Yesterday, Jon Bois of SB Nation posted an article about some of the most depressing times for various franchises around the league. It's an outstanding article written by some of the editors of the various NFL blogs in the SB Nation. I really recommend you head over and read it.
But, it got me thinking about our own Miami Dolphins, and what is the most depressing era we have had. The easy answer is the 2007 Dolphins. Nick Saban had just resigned as head coach, heading back to the SEC to coach the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The Dolphins had failed to consummate a trade with the Broncos when defensive tackle Dan Wilkson failed to report to Denver. Joey Porter was involved in an "altercation" with former AFC North rival Levi Jones in Las Vegas. The Dolphins had to deal with the arrests of defensive tackle Fred Evans, wide receiver Kelly Campbell, and wide receiver Chris Chambers.
Cam Cameron was named the team's new head coach, and there was much hope for 2007. And then it all started to fall apart. The draft brought to Miami Ted Ginn, Jr. and his entire family for the ninth overall pick. Then, in round 2, the Dolphins selected John Beck and Samson Satele. The 3rd round selection was Lorenzo Booker, followed in the 4th by the one of only two players still on the Dolphins team from the draft, defensive tackle Paul Soliai. The other player still on the team is seventh round selection, punter Brandon Fields.
Then the season came, and none of us had ever seen anything like it. The Dolphins rattled off 13 straight losses. It was painful to watch. However, it did give us the ultimate joy of winning a game. On December 16, 2007, the celebration by the fans, and the players, as Greg Camarillo ran an overtime pass 64-yards for a score, was worthy of a Super Bowl championship. The fact that the losing streak was over was huge. But, it didn't last. The Dolphins lost their next two games, and finished the year 1-15. Misery.
But, is one year an era? The next year, the Dolphins "moved the hyphen," finishing as AFC East Champions with an 11-5 record.
So again, is one year an era? Are we still in the same era as the 2007 season, with 2008 being the aberration?
Instead, I am going to look elsewhere for the most depressing Miami Dolphins era.
I will say that the most depressing era in Dolphins history is the era from 1983 to 1999. That's right. The Dan Marino era is the most depressing era in Dolphins history.
Stay with me for a second. Dan Marino was drafted with the 27th draft choice in 1983 by the Dolphins. He would go on to a Hall of Fame career, including 3-First Team All Pro-Selections, 9 Pro-Bowls, the 1984 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, the 1994 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and the 1998 Walter Payton Man of the Year. When he was shoved into retirement by, then Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson, Marino held every major passing record in the league (he still holds 17 of them on his own and is tied in 8 more), and still has 31 records for the Dolphins.
And this is depressing.
For one simple reason. Marino has a bare hand. Not one single ring. Only one trip to the promised land, and that was in Super Bowl XIX following the 1984 season.
Every year was the Dolphins' year. They were ready to explode.
And every year, they failed.
Marino carried the team on his right arm, but was never able to push them over the hump a second time and get them to the big game. Even as he won 116 games with Coach Don Shula, Shula was never able to get Marino the complimentary ground game or defense needed to win it all.
From 1983 to 1999, Miami found themselves in the post season 10 out of 17 years. They only passed the Division round three times, losing twice in the AFC Championship game, and once in the Super Bowl.
Even as we all fell in love with that rocket release of Marino's. Even as the Marks Brothers caught ball after ball from the cannon that was Danny's arm, there's still something that's not right about the 1983-1999 era in Dolphins history.
In 2009, NFL.com ranked Dan Marino the 25th best player in NFL History. He should be higher, but he will forever be the greatest player to never win a ring. And, when your team has the 25th best player in HISTORY, and has him for 17 years, you would think at least once a ring would be added to the jewelry collection.
But not in Miami.