Some people are fans of the Miami Dolphins. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Miami Dolphins. This 2019 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Miami Dolphins.
Your 2018 record: 7-9.
I’m floored this team won seven games. I really am. It’s a legitimate accomplishment given that this team’s resting state is “What if the Jaguars, but no identity?” Did you know the 2018 Dolphins started off a red-hot 3-0? Do you remember them beating the Pats on a miracle lateral play at the gun (the Dolphins lost every remaining game after they pulled that off; the Pats would go on to win the Super Bowl)? I completely forgot about all that. I am fucking terrible at my job.
Regardless, I just cannot believe that anything good happened to this team last season. That’s just proof for you that no matter how badly you fuck up in the NFL, there’s always the hope that you’ll encounter another team ready to fuck up even worse. Despite the occasional triumph, the Dolphins were the latter kind of team for the better part of 2018. They started Brock Osweiler five times. They lost William Hayes to an exploded ACL when he tried to hold up on a sack. They blew a 17-0 lead to the Bengals. Even Northwestern could hold onto a 17-0 lead against that team. They watched their own wideout get superplexed by Leonard Floyd. They tried to make Ryan Tannehill a thing for the 95th consecutive season and he ended up coming down with a Jeremy Maclin–approved Mystery Ailment that the team tried (and naturally failed) to keep under wraps, Belichick-style. Kiko Alonso is lucky Vontaze Burfict exists because otherwise everyone would realize what a dirty piece of shit he is.
Oh, and they kept paying Adam Gase to brood like he was at a My Chemical Romance reunion show. While he wasn’t busying trying to keep his eyeballs from falling out of their sockets like a pair of novelty slinky glasses, Gase whiled away his time on the sidelines stewing over his own fuckups and inexplicably freezing out his best players. How did they win anything at all? Ever? Well, such nagging questions won’t be an issue this season, because this is now the worst fucking roster in the NFL.
Your coach: It’s former Pats linebackers coach Brian Flores, who will definitely not resort to clumsy subterfuge when it comes to disclosing injuries. No way. Flores has never coached at the coordinator level, yet the Dolphins were content to wait out the entire postseason to put him in charge of everything and re-enact the same failed effort to build a Nü-Pats that has ensnared 37 other NFL teams. Let’s hear from a man who is easily the most attractive human to grace the withered Belichick coaching tree:
“I would say that every week, we’re going to go out there with the idea that we’re going to win a game. There’s going to be pain involved in that, too.”
Buddy, I bet there will be. Your new OC is Jim Caldwell, who is somehow worse as an assistant coach than he is as a head coach. So weird.
Your quarterback: Okay, so for now, it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. As my colleague David Roth notes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is truth serum for bad starters. When Ryan Fitzpatrick is your QB, you have no QB at all. What you have is a crisis.
Behind Fitzpatrick is former Cardinal Josh Rosen, whom the Dolphins traded for in the middle of the draft. I could argue that Rosen got fucked raw in Arizona, forced to operate a slipshod offense for a coaching staff that was dead on arrival. I could tell you that I studied the tape and saw him make a few good throws! I could tell you that THIS YOUNG MAN has been humbled, chastened, by his time out in the desert and is now ready to excel. But I know better. Rosen already lost his job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, man. Occam’s Razor suggests that he’s just plain shitty. Only Nathan Peterman should play like Nathan Peterman. Anyone else playing likewise should be thrown into an acid bath. Miami is where Rosen’s career will end, and it will end soon. I guess there are worse fates for the man.
What’s new that sucks: Somehow this team has less hope for the future than the Marlins. I know you got a new coaching regime, and I know Miami finally lanced Tannehill and drained the pus that had built up from his tenure here. But can you detect anything resembling hope emanating from South Florida right now? I cannot. There comes a time as a fan when you realize that nothing your team does will matter so long as the rotting mackerel head infecting the whole enterprise remains fixed in place.
Most reasonable Dolphins fans, if such a strain of human exists, had this epiphany way back when owner Stephen Ross was doling out minority shares to, like, Betty White in order to get famous people to come to games. Nothing has changed. They still have a $13M cap hit this year for Ndamukong Suh, who’s now two teams removed from playing in Miami. And another $18M on Tannehill. In true Florida fashion, bad decisions made here hang around in the air until death.
