What a Difference a Year Makes: Miami

Jeremy MasonCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2009

What a year its been for south Florida teams in the three major sports. Three amazing turnarounds have given fans something to cheer about this year.

Last year the Dolphins narrowly missed adding the NFL's first win-less season to their resume which already includes its only perfect season. They accidentally beat the Ravens in Week 15 but still finished with an NFL-worst record of 1-15.

This year could not have been much more different. Miami became the first team in NFL history to go from a one-win one season to double-digit wins (11) the next. The additions of Bill Parcells in the front office and Chad Pennington under center propelled Miami to the top of a very tough AFC East Division.

While Miami took an early exit from the playoffs when they ran into Baltimore's ruthless defense, nothing can be taken away from the amazing turnaround this season.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were 66-96 in 2007. Good for the worst record in the MLB. In 2008 the Rays seemingly magically turned it around for a record of 97-65, and the AL East division title by holding off the perennial-power house Boston Red Sox.

They beat the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox in their respective series before losing to the World Champion Phillies in the World Series. The World Series loss is hardly enough to keep this from being one of the most remarkable turnarounds in MLB history.

The Miami Heat were the bottom-dwellers of the NBA last season. They managed just 15 wins and collected 67 loses. Granted they were one of the most injured teams in recent memory. They suffered injuries to their best four players...Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem, and Alonzo Mourning.

This year, with the additions of Mario Chalmers, Marcus Banks, James Jones, and rookie phenom Michael Beasley, along with the return of Wade, Haslem, and Marion, the Miami Heat look primed to make a run at one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference.

With a record of 19-17, they have already compiled four more wins than they had all of last season. We haven't even reached the all-star break yet. It will be fun to watch how the young Heat will respond to adversity throughout the rest of the season.

If Dwyane Wade continues his on-court leadership and Michael Beasley continues maturing as a young player I think the Heat are a lock to make the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Even if they don't, south Florida has definitely had a lot to cheer about this season. Congratulations to all three of these teams on their turnarounds.