During last week’s FanPulse polls, fans were asked to vote for the team they saw as the Miami Dolphins’ number one rival. This week is “Rivalry Week” for SB Nation, so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the results of that poll, and see what you thought of the results.
If you would like to join our FanPulse surveys, just click on the link below the rivalry graphic and enter your email address. Every Monday, you will receive a short survey (most of the time, around three questions) that you just need to answer. SB Nation collects all the data and shares the results with all of us, including fan confidence in the direction of the Dolphins and predictions for the next game.
On to the rivalry poll results:
New England Patriots - 74% - This makes sense, especially in today’s NFL, when the Patriots are one of the most hated teams in the league (nine separate teams listed them as one of their rivals, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the most of any team in the FanPulse voting). All time, the Dolphins hold a 53-50 edge on the Patriots in 103 regular season meetings, though the Patriots have a 1-2 advantage in the playoffs - including the 1985-1986 AFC Championship game that could have given Dan Marino another shot at a Super Bowl and the Dolphins another shot at the 1985 Chicago Bears.
New York Jets - 24% -This would be my top choice for Miami’s rivals, simply because I loathe and despise this team. I hate the Patriots, but it cannot come close to the feelings I have for the Jets. I understand putting the Patriots on top right now, though, because of their dominance across the landscape. The Jets actually have a slight advantage on the Dolphins all-time, with Miami having a 51-54-1 record in the regular season. Miami won the only postseason game between the two, a 14-0 win in the 1982-1983 AFC Championship game. So many games and stories between these two teams, including the Fake Spike, the Monday Night Miracle with Vinny Testaverde leading the Jets to 30 fourth-quarter points for a comeback overtime win, Chad Pennington’s win over the Jets to give Miami the 2008 AFC East championship, the 1986 Jets win in a shootout featuring Dan Marino and Ken O’Brien throwing for over 850 combined yards and 10 touchdown passes, and Ted Ginn, Jr. burning Darrelle Revis in October 2009 then returning two kicks over 100 yards for touchdowns in the November 2009 meeting.
Baltimore Ravens - 3% - The only non-AFC East team on the poll, this makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins. Somehow, Miami and Baltimore always seem to play each other. This season, they met in the preseason. In 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013, they met, with Baltimore winning all but one of those. They also met in 2010, 2009 (2008 playoffs), 2008, and 2007. In the past 12 seasons, Miami has seen the Ravens on the schedule 10 times - including the preseason - and have lost eight times. Overall, the Ravens have a 7-6 all-time regular season record against the Dolphins, plus are 2-0 in the postseason. There has been drama in this series, especially in the last regular season meeting, when Kiko Alonso hit Joe Flacco just as the quarterback was sliding, giving him a concussion, though the scores lately have not been close, with Baltimore winning 40-0 in 2017 and 38-6 in 2016. Even this year’s preseason game was not all that close, with the Ravens winning 27-10 in the dress-rehearsal game for the season. The Ravens definitely deserve to be on the rivals list.
Buffalo Bills - 0% - The fourth member of the AFC East got no love in the FanPulse poll. There are a lot of fans who hate the Bills, in no small part from a 21 game stretch from 1987 through 1995, when the Bills were 17-4 against Miami - including three playoff wins. Overall, the Dolphins are 59-44-1 all-time against Buffalo, including not losing a game against the Bills in the 1970s (20-0), but in recent years, it has been more about the Bills winning than the Dolphins. In the last 12 games, the Dolphins have only won four times, including being swept by the Bills in 2017, 2015, and 2013. These two teams have a very storied history, including Jim Kelly vs. Marino (including Marino’s first start), Thurman Thomas running all over Miami, the Bills nearly beating the Dolphins in 1972, and Buffalo winning the 1993 AFC Championship game (man, Miami came close to getting Marino back to a Super Bowl so many times). The problem with the Bills right now is that they have been down in the standings for so long - just like Miami - it is hard for younger fans to feel that animosity toward them that was there in the 1980s and 1990s, and while the same can be said about the Jets, New York influence in South Florida is so heavy that there will always be a hatred for Gang Green. Not so much for the Bills Mafia - no matter how many Squish the Fish references they make.
Teams not on the poll that could be considered rivals:
- Indianapolis Colts - this one does not feel like a rivalry anymore, but there are enough fans who remember having to face the Colts twice a season when they were in the AFC East as well.
- Houston Texans - all-time, Miami is 1-8 against Houston, losing their first seven times playing before winning in 2015. Of course, the Dolphins lost again this year in a 42-23 beat down on Thursday Night Football.
- Pittsburgh Steelers/San Francisco 49ers - these two teams are put together because they are basically the same team when it comes to why they could be rivals of Miami. In the 1970s, the Steelers were the primary rival for Miami as the team of the decade, with Miami starting the 70s with a Super Bowl loss in 1971, then championships in 1972 and 1973. After that, however, the Dolphins trailed off and Pittsburgh took over. The 49ers took over in the 1980s, including Super Bowl XIX when they beat the Dolphins in the Miami franchise’s last appearance in the game - and Marino’s only shot. Both of these rivalries have cooled in recent years, but there are still plenty of fans who remember those days.
- Health - At least for the last two years, health seems to be a major rival of the Dolphins.