Meanwhile, Cameron Wake isn’t even here anymore. The one feel-good story the Dolphins had this century (aside from Tannehill’s old lady leaving an AR-15 in the trunk of a rental car, which is an all-decade Florida crime), and now he’s a fucking Titan. Imagine a world where going to Tennessee somehow promises more glamour than going to Miami. Well that’s the shit-ass world you now live in. The Dolphins are somehow the fourth most entertaining team in a division with the Jets and Bills. Signing Allen Hurns isn’t gonna exactly change that.
I would show you the rest of this depth chart, but I am mindful of your mental health. The tight end is an emptied chicken shed that smells like old corn and dried scat. Behind Kenyan Drake at running back is Kalen Ballage, who should be working long relief innings for the Rockies with a name like that. Defensive tackle and future Def Leppard replacement drummer Kendrick Norton lost his arm. Poor Nick Buoniconti died. The team fired their O-line coach a week ago. Not an ideal staffing move to make belatedly. It’s like this team is on a perennial mission to have their linemen beating each other with sticks in the gang shower by Week 4. I guess it’s a good thing they have no real quarterback to speak of, because that poor bastard would just end up having his insides pureed.
What has always sucked: Home games! Dolphins home games are abysmal. I know this because Bud Light Ketchup-Rrr-Rita Stadium located due west of the ocean, where all the charm of Miami disappears and you’re left with something approaching the Florida version of Bakersfield. They may as well have plopped the joint right down in the middle of some orange grove where a murder once happened. Luis Paez-Pumar is on our staff now and he had to endure going to one of these games:
“Pro Player has one road that is always backed up for 20 minutes, and has probably seen more car accidents than any I’ve ever seen. It takes an hour to get out and it’s an hour spent with people honking their horns until you go deaf. And there are more Jets fans at every year’s game than Dolphins fans, by several magnitudes. Roll up into any nearby Publix and you’ll see at least three of those god-awful orange jerseys for, like, Cleo Lemon. Watching a September game in Miami is the worst fan experience in the entire NFL.”
HAVE A DAY, LUIS. It’s like Miamians exist solely to ruin Miami. The traffic is shit. The stadium is a tent prison. The team is abominable. The team’s leadership ditched their iconic helmet logo in favor of something that looks like the logo for a major bank that’s had a significant data leak in the past year. Why can’t the rest of this division get its shit together? Why is this so hard? I could buy the Fins right now, hire some polished resume to run things, fuck off to a hammock, and the team would STILL be better than its present incarnation. There’s an episode of Mad Men (I know, I know) where Peggy looks at Don and says to him, “You have everything. And so much of it.” She’s just appalled he could have so much and let it go to waste. That’s you, Florida. You just waste everything away, all the time. I don’t know why anyone in Miami gives half a fuck about this team when they can vape outside a Cuban coffee stand instead.
What might not suck: Publix is pretty good. It’s true. I know Floridians treat the place like it’s the Vatican and need to calm the fuck down about it, but Publix DOES make a fine key lime pie.
HEAR IT FROM DOLPHINS FANS!
The Dolphins are responsible for nothing but bad things in my life. They are a negative force with a stadium literally built over a native american burial ground and the sooner the franchise is dissolved from the planet the sooner thousands in South Florida can get their Sundays back.
Stephen Ross is making a run at David Samson for stupidest ownership figure in Miami history. He is either the most oblivious man in America, senile, or both. Ross started a nonprofit that hopes to eliminate racial discrimination through sports but is also a big-money fundraiser for Trump. I actually don’t think this is malicious. I think Ross is legitimately too dumb to realize how these ideas conflict. This is the same man who developed Hudson Yards, a business complex(??) in Manhattan that’s basically just a safe space for people who wear All Birds and think the key to winning in life is following Gary Vaynerchuk on Instagram. Ross once said the Dolphins are a first-class organization in every aspect except on the football field. He spent over a billion dollars to acquire this franchise but he never owned it harder than when he made that comment.
The Dolphins have needed to tank for years and they can’t even do that right. They were all set to suck this season, even forgoing their annual free agent spending spree on players who basically had no choice but to sign in Miami because no other team was offering them anywhere near as much money. Then the Dolphins signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, the exact quarterback who wins two more games than your team needs to win when they’re trying to fall backwards into a good draft pick. Even Maimi’s seemingly smart decision to trade for Josh Rosen has been ruined by Fitzpatrick being named the starter in training camp, which has every beat writer in attendance salivating, ignoring years of evidence that show the rest of us how this movie ends.
