Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Miami Dolphins

22 March 2012

For those of you that know me, you know I am a die-hard Miami Dolphin fan. I bleed aqua and orange. I have been a fan of the NFL since 1969. I was a Kansas City Chiefs fan until 1971 during the Chiefs-Dolphins playoff game, I saw Dolphins Running Back Larry Csonka pound his way to the end zone. He carried three Chiefs defenders on him and still ran. Back in those days the goal posts were at the front of the end zone. He ran headfirst into the goalpost and fell to the ground. He got up immediately, looked down at the three Chiefs defenders still lying on the ground, said something and trotted off the field handing the ball to the referees. I was hooked from that point on.

That was the “Longest Day” in NFL history and that game is hailed as one of the finest playoff games to have ever been played in league history. Since then we have won two Super Bowls, had the “perfect season” by going undefeated for the whole regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl and have appeared in the Super Bowl a total of five times. That equates to winning the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship 5 times. An AFC East division team, we have our division title 13 times and have appeared in the playoffs for a total of 22 times. I don’t think that’s too bad for a team that’s only been in existence for 46 years. Our history insists that we be included in any conversation regarding winning NFL teams.

But the last few years have brought much woe to my beloved Miami Dolphins. A negative climate fostered by several unsuccessful campaigns and losing efforts have contributed to a downward trend in ticket sales and revenue, The fan base for Miami has become more and more disenfranchised with the franchise. Season ticket sales have been down since 2006, reportedly down by 30,000! Fans are protesting in front of the Dolphins training facility in Davie Florida. What’s causing all the hubbub?  Fans are demanding the firing of team General Manager Jeff Ireland who is accused of gross mismanagement of the team. People are upset over owner Stephen Ross’s mishandling of the team as well. Blown draft picks, quality players being released or traded for no real gain. We traded one of the leagues finest slot receivers, Wes Welker, to our division rival New England Patriots! We just released one of the leagues better defensive backs, Yeremiah Bell, because it was felt he was getting old. He’s 34 and last season ranked 3rd in the league for DB’s in tackles.  He’s been the team’s leading tackler for the past four seasons! We traded WR Brandon Marshall, our main deep threat, for two third round draft picks this year. Sure he was a diva and possibly carried negativity into the locker room, but dang, two third round picks was all he was worth?

So now, after three failed attempts to bring in free agent quarterbacks, the word on the street is that no one wants to play in Miami. And people are stating it’s the front office, specifically Jeff Ireland. The Dolphins are the laughing stock of the league. This doesn’t sit well with me and I am not so sure Miami deserves to be in this position. Free agency is far from over and the draft hasn’t even started. Does Jeff Ireland really deserve the scorn being heaped upon him now? Some athletes and those associated with the league attest to the negative side of his character. That he is not a good man, not trustworthy and not one you want to do business with. In 2010 Jeff Ireland interviewed WR Dez Bryant before the draft, asking him if his mother was a prostitute. Had I been the owner, I would have fired him then and there over that. I can’t speak to his character as a man. I can only say I think he needs to do better at being a GM now instead of later. His primary job is fielding a team that can compete and win. It is his job to give Coach Philbin and his staff the tools to win. So has he done that?

I’m going to say yes. He has done that. With Ireland we have acquired a quarterback that has demonstrated the capability to win for our team. I’m talking about Matt Moore. He’s not a headline act but he is more than capable of getting our team down the field. He has acquired RB Reggie Bush from New Orleans, obtained the services of former Canadian football star Jerome Messam, untested here but anybody that can rush for 1000+ yards in the CFL just might do very well here. Ireland has helped our team build an impressive offensive line and a defense that has garnered much respect across the league consistently. All in all, the Miami Dolphins have most of the pieces in place now to field a strong team and I believe they could be contenders this year. We need just a few tweaks here and there and those are in spots that we can do well in the draft. With the extra draft picks we got from the Marshall-Chicago trade, we can increase our potential strength in OL, secondary and QB positions. I don’t blame owner Stephen Ross for wanting an elite QB. Who wouldn’t take a chance at getting Peyton Manning? Truth is, it’s not going to kill our season if we don’t get him and I am not so sure he is going to do well in Denver or anywhere. As for the Dolphins not getting Matt Flynn or Alex Smith, I don’t think we are missing much. Flynn is untested. Smith is not much better, if at all, than Matt Moore. We signed David Gerrard who is good but coming off major back surgery. If he can compete, is he going to be any better than Moore? Probably not but we got him at a bargain price and his presence is good for any rookie QB we get and is even better to have as backup. Beyond Manning, was there any QB available out there really worthy of a lot of attention? So in our highly publicized search for a QB, we came up with “nothing” but I’m thinking we are in good shape and I think the Dolphins know it.

Great shape. We have freed up some cap space, traded for extra draft picks and just need to concentrate on a few positions that we need to build on, positions we can do so via the draft. So I am going to reserve further judgment until after the draft and free agency periods. Jeff Irelands character may be in question and that may be deservedly so but for now, I am going to give him a break, have some patience and pray that maybe, just maybe, he really does know what he’s doing, despite history dictating otherwise.  I know what you’re probably thinking but this is what I have to go with! It’s hard being a Fin-Fan!!! When I go to the store to buy tuna, I choose Dolphin free brands but right now, more than anything, it is my Dolphins that desperately need some Tuna in them.

Have a Blessed Day Ya’ll!

Related Links:

Miami Sun-Sentinel article on the fan protest of 20 march 2012: article on Matt Flynn’s choice of Seahawks over Dolphins:

ESPN article on Jeff Irelands response to the protest:

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