There is a fine line between passion and hate… The emotion that enables the concise thoughts associated with passion is only slightly detached from the enraged hasty decisions of hate. In the case of a football game between the Dolphins and the Jets, it is easy to cross the line. Where the passion for victory flows like a spring, the poison of hate erupts like a geyser and many times leads to defeat.
Every week in the NFL is important, with only 16 chances any loss could be the difference between the playoffs and an extended vacation. Teams come out flat for critical games and it leaves fans wondering how this could happen, the answer is in the disparity between passion and hate. The Dolphins do not like the Jets, but using hate to motivate will only lead to expending energy that if reserved, is the key to victory.
Sun Tzu wrote, “When we demonize opponents, we undermine our chances of success by attracting supporters who are looking for someone to hate rather than a goal to support. The character of these supporters will lead us inevitably into a costly conflict. Positions built on philosophies of enmity are inherently weak. Positions built on mutual rewards are inherently strong.”
Instead of getting even, Sun Tzu teaches us to "get odd," that is to distinguish ourselves from others by standing out and doing things that are unexpected. This is the direction the Dolphins must follow. The team must not get caught up in the loathing the fans have for the opponent, but follow the passion of a well thought out game plan two weeks in preparation. The Jets are desperate, and they will be seeking revenge for their own lack of success and that vengeance will lead them down the hole of hate.
The nature of rivalries ignites the fans from both teams but the vitriol in the stands must not boil over on to the field. Vehemence in the form of executing a game plan is more powerful than penalties rooted in anger. This is the culture Joe Philbin must instill in the Dolphins, coldblooded implementation of the unexpected, like a machine marching down the field impervious to distractions off the gridiron.
The media darling Jets are pulling in the ranks as losing heats up their self made spotlight. The hated Dolphins are the target and this is the advantage Miami must exploit because, “philosophies of enmity are inherently weak.” The problem with antipathy is the same as blowing air on the coals of a fire, the fire will roar until the coals are spent and then there is no longer fuel to burn. By forcing the Jets to become the team playing with rage, we force them to expend energy that should be used in the course of playing the game; instead it is spent on their own anger.
The Dolphins must demonstrate the cold passion of a winner, using emotion as a vehicle of strength in the context of a football game. Leave the ranting and raving to the Jets and their insufferable fans. Through perseverance, precision and passion the Miami Dolphins will walk out of the New Jersey with dignity, and the Jets will be left facing the odium of the media and fans.
The bus with the precision Philbin machine will roll out of the meadowlands victorious.
Waving Bye Bye now, enjoy the press conferences, we have a division to win…