The Miami Dolphins In or Out?

The preceding rant is not directed at or have anything to do with the great folks here at Dolphin Shout. It's directed at the writers and fans replying to the blogs in the Miami Herald and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.  Personally I think these folks should move on to another city and write for another team. It is obvious, "Hometown" has no meaning.

The Broncos beat the Ravens 49 to 27 and the Chiefs beat the Jaguars 28 to 2, why care about these scores? Those were the only games in week one of the NFL with a higher point differential than the 13 point margin of victory for the Miami Dolphins over the Cleveland Browns.

In the thirteen other league games, the average margin of victory was less than 5 points. The Broncos rolled up a staggering 49 points on 7 Manning TD throws and the Jags staggered to a lowly safety. Those far-flung numbers represent the stratospheric difference between these two teams but largely, the NFL is a league of parity and it is easy to place teams under a microscope before stepping back to view the big picture.

Lost in the negative reactions to Mike Wallace and the anemic offensive line play was the line set in Vegas, the Dolphins were picked to lose. On the road, without a running game, while completing only one pass to prized off-season acquisition Mike Wallace, Miami found a way to win.

If told prior to the game, Miami would rush for a grand total of 20 yards and Mike Wallace would catch one pass for 15 yards, the thought of a 13-point victory would be dismissed as fantasy. The reality is, Miami played as underdogs in a hostile environment. They looked like a team in the confusion of the first week of the season and yet came away with a convincing victory.

It seems Miami fans enjoy the anguish of defeat much more than the luster of victory. Immediately following the game, the headline read, “Philbin has much work to do!” Why? Because Mike Wallace was unhappy, and Randy Starks gave his teammates a middle finger salute. When the headline should have read, “Cameron Wake Leads a Crushing Miami Defense to Victory!” The media fabricates a story about Mike Wallace’s hurt feelings. The offensive line play is proclaimed as the doom soon to follow the gloom of a victory against the lowly Browns.

Imagine being a member of the Miami Dolphins and having victory shoved in your face like rubbing a puppy’s nose in the foul stench of oops on the carpet. Thirteen games won by an average of less than five points and Miami fans complain about winning by 13 points.

There may be a few elite teams in the NFL and there are probably a few dregs, but most of the league’s teams straddle the middle of the pack scratching to get over the edge. The only way over the top is to beat the other middlings. Nothing pretty is necessary, no eighty-yard bombs or pick sixes, just the sweet taste of victory. The taste Miami fans refuse to savor…

Any given Sunday a team will rise from the ashes and snatch an unlikely victory, but this win over Cleveland was no anomaly. Miami was clearly the better football team even with an inconsistent rushing attack and a number one receiver relegated to a decoy.

Vince Lombardi had a saying, “winning is contagious and so is losing.” In those words, Miami fans must understand the importance of this victory to start the season. League-wide parity alludes to the fact that there is little difference between the talent levels of players on different teams. The difference in the level of play comes from the contagion known as victory.

To sell the effect of that potion short is to show a lack of understanding of the human spirit. Few teams thrive on adversity, the vast majority respond to positive reinforcement. The Miami Dolphins may have lost their gleam, but the media and fans are far worse than even the ignorant New York Jet fans. The difference is, even when the Jets suck, the fans still cheer for them as if Joe Namath was behind center. In Miami, the MO is to berate the quarterback because he is not Dan Marino, rather than stand behind him and build his confidence.

Fans only believe they have impact as the 12 man in lending some mystical power to victory. They rarely see themselves as the broken arrow stuck in the wound of defeat.

The trend of negativity began when Don Shula could not lead a Dan Marino quarterbacked Dolphin team to a Superbowl victory even when ten win seasons were the norm. The time has come to break the chain. The time has come for the media and fans to step up and show support
in Miami. A barrage of ridiculous comments follows every blog entry on the newspaper sites. Harsh hurtful words typed by vicious anonymous characters that can only raise their own self-esteem by caustically lambasting others. 

Is this what Miami Dolphins fans have turned into? Are these fans truly expecting a team of men to respond positively to this input? If so they are remarkably myopic.

Football has become overwhelmed by its own success. Jealousy over a football player making millions while a teacher labors in obscurity cannot change the millions of dollars sponsors flood into the league’s pockets. The choice is simple, stop watching. If it is so difficult to be a fan, for whatever reason, stop watching.

Spend the time wasted on angry comments and worthless banter on pursuits that may give life a meaning. Make the choice to be a Miami Dolphin fan and use that energy to reinforce the positive.

Winning is contagious, be a winner, act like a winner, react like a winner and perhaps your favorite team will turn out to be winners as well.