Hello fellow Dolfans.
You may remember my pre-season post questioning my Fins fanhood and the team's chances this season (my 9-7 record is still attainable!): http://www.thephinsider.com/2011/8/12/2358888/a-dol-fan-takes-stock-of-his-fandom
I've been reading all your posts over the past few weeks and it appears to me that everyone is settling into one of two factions: 1) Fans who want this team to win at all costs, whether it delivers a 1-15 season or a 7-9 season (Root, root, root for the Home Team!); 2) Fans who have embraced the possibility of gaining the #1 pick and drafting Andrew Luck (Suck for Luck). I am personally of the belief that when you step on a field of play you play to win; most athletes believe this, in my opinion. I don't believe the Dolphins have or ever will "throw" a game (too many proud and competitive athletes), but it is clear that the entire team (coaches and players) are apathetic and playing with little energy and passion, which amounts to "throwing" a game when you're going up against a team playing with even the slightest bit of energy and passion, even if that energy comes from not wanting to lose to the worst team in football (sorry, it is the Dolphins).
I am not on the "Suck for Luck" campaign float, and never will be. Rooting for your team to lose is ludicrous. Just stop rooting. Be as apathetic as the players and coaches are. Find something else to do on Sundays until this team (from owners on down) turns things around and stops embarrassing itself (on-and-off the field). There isn't even a guarantee that Luck will bypass his senior year at Stanford to enter the Draft, and even if that does happen, there is no guarantee he won't make a power-play like Eli Manning or John Elway to end up in a better situation than savior for a dysfunctional franchise (and, yes, the Fins are dysfunctional right now). Rooting for the team to lose in order to get the #1 pick to draft a guy who may not even be available is silly. With the way the team's been drafting lately, the Fins could end up spending #1 pick money on a WR or FS, which gets this team nowhere. Let's not act like the Fins will automatically (and competently) trade the pick down for a package of picks - this is the modern-day Fins* we're talking about). An overhaul is in order, not necessarily a #1.
[* I don't think I need to explain what I mean by modern-day Fins. Here are just a few examples: Interviewing Jim Harbaugh to replace coach Sparano, only to be spurned by Harbaugh and then go sign Sparano to a 2-year extension; the drafting of Pat White in the 2nd round; the drafting of Ted Ginn in the 1st round; not drafting a QB with their first-round pick since 1983; signing Reggie Bush to be a feature back; and, for me, the dumbest move I've seen in a while, cutting the talented and cheap Lousaka Polite when the team didn't even have another fullback on the squad. Usually teams that run the ball and value protecting their QB like to have a tough, intelligent fullback who blocks, but not the Fins; they're too smart for logic (and their own good). Oh, wait, I forgot the most unforgivable of all football moves - the trading of Wes Welker. Enough said.]
I am also not one of the fans rooting for this team to finish somewhere between 1-15 and 7-9. Mediocrity breeds apathy. Absolute and utter sucking (for lack of a better term) breeds frustration, anger, resentment, and finally, resolve and adaptation. The current team is on the dividing line between apathy and frustration, with the free-fall into full-blown anger approaching. Watching the Dolphins finish the season somewhere between 1-15 and 7-9, for the fifth time in six years, would be unbearable for me as a fan. Watching this team go 0-16, hit rock bottom, and be forced (from within and without) to transform the product from the owner down through the locker room would leave me feeling fine and slightly hopeful for the future (look at the Lions' blossoming success only two seasons after going winless). It's a shame the trade deadline passed so early in the season because I fully believe the Fins should have traded Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Brandon Fields, Reggie Bush, their D-Line, and anyone else on the squad who could yield a draft pick or a young, promising player. The only keepers are: Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, Daniel Thomas, Koa Misi, and Vontae Davis - all young, talented, and useable. The Fins are not one player away from being a competitive playoff team; nor are they ten players away. The Fins are a complete overhaul away from being a competitive playoff team. Being a competitive playoff team is the goal in this League. Not finishing 0-16 is not the goal! (How low have our expectations fallen?) True fans should be rooting for a complete overhaul. Please note: Rooting for a complete overhaul is not rooting for the team to lose; it's rooting for the team to set itself up for a successful run in the coming years. The team, as designed, cannot win. The team, as designed, may finish 0-16, even with all those big names that I propose trading. What damage can be caused by trading them? None. It's entirely beneficial to unload the dead weight of the veterans who aren't helping the team win now. This team needs to intelligently approach an overhaul. Us fans will forgive them an 0-16 season if they deliver five consecutive playoff appearances in a few years. Heaven forbid a Super Bowl be in their sights down the line. Right now, they're treading water, and that's the worst thing a franchise can do. They need to "free-fall into an overhaul."
My biggest football wish is for the League to force an ownership change, as Ross has proven in the past three years to be an incompetent leader of a professional franchise. From the addition of C-level celebrity minority owners to the poor decision-making in signing coaches and staff to the repetitive attempts to woo new coaches while Sparano waits to be fired to the approval given to sign under-performing big free agent pickups, Ross has not once shown the ability to lead as an owner. The incompetence, in the case of the Fins, starts at the absolute top, with the man who signs the checks. And, let's not fool ourselves, the Fins' organization is incompetent. They're by far the most embarrassing franchise in football right now. Colts and Rams fans can understand their teams' struggles due to the losses of Manning and Bradford, but who exactly are the Fins missing? I like Henne, but he wasn't delivering wins prior to being injured. Pennington? That's going back a ways, and I think us fans got more from him than anyone expected. Personally, I long for the days of Jay Fiedler. In my opinion, getting rid of Ross would be the team's first step in the right direction.
In lieu of the League forcing a change in ownership (I know it will never happen), a complete overhaul of this team involves the hiring of an entirely new staff, from head coach on through all positional coordinators and coaches; the trading of under-performing, pricey veterans (listed above); a structured draft process (incl. improved scouting and training) where the team solidifies itself at numerous important positions over the next few seasons;and, most importantly, the installation of a winning attitude. Don't mock that. The current team has given up. You've read the players' own words. They know people see them as losers and they know they're playing like losers. The attitude in the locker room and on the field needs to change. Guys who believe in themselves and believe they can win out-play their own talent, and that attitude spreads. That organizational attitude begins at the very top, with a competent and passionate owner making intelligent decisions about the structure of his organization, and it disseminates down to the most passionate water boy.
I'm not rooting for a loss, but I'm also not hoping for another mediocre season. I see this season as an opportunity. Here is the Fins' opportunity to restart. Missing this opportunity will be dreadful, as it will leave the team floating in mediocrity. Hopefully, a complete overhaul will abolish this "loser mentality" which the fans and players (!) are talking about and get this franchise back on its winning ways. As a fan, I don't want to suffer through a continual string of mediocre-to-worse seasons before everyone gets the memo that an overhaul is needed. I want this to be quick and relatively painless (like a Band-Aid). With any luck, this overhaul can begin on Monday, January 2nd.