The season is over. That’s the feeling most Dolphins' fans feel after the 24-6 defeat to the hated New York Jets. One might think it’s a little early for that, but for a lot of fans, the season was over before it began.
In the beginning
After deciding not to overpay for Deangelo Williams and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Dolphins traded for former first overall draft pick Reggie Bush. Vernon Carey was moved inside to guard with former Cowboys tackle Marc Columbo taking over. Channing Crowder was replaced due to lacking big play ability. That (in addition to the departures of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams) signaled a much needed change to the Dolphins roster; either younger, more inexperienced players or cheaper options.
The Quarterback position
Speculation during the offseason that the Miami Dolphins quarterback position would change increased as the lockout ended. When the Dolphins passed on the position in the 2011 NFL Draft, rumors of possible targets surfaced with candidates such as Carson Palmer and Kyle Orton. In the end, Miami opted not to put big money or draft picks and instead chose the cheaper, less compromising option of former Carolina Panther signal caller Matt Moore.
From hope to no hope
What makes the NFL different than any other professional sport is that when training camp opens, most teams, players, and fans begin the season with the hope and the belief that their team has a chance to be special. This season somehow felt different for most Dolfans. The lack of confidence emanating from the media made most fans extremists; either this regime had to go before game one or the national media had a bias against South Florida. The usual happiness surrounding the beginning of training camp was replaced by pessimism or frustration.
The state of the Miami Dolphins Fans
It is unclear if the Dolphins players surpassed Stephen Ross’s flirtation with Jim Harbaugh after the season and still stand behind their coach. One thing is clear, the fans never did. Their loss of confidence in head coach Tony Sparano and quarterback Chad Henne led to increased pessimism and frustration.
Coach Sparano’s high hopes and emphasis on the season opener against the New England Patriots as a defining moment resulted to be his worst mistake during the offseason. The team’s loss left a house divided; fans that were on the fence about their faith in Sparano, Henne turned against them, and the fans that still supported them were left looking for answers. The after effect has been clear with the team’s loss over the next four games looking lost and uninspired.
The last ten years have not been kind to the Miami Dolphins, nor to their fans. It’s been the worst decade in the history of the franchise. During that span Nick Saban quit on the team after passing on signing quarterback Drew Brees. The all-time low of Cam Cameron’s infamous 1-15 season is now surpassed by former executive VP of Football Operations, Bill Parcells (currently an ESPN analyst), contaminating Sunday mornings with his false vibrato on how to build a successful team after leaving Miami “like a thief in the middle of the night.”
The birth of “Suck for Luck” in Miami
Players like Yeremiah Bell and Will Allen have been quoted as been indignant to the mere thought of the team tanking games to get Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Reasonable minded fans don’t believe a hot seated coach and his professional players would lose games purposely to get an outsider.
However, with Luck being described as a transcendent player, a one in a decade quarterback, and as the best prospect ever scouted, it’s easy for fans to dream of a return to glory with him leading the Dolphins like Peyton Manning did for the Indianapolis Colts.
“Suck for Luck” is not a command to the team to lose games on purpose; it’s more a glimmer of hope. It’s a way Dolphins fans can make a little fun of themselves after another loss instead of being bummed out during the commute to work while listening to sports radio.
For now, the national media is more than likely to make fun of the Miami Dolphins and their fans. What they need to realize is that Dolfans love their team. They invest time, love, and money on a franchise with only one playoff win in a decade. Empty orange seats may fill Sun Life Stadium come season's end, but it’s a clear indicator of the fans frustration, not their lack of loyalty.
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