I have a problem…
The problem is that I’m a Miami Dolphins fan in the 21st Century. I grew up around football, and I’ve loved the Dolphins longer than I can remember. While I’ve calmed down in recent years, I used to live and die by them. If they won on Sunday, I’d be walking on clouds all week. If the lost, it was probably best to not even talk to me until at least Wednesday. Kids have certainly put things in perspective, but like any true sports fan, you can never truly walk away from your team.
I really think Miami is unique in its ability to inflict pain upon its fans. I’m certainly not taking anything away from the misery-inducing abilities of teams like Cleveland and Detroit, but I think it’s a different type of torture. We were one of the storied franchises of the Super Bowl era. I realize that the Browns and Lions have both had their day, but if you have to bring up the 1950s, you know that you probably have another long season ahead of you.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have been good in the “modern football” time-frame. We’ve been to 5 Super Bowls and won 2. We had the only perfect season in the history of the NFL, and we were coached by the great Don Shula. We have had all world players like Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Larry Czonka, and Nick Buoniconti. Until a few years ago, we were actually the team with the most wins since the first Super Bowl. Unfortunately, a few miserable years allowed the Steelers to take that title. That fact that we have fallen so far so quickly is what hurts the most. Since Marino retired, we have been an average team at best and mediocre to horrible most of the time. The problem is that we remember when we were good, so we always feel like we’re just another offseason away from returning to glory. One solid draft or one nice trade, and we’re on our way. Then, the games start and we’re awful again. While other teams have been bad for so long that their fans can except the awfulness, we remember the glory, and we feel like we’re so close. Are there other teams that induce the same type of pain? I would certainly entertain arguments from the Bills, Redskins, and Raiders, but that’s about it.
With all that in mind, I would like to give you a rare insight into the mindset of a Dolphins fan during the regular season. We don’t have the ability to see sense. The following account is specific to the first 5 weeks of this season, but it could really apply to any season since Marino retired.
Week 1 (Blowout Loss to Texans): “Meh. Everybody said we would be really bad this year, and Houston is supposed to be one of the best teams. It’s definitely going to be a long season, but surely we aren’t this bad. Right?”
Week 2 (Blowout Win over Raiders): “Hey! That was pretty impressive. Sure, the Raiders are horrible, and Tannehill is still 3 years from being good, but there’s some promise there. Maybe a .500 season is possible this year.“
Week 3 (Overtime Loss to Jets): “Seriously?!?! How could we lose that? We were clearly the better team, and all we had to do was make a field goal in overtime. We pushed them around, and we still managed to make sure we lost. And it had to be the Jets of all teams. If there’s another game like this, I’m officially giving up on this season. I can’t do this anymore.”
Week 4 (Overtime Loss to Cardinals): “There it was! Once again, we were the better team and managed to lose. At least I no longer have to care about this team anymore. I can officially check out for the season. I am no longer invested emotionally.”
Week 5 (Road Win over Bengals): “Hey now! We actually managed to win a close game and drafting Tannehill might have been a good move. Our running game is solid, and our defense is really good. We should really be 4-1 right now! Looking around the AFC, the Patriots, Ravens, and Texans will definitely win their divisions, and somebody will accidentally win the West. Who gets the Wild Cards though? The Steelers haven’t looked great and have a ton of injuries. We just beat the Bengals, and the Colts have to cool off. The Jets are slowly melting into a puddle of terrible, and the Bills are…the Bills. Why not us? And, once we make the play-offs, anything is possible. SUPER BOWL BABY!!! Nothing can stop us.”
Week 6 (Yet to be Played; Probably a Close Home Loss to the Rams): “Sweet Baby Buddha, I really hate myself.”