"I'm supposed to say congratulations to all the people in the past, to all the great tradition, to all the people who laid the groundwork. But I only care about one thing: the present. The people who are here now to win now." - Jimmy Johnson
To any 8 or so year old boys or girls living in south florida,think twice before buying that Cameron Wake jersey.
In fact,take a couple of extra minutes to look around the Sports Authority.
There's a nice Aaron Rodgers jersey.
What about that Cam Newton jersey?
Your parents could be lying to you.Your brothers,your sisters.Your classmates.
There's still time.You don't have to become a diehard Dolphins fan.Once youre in,you never get out.
Not when your team goes 12 straight years without drafting a quarterback in the first round,when quarterback was the number one positional need in 11 of those years.
Not when you are the favorites to land one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time,but immediately squander those chances by trading one of the top 8 receivers in the NFL.
What keeps us sucked in?
If,we build a team from the ground up,draft a mid round QB who becomes the next Tom Brady,if,we spend our early round picks building a dominant line on both sides of the ball,and spend our money on veteran ballhawks and skill players,we can become a contender again!Like the 70s!
Every year,about 15 teams' fans have these visions.14 or so of those fan bases are wrong.
The odds are stacked against us creating a superbowl contender from these Dolphins in the next ten years.
Its been 39 years since we won the Super Bowl.Now,dont get me wrong there have been great memories during that time.Marino,a dreadlocked Ricky Williams,an improbable run in 2008.
I mean 39 years!
One month ago we were a team on the rise.A team that had the pieces to make a run.Fans were impressed with Matt Moore.Whether or not they agreed he was the future was up for debate.But he was impressive.We had a great defensive line and a solid running game,two key ingredients for a contending NFL franchise.Our number one cornerback only played 12 games.We finished the year on a 6-3 run.
Flash forward to this week.Fans are staging a protest at the team training facility holding signs that say things like ''Fireland.''
Seriously,what happened?I cant figure out what happened.Where did we go wrong?
One week after one of the more memorable playoff wins in franchise history and belief in the air in Miami,the Dolphins were throttled 62-7 in Jacksonville.Hall of fame coach Jimmy Johnson immediately moved to the Florida Keys,never to be seen again.
Assitant defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt is named his replacement.
With a hall of fame head coach and a hall of fame quarterback on their way out,nobody knew what was next for Miami.
Marino would end up opting out of his contract before flirting with the Minnesoata Vikings.He would ultimately retire after the Dolphins signed Jay Fiedler a 28 year old journeyman with one career start to a starting contract,pushing Marino out.
While Fiedler struggled in 2000,the defense thrived under Wandstedt,and the Dolphins went on to win 11 games and a playoff game in back to back years.
The team was a quarterback away from being a serious contender.
Dolphins fans were split on Fiedler and many projected Miami to spend their first round pick on a quarterback from Purdue named Drew Brees.
The Dolphins would surprise many by passing on Brees and using their first round pick on a cornerback,Jamar Fletcher,a career reserve,despite already boasting one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
With Brees chosen 6 picks later,Miami would settle for Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel in the 6th round.
Heupel would never take a snap in the NFL,while Drew Brees is on his way to Canton.
In 2001,Miami would once again ride their defense into the postseason,with Fiedler once again being the weak link on an otherwise solid team.
Not to hate on Fiedler,winning 23 games in two years is no easy task,but after a 20-3 playoff loss to Baltimore in which he threw for 122 yards,it was clear that Miami needed an offensive playmaker if they wanted a chance.
See!The Dolphins didnt always dissapoint their fans!
When it seemed like trade talks were dead,Miami ressucitated them by adding a second first round pick in the deal.Which is pretty much the opposite of the Peyton Manning situation,where talks were alive and running before Miami shot them down by trading Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins lost in a devastating overtime against New England in week 17,keeping them out of the playoffs,however,the team was much improved with Williams,and the Dolphins were still a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender.
The Dolphins continued to play with fire by A)not acquiring a quarterback and B)running their new superstar into the ground.
As a result,Ricky averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in 2003,while Jay Fiedler continued to be Jay Fiedler for the 4th straight year.
