There is one word that any Football fan prays to hear in the same sentence as their team, one word that any player longs to have their efforts attributed to, that one word is... "dynasty".The reason it is such a holy grail in the world of sports is that every team, in every sport, at every level is vying for the same thing, to be successful and to be the best at what they do.
Now that I'm done stating the obvious I'll get to my main point, how does a franchise position itself to become a dynasty, to become a force in their field, or is it just merely dumb luck.
The Miami Dolphins went into the season a joke, nationally speaking of course. Fans irate that our General Manager (and public enemy number 1) had been allowed to trade away two of our most valuable assets for buttons. Players unsettled by the front office's handling of the Chad EightyFive situation. An over-drafted Rookie Quarterback thrust into the starting spot to appease an unrealistic and desperate fan base. A rookie Head Coach looking distinctly uncomfortable in his surroundings, in large part due to his owner forcing the media storm and PR suicide onto him that was, "Hard Knocks"...well, those were the perceptions from some, at least.
As we sit here in mid October heading into a bye week, we are 3-3, ahead of most people's predictions, even daring to feel slightly disappointed that we let two W's become L's. Things seem that little bit "rosier", in Miami Gardens.
Jeff Ireland is still public enemy number 1 in the eyes of most, perhaps out of stubbornness more than anything, you will not find a more bitter and stubborn animal than a sports fan. But I think it's safe to say that very few fans are still mourning the loss of Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis, whilst I think we can all agree, 5 picks in the first 3 rounds of the 2013 draft is never a bad thing, and speaking of draft picks, seeing a number of previous picks make an apparent step up in class through weeks 1-6 certainly seems to justify those controversial off season moves (or lack thereof in the case of a Wide Receiver).
The Chad Johnson thing has long since blown over, the locker room seems as harmonious as it has ever been, and even if it isn't, that's at least the outward perception, and that's all we're really talking about here.
The "over-drafted" rookie QB has surpassed everyone's expectations, unless you count Omar Kelly, who seems to want 11 opposing defenders heads mutilated and displayed on spikes for the world to see before he'll admit the kid done good. Ryan Tannehill displays poise beyond his years and experience, an arm that can make any throw at the pro level and his numbers stand up against those of the apparent second coming, Andrew Luck.
As for Joe Philbin, it's early days still I know...but he has impressed me as much as anyone.
What builds a dynasty is simple, WINNING, consistently and repeatedly for a long stretch of time, and as they say, winning becomes a habit.
For Philbin, winning is a habit, he comes from Green Bay, where being an also ran isn't enough, where winning is expected. Lets go back a few decades, and that mentality was alive and well in South Florida and Dolfans worldwide.
I like how honest Philbin is, both with media and fans alike. Fans grew weary of Tony Sparano seemingly being on the defensive all the time, fearing the loss rather than chasing the win. Protecting his players from criticism publicly to the point where he was essentially unwilling to admit failings, and celebrating every field goal like a Superbowl win...there's another expression, "Act like you've won before".
Therein lies the key to this, Philbin is firm yet amiable, critical yet encouraging, upbeat yet level headed, and with all of this, if Hard Knocks proved nothing else, it showed he wants to instil a new culture into this organisation, one where second best isn't enough, one where a Field Goal shows a need for improvement, and one where if we stink, he wont attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.
If this organisation is to ever return to it's glory days, the culture needs to change, inside the facility and out. The fans need to connect with the players again, rather than cite them as the reason their passion has wained, we need to start winning...and with Philbin in place, I believe that a culture change is a high priority. Of course, having a rookie Quarterback with all the upside in the world certainly aids his cause.