All the Dolphins need to do is lose games this season but they are so incompetent they don’t inspire any faith they can pull off that plan. At least when the team had an offensive line coach who wanted to snort cocaine off a woman’s private parts they were entertaining. Now the Dolphins are another wannabe Patriots clone with an ex-Belichick assistant who has radical ideas such as, “make players run a little bit after they make a mistake.” Don Shula isn’t staying alive for this.
Kenny Stills probably has a better chance of ending institutional racism in America and securing reparations than the Dolphins do at becoming a successful organization.
I’m still going to watch every game this season.
The last QB to take us to a playoff win was Jay Fiedler.
We’re not even gonna tank right.
I think the Dolphins are in contention for the #1 pick next year. As a result, this is the most excited I’ve been as a Dolphins fan in a decade. They’ll definitely fuck it up.
The most exciting part of the upcoming season to me is that there is chance other people might know the name of our quarterback.
Confie en el proceso.
Even the Browns are going to be better than us this year. I don’t know why I even bother.
The Dolphins are sentient mediocrity whose only relevance in the last 20 years was a gimmick offense that worked for roughly half a season.
Most seasons I stop caring around the 5th game or whenever our newest starting quarterback gets catastrophically injured.
I can’t remember a single remarkable thing the Dolphins have done in the past five years, good or bad. They’re just there.
Adam Gase looked more intense and focused in his Jets press conference than he did at any point calling another three sacks-and-out drive for us. Fuck him with Jay Ajayi’s bum leg.
The drivers of Miami’s economy are real estate, tourism, and crime. It is literally hell and I am looking forward to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Fins’ perfect season so as to celebrate their 50 years of unrelenting mediocrity and mutual indifference.
I’m a Miami Dolphins fan and I’ve never actually met another Miami Dolphins fan. When I tell people that I root for Miami, they mostly just stare at me with the same sad look you give someone whose dog is blind. One time, I told some one that I was a Dolphins fan and they responded “What!? You’re fucking with me right?
The entire roster looks like the Thanos Snap actually took place.
Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up to camp weighing just less than a commercial shipping vessel.
The leaders in every major offensive statistic from last season are gone.
The two most talented athletes to ever be associated with this franchise are the Williams sisters and it’s not even close.
Look at this shit! Look at it!
Our best quarterback in the past 20 years is a coinflip between Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler. I have been legitimately excited for the Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington and Ryan Tannehill eras.
I was so angry they drafted Ted Ginn Jr. over Brady Quinn I threw my remote against the wall.
We celebrate our annual win against the Pats like it’s 1972 all over again.
Being a Dolphin fan is like losing your virginity to Jennifer Lawrence and now Lena Dunham won’t return your calls.
Since drafting Ted Ginn #9 overall, he has played in 14 playoff games, including a Super Bowl, winning 7 times. Miami has played in two, won zero, and scored 21 points. Combined. Didn’t stop me from going to see the Dolphins four times in four different cities last year. Fuck me.
The franchise’s last seven playoff losses dating back to 1998 (vs. two wins) have come by the following scores: 30-12, 27-9, 20-3, 27-0, 62-7, 38-3 and 17-3. They have scored three touchdowns in those losses, losing by an average score of 32-5.
The absolute pinnacle of my Dolphins fandom happened in 2007. The Dolphins win in overtime, I celebrate like they won the Super Bowl, and now I can never forget the name Greg Camarillo.
That’s it: the most exciting thing to happen to me as a fan was to not go winless.
I took this photo last year at the Dolphins bar in New York City and I thought it was a perfect metaphor for this upcoming season.
Last season, the Dolphins rattled off three wins straight and prepared to take on a reeling Patriots team at Foxboro. With the confidence of a true moron, I texted my dad about how the Fins were definitely going to the Super Bowl. Dad, a seasoned veteran of following this shitshow on turf, told me he’d buy us both tickets if the Dolphins made it to the Super Bowl. I huffed more paint and swore this was The Season. The Dolphins proceeded to get shitpumped 38-7 in Foxboro.
The best offensive season the Dolphins have had was led by the trio of Jay Fiedler, Lamar Smith and Chris Chambers.
We fired the offensive line coach we hired in the offseason one week into training camp because our line sucks so bad, and that’s not even close to the most embarrassing offensive line coach incident we’ve had in the past two years.
The Miami Dolphins will be in Jeff Fisher 6-10 to 9-7 purgatory for as long as I live.
