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Apr 20, 2005
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</IMG>Dan Marino - Taking Retirement Lying Down
Former Dolphins quarterback and soon to be Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino is involved in the launch of a new line of sleep products.

Luke Sacks

Few can appreciate a good night's sleep more than a NFL quarterback. After all, when you are chased from one end of the field to the other then thrown to the ground by 300-pound defensive linemen who falls on top of you, a comfortable place to rest is crucial for rest and recovery. Former Dolphins signal-caller Dan Marino, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer, recently launched his own line of sleep products in conjunction with Sleep Innovations.

"They were looking for someone to launch a line with and I was fortune enough to have already been using the product so it's something that I've already known about for years," Marino said. "So we're going ahead and I think it will be fun and challenging creating this business and it's something I think will do great."

Since he was a satisfied customer before he became a pitch-man, it didn't take too much convincing to get Marino on board to help promote the products that now bear his name. "The amazing thing is that I noticed the difference immediately when I started sleeping on the memory foam and using the recovery system with the pillows and the mattresses while I was playing," he said. "You can really notice if you go to a hotel. When you are used to sleeping on the system at home and then go somewhere else, you can really tell."

Marino has become well-versed in explaining the benefits of sleeping on one of his beds. "It's basically memory foam which is a mattress that conforms to your body," he explained. So it's like sleeping on a custom-made mattress when other mattresses you normally sleep on have box springs that push back against you. Our mattresses relieve a lot of those pressure points that athletes suffer from."

"When you look at life we sometimes take sleep for granted in terms of feeling good about ourselves."Marino, who played all 17 of his NFL seasons with Miami, will have his photo and signature on the packaging of the mattresses, pillows and slippers included in the product line. "When you look at life we sometimes take sleep for granted in terms of feeling good about ourselves," he said. "I'm the spokesperson for Sleep Innovation and also for Marino Recovery Systems. My role is to promote the company and also my products. We are launching it right now and it's an exciting time for us."

The mattress business isn't the only area in which Marino dabbles as a businessman. He walked away from his playing career following the 1999 NFL season but currently is a co-host of CBS' NFL Today Sunday pre-game show, appears on HBO's weekly Inside the NFL program and owns a chain of restaurants in South Florida that bear his name. "We have five restaurants and they've all been doing very well. The main thing with that is that I like to go there and eat and drink," Marino laughed. "I've also been busy doing the television stuff too with CBS and HBO. It's a lot of fun doing the television stuff. It's a way to stay involved in the NFL. When I was a player it was something that I always wanted to look at and it's been going pretty well for me so far. It's a fun time for us because both shows have done well."

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors and weekly gigs on television, Marino also has appeared in several feature films including a brief cameo in Bad Boys II and a larger role playing himself in 1994's "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" starring Jim Carrey. The plot centered on the Miami Dolphins mascot being stolen. "It was quite a few years ago but it was a fun experience," Marino said of working with Carrey. "I still walk around and people come up to me and yell, 'laces out Dan' and have the lines memorized and everything. It was a really good experience."

On the field, Marino was one of the NFL's most productive quarterbacks ever. A nine-time Pro Bowler, he played in 242 games and set league records with 61,361 passing yards and 420 touchdowns. His single-season record of 48 touchdown passes in 1984 was broken in 2004 by Peyton Manning. "I talked to Peyton a few times last year for interviews and told him to slow down," Marino mused. "But he broke my record and that was a big thing. He's great for the NFL, he's great for the game and he's well-respected. He's a good person in addition to being a good player."

In August Marino will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio where he will join his friend and former on-field rival John Elway. The two represented the opposite ends of the quarterback spectrum – Marino the precision pocket passer and Elway the gritty slinger – while sharing the honor of bring best of their generation. "There isn't a better choice than Dan Marino," Elway stated. "To have him in there, along with Jim Kelly and Eric Dickerson who also were part of that 1983 rookie class, I think there is a special attraction for all of us in that '83 Draft when guys are able to make it into the Hall of Fame. I'm going back to Canton this year to see Danny get inducted and I'm looking forward to it."
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