[ED. NOTE] – The following was written 30 minutes after the Dolphins’ loss to the Raiders. If you or someone you love is a hurting Dolphins fan, please reach out to our support line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siri, play “Nothing Else Matters” by Metalica.
I like to think of myself as a decent person. I try to keep to myself and respect the opinion of others and think for the most part I have most of my priorities lined up pretty well. Yet every fall I find myself a glutton for punishment waiting on the inevitable Miami Dolphins letdown.
That’s how it’s been just about all of my life, minus a few years (looking at you 2008). For the better part of a decade my expectations have been low (very low…like just don’t be the worst team in the NFL low—although that would lead to a potential franchise-changing pick instead of the 10-16 pick range where Miami usually picks).
After how things went last year and missing the playoffs by a game (again, usual Miami heartbreak) I somehow convinced myself this would be the year. They would be competitive with Buffalo and at least take a wildcard spot. Well through three weeks of the season Miami managed to score zero points against the Bills and are on the outside looking in with much better (yes I said it) teams in front of them for a wildcard spot now.
I understand that the three teams Miami has played so far have a combined record of 7-3 but that’s not the point. The point is those games have either not been competitive or have been surrounded by absolutely terrible playcalls, like say a screen in your own endzone for a safety or going 0/5 on 4th down conversion terrible. This team is one Xavien Howard strip away from being winless. The only thing that should give Miami fans any comfort tight now is the fact that New England also lost today which allows Miami to stay in second in the East (for now).
I honestly don’t know who to be more mad at, this organization, the fans or myself. This organization has continually been in franchise purgatory for 25 years now. The closest thing they have had to “the guy” behind center since Marino left was Chad Pennington. That’s not a slight on Tua. I like the kid and the things he can potentially bring to the table but this organization has continually handicapped him at every turn. They wanted him to sit behind Fitz to learn the offense then on a whim decided to give him his first start against the Rams who have some schlub named Aaron Donald playing Defensive Tackle. They then spent all offseason letting the Deshaun Watson talk build and not doing anything to back your young guy (who you wanted to tank for) up. Just when it looks like they are bringing in weapons to help him, they forget to address the offensive line. And now he’s out for a month—shocker.
Speaking of Tua, can the vocal minority of fans who want Watson tell me why? Why would you give up a combination of six players/picks for a guy who has all of the off the field concerns? Not only that, why would you wage your entire future and give up that haul for a guy who also has injury concerns (two ACL tears) and put him BEHIND THE SAME OFFENSIVE LINE. It makes absolutely no sense. If there is anything the last two games have shown you, it’s that Tua is not the problem. Unless Watson, Rodgers or whoever is gonna come in and also call plays and block for themselves, that talk needs to stop now. Call me crazy but I don’t think you can call someone a bust after 1 season, especially when he’s 8-4 as a starter which is better than any QB from last year’s class but go ahead.
While both of these things absolutely infuriate me, at this moment the person I need to be most mad at is myself. I set myself up for this every year. If I had to pick a soundtrack for my life as a Dolphins fan the number one track has to be “One Step Up’ By Bruce Springsteen. For those of you who don’t know this song from the Boss the chorus goes “One step up and two steps back”. That is the only way to describe this relationship. Just when I think the Dolphins are ready to step up (see beating NE this year and last year) they take two giant steps back (see BUFF this year and last year). Even now, 30 minutes after a game ended—a game by the way that Miami had a 14-0 lead in at one point— I now ask myself the same question Simple Plan asked us all 17 years ago, “How could this happen to me?”. (That’s track 2 on this soundtrack by the way. Don’t worry I’ll release the full soundtrack later this week.)
I don’t know what’s worse; watching this team look absolutely pathetic like they did against Buffalo, or watching them struggle against Vegas in what should have been a winnable game. I even made a bet with myself that the Colts will pick up a win next week. This offense looks anemic and there needs to be serious reconsideration of offensive duties on the coaching staff. If you need help, you let whichever OC didnt call a screen in the endzone be the guy from now on. Not only that but early in the game, you just barely picked up a 1st down on a shovel pass that the Raiders had scouted pretty well so it only made sense to do it in OT on a crucial 3rd down play.
If that isn’t bad enough you follow it up by going for the tie. Why not go for the win? You have all the momentum on your side. Scoring a TD and conversion to tie, check. Converting a 4th and 20, check. Running for a 1st down on 3rd and 7, check. I know hindsight is 20/20 but to me that just tells your team you’re not confident in them. If your defense wasn’t gassed, I’d understand going for the tie, but in this situation you have to go for it. This is a must win game this early in the season and you have to be aggressive.
This team could potentially be 1-3 and have to go to the defending champ in TB in 2 weeks. I know it’s early, but I dont think I’m out of line in saying they may already be out of postseason contention.
The craziest part about all of this is I know what’s going to happen and still can’t help but root for these guys. I told myself after last week’s game I was done with this team. By Tuesday I was already looking forward to this one. For all the faults this team has—and they are abundant—it would take something monumental for me to jump ship. (Monumental like trading away three first round picks and two second round picks for one guy). The Dolphins have the schedule set up to get on the right track especially during the middle of the season.
I think everyone has someone in their life they get annoyed with due to that person’s complacency. It could be a friend, family member, coworker, or maybe even a significant other, but everyone has someone in their life who could be so much better off if they lived up to their potential. That’s me and the Dolphins. I love this team and realize what they are capable of but I am not sure they do. But until they figure it out, I’ll be here. You stay classy Miami.