What a year this season became. From Stephen Ross declaring the Dolphins to be Super Bowl contenders to almost, maybe, possibly, not offering Jim Harbaugh a contract, this team, and this fan base, went through a lot this year. It's with almost a sense of relief that the same has ended, we can all sit back, enjoy playoff football, and get ready to ramp up for the 2011 season.
So, without further ado, I bring you some of my thoughts of the 2010 season.
I quit. I did. During the New England game, I quit. It's the first time that's ever happened. I just didn't care. I was wearing my Brandon Marshall jersey, but that was about the extent of my support for the team. It was so bad that I actually vacuumed for part of the game. I just didn't care. In 2007, I lived and died (a lot) with every game. During the 62-7 debacle in the 1999 Divisional Playoff game at Jacksonville, you know, Dan Marino's last game, I was right there the entire game. But, this was different. Something changed. I don't know if it was the roller coaster of a season, if it was the energy the team exuded during the game, or what, but I just felt tired, and didn't really pay attention. I don't like it, but it's true.
Then, craziness happened. Jim Harbaugh was set to move to Michigan. Oh, just kidding. Then, the 49ers and the Broncos were heavy favorites to win his services. When, out of nowhere, Stephen Ross swooped into the California scene, reportedly offering to pay Harbaugh a salary that would make Belichick's look like chump change. Now, it was a done deal that the Dolphins would be Harbaugh's new team.
Oh, just kidding again.
And, there was no ridiculous money amount. There was no real offer. There was just a meeting.
Take what you will from the explanations and the situation. Tony Sparano was left dangling for a week, and that sucks for him. But, I look at it two ways:
First, let's say you own a house. It's a nice house. You like your house. But, suddenly, your dream house becomes available. You know, that house that everyone wants. What would you do? I would go take a look. Now, do you sell your perfectly good house, just so you can go see if you and the dream house actually match? No. You keep the house you have, go check out the other one, then decide what you want to do. That's basically what Mr. Ross did with Sparano and Harbaugh. Mr. Ross explored the "dream" house, decided it wasn't really what he wanted, and is happy to stay in the house he has.
Second, Mr. Ross was trying to find a way to improve the Miami Dolphins. We should applaud that. We need that. Now, were mistakes made? Yes. Should things have probably been done differently? Yes. But, in the end, Mr. Ross wants to make this team better, and we should all realize that.
The other piece that people seem to be wrapped up in invoves if the Dolphins did or did not talk to Jon Grudden and/or Bill Cowher about coaching the team. And, more specifically, why didn't they, if, as Mr. Ross says, no talks occured. I see the easy answer to that. Grudden has implied, repeatedly, that he is happy in the Monday Night Football booth. May analysts have said, they expect Grudden to do one more year in TV before heading back to coaching. Sounds like a good reason to not talk to him.
And, Cowher has made it clear, he wants control of the team. Mr. Ross made it clear he planned on retaining Jeff Ireland as the Dolphins' GM. You can't have both, so why waste the time talking to Cowher, if you aren't going to give him what he wants?
But, here are the most important aspects of this past year for all of us. It's just how badly I destroyed Little Nicky 21 this year. That's right. Destroyed. Let's look at the facts. I was inducted into the Phinsider Hall of Fame with 72.4% of the vote this past year. Nicky, while he did make it a year before me as a member of Mount Phinsider (of which, only two of the 4 members are still around - hmmmm....) - a year in which I won the Rookie of the Year for having just joined the blog - only recieved 62.3% of the votes for his induction. In fact, I have the highest voting percentage of anyone going into the Hall of Fame, not name Matty I.
But, that's not all. This year, Matty I added three Contributing Authors to the site. LeftCoastFinFan led the way with the first promotion to that status. Who was second? Oh, that's right. I was. Again...ahead of Nicky.
Still not all. Of the three Contributing Authors, one of them had an article get picked up for sponsorship. Was it Nicky's short-lived "Anatomy of a Play" pieces? Nope. It was my Game Balls. Sure, Nicky can point out that he, technically started the Game Balls three years ago, but he quit. Gave up on them. It was up to me to pick them up, revamp them into something that, I think, we can all be proud of, and, ultimately, receive sponsorship.
My final argument in the "Why I am SOOOOOO Much Better Than Little Nicky" debate, which should be ended today, is this fine quote, taken from our Phinsider Mock Draft from this past off season. In case you weren't around, we started a tradition two offseasons ago where 32 members of the Phinsider are assigned a team each, and then, through one of the slowest and most painful mock draft processes ever made, we select for each team. During this past draft, I ended up with the Rams, choosing to select Suh over Bradford. I still stand by that pick, as Suh is a demon, but Bradford turned out to not be a bad pick.
But, through this pick, and the entire mock draft as one, certain quarterback continued to fall to near the end of the first round, one fine member of our community roasted people for not selecting Jimmy Clausen. This quote sums up his man-crush:
6 teams that have no QB have passed up on him, including one team passing on him TWICE. Ridiculous. I can't be the only guy that sees that the kid is one of the best QB prospects to come along in a long time. PLEASE go check his numbers, do some research on the kid, and stop listening to Todd McShay make shit up about him on National Television.
-Little Nicky 21
Not saying I am a great scout of talent, but man, it must hurt to be that far off. Especially when the Panthers (who took Clausen in the second round, behind Bradford, McCoy, and Tebow in the first round, by the way), who took this sure fire star, have already said if Andrew Luck had decided to come out this year in the Draft, they would have taken him #1 overall.
It's been a bad year to be Little Nicky 21.
So, anyway, back to football.
Looking toward this upcoming off season, we should all, slowly, start to feel those expectations climb again. The base core of this team is solid. Sure, we have needs. We have major needs. Either Chad Henne needs to figure out being an NFL quarterback immediately, or it might be time to move on. Running back is going to become an issue, especially with Ricky Williams' talking his way out of Miami. A second pass rusher to help out Cameron Wake would be great as well.
Plus, we all know, we have to improve our offensive line.
But, we aren't that far away either. Especially when you take into account the change that our offense should see with a new coordinator. If we can open up the offense, this team could start to turn the corner. I doubt we have a turn around like 2007 to 2008, but a move into meaningful December/January football would be a huge step in the right direction.
So, it's time for the madness of the 2010 season to be put to bed. It's time to watch some playoff football, and forget about the Jim Harbaugh fiasco.
Hey, we all still have the Jets to root against...