I wonder what it says about me as a fan, or the fan base in general, that I’ve seen more Dolphins games live in San Diego, a town that no longer has an NFL team, than in the three years that I have lived less than three hours away from where they play their home games.
There’s a management theory called the Peter Principle that basically says just because you are good at your current job, it doesn’t always mean you will be good at the next job if you get promoted.
Stephen Ross is a billionaire real estate mogul, yet apparently doesn’t understand this simple concept that a fucking freshman Econ major could explain. Instead, he’s followed the same pattern for every new head coaching hire: find a coordinator with marginal success, give him his first ever head coaching position, somehow be surprised when he is overwhelmed with the full responsibilities of being a head coach, and fire him in a few years.
Our biggest moment in years was a last second miracle win against them in a pointless season where we didn’t make the playoffs and they went on to win the Super Bowl. If that’s not the perfect encapsulation of this stupid ass franchise, I don’t know what is.
“Chad Henne has a chance to be as good as 13.”
- Stephen Ross 2010
“I think you haven’t seen the best of Ryan Tannehill yet.”
- Stephen Ross 2018
Fuck Stephen Ross
Fuck all the Miami QBs since 13
Fuck Robert Kraft
Fuck Bill Belichick
Fuck Tom Brady
Fuck Alex Guerrero and whatever he’s injecting Brady with.
Fuck all the Patriots for playing for Belichick who clearly suffer from Stockholm Syndrome
I was a massive Miami Dolphins fan for a lot of years. This was despite the fact that I entirely missed the Marino era, so the Phins never really gave me any reason to be a fan. I just loved watching Ricky Williams run so those three or four seasons where he actually played. I wasn’t ready to give up.
Until 2016, in Week 2.
Brady finally had his suspension, and I was amped. I was under a delusion that with Brady out the Dolphins would finally capitalize and Week 2 would provide the win they needed to keep pace with the Pats when Brady came back. I seriously believed this.
The Pats scored a touchdown on their first three possessions. I think the Phins punted in every subsequent possession. It was over before the half. After that third touchdown I walked out of the house and wandered around my neighborhood for an hour. When I came back my wife told me that it was okay and the Dolphins were actually kind of mounting a comeback. I replied, “No they aren’t,” went upstairs, packed all my jerseys and hats in a box, and never took them out again.
Quitting didn’t come with some big explosion. I didn’t burn my jerseys. I had no urge to film myself smashing up my television. There was no big moment. It’s just that watching that first quarter, something in my brain snapped and everything came into focus: why was I anchoring myself to something that brought me so much misery?
The thing you learn when you quit a team is that nobody will ever believe you. I still get an outrageous amount of shit from my buddies over this, ranging from them calling me a sellout for not “sticking with them” to saying that I’ll just pop back if the Phins ever get relevant and act like this was a hiatus or pretend it never happened (these aren’t Dolphins fans by the way - I live in Canada so there are a lot of random allegiances - Patriots, Packers, Cowboys, Eagles, Bears, etc). Also, people who you aren’t quite as close with anymore who don’t know that you’ve gone cold turkey will keep popping up every so often to message you about some pointless free agent acquisition the Phins made or some promising future bust they drafted. I used to try to correct the record with these folks, but now I just thank them and move on.
The other thing you learn is that, at least in my case, you find it really hard to care about all the nonsense that happens around the league like you used to. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend following offseason crap, actually watching the draft live as if I couldn’t just read a recap later, thinking about rosters. When you don’t have a team it’s impossible to care about any of this.
A small part of me sometimes feels this loss - I feel like I’ve lost something of who I was as a person. But a much, much bigger part of me is relieved. In 2017, I saved a bunch of money by not buying Sunday Ticket for the first time in a decade. I also significantly cut back on how much time I would spend watching football on Sundays, spending more time with my family instead (my son was born in August 2017 - I am very happily not raising him as a Dolphins fan).
Today, I can’t name five players on the Dolphins active roster. I had a good laugh when they finally moved on from Tannehill and nobody else even considered making him a starter. But mostly I just think about them less and less. From the outside, I finally realize how inconsequential the Dolphins are. You could remove them entirely and have no impact whatsoever on the last 20 years of NFL history. They just don’t matter to most people, and now that includes me.
The first thing I thought of when I heard Kendrick Norton lost an arm in a car accident is at least he didn’t have to suffer the indignity of putting on a Dolphins uniform this season. Fuck this team.
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