The Dolphins performance against the Texans brought out the intense emotions of Miami fans from around country. The once proud Dolphins are finding it increasingly difficult to regain the fire that has made them one of the most beloved franchises in the NFL. The Ownership hoped giving away some ten thousand tickets would fill the stadium and bring back the home field advantage, but it was not to be.
History has shown the key to long-term success in the NFL comes from leadership at the QB position. Take QB out of the equation and parity in the NFL becomes apparent. There are athletes at some positions playing a higher level, but for the most part, talent in the league is associated with winning. Players on teams that go to the playoffs see their value rise, while players on teams with losing records lose value unless they are among the few elites. The pattern repeats at the franchise level.
Teams like Baltimore with Trent Dilfer or Tampa Bay with Brad Johnson went on to Superbowl victories, and the reason came from uncommon leadership. Ray Lewis brought swagger to the Ravens, while Derrick Brookes and Warren Sapp led a dominate Bucs defense. Yet even those two teams could not sustain success because they lacked leadership at QB.
There is no need to waste space listing the number of great teams associated with great QBs, just as there is no need for the reams of paper needed to list the bad teams associated with bad QBs. This is not rocket science, leadership in the NFL revolves around the QB, and it is what differentiates bad, good, and great. In the few instances where this has not held true there have been rare leaders at other positions.
With leadership comes identity, with leadership comes a common thread, a rallying point; this is missing on the Miami Dolphins. The players on this team do not believe in the person they all know is the key to their success and not one charismatic player can make up for that missing ingredient. A coach with a flamboyant personality can bring a team close, but he too will fail in the end.
There is no need to single out a culprit or criticize an individual, it is a simple fact, either the team has the player or they do not. Time does not make these men. Coaching and learning can bring about greatness in players who have the gift of leadership, but it is not something that matures with age or is a fabrication of psychology. The will to win is inside the person, they have it or they do not.
On the football field, it relates to scoring, finding a way to get the ball to right guy amid the chaos and pressure that would stifle those without the gift. This is the reason we are willing to go to games and pay the exorbitant prices. We go to see the gift, the brilliance in someone else; we do not have in ourselves.
An owner who believes he can buy fans into a stadium to witness the orange carpet laid out for celebrities has completely missed the point. Football fans show up when they can witness the fire in Dan Marino’s eyes and know he is about to march his team, against all odds, down the field and beat the other team. The heart and soul of a football team is the guy behind the center who the fans and the players believe can raise them to victory.
If a player does not show this gift early, the chances of him ever showing it are slim. When a team continues to flounder, unaware of what seems obvious, then the fans lose faith. No celebrities, no giveaways and probably not even a coach can make up for a team without a leader at the critical position. Looking in any other direction is either not understanding the game or being unwilling to accept what is apparent.
This is the NFL. This is the reason fans go to games. Watch enviously as Sports Center shows Tom Brady from every imaginable angle and remember when it was Dan Marino. Maybe that will give Miami a clue as to why they are slowly losing one of the most loyal fan bases in the NFL.
Keep Drafting a QB until the true leader shows up. It will not take four years to figure it out… The gift is apparent from the beginning.
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