Like many of you, I watched last night in...what's the word...astonishment? disbelief? disgust? anticipation...yes, anticipation of what, if any of us had an objective bone in our bodies, we could see coming a mile away: a trademark Dolphins loss in what should've been a relatively easy opponent. I mean, this is a team that almost goes out of its way to make things difficult. Over the last two decades, this has been an organization that has not given its fans much to cheer for. Who could forget the following "highlights:"
1997 - Miami loses to then then 0-7 Chicago Bears in OT on Monday Night Football
1997 - Ending the season with a 17-3 playoff loss to New England
1998 - Ending the season with a 38-3 playoff loss to Denver
1999 - Ending the season with a 62-7 playoff loss to Jacksonville
2000 - Choking away a 30-7 4th quarter lead in an eventual OT loss to the nyets on Monday Night Football in a game that is now called the "miracle at the meadowlands."
2000 - Ending the season with a 27-0 playoff loss to Oakland
2001 - Ending the season with a 20-3 playoff loss to Baltimore
2004 - The whole season
2007 - See 2004
2011 - Starting the season 0-7
About 87 different starting QBs since Dan Marino retired
About a dozen different head coaches (and equally bad offensive coordinators) since Don Shula retired
A couple of bumbling owners since the Robbie family sold the team
Seriously, when was the last time anybody thought the Dolphins had a realistic shot at going to a Super Bowl? I mean besides the Ace Ventura Pet Detective movie? For me, it's 1993, the year Miami was primed for a deep playoff run until Dan Marino ripped his achilles tendon on the "turf" in Cleveland. Since then, they've maintained a commitment to mediocrity, with shared flashes of brilliance AND ineptitude along the way. Even playoff runs with Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Ricky Williams, and others never felt like they'd go very far...and they didn't. That was twenty years ago or, to put it another way, enough time to raise a kid from birth and be halfway through college by now; that's a long time.
But none of that compares to what I've seen this season. Sure, it started out promising enough even though they had to be the worst 3-0 team in history. Then a reality check in New Orleans. But losing to the jills at home coming off a bye week? Inexcusable. Now this bullying thing, which to me indicates a leadership vacuum in the organization, starting with ownership. Then, basically coming off another bye week, and a loss to the worst team in the league. A team, mind you, that was missing many if its best players, starting a rookie QB, suffering from their own coaching/locker room crisis, with a special teams coach who got fired from an NCAA FCS also-ran who happened to run this team into the ground a decade ago - you just can't make this stuff up.
So I took a step back to reevaluate how much of an investment this team is worth to me, and I came up with the appropriate answer: practically nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'll always love the Dolphins like the codependent woman who gets beat up by her boyfriend in an episode of COPS, and maybe I'm kidding myself about having the ability to walk away, but I'm pretty much tapped out at this point. My dad took me to my first game 35 years ago; the Dolphins crushed Oakland in a 4pm start at the Orange Bowl, and it's one of my most endearing memories. Years later I would buy season tickets, saw the last game in the Orange Bowl, the first game at Joe Robbie stadium, and have a lot of great memories. But that's what they are; memories. I moved from Miami 20+ years ago, and will likely never go to another game; supporting a culture of failure just isn't worth the price of admission. Maybe they'll turn things around with a new owner who actually cares AND has a brain. Until then, I'll just shake my head from afar. Good luck to you remaining diehards, I think it's gonna be yet another tough year.