The 2010 season ended shitty for the Dolphins, but was very eventful for me. Starting with road-trip to the season opener on the road in Buffalo, followed by another to Cincy. Southern Ohio was the scene of great party & tailgate, not to mention I scored C Wake & K Misi on a couple of mini helmets. Both were great times and both were wins. Then I hightail it to Florida only to get an "in" with the Phin Addicts and the Deep End crew. More great times despite not winning a single game at home. Free tickets, great seats, making our way onto the field for the final home game of the season...Yeah, it was a good year for me as a Dolphin fan even with the 2-4 record of games I attended. I got to witness another Ring of Honor ceremony, I chatted with Channing ( in full make-up ) before the last home game, I was on the stadium's jumbo-tron, and my pic even made into a few different newspapers. As well as getting two more pics published in the "I was there" section of the Gameday Program this season ( lifetime total,...4 pics in the program ).
All that has brought my to Immokalee, Florida yesterday. It's a tiny town 45 minutes from the Ft myers area where we are staying. There they have a little casino and yesterday's attraction was Larry Little, Bob Kuechenburg, Mercury Morris, and Jim Kiick. All in one place,...No brainer, I was there ! I was totally cool on one hand and kind of sad on the other. The casino had it set up nicely. Tons of signed sports memorabilia for a silent auction, a couple of hot chicks taking photos in football inspired skimpiness( The Zig-Zag Girls), 5 giant projection screens playing a documentary of the '72 Dolphins, and plenty of eats and drinks to be had. It was a good sized room, but not many people there. And, of the ones that were there, I don't think many knew or cared what was going on. Most were older folks that were part of that casino's "Player's Club" there to check out this weeks activity/promotion. I counted about 5 people, not including myself in some sort of Dolphins gear. I hated seeing Dolphin greats reduced to this. But, it is what it is and I wanted to get some stuff signed. By Kooch at least, as I have the rest already.
I get nervous at these things. What do you say that they have heard a million times already. After all, my earliest Dolphin memory was the AFC Championship game against Oakland. Mid/late 70's, Ken Stabler and the " Sea of Hands" catch. However, somebody in my family had it right by putting a Dolphin Winter cap on me sometime after the '72 season. From there the rest is history. So in my mind, these guys are the reason why I became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. So whenever I get a chance to go to a signing of a '72 Dolphin I am ever grateful and humbled. They are part of the only PERFECT team in NFL history,...period.
When I got in line ( at it's longest ) it was about 15 people deep. Again,...sad. Everybody clutching an Immokalee Casino mini football ( prestige club members had full size footballs). I came armed with two throwback mini helmets and some photos of Kooch & I. At the first table was Kiick & Morris. I shook their hands and explained how I had met them many times before. Jim said I looked kinda familiar,.....I thought, I should I'm everywhere,...lol. My wife sensing my nervousness quickly ask Merc for a photo. She is smooth,...
From there I moved on to the table for the men that make it happen,....the O-line. Kooch signed my mini and the two pics I had. It was a perfect day, now I had all four of these "72ers on mini helmets. Again, I didn't have much to say, but Wifey snatched the camera away from from took another yet another pic.
After I secured the goods, we took a peek at the silent auction stuff and watched the Dolphins documentary. At this point I still had an unsigned throwback mini. Here I decided to get back into line and get all four to sign the one mini as a memento to this day. I went back up right when they were taking a break to to a little Q&A with the local radio guy who was there. No problem, this should be interesting. Having not taken many pictures at this event I filmed the whole Q&A session. It was interesting to hear that Kiick & Csonka went out for a beer the night before the Superbowl. How Little & Koock laughed when then knew they owned the competition and laughed even more when they saw Csonka barreling towards some poor DB. And, of course Mercury when on a rant about being "perfect". At one point the radio guy ask if anyone from the crowd had any questions. My hand shot up like a rocket without a clue of what to ask. Of all things I could have or should have asked,....I came up with this beauty. " Jim, seeing as you were on American Gladiators, would you ever consider doing Dancing with the Stars ? It got a chuckle. He said " it would be a hell of a lot easier the Gladiators, and if girls are good looking,...sure, why not .
I tried to upload the 18 minute video to both photobucket and youtube with no luck. Computer savvy, I'm not. But I'll try again tomorrow, it was pretty cool to hear them talk about their glory days. After their talk I did get all four of them to sign my last mini helmet. Cool !
Although the Dolphins season didn't pan out the way any of us wanted, I still love them. And having just spent over an hour hanging around a few of some Superbowl Champions Dolphins, I love them even more. Even when Larry Little, when asked what he thinks of the current Dolphins, says convincingly that they suck.
Until next season,...keep the faith !