Last year, right around this same time, the Miami Dolphins had one win. They also had just made a critical new addition to their front office - V.P. of Football Operations, Bill Parcells.
That was one year ago. And it's amazing to think about where this Miami Dolphins team has come back from in just one year. But, please, let's save the "Disney-esque" look back at this season's memories for the future. Now is not the time.
Yes - I appreciate everything this team has done. Yes - I am astonished, to be honest, at this turnaround. And like I said earlier, this has been one of the most - if not the most - enjoyable football seasons of my life.
But with that said, there's still work to be done. And I'm not ready for this amazing, improbable season to end. I doubt any of you are, either.
I'm sure some of you will tell me that I've forgotten the original expectations for this team back in August; that I'm being greedy. And to that I'd respond by saying "you're damn right I'm being greedy." I want this win on Sunday. I need this win on Sunday. And without this win on Sunday, I will be angry, disappointed, and heart-broken.
I'm not saying that I would consider this season a failure or a disappointment if the Fins lost. But there will be plenty of time to look back at this season with fond memories. Right now, I'm focused on just one thing: winning a division title.
When I think about Sunday's game and about why I want this win so damn badly, I can't help but think about the past. I think about the 2000 season - the last time the Dolphins won the division. That year, the Dolphins sat at 10-3 and had two home games in a row. I was thinking home-field advantage throughout the playoffs - or at the very least, a first-round bye. Instead, the Dolphins lost to the Bucs by 3 and the Colts by 7. They ended the year 11-5 and knocked off the Colts in the first round in that epic OT thriller in Miami - the one where Lamar Smith was unstoppable - before getting embarrassed in Oakland the following week.
I think back to 2001 - the last time Miami reached the playoffs. That year, the Dolphins ended the season 11-5, which would have been good enough for a first-round bye - if only the Dolphins didn't lose to the Patriots 3 days before Christmas, giving NE a matching record and the advantage in the tie-break. The Dolphins would go on to get crushed by Baltimore in the first round. The Pats, thanks in part to their bye, would end up winning their first Super Bowl to close that season.
I think back to 2002 - when the Dolphins finished in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. The Fins, Jets, and Pats all had 9-7 records. But it were the Jets who won the division thanks to the tie-breakers. The Dolphins, of course, were left out of the playoffs. And let's not forget that all Miami had to do to win the division was to knock off either Vikings in week 16 (who ended the season 6-10) or the Patriots in week 17. The Dolphins lost both games by 3 points.
But most of all, I think back to 2003. That year, of course, was the year that the Dolphins went 10-6 and failed to reach playoffs - being 1 of only 3 teams since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff field in 1992 to win 10 games and not make the playoffs. That year also saw the Dolphins lose a heart-breaking, one-point game to the Texans. If the Dolphins would have won that game, they are 11-5 and in the playoffs.
The irony here, of course, is that the Dolphins could potentially end up 10-6 and miss the playoffs this season. Oh - and the Dolphins also lost a heart-breaking, one-point game to the Texans this year.
So, please, don't go all "Disney" on me and tell me about how great of a season this has been. I'm well aware of it. But I still want one more win. Yes, I'm greedy - and you should be, too.
As fans of the Miami Dolphins, we deserve to be greedy this one time!