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Dolphins fans battle through darkness to find Playoff light

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Playoffs. Miami Dolphins. It has been a long time.

New York Giants v Miami Dolphins Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Dan Marino retired.

Jimmy Johnson handed the coaching position to Dave Wannstedt.

Wannstedt handed the ball to Ricky Williams, and handed the ball to Ricky Williams, and handed the ball to Ricky Williams.

And Ricky Williams retired.

Wannstedt was fired and Miami scored the genius college coach ready to prove he can get it done at the NFL level.

Two years later Nick Saban was not the head coach at Alabama.

Cam Cameron barely won a game.

Tony Sparano used the Wildcat to move the hyphen, then fell apart when fist pumps did not win games.

Jim Harbaugh was courted, but Sparano was extended.

Joe Philbin picked up trash off the turf but bullying took the headlines. Dan Campbell became a folk hero, but Miami fell to the bottom of the division.

The Miami Dolphins since 1999 have been a mess. It has been a constant cycle of start-fail-restart. The team is currently in the franchise’s longest playoff-less streak.

Correction, they were in the longest playoff-less streak in franchise history. That officially ended on Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos, pushing the defending Super Bowl champions two games behind the Dolphins with one to play in the Wildcard chase. That loss by Denver handed Miami their first Playoff berth since that 2008 “move the hyphen” season.

It has been a long period of darkness around the Dolphins, but, today, there seems to be a light. The Playoffs are back and the Dolphins are finally back in them. As fans - and do not think that those of us who are lucky enough to write for this site are anything other than fans of the Dolphins - it feels so refreshing to watch this team. It is stressful every single weekend, but after the game - after every one of the 10 wins so far - it has felt like the Dolphins may be finally moving in the right direction.

No longer are we talking about bullying in the locker room. We are not looking for a gum wrapper on the grass. We are not chasing the next great head coach. We are not trying to get answers to whether or not the team’s coach is heading back to college.

This team, this year, was supposed to be all about rebuilding, getting used to another new head coach, new offense, and new defense. This was a year when most predictions for the Dolphins’ final record was between 4-12 and 6-10. Instead, this year is about fighting through adversity and winning as a team. It is about wins. And, now, it is about the Playoffs.

How impressive has this season, and this turn around, been for the Dolphins? A team that started 1-4 on the season clinched a playoff berth in Week 16, and now has a week in which they can afford to rest any of their injured players before getting ready for a Playoff appearance.

No matter what happens in the Wildcard round, this Dolphins team has been impressive. The future appears bright for the South Florida football team. And, as this continues to build over the next weeks, months, and years, this darkness that has spread over the team since 1999 seems to finally be starting to fade.

Welcome back to the Playoffs Miami Dolphins. We have missed seeing you there.