With this week’s 17-14 win over the St. Louis Rams, the Miami Dolphins are officially mediocre on paper with 3 wins and 3 losses. A lot of people keep talking about how they could be a 5-1 team had the two overtime losses gone a different way. But thinking like that is the sports fan equivalent of drunk-texting an ex.
So the seeds have been planted and a dark hope will fester inside all of us.
The Miami Dolphins are a reasonably good football team and learning how to win. After two miserable overtime loses, we can now concede they’re consistently competing against good teams every week. I was even happy after their well-executed, 17-13 win on Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals, who were a playoff team last year. Then I realized this is all part of the trap inherent in Dolphins Fandom: as with a peptic ulcer, the pain is just waiting to come back.
This is that moment when you have to choose between misery and happiness. They were so good. So close. But the 2012 Miami Dolphins just can’t make being a football fan easy and fun. They have to make each game exciting, and then lose plucking-a-nose-hair miserably.
I made the trip down the turnpike to Clown Shoe Stadium to watch the Miami Dolphins play the New York Jets on Sunday and unfortunately, my prediction of an embarrassing loss in a close game was spot on. That simple description, however, barely scratches the surface of how truly awful witnessing it in person was. It was gross. It was gut wrenching. It was demoralizing. It was good old-fashioned Miami Dolphins football.
It was an exciting opening Sunday at Clown Shoe Stadium, the Miami Dolphins’ home field and ritualistic self-mutilation campground. The diehard fans will be happy to know that the Orange Carpet is gone, the old fight song is back, and the team has been officially diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. And after a pathetic and lifeless loss last week to the Houston Texans, the Dolphins bounced back with a skull-crushing 35-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders. This team is well are on their way to restoring the simple mediocrity that has defined itself for the last decade and a half.
Welcome back to Damn Dolphins, your humble source for in-depth despair-based Miami Dolphins football analysis. I’ve been working on my pain and suffering analogies all offseason. I was pretty sure I was going to start this year’s first column off with talking about how watching our offense was not unlike getting a Tabasco enema. Then maybe liken the defensive secondary to quasi sentient Yeti turds.
But then, during the first quarter of Sunday’s game, the first of the 2012-13 season, we didn’t play like a toilet-algae colony against the pre-season Super Bowl-contending Houston Texans.
Sitting down to watch the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, I felt a sort of cathartic cynicism. The Dolphins are terrible and there’s nothing that could happen that would change that. Four years after the arrival of general manager Jeff Ireland, the team is thin at every position on both sides of the ball. There’s only one guy left on the roster from Ireland’s first draft: Jake Long, who was universally accepted as a surefire star when the Dolphins selected him with the first overall pick in 2008. If you believe the rumors (I don’t), Long may be leaving soon, too.
I had to chime in. I’ve got this mouthpiece here and I need to yell slobberingly through it. What is this Dolphins team doing? Besides not taking my advice and prompting the rest of the NFL and assorted sports media to make bold statements about how the franchise is the most poorly run in the NFL. I can’t help but wonder if owner Stephen Ross thought that when he spearheaded the team’s “regime change” he was going to get United Nations funding and some goodwill momentum from heads of state in the Balkans.
Dear Stephen Ross,
I don’t really expect you to read this. It’s mostly a therapeutic exercise in fandom and something for me to get off of my chest. This is a message from a born and raised Miamian and die-hard Dolphins fan who was a season ticket holder before you bought the team — I relinquished my seats after last year’s abominable 1-8 showing at home. I just couldn’t stand to pump a good percentage of my net worth into something so debilitating. I know that sounds like an exaggeration. I’m that kind of football fan.
By the power of the transitive property, that’s money out of your pocket …
Great. We lost. Despite an average showing from quarterback Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) owned the Dolphins (4-9) the entire game en route to a 26-10 victory. Remind me to never care about anything the Miami Dolphins do again. My mistake. With the spirited way they were playing in the last five games, following an 0-8 start, I’d gotten that old-timey football love and jubilee in my bones — until the second quarter Sunday, when the Eagles went on a 24-point scoring spree off of three Dolphins turnovers.