The fate of the 2015 Miami Dolphins seemed destined to mirror the previous two 8 & 8 seasons. Then training camp started and Joe Philbin told his team, “Your goal is to win the Super Bowl!” The audacity of such a statement, the boldness Old Joe had never dared whisper when his prudence ruled his pragmatism. Joe was not capable of making such a statement because it was a lie and he knew it.
The Dolphins had done some equally bold maneuvers during the off-season that made the statement viable. Unlike when the team spent megabucks on a marginal wide receiver with attitude problems, the attitude problems they spent for this year struck fear in their opponents. A man named Suh…
"Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die."
See, the Dolphins didn’t have the fear factor, they didn’t have an identity and all those folks out there calling the man named Suh dirty, well they’re just jealous because he’s a Miami Dolphin! Cameron Wake, he’s a nice guy but mean, not so much, until a man named Suh lined up beside him. Olivia Vernon, imagine when teams must double team Suh, the havoc this defensive line will wreak on the NFL.
Mr. Brady, Mr. Brady, may I have your attention please!
Your life is about to change and unfortunately not for the better. You see Tom, a messy pocket and interior pressure disrupt your timing and it is all about timing isn’t it Tom? And Tom, when you have to move off your spot and try to make it outside the pocket, there will be some company waiting. The man named Suh changes a finesse defense into power beast-mode defense. So we look forward to seeing you this season Tom!
“We’re looking forward to playing you,” are words Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are not used to hearing from Miami. It might seem like a lot to place on the man named Suh but there’s more and it comes from Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is perhaps the only Dolphin player with more influence in the outcome of games. Suh influences with his attitude as much as his play, Tannehill must do the same.
The next step in Tannehill’s maturation came with a simply statement, “I should be judged by wins.” He finally understands the difference between good and great. A good QB has twice as many TDs and INTs. A good QB has a 66 percent completion percentage. No QB gets fired for putting up those numbers, but teams don’t get to the dance unless the QB wins a lot more than 50 percent of his games. Tannehill gets it. He knows if he ever wants to be considered great, he must win when the fight is even.
"Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue."
It’s the gravel in his guts and the spit in his eye that leads to victory and this attitude makes one NFL team better than the next. Victory, whether throwing four TDs or four INTs, if Miami comes out with a “W” that’s why we’re watching. It’s a brutal game, played by men who literally risk their lives for the spotlight and the chance to strike it rich, why not win? Why suffer all that and not go the extra step to beat an opponent?
Now perhaps we understand the change in Old Joe, because it’s not a change in Old Joe, he’s not capable of saying things to motivate unless he believes them. The change is in his team. His defense has a defining character led by a ferocious man that is feared by the entire league. His offense is led by a man who finally understands, the SB trophies on his mantle define his legacy, not his completion percentage. Old Joe is smiling…
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him Bill or George!
Joe has a different point of view and I think Miami Dolphin fans may feel the same when this season is done.
Instead of pretty wide receivers, Miami has a man named Suh.