Hey there Miami Dolphins. Just thought that I would throw you a couple of friendly reminders.
First, it’s currently the offseason. In fact, it’s so much the offseason that it’s spring. Your fans should be as happy as they are going to be about the team right now. The draft was two weeks ago. OTAs begin next week, and hell, the schedule hasn’t even been released yet — though it has leaked that the Dolphins will be playing the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. You all made the biggest acquisition of the offseason in trading for one of the NFL’s best players, Tyreek Hill. There should be nothing but positivity emanating from every pore of the organization to keep the fanbase as high on optimism as possible until the players actually have to play football against other teams.
Second, a successful pass from a quarterback to a pass catcher does not simply mean that the sequence ended with a catch. In a live game, if the quarterback does not put the ball in the best place for the pass catcher to make a play, at best an opportunity for yards after the catch has been lost. At worst, the ball is turned over and the opposing team scores six points. So when the players are practicing in shorts and bucket hats, a pass shouldn’t be considered successful unless it at least looks like it was caught in rhythm.
With that little refresher, maybe the Dolphins social media team will pick a better pass the next time they want to add some slow motion effects to a Tua Tagovailoa practice throw. They put out a video of Tagovailoa letting it rip down the field to Hill. The video is of such high quality that it is Crystal Pepsi-clear the moment that ball runs out of gas. About ¾ of the way through the air the ball wobbles like it heard the DJ play their song after a third drink at a wedding reception, and eventually lands at Hill’s right butt cheek where he turns around to catch it.
I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to indict Tagovailoa’s whole game, or say that his arm isn’t strong enough to be a successful NFL quarterback — and not just because I’m afraid of his group of supporters on social media, who are as rabid as a group of people at their first school board meeting after hearing of Critical Race Theory on Facebook. While some of the jokes are funny, like The Athletic’s Vic Tafur asking if the Dolphins are trolling their own quarterback, it’s a throw in the spring to a new wide receiver who happens to also be the fastest player in the NFL. There will be an adjustment period.
My biggest issue is, they couldn’t have been asked to do another take? Is that the only pass that Tagovailoa threw to Hill all day, or maybe the only one over 10 yards? People take four pictures of their dinner before deciding which one to post on Instagram, and Dolphins social media decided that this throw was the winner. This is the useless throw with no pads, helmets, or defenders that is going to make social media breakout the eye and flame emojis? No one saw that pass jiggle like good brisket and land behind its intended target and thought the video might end up getting cooked?
It’s the offseason, Dolphins. You make your fans feel good this time of year, and have NFL media at worst ignoring the throw, or some analyst breaking down something bad about it that can only be seen through even slower motion replays after watching it 100 times. The only excuse for going with that video is if in the moment they didn’t realize how poorly Tagovailoa underthrew Hill. Then by the time they realized the problem it was too late because a post had to go up.
This is actually worse than the Chicago Bears’ “QB1” tweet about Andy Dalton last season. It was true, fans just didn’t want to hear it at the time because they were disappointed. The Dolphins just fed Tagovailoa to the sharks ready to tear his performance to pieces, throw by throw.
Let this be a lesson to social teams in all walks of life. If the video isn’t what you thought it would be, just post another meme.