As Jerry Seinfeld famously said, “Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify. Because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city, you’re actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it.” This year’s Miami Dolphins team doesn’t even give its fans that opportunity as they changed their uniform and logo. So if its long suffering fans want to not seem passé they need to shell out more money for up to date merchandise.
When I went to a preseason game in August many of the fans were wearing jerseys of players long gone. No more Marshall, no more Taylor, no more Thomas, no more Marino. This past off-season the Dolphins jettisoned some of their longest tenured players in wide receiver Davone Bess, offensive lineman Jake Long, and kicker Dan Carpenter. Players come and go in the NFL, but the Dolphins revolving door has spun so fast the past decade, it’s remarkable how consistent they have been. For the last four seasons their won-loss record has been 7-9, 7-9, 6-10, and 7-9. During that span they have started 5 different quarterbacks, had three different head coaches, but the names that keep them saddled in mediocrity is the owner, Stephen Ross, and the general manager, Jeff Ireland. Ross is one of the most parsimonious owners in the sport and Jeff Ireland is the bad penny Ross is too cheap to get rid of.
I thought last Spring when Ross tried to get taxpayers to foot the bill for stadium improvements, that it would give me an out to no longer root for my home team. But the Florida legislature would not allow the public to vote on raising taxes for the benefit of a billionaire’s privately owned business and so I am left looking for positivity in a franchise drenched with disillusion.
The quarterback Ryan Tannehill is only in his second year, but last season showed flashes of promise, even if he generally found himself at the losing end of games. Which is exactly how we described his predecessor, Chad Henne in 2010. Perhaps in a few years Tannehill like Henne can also be a serviceable back-up for another franchise.
Two of my favorite players from last year, the sure handed Bess and the electric Reggie Bush have been kicked to the curb. Instead the Dolphins acquired Mike Wallace as their high priced wide receiver. Wallace while with the Pittsburgh Steelers had trouble scoring with one of the better quarterbacks in the league in Ben Roethlisberger and must now contend with playing with one of the league’s worst quarterbacks protected by an even more putrid offensive line. Reggie Bush has been replaced by Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, but in this case 2 is not better than 1.
On the bright side the Dolphins defense should be respectable, allowing their opponents to provide just as unentertaining a game as the Dolphins deliver.
But seriously on a more positive note, we only have to watch two months of the Dolphins march toward another 7-9 season before the Heat start playing their basketball games again. Now that’s some laundry we can root for.