Hey SHOUTsters and all Miami Dolphin fans :)
Today's NFL has a running streak of sixteen straight years in which five of the previous years playoff contenders have been replaced by five new teams that weren't involved beyond the previous years regular season. Pretty amazing don't you think?
HA, gotcha, you thought this was a Tannehill story, Don't Lie, GIGGITTY ; )!
Now before you go spouting off about why haven't our Fins been involved they have actually been in the playoffs for six of those sixteen years (97-2001) along with 2008. They made the postseason in '95, but became one of the teams to start the above mentioned 16-year streak while being replaced by a '95 non-contender in '96, they were also one of the replaced teams in 2002 and 2009. Meanwhile, they've also been one of the non-playoff contenders who replaced the previous years contenders twice in (1997 and 2008). Therefore in one way or another they've been involved in the streak approximately two-thirds of the time.
So with that being said, should the streak continue? The Miami Dolphins are one of 20 teams vying for any one of five potentially vacated playoff spots.
Lets take a look at who was or wasn't in the 2011 playoffs and try to conclude who 2012's fab five might be, and also who from 2011's post-season is left looking in from the outside. Now the new five (should it take place for a 17th straight season) could all come from the same conference, be split four to one, or be split three to two. So it's gonna take some careful deduction and understanding of what each team did to end 2011 and also what they have done during the offseason to come to your own reasonable conclusion. Now, I can't offer all that information in this post, so lets hope we've all been paying attention to what has taken place. With that knowledge, along with the momentum of each team's end to 2011, let's try to deduce what might happen in 2012 with zero knowledge of the possible obstacles which may face each particular team.
Should be easy enough, right?
2011 Playoff participants ..
AFC Division Winners ..
13 - 3 Pats ( East )
12 - 4 Ravens ( North )
10 - 6 Texans ( South )
8 - 8 Broncos ( West )
AFC Wild Cards ..
12 - 4 Steelers ( North )
9 - 7 Bengals ( North )
AFC Up and Comers final 9 games, (lets face it, 0 - 7 will never again be an issue)!
5 - 4 Titans overall 9 - 7 ( South )
4 - 5 Chargers overall 8 - 8 ( West )
4 - 5 Raiders overall 8 - 8 ( West )
4 - 5 nyets overall 8 - 8 ( East )
3 - 6 Chiefs overall 7 - 9 ( West )
6 - 3 DOLPHINS overall 6 - 10 ( East )
1 - 8 Bills overall 6 - 10 ( East )
3 - 6 Jags overall 5 - 11 ( South )
1 - 8 Browns overall 4 - 12 ( North )
2 - 7 Colts overall 2 - 14 ( South )
Now I realize that most are primarily interested only in whether or not your Miami Dolphins can be one of the five! So, for those folks we'll try and find which two AFC 2011 non-contenders might potentially be able to replace two teams that are likely feeling a bit cocky. Again, "all five could come from the AFC", though that is highly doubtful!
For those entertained by the entire puzzle ..
NFC Division Winners ..
15 - 1 Packers ( North )
13 - 3 Niners ( West )
13 - 3 Saints ( South )
9 - 7 Giants ( East )
NFC Wild Cards ..
10 - 6 Falcons ( South )
10 - 6 Lions ( North )
NFC Up and Comers ( Final 9 games ) ..
7 - 2 Cardinals overall 8 - 8 ( West )
4 - 5 Bears overall 8 - 8 ( North )
5 - 4 Eagles overall 8 - 8 ( East )
5 - 4 Cowboys overall 8 - 8 ( East )
5 - 4 Seahawks overall 7 - 9 ( West )
4 - 5 Panthers overall 6 - 10 ( South )
2 - 7 Redskins overall 5 - 11 ( East )
0 - 9 Bucs overall 4 - 12 ( South )
2 - 7 Vikings overall 3 - 13 ( North )
1 - 8 Rams overall 2 - 14 ( West )
And just for kicks, before 1996 your Miami Dolphins were playoff contenders in four of the five previous years ('90, '92, '94, '95) and then again for five straight years after 1996 ('97-2001). And of course in 2008 just one year after the most dismal Dolphin season in history. In that season Miami broke all kinds of league records in efficiency with a brand new regime, head coach, far too few legitimate starters, zero depth, and a much loved T-Rex armed quarterback who came to the team one week before the initial kickoff! This 2012 team, on average, is far more skilled, has way more explosive players, has decent-to-good depth at most positions, has been together for a lil-bit, and are becoming more and more aware of each others tendencies .. So, there is no reason to think that the 2012 Miami Dolphins aren't as capable of doing something similar to 2008 and can't return to the post-season promise land in 2012 ;) !!!!
Here's to hoping that 17 becomes our lucky number for the sake of this topic, as well as for when Tannehill takes the helm !! I'm about ready to move forward in changing my 2013 moniker from our Beloved 13 to 17kvFINS ;) !!
THANKS for an Open-Minded read, as we look forward to your angle of view ;) !! GOFINS :) !!