Is there such thing as a "must-win game" in week 2 of the NFL season? I don't think so, though only 19 teams since 1990 have made the playoffs after starting a season 0-2. Of course, the Giants just last year started 0-2 and then won the Super Bowl.
But hose points are moot when you talk about this Dolphins team. After all, nobody really thinks of this team as a playoff team, right?
Well apparently Tony Sparano feels that Sunday's week 2 game in Arizona is indeed a "must-win" for the Dolphins. At his press briefing today, Sparano says:
"I feel like when you lose your first game of the season that your second game is a must-win no matter what. I think every week in this league is a must-win in my mind, but when you’re trying to change a culture, there are no kind of wins. They are all must-wins when you’re trying to change a culture. That being said, we know that last week we lost a ballgame that maybe we didn’t play as well as we could have in. I think that makes this game a whole lot more important, yes."
Alright, so I understand what Sparano is trying to do - sending a message to his players, hoping they perform far better than last week against the Jets. But then what happens if the Dolphins, who are 7-point underdogs, do end up losing on Sunday? What does he say then? Is the season over with a loss on Sunday?
You see, usually the term "must-win" is used in big games late in the season that have major playoff implications of some kind. But Sunday's game really has no major significance. After all, only 1/8th of the season will be over come Sunday night. So what happens to the remaining 7/8ths of the season if the Dolphins lose this "must-win"?
Maybe I'm crazy here, but this seems like a bad move by Sparano. Call it a "rookie mistake" if you want, but I just don't think that calling this particular game on Sunday a "must-win" was a good idea.
But then again, if the Dolphins pull the game out somehow, some people might start calling Sparano a genius who know exactly how to motivate his team.
So what do you all think? Good move? Bad move?