It has been a miserable decade for what once was such a proud franchise that annually made playoff appearances under legendary Coach Don Shula. During this decade, the team has posted the sixth worst record in the league. Dolfans have seen bad coaches and general managers come and go all too often. As the faces have changed, the results, unfortunately, have not. Poor drafts, bad free-agent signings and coach hirings have significantly hindered the franchise
Throw in last year’s infamous and embarrassing Incognito-Martin bullying scandal and this franchise resembles more of a dysfunctional disaster than a great football team.
As the team’s win total has decreased over the years, so too has the number of Dolphin season ticket holders of an alarmingly dwindling fan base. Of course there will always be some die-hard Dolfans out there, but what about the next generation? What about the ones growing up who know the Miami Dolphins only as losers all their life? Of course a few of them will still latch onto to the hometown team, but a vast majority will not.
Of course it can’t be all doom with a new season upon us. With a clean slate comes a glimmer of hope, no matter how minute. The ultimate question is can third-year starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill finally come into his own and become a franchise type signal caller? This question above all others ultimately will lead to either the team’s success this year or to yet another mediocre season. It is even a more pressing issue than all the questions along the shaky offensive line. As we know, the quarterback position has become the most important position in all of sports and directly leads to on-the-field success or failure.
Tannehill needs to improve once again as he did from year one to year two. He needs to connect on deep balls to Mike Wallace at a much higher rate than last year. He has sufficient weapons to work with and the team made it an off-season priority to upgrade his protection along the offensive line. They drafted Tackle Ja’Wuan James with their first round pick and signed big free agent tackle Brandon Albert to a hefty contract. So if Tannehill proves to be a franchise quarterback this year, the Dolphins will be a much improved team and most likely will make the playoffs for the first time since a guy named Chad Pennington was behind center for the club.
With the now Lebron-less Heat, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Dolphins to reclaim their throne as the number one sports team in town. All they have to do is have a few successful seasons on the field. Not another 6 to 8 win season, but an actual winning season. Dare I say again, playoffs? But disappointment has become the norm for far too long with this franchise.
Both the Marlins and the Heat have each won multiple championships much more recently than the Dolphins have even made an appearance in a conference championship game. There is a sense of hopelessness within the fan base at this point, even with the promise of a brand new season on the horizon. The team has made some changes in hopes of altering their misfortunes. However, even if you hire a new offensive coordinator, implement a fancy new scheme and add a couple of new faces, until Dolfans actually witness better play on the field and less embarrassing news off of it, it’s just more of the same.
Carey Tait is a Miami resident and an avid Miami Dolphins fan. He may be contacted through the Pinecrest Tribune.