Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Fish Out Of Water
I have a confession. The Miami Dolphins are my favorite football team. Have been, since I was old enough to remember. I grew up in a "Giants" household, but somehow, the aqua and orange permiated my soul. It has been a LONGGGGGGGGGGGG time since I had anything to be excited about with these guys. But I still hold out hope that someday, before I'm old and grey, or a grandfather, that a Dolphins team will hold a Super Bowl trophy once again. But I'm not willing to hold my breath. With the new season upon us, I thought it would be a proper time to put my Dolphin history on the table.
I've seen two Super Bowls with the Dolphins as participants. The 1982 season and the 1984 season. Before that, for about 7 years of my childhood, the Dolphins were kind of o.k. I was too young to remember the glory days of the early 70's (72-74)but I knew they were recognized as one of the greatest teams ever because of that time. I was 12 when they made it to Super Bowl XVII. They had the game, blew it and I was heartbroken. The next season saw the arrival of the savior(well he made the franchise exciting for many years).
Dan Marino. One of the greatest quaterbacks of all-time. Maybe the greatest arm in football hisotry. I loved Marino like every other Dolphin fan. He gave the franchse life. He was surrounded by great receivers too, in Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. In Marino's 2nd year, he led them to the Super Bowl. And once there, Marino was overwhelmed by a well-prepared and hungry 49ers team. Poor Dan, never stood a chance and never got another one.
My favorite player was always 3rd down receiver extrodinaire, Nat Moore.
Nat was a speedster in the beginnings of his career. As the years built, he lost his starting job to other younger, quicker receivers. But Nat always was the rock. Great hands, fantastic blocker, constant pro. For a long time, he held every Dolphin receiving record. He was small in stature, huge on talent. Between him, Marino and another great member of the late 70's early 80's offense, Tony Nathan, the Dolphin's offense was a well-oiled machine.
The other legendary figure that patrolled the sidelines and gave the Dolphins credibility for 25 years was Don Shula. Still regarded as possibly the greatest NFL head coach, Shula was class, passion and winning personified. The Dolphins classiness seemed to leave with Shula and Marino's partings. A sad time for Dolphin fans, new and old.
Jimmy Johnson took over the coaching reigns, the team fumbled through a few productive seasons in the 90's and since that time the team has been in constant upheavel. In plain English, they have been fucking sorry. But now their is a new coach and a new philosophy in the fold and the team just may the makings of a "class" organization again. The pillars of the team for the last 10 years have been Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. All Dolphin fans can hold out hope that these two warriors will have one shot before their careers end at the big, shiny trophy.
This coming season holds little promise. A 37 year old quaterback, new system, new coaching staffs, huge roster turnover. But maybe the next couple of years will start to see the promise of a new day. Their grooming a new quaterback to take the reigns, the coach seems to actually be excited to be the head man (thanks Saban)and there are some new prospects that seem to have genuine talent. I hold out hope. And my son is a fan already. So I now have someone to watch the "Fish" with and someday soon, tell him what it was like to have enjoyed them in their heyday. Hopefully he will enjoy the spoils of a Dolphins title one of these days. C'mon God, give us a break, huh?