It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Miami Dolphins. Out: fan favorite Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and 2017 free agent pickups Lawrence Timmons and Julius Thomas. In: former Rams DE Robert Quinn and WR’s Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. Miami also restructured the contracts of SS Reshad Jones and QB Ryan Tannehill this week, as well.
There are a couple of things I want to talk about here. As sports fans go, we must be some of the most loyal (gullible?) folks this side of the Cubs’ fan base, before they broke a 108-year drought and finally won a title a couple of years ago. Seemingly, no matter how badly they perform on the field, no matter how atrociously they manage the draft, the free agent market or contract negotiations, we continue to back them unfailingly, to justify their mistakes as being due to bad luck or injuries, etc. And that’s before we even get around to talking about the team’s quarterback situation. Has any quarterback ever been more fiercely defended by his fan base, while accomplishing less, over a longer period of time, than Ryan Tannehill?
Before you dismiss those of us who criticize Miami’s front office as mere ‘nattering nabobs of negativity’, to quote former VP Spiro Agnew, there are some things you might want to consider: seventeen seasons have passed since the Dolphins last won a playoff game, in January 2001, the fifth-longest streak in the NFL. Only Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, and Cincinnati have gone longer without a playoff win. With both the Browns and Bills rapidly improving -- both have a veritable war chest of high picks in next month’s draft -- the Dolphins could break into the top three on this list as early as next season. Miami has qualified for postseason play just twice in the past sixteen years, and have just two division titles since Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. The Dolphins have routinely finished in the bottom half of the league both offensively and defensively the past few years. Nothing screams ‘incompetence’ more than being unable to field even one respectable unit on game day, over multiple years. Keep in mind, this has been while Miami has expended an NFL record number of first round picks and millions upon millions of dollars on free agents, trying to shore up the offense, over the past twelve or thirteen years.
There has been considerable pushback on this site in recent weeks, in terms of the criticism the team has received from many fans. The implication is that if we say or write derogatory things about the team, that we somehow aren’t ‘true’ or ‘real’ fans, that we’re ‘spoiled’, etc. Well, you know what I think? I think we should step up that criticism even more, and turn up the heat on this front office. As long as we continue to accept the shoddy product the team is delivering year after year, there will be little motivation for the team’s top brass to change its ways. Top executives are like politicians; their number one goal, first and foremost, is to remain in power. Oftentimes the only real way to light a fire under them is the threat of removal.
All of this being said, there are some reasons for optimism. The Dolphins have kept a relatively low profile in free agency thus far this offseason, and unloading expensive players like Landry and Suh will help them in the long run. Also, their 6-10 finish a season ago has afforded them a couple of high draft picks in the first two rounds this year, and they have a number of guys who were injured a year ago that they expect to have back this season. As some of our readers have pointed out, the contract restructuring the Dolphins did with two of their players this week really isn’t going to add that much money to the team’s salary cap in future years and Miami appears well positioned to be active in the second wave of free agency, after the more expensive players are signed to new contracts this week.
In the interest of harmony, I propose that we adopt new nicknames for the fan base, who have apparently become more agitated with one another recently. Instead of calling each other ‘Whiners’ and ‘Kool-Aid drinkers’ why don’t we borrow new monickers from Georges Lemaitre and Edwin Hubble, and refer to the two opposing sides of the Dolphins’ fan base as the ‘Big Bang’ and ‘Steady State’ factions? What do you think, guys?