In 2004,Ricky retired and the Dolphins needed a quarterback.They settled for A.J Feeley,sending a second round pick to Philadelphia for a quarterback Philly was baiting that no one else really wanted.
Feeley turned out to be just as mediocre as Fiedler,but now the Dolphins not only had no running game,they also couldnt stop being run over themselves.Their defense no longer had Super Bowl talent and their superstar playmaker was gone.The era was over.We had a 5 year window where we could have competed for a Super Bowl but squandered it by never drafting a quarterback,either by drafting Drew Brees or trading for Drew Bledsoe.Tragic.
In the 2006 offseason,Miami again overlooked Drew Brees,not because of his height like in 2001,but because of a torn labrum.We instead chose to trade a second round pick for Daunte Culppepper's torn ACL,PCL and MCL and off field issues.(I'm on a boat!)
The Chargers chose not to re sign Brees because they wanted to start Philip Rivers,whom they had spent a first round pick on 2 years earlier,before Brees emerged as a pro bowler.With Culpepper,the Vikings chose not to re sign the 28 year old QB,because they wanted to move forward with 37 year old journeyman Brad Johnson.(Red flags,anyone?)
Culpepper would play 4 games for the Dolphins while Drew Brees has put up one of the best 6 year stretches ever for an NFL quarterback.
In 2008,Chad Pennington became the first Dolphins QB since the 90's to have a good season.The Dolphins went 11-5 and finsihed the year on a magical run,but this wasnt a great team.They definitely looked like a one or two hit wonder.An aging,injury prone quarterback and multiple wins coming by long 4th quarter plays in the wildcat formation.
Still,it was a magical year that we could possibly build upon.We didn't have many of those from '04-'07.A year where we said ''thats good,we'll take that.Let's try to get a little better wothout rebuilding again.''
The party didnt last,and that ''great when healthy,but historically injury prone QB'' suffered what was basically a career ending injury in week 3 the next season.
In 2009,2nd year QB Chad Henne won 7 out of 13 games and looked like a possible franchise QB!He was tall,tough and had an elite arm!Pennington had been avenged!
Then in 2010,we traded for one of the NFL's best receivers in Brandon Marshall!And hes young!We did it!We were back!
Now,at the end of the 2011 season,Henne is a lowly paid backup for the Jacksonville Jaguars,behind the worst starting quarterback in the NFL and Marshall is now a Chicago Bear.(Thus proving that everyone who joins the Dolphins somehow sets their career up for tragedy in doing so.When Fergie became minority owner,what happened to the Black Eyed Peas?Broke up.What about when J-Lo and Marc Anthony joined the skybox?)
Did I mention that this was a team that won 6 of their last 9 and had an actual shot at the postseason?And not as a miracle team like in '08,but because we were actually young and talented?
Did I mention that even though we had a young quarterback who played well down the stretch,we were the favorites to sign one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time the very second before we traded our number one offensive weapon?
What about the fact that even after we lost the Peyton Manning sweepstakes we immediately became the favorites to land Matt Flynn,a young QB who has spent his entire career under Aaron Rodgers and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin,our new head coach?
What about the fact that we lowballed him and he left to play for Seattle for 3 years and a measley 27 or so million dollars?
Then,we signed David Garrard,who hasnt played football in a year and when he did,he was benched for the aforementioned worst quarterback in the NFL?
And that by signing Garrard,we crushed the last ounce of confidence that our young,talented,fairly competent starting quarterback once had?
By buying that Cameron Wake jersey,you arent just buying the jersey of one of the most dominant pass rushers in the NFL.
Youre also placing a bet on the odds that hes a Dolphin in 2015.
Outside of Henne,the Dolphins havent drafted a quarterback that would later start a game since their last franchise quarterback retired.
Its not like im dissapointed that Miami didnt select Tom Brady in 1999,im dissapointed because they have missed the a vs b choices over and over again.
I love the Miami Dolphins and I know that as a south Florida sports fan,that I can never,ever complain because of the LeBron rule,but this has been the most poorly executed offseason in franchise history.
It's no coincidence,considering the fact that this is the worst front office in franchise history,starting with Stephen Ross.
Seriously,screw you Stephen Ross.