It was a pretty crazy season in 2010. We saw more parity in the league last year than there's been in the previous 10. While some teams had the usual horrible seasons, they did so with flare and promise.
Of course, the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns come to mind. Both were largely crappy, but they oftentimes gave their heavily-favored opponents a run for their money.
Another team that did horribly and showed a ton of promise? The Miami Dolphins.
Sure, you can say the Dolphins were, overall, a disappointment. In fact, I'd agree with that statement. They were a 7-9 team in 2009 after staying in the playoff hunt, only to shoot themselves in the foot, over and over again, thanks to injuries and lazy offense. After adding some talent, and getting healthy, the Dolphins still faltered at the end of the season, finishing with the same 7-9 record.
But, if you watched a majority of Dolphins games, you'd know that this team is no joke. This team, as unbelievably frustrating as they can be, is a legitimate contender, with the right pieces in place.
It's hard to list what the Dolphins don't have. The defensive line has a ton of talent, with CFL-import Cameron Wake dominating offensive linemen like nobody's business. The linebacking corps is also a studded bunch, headed by veteran Karlos Dansby. And the secondary is young, and pretty damn athletic, thanks to Sean Smith and Vontae Davis lining up across the field from one another.
The offensive end is friggin' studded, too, despite popular belief—the offensive line is beefy, with Jake Long anchoring the men up front, leaving the running game for ridiculous amounts of success, regardless of who may be carrying the ball. Obviously, the glaring hole in the Dolphins' repertoire is at quarterback, and pretty much every Dolphin fan thinks he's garbage/legendarily-amazing.
Either way, the Dolphins have set themselves up to become a typical deep-playoff team. We all know it takes a strong running game, a dominant offensive line, and a stingy defense to even take a game in the postseason, and, in all honesty, the Fins have all of those.
Of course, the talent's pretty damn raw. We've seen some silly mistakes from youngsters out in the secondary, and horribly detrimental mistakes from Chad Henne. But if the secondary can grow a bit into their roles, and Chad Henne doesn't make mistakes that cost Miami games, this team should—should, mind you—make the postseason, with a good possibility of success.
Because they have the intangibles, in addition to the make-up of a Super Bowl team. Tony Sparano is a hard-ass coach, and GM Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen Ross are OK with making some noise to bring whatever talent may be needed to South Beach, even if they have to go around asking free agents if their moms were ever prostitutes. You can't have successful management without some hard-nose interrogation, man.
So sure, they were disappointing last year. And sure, expectations for a young, exciting team have grown, exponentially. But don't expect this team to fade away. Don't think for a second that this team, as rough around the edges as they are, isn't playoff ready.
The rebuilding process was started 11 years ago, fans had their share of disgust when mentioning their love for the Dolphins, and now DolFan-nation is ready to move forward.
So you can go to bed safely, and comfortably, knowing this team's going somewhere, and it's not backwards. Because the decades of waiting are almost over. Thanks, DolFan-nation, for your patience.