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Single-Season Turnarounds & "Mission 4W"

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Since it seems like nobody in the mainstream media wants to talk about the amazing turnaround of our beloved franchise, I'll toot our own horn. 

As someone in our community pointed out, the 1963 Oakland Raiders (of the AFL) were the last team to go from a 1 win season to a 10 win season.  In fact, since the merger, no NFL team has ever even made the playoffs after winning just one game the season before.  And that's why what the 2008 Miami Dolphins are doing is so unbelievable.  They simply have a chance to do something that no other team has ever done before.

Since 1980, 7 teams (other than the '07 Dolphins) have gone 1-15.  Below is how they fared the next season:

'80 Saints: 4-12
'89 Cowboys: 7-9
'90 Patriots: 6-10
'91 Colts: 9-7
'96 Jets: 9-7
'00 Chargers: 5-11
'01 Panthers: 7-9

As you can see, the Dolphins are already among the top 5 "post-one-win seasons" since 1980.  Also of note, the '96 Jets were headed by non other than Bill Parcells - the master of the reclamation project.

But that's not what the Dolphins are shooting for right now.  Yes, after the season, it will be nice to sit back and think about just how surprisingly successful this season has been.  But nobody here is looking to "settle" for 7 or 8 wins - or even 9 wins.  No.  Our eyes are on a much bigger prize.  And even though much of the nation doesn't want to acknowledge the Dolphins, the Dolphins are currently in the hunt to make history and make the playoffs.  And what lies ahead is what I'm calling "Mission 4W."

"MISSION 4W"

That's right.  All that stands in the way of the Dolphins and history are 4 little wins.  If the Dolphins can pull this off, they would instantly put themselves in position to be mentioned in the same breath as other great teams to pull off remarkable single-season turnarounds.  Some of the most notable teams to make improbable playoff runs include the following:

'98-'99 Colts 3-13 to 13-3 Won Division
'98-'99 Rams 4-12 to 13-3 Won Super Bowl
'03-'04 Steelers 6-10 to 15-1 Lost AFC Championship
'03-'04 Chargers 4-12 to 12-4 Won Division
'80-'81 49ers 6-10 to 13-3 Won Super Bowl
'97-'98 Falcons 7-9 to 14-2 Lost Super Bowl
'05-'06 Saints 3-13 to 10-6 Lost NFC Championship
'90-'91 Lions 6-10 to 12-4 Lost NFC Championship
'00-'01 Patriots 5-11 to 11-5 Won Super Bowl
'95-'96 Jaguars 4-12 to 9-7 Lost AFC Championship

Incase you didn't notice, those 10 teams were listed in order of regular season win improvement.  Only 1 team in NFL history has even won 10 more games than they did the season before - the '99 Colts.  The Dolphins are just 4 wins shy of matching that remarkable feat.

"Mission 4W."  It's a simple concept.  More importantly, it's a mission that can indeed be accomplished.  These 10 teams above are proof that NFL teams can indeed rise from the ashes of a bad season and accomplish improbable feats the following season.

And while nobody seems to want to talk about our Dolphins outside of South Florida, there's going to come a time - whether it's in a week, or two weeks, or 3 weeks - that the rest of the league is going to take notice of what's happening in Miami. 

Because what's happening isn't just a feel-good story, it's potentially a historic story.

The question is how will that final chapter end.