I now feel compelled to write this, but I've been feeling it since 1972!
I don't know why (but I have my suspicions), but whenever the Miami Dolphins, after years of mediocrity, finally turn the corner and develop into a potential powerhouse and then actually accomplish that feat, most sports pundits say "oh what a nice feel good story," then proceed to banish the team back to mediocrity using any excuse they can.
So in 1972, Miami was given the AFC East crown preseason, but wasn't anywhere in anyone's Super Bowl predictions. The Raiders, if I remember rightly, were handed the AFC crown, and some had them beating the Cowboys in Super Bowl VII. Well, need I say how that turned out!
But then in 1973, who got the kudos to win the Super Bowl? The Dolphins? Heck no! Their schedule was easy in 1972 so that's why they went undefeated.
Oh, and, BTW, they went undefeated WITHOUT THEIR STARTING QB most of the season, but that was poo-pooed as well.
No, in 1973, the Steelers were the ones who got all the pundit love.
Interesting, in light of my complaint: the Steelers, remember, were 1972's "feel good" story. So why did they get the respect, but today's turned-around 2009 Dolphins get nothing but this: their schedule should keep them out of the playoffs.
And the worst thing is this: Most Dolphins fans believe this nonsense!*
Thank goodness the Dolphins players and coaches don't believe it!
For instance, the big fluff in this past week's offseason color has been what Joey Porter and also Channing Crowder have said about sports pundits running their keyboards about how there is no way the Patriots won't win the AFC East this year, as well as win the Super Bowl.
Porter said (I think drawing a wrong conclusion) that both Pats' WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker <a href="http://www.phinsider.com">"claimed" that the Pats would retake the division and win the Super Bowl</a>. Crowder said pretty much the same thing, adding his barb at the Jets loudmouth coach, Rex Ryan.
Actually, Moss said <a href="http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messages/chrono/15233595">no such thing</a>, nor did Welker <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/peter_king/05/24/memorialday/index.html">when interviewed on Peter King's blog</a>.
They said with Brady back the Pats offense will be better in 2009 than in 2007. One could read into that, however, that they think the Pats will retake the division and win the Super Bowl. And that is what Porter and Crowder did, I think.
Yet it doesn't help when every pundit, INCLUDING DOLPHIN PUNDITS!, hand the AFC East back to the Patriots this preseason, based solely on the fact that Brady is back, without taking into account that the Dolphins have also improved. Not to mention that the Jets and Bills have also improved!
I think that is precisely what has gotten Crowder and Porter so hot and bothered.
It is too bad, however, that the only pundits bringing this up, such as <a href="http://www.profootballtalk.com">Mike Florio</a>, are bringing it up because he's a Patriots fan, and believes that by bringing it up, the Pats will have "incentive" to go out and beat the Dolphins twice this year.
As if losing the AFC East last year wasn't incentive enough.
Memo to Mr. Florio: Pats beat Dolphins twice next year? Ain't gonna happen!
What is "gonna happen," however, is that the Fins will do what the Fins have to do to not only win the AFC East again in 2009, on the field if not on paper, but win in the playoffs as well. And, like 1971 through 1973, have a say in the Super Bowl as well.
Thank God Tony Sparano believes it, and thank God so do the players.
* I, too, have picked the Pats to win the division. But I said that in the context that 2009 is their last hurrah, and that it will be the Dolphins dominating this division in the future. But I NEVER SAID the Fins won't make the playoffs. They will, one way or another, in 2009.
But I also said on BR that with Jason Taylor back, I might pick the Fins to win the division, after all.