Dolphins falling apart and it starts at the helm

December 30th, 2000. That date marks the last time that the Miami Dolphins won a playoff game.

The NFL prides itself on being a league that demands parity. In 2008, the Detroit Lions had the worst season in NFL history, finishing 0-16. Year by year, their record improved, resulting in a playoff berth last season.

The Dolphins have been able to be just mediocre enough to lack the ability to revamp their team. The atmosphere around this team is absolutely toxic. Any personnel move that Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland has made recently has been met with rampant questioning. However, the situation that the Dolphins are in is not all the onus of Ireland; it stems from this situation is due to years of bad decisions by Dolphins brass, headed by Bill Parcells and Rick Spielman.

The oft-noted example of Dolphins mismanagement occurred in the offseason prior to the 2006 season. Still attempting to fill the void that Dan Marino left behind, the Dolphins weighed potential quarterback options; most prominently Daunte Culpepper and Drew Brees.

Miami believed that a shoulder injury that Brees suffered the last game of the 2005 season would prevented him from being a safe choice as their quarterback. The ‘Phins chose Culpepper, The Saints chose Brees. The prospect of this team with Drew Brees at the helm is a mouth-watering one, in contrast compared to the carousel of quarterbacks that the team currently employs. This characteristic Dolphins mismanagement is still an issue to this day.

The criticism that the Dolphins management endures every time they make a move is not fair, but it is earned. The fans screamed for a quarterback. They yearned for a quarterback. They got Mike Pouncey. No knock on Pouncey, a terrific center, but he did not fill the void that the Dolphins needed to fill.

With crystal-clear hindsight, Andy Dalton (drafted 20 picks after Pouncey) would have been a perfect addition to this Dolphins squad. Even had the Dolphins not drafted a quarterback, a running back or a wide receiver would have been met with near universal acclaim. It would show that the Dolphins management is aware of the issues that this team is suffering, and is working to address them to fix it.

The management’s issue seems to have changed. They now know that the team needs a quarterback (finally). However, now it appears that no one wants to sign in Miami. That poses a slight issue. Peyton Manning? Nope. Matt Flynn? Nope. Alex Smith? Nope. David Garrard? Welcome to Miami. Yet again, the Dolphins were unable to find a long-term solution at quarterback.

This time, it wasn’t due to lack of effort, though. They do not have much to offer to prominent free agents. Jeff Ireland has developed an extremely poor relationship with players. They inexplicably traded their best offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall, for less than what they gave up to get him. Last season, their stadium was filled with thousands upon thousands of gleaming empty orange seats. They waived safety Yeremiah Bell after explicitly letting him know that he would not be waived.

The Dolphins game-day experience has turned into a mockery, with celebrity partowners turning Sunday at the Sun Life into Sunday at LIV. Last season, the stadium was filled with thousands upon thousands of gleaming empty orange seats. The simple question to be asked is: why would anyone want to sign in Miami? The only thing the Dolphins have going for them is the South Florida weather. The Phins couldn’t even get offensive tackle Eric Winston to return to the city in which he played college football. If a player with sentimental ties to this city doesn’t want to sign here, once again, who does?

Last season, the Dolphins failed at just about everything. Their season last year was a failure, and also being able to failed at the “Suck-for-Luck” campaign at the same time. Their off season has started the same way: as a failure. Their preseason quarterback competition could very well be between Matt Moore, David Garrard, and (possibly) Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill, by the way, was a wide receiver until midway through his junior season. If anything else, Tannehill sounds like another project. The Dolphins sure have enough of those. While the horrific situation surrounding the Dolphins may not be the fault of Jeff Ireland alone, he sure has not done much to help correct it.

Preston Michelson is a junior at Palmer Trinity School where he is the public address announcer for all varsity sporting events. Contact him on Twitter at @PrestonMich or by email at

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