There’s a long-standing truth about sports teams and the basic psychology of the fans who follow them, who live and die with every bounce of the ball, every hit, strikeout, touchdown, field goal, or buzzer-beating three point basket.
No matter how well or how poorly our favorite team is doing at any given moment, we will invariably have someone within the team’s power structure that we view as the ‘bad guy’, the villainous fellow without whom the team would surely be able to win a championship in the near future. Throughout the 1970s and into the ’80s, the bad guy among Miami Dolphin fans was usually the owner and team founder Joe Robbie, whereas, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the focus of fans’ ire moved to whomever Miami’s defensive coordinator was at the time since this was a period in which the Dolphins had the best quarterback in the league, in Dan Marino but seldom had much success in the postseason due to being absolutely putrid on defense most years.
Over the past twenty years or so, with the NFL draft and free agency garnering much more media attention than it did previously, the resident scapegoat for the team’s failures over that period has usually been the general manager, or Vice President of player personnel, etc, unless the head coach himself was the GM, as well, in which case fans could get even more bang for their proverbial buck when slinging mud and vitriol at whomever that unfortunate individual was.
Ever since Chris Grier was named general manager of the Dolphins by owner Stephen Ross five years ago, many fans have been reluctant to embrace him as the right man to lead Miami to glory. Grier was on board in some capacity or other for many years prior to being named GM, so how do we know he wasn’t involved in some of those bad draft and free agency moves of which there were so many during the dreadful Dennis Hickey/Mike Tannenbaum era, or even earlier? I’ll answer that question with one of my own: does anyone really think that Steve Ross founded a multi-billion dollar empire by being an idiot? Aside from that, there are two other things many Dolphin fans may or may not know about Grier.
Number one, his father, Bobby Grier, was a legendary scout and personnel man with New England in the ’80s and ’90s, and two, if you love Dolphins head coach Brian Flores but can’t stand Grier, you’re kind of pulling yourself in opposite directions, because without Chris Grier convincing Ross to hire Flores, when absolutely no one else was looking at Flores in terms of a head coaching job, the Dolphins might still have Adam Gase or some other stiff standing on the sidelines pretending to be a football coach.
Ironically, it was Grier who goaded then head coach/GM Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans into swinging for the fences and giving up a huge package of draft picks for tackle Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills, the latter of whom was cut late last season. As the 2019 preseason wound down, it was clear that O’Brien badly wanted Tunsil, and he began his overtures to Miami by dangling DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney as trade bait. Grier, though, wouldn’t bite, prompting O’Brien to offer Clowney and a first-rounder. When Grier still wouldn’t part with Tunsil, an exasperated O’Brien wouldn’t give up, and finally capitulated, agreeing to send two firsts, a second, and a couple of players for the rights to Tunsil.
With the Texans going 4-12 in 2020, and as many as three or four QB’s projected to go in the top six or seven picks three months from now, the Dolphins are right in the middle of the action, picking third. If you think all of this just happened by accident, or that Grier was lucky (although we were certainly lucky that Houston lost so many games), you’re entitled to your opinion and everyone’s opinion matters here. Still, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, ‘It’s better to be lucky than good’. Maybe, for once, the Miami Dolphins can be both.
What I want to do now is tell you about one of my favorite guys on here, who’s a true, dyed in the wool Dolphins fan. By the time you reach the end of this paragraph, many of you will know who he is, without my even having to tell you. All last winter and into the spring, he vehemently and repeatedly stated his displeasure with the very notion of the Dolphins drafting Tua Tagovailoa. This went on for months. But then something amazing happened — the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa, and almost overnight, it was like a light switch had been flipped. Almost overnight, this fellow went from being one of the most ardent detractors of the Alabama quarterback to one of his biggest supporters. And whenever the kid went through the inevitable growing pains a young QB experiences, instead of shouting, ‘Aha! See? I told you he stinks!’, etc, he graciously let it pass.
When Flores pulled Tagovailoa for Ryan Fitzpatrick, he never said a word, at least that I’m aware of. Through it all, he even managed to retain his trademark sense of humor. Apparently, he just wants to see the Dolphins win, and do well. How refreshing is that? He’s not concerned with trying to prove he was smarter than anyone else, much less the guys who actually do run the team. Even with all the crazy Watson-to-Miami stories circulating over the past week, he hasn’t come out and said, ‘Heck, yeah! Get rid of Tua and get Watson!’ Nope. Unlike so many of us, who seem to always have some ax or other to grind, myself often included, he just wants to see his favorite team win. I’ve got to tell you, that’s class, folks. Wherever you go, and in all you do, I recommend that you remember how well PhinsTifosi handled his favorite team acquiring a player that he originally wasn’t crazy about. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.