By now the expectations for change are running rampant among Miami Dolphins fans, as well as numerous media outlets. No one knows what will happen, but it is pretty clear that SOMETHING will happen, and probably soon! - maybe not this week, maybe not next, but certainly soon after the season ends the changes will start.
Most folks expect that Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning will "retire". I put that in quotes because maybe he will take responsibility for the poor play calling, and lack of offensive results this season, and step downgracefully, OR maybe he will be told in no uncertain terms that he can retire or be fired, but it is pretty commonly believed that he will not be back next year in the same capacity.
By the way, Dan Henning, here is a little piece of Dolphins trivia for you: What is ONLY team in the NFL to score fewer touchdowns this season than the Miami Dolphins at 25? Here's a hint - It isn't any 5-10 or 4-11 team.
Answer: Only the 2-13 Carolina Panthers have scored fewer touchdowns, at 16, this season than the Miami Dolphins.
Many folks are also expecting that Tony Sparano won't be back next season. While this writer has already ranted about the Head Coach's lack of control and assertiveness in solving the problems with the offense (see last week's article, here - Miami Dolphins: A closer look at Henne-Henning-Sparano arguments), the complete meltdown last Sunday against the Detroit Lions certainly has fueled that speculation.
It's not just that Sparano makes poor decisions or mistakes - most fans would probably give him a bit of a pass, being his first Head Coaching gig, and all. No, the problem is the lack of improvement - the repetition of the same mistakes / poor decisions. I won't rehash the many and various criticisms that have been published EVERWHERE so far this week, but suffice to say that getting a 7 point lead and then crawling into a shell has not worked for the Fins this year so far, and last week would have been a good week to show fans that Tony Sparano can improvise, adapt, and overcome. But he didn't. They played for the field goal AGAIN, and lost the game in the 4th quarter AGAIN. Dan Henning may have lousy play calling, but Tony Sparano makes THOSE calls.
And having some interesting Head Coaching candidates out there will most certainly get the rumor mill cranking immediately after the conclusion of next week's game at the New England Patriots.
Of course, there are the calls for a replacement to Chad Henne at Quarterback. That is also likely, at least to the degree of ADDING another Quarterback to the roster for next season. But I would doubt that anything will be done concerning the players, until the coaching structure is settled.
But amid all of the heartbreak, heartache, and heartburn of the past few weeks as we watched the Miami Dolphins' playoff chances evaporate like the hookah smoke of a 50 lb. caterpiller sitting on a magic mushroom, it hit me!
I know how to solve the problems! I know how to get the Dolphins back into the playoffs! And no one even needs to get fired!
(see legal disclaimer)
All that needs to happen is for the Dolphins to move to Los Angeles!
Now, wait...! I know what you're thinking.... right off the bat, you are probably saying "But I don't want my beloved Miami Dolphins to become the L.A. Dolphins!", and immediately after that would be, "And what the heck would that solve anyway?"
Quit whining and let me explain. Stick with me here - this is so simple you have to think about it for a bit to let it sink in, before you really get it. I almost missed it entirely, but now that I have had this epiphany I wonder why this hasn't occurred to every Fin Fan!
The NFL has already stated that they would be putting a team back in the 2nd largest market, Los Angeles. And they are talking about moving a team, rather than creating an expansion team. Some of the rumors of teams that might make the move have been the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Diego Chargers. But, as the Miami Dolphins like to say, "Why Not Us?"! Someone is going to have to make the move, and loyal Dolphin fans would not let a little thing like moving the team across the country stop us from rooting for our team, so the NFL gets a win-win. Whereas some teams would lose their fan base by such a move, the Dolphins would keep their existing fans, and gain new fans in thier new home market! Plus, it would still be a warm weather environment, so they could continue to attract premium Free Agents.
Now, I know some of you will object to the Dolphins losing their traditional hot weather home field advantage, but I would argue that home field advantage is over rated, and actually more of a myth nowadays with so many teams playing in domes. Just look at the recent home field win-loss numbers. I am confident they will support my argument.
Also, I know lots of people will object to the name change that would probably be expected to happen if the Fins landed in another city. That is a reasonable concern, but I think there is some room to compromise on this one. Technically, were the Dolphins to move to Anaheim, which is where the Rams last where located, they could be called the Orange County Dolphins, or O.C.D for short. It's kinda catchy, and I believe that the name could still be interpreted as being Orange County Florida. This would make it appear as if the Fins had simply moved a few counties north, instead of all the way across the country.
Some of you who live in Miami might object because you will no longer be able to go to the games, but let's face it, most of the time you watch them on television anyhow, and honestly, the majority of Dolphins fans don't live in Florida anyhow. With you no longer in the television blackout zone, you will be able to see all the games on NFL Sunday Ticket!
Assuming we can come to terms with these minor inconveniences and objections, here is where the BRILLIANCE of the plan comes together - Moving the Fins to the Left...uh, I mean West Coast will force an NFL realignment! And with a little "nudging" of the Commissioner (back scratching, so to speak - Mr. Ross knows how these things work), I believe we could not only get the Dolphins put into a Western Division - I think we could get them into the National Football Conference! That's right! The Fins would be the new BIG DOG in the NFC WEST!!!
Were the Fins in the NFC West TODAY!, we would still be talking P-P-P-PLAYOFFS!!! We would still control our own destiny - WIN AND IN! With the Fins in the NFC West, Sparano's coaching would look solid, Henne's QB play would be the envy of the division, and Dan Henning's play calling would look INSPIRED!
You see folks, Tony Sparano has been preaching this for the past few years, and I finally get what he means! It doesn't have to be about scoring points - it is all about "Putting the team in the best position to be successful!" - Duh! And the best place for the Orange County Dolphins to be successful is in the NFC West!
Now, granted, there are a few little "discussions" that would have to take place in a realignment to make this happen, but it all has to do with common sense and logic - once explained, the result is a foregone conclusion.
For instance, if the Fins move to the NFC West, who would move out? The St. Louis Rams, of course! I mean, not because they would be the biggest rival to the Fins for the division title, but because:
- They are the Rams - they are used to moving and comfortable with it,
- They make no sense being in the "west", when they are closer to the "south" than Indianapolis, and
- They are the Rams, no one really cares what they think about it.
Moving the Rams into the AFC South makes sense, because you put the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC North where they belong, and move the Baltimore Ravens into the AFC East, right next to the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Buffalo Bills. Honestly, none of those teams like that long flight down to South Florida anyway!
Besides, the Rams never fit in a Western Division anyway. They are closer to the East Coast than the West Coast!
BAMMM! Realignment plain and simple, and with the benefit of shortening travel time (and cost) for a majority of teams, and everyone's happy!
And instead of all of us sitting here with our chins in our hands, ready to watch a meaningless game this weekend, wondering about who is going to lose their jobs when our season is over in another 5 days, we would still be shouting - PLAYOFFS BABY!!!!
O.C.D.! It's so obvious, I can't figure out why no one else has thought of it?
Who's with me?!!
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