Since owner Art Modell took the old Cleveland Browns away from Northeastern Ohio and resettled them in Baltimore in 1996, the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers have had one of the NFL’s best, fiercest and most entertaining rivalries the league has ever seen. The two teams have waged some epic battles over the years, both in the regular season and in the postseason, playing some of the hardest hitting games in recent memory. Both clubs employ a solid, no nonsense fundamentally sound approach to the game, and it shows, both on the field and in their respective trophy cases; indeed, they’ve combined for four Super Bowl victories since 2000.
You won’t catch either of these two teams selecting only one defensive player in the first three rounds of the draft in a three year period, as the Dolphins did during 2014, ‘15 and ‘16, and you won’t see them waste the career of one the best quarterbacks in league history, by repeatedly failing to produce a legitimate defensive unit or running game; as the Dolphins did throughout most of legendary signal caller Dan Marino’s time with the team.
However, if the if the first year and a half of the Brian Flores era is any indication, the Dolphins look as though they’ve finally gotten serious about building a championship contending team, and with the New England Patriots’ dynasty finally running its course, the two heirs apparent to the AFC Eastern division crown would seem to be the Dolphins and their bitter rivals from Western New York, the Buffalo Bills. One advantage to playing outdoors in the Rust Belt is that a team cannot build a successful football team based solely on the passing game; when you’re playing games on the shores of Lake Erie in November, December and January, you damn well better be able to run the ball and play defense. In that department, the Bills have a two or three year head start on the Dolphins in their rebuilding project, but Miami looks to be catching up fast, having acquired their quarterback of the future and either three or four stud offensive linemen, depending on whether fourth rounder Solomon Kindley can join the other players Miami drafted and signed in free agency this year, as a regular contributor on the Dolphins’ OL.
From 2021 on, you can probably plan on seeing the Dolphins and Bills square off in a nationally televised, prime time game pretty much every year, similar to Cowboys-Eagles, Cowboys-Giants, Bears-Packers and Chiefs and whomever the league thinks can stay in the game with them for a couple of quarters. The rekindling of the Buffalo Miami NFL rivalry, that is, if it ever really went away, should be exciting, and although I have a lot of respect for third year quarterback Josh Allen, I wouldn’t trade him for the guy we just drafted. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.