I've been trying to put my finger on exactly how I felt after this loss, and the end to this season.
In all honesty, I wasn't overly saddened.
Dissapointed? Sure, in some respects. I didn't agree with some of the coaching philosophy in the game and several players played poorly. But I wasn't angry, surprised, or upset.
I went into this season thinking that a really good year would net about six wins. I purposefully measured my expectations so as to avoid the monumental disappointment that comes from manufactured and overly bright perceptions.
And then magic happened.
Chad Pennington fell into our laps from all the way up in New York, and the team just took off under Tony Sparano's leadership, providing us with one of the most remarkable seasons in memory.
But the success of this one season did not change any of my expectations. This was still a team with a long-term plan, and any short-term successes are just icing on the cake - proof that the rebuilding effort is on the right track.
Did this team deserve to be in the playoffs this year? Absolutely they did. That doesn't mean they were true Super Bowl contenders though. That status is still a year or two down the road.
So I guess I didn't feel any of those negative feelings I talked about to begin with, because I simply felt hopeful...and proud.
Hopeful, because I didn't get the feeling that this achievement was fleeting. In no way are the playoffs now a guaranteed event in Miami, but there won't be anymore postseason droughts there either.
And proud, because this team is simply easy to cheer for. They have heart, they have grit, and for the most part they routinely display the kind of attitude that makes you appreciate the fact that the aqua and orange is your team - our team.
Thanks for the great season, guys.
[Note: This post comes from a piece I originally wrote for my site. Matty I and myself have been discussing a possible new front-page column for The Phinsider which I would be writing. That may start in the near future, so I look forward to discussing the Dolphins more with everyone here.]