Unfortunately, the first 25 years of my life haven’t been the most successful for the Miami Dolphins.
I did have the fortune of growing up during the Dan Marino years, which helped me developed my passion for the team. While the Dolphins were always considered Super Bowl contenders, the team always fell short of expectations, which left me waiting for next year.
After Marino retired, I questioned whether I would be as zealous about the team without him. My worries were quickly put to rest, as I still rooted for them just as passionately as I previously had. However, the end result was still the same: A good team with great expectations that always seemed to fall short.
I thought I suffered though the worst season in the franchise’s history when the Dolphins finished 4-12 in 2004. Two mediocre years followed, however, before my loyalty was firmly established in 2007.
After torturing myself sitting through a 1-15 season and still coming out a loyal fan, I knew the Dolphins would be the only NFL team I would ever root for.
I never went into a season with lower expectations for my team than in 2008. Teams don’t go from 1-15 to Super Bowl champions in just a year. It’s a process, and I prepared myself for a losing campaign. However, the Dolphins had other ideas.
After unleashing the Wildcat on the New England Patriots, the Dolphins remarkable run to an AFC East title that concluded with a win against the New York Jets.
While the season ended with a disappointing playoff loss, I will always remember the character, effort and enthusiasm demonstrated by the entire team. They didn’t care what other people said about them; they just went out and performed, as a team.
Many games were decided by a few points, just like in 2007, but the 2008 team’s resolve and character willed them to victory and into a relevant NFL franchise.
The 2008 team didn’t have mainstays such as Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor, but it did have quality veterans like Vonnie Holiday and Chad Pennington to demonstrate how to act like a professional.
Then, unheralded players like undrafted receivers Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess contributed beyond anybody’s expectations.
From the washed-up quarterback to the rookie kicker, the 2008 Dolphins featured a variety of personalities that were able to mesh together and transform the Dolphins into a respectable franchise once again.
I can now at least dream that the Dolphins might win a Super Bowl in the coming years. And for that, I will be forever grateful to every member of the 2008 team.
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