strock in the second half.â€ In the nostalgia play of the game, Marino arched a long pass to Mark Duper that barely eluded him. As teammates, they hooked up for 59 touchdowns. â€œI even dove for it,â€ Duper said. â€œIâ€™ve never dove for a football in my life.â€ Kosar, who played at Miami and briefly for the Dolphins, suited up in the first half with the Hurricanes, then switched teams. As a Dolphin, he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Several Dolphins jokingly accused him of deliberately failing. When the game ended, the players hugged and shook hands. It was the last chapter for the Orange Bowl, which opened in 1937 and served as the stage for many significant football games. Five Super Bowls were held there, including the third one â€”the game that Joe Namath guaranteed that the Jets would win. They did, defeating the Baltimore Colts, 16-7. The Orange Bowl was known as a difficult place for road teams to play, in part because of the deafening noise created when fans began stamping on the steel flooring. The Dolphins once won 31 straight games there, from 1971 to 1975. In 1987, they began playing at a stadium near the Broward County line named after Joe Robbie, the teamâ€™s owner at the time. The Hurricanes won an N.C.A.A. Division-I-record 58 consecutive games at the Orange Bowl from 1985 through 1994. They decided to move to Dolphin Stadium after last season. The Florida Marlins are interested in building a stadium on the site.