The Ugly Truth Only Gets Uglier From Here

Well that was quick.

Less than a week ago, the Miami Dolphins were the feel good movie of the year; scoring king-sized kudos from even the hardest grading critics in the industry. Their offense was bringing disco back while their defense had achieved a James Bond rating for its ability to get its ass kicked for two acts before winning the final fifteen minutes. Add to that, their coach was the natty professor who had a knack for stealing the aces at winning time.

And then it all went dark last Thursday night when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was thrown to the turf by Josh Tupou, the hulking defensive tackle for the Bengals. It was the kind of sum of all fears moment that hushes up 65,000 fans right quick. As Tagovailoa lay crumpled on the ground with his arms seizing up and his fingers pointing to the sky in a frightening gnarl as the result of his brain having been reduced to a pin cushion, shock prevailed.

That shock quickly turned to anger as the sports world focused its crosshairs on the Miami Dolphins organization. Players prayed in between cursing emojis and executives lashed out under cover of anonymity and then Baltimore Ravens boss John Harbaugh broke the seal by claiming that he was “astonished” at the Dolphins handling of their franchise quarterback. He was referring to the fact that Tua had been knocked out of a game briefly against the Buffalo Bills only five days earlier.

They’re not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept their angst ridden diatribes as the kind of gospel that is actually going to change a damn thing. Because it’s not. The Dolphins followed the same blueprint as most NFL teams who send their players into harm’s way when it seems fairly obvious to those of us who don’t wear shoulder pads for a living that maybe they should keep them out. We would love to believe that our favorite teams abide by the Dalai Lama rules of fair play and responsible practices, but that’s not how the league works. Even with all the concussion protocols in place, the league still favors pennies on the dollar solutions to brain injuries; from pop-up tents on the sidelines that administer quickie in game evaluations, to a roaming herd of independent contractors signing off on player wellness with pencils.

For their part, the Dolphins front office only fed the fire by having their coach address the media last Friday. Mike McDaniel was clearly doing his best to stay out of social media jail as he came off in his usual awkward manner; now less charming seeing as how the subject matter was a frightening brain injury that leaves Tua Tagovailoa’s career in question. But here’s the thing. McDaniel never should have been the point man in this sordid mess to begin with. That responsibility has to go to someone who writes the checks in the organization, either literally or figuratively. Preferably, both.

When Mike McDaniel tells us he had every confidence that his guy was good to go on Thursday night, I believe he’s telling the truth. Any plus or minus I give to how much is actually true comes down to a couple of things: What Tua told him and how he looked, and the assurances of medical professionals. On both counts, I truly believe the coach would not have put the kid out there if he had any serious doubts. And if John Harbaugh wants to take time away from his Father Flanagan act, I would tell him the same thing.

As for all the sports talking heads and union poohbahs who are busy top hatting the Dolphins into a corner, here’s an illuminating observation to munch on. Heading into last Thursday night’s game, not a single one of these concerned individuals issued a peep of concern for Tua’s well being. So, I gotta ask. Is it a matter of doth protesting too much because they’re a part of the solution, or because they realize they’re a part of a much larger problem?

I know which one I’m going with.

 

Do You Believe In Miracles?! Well, Not Really . . But Humor Me

Dolphins vs. Ravens: Twitter reactions from Miami's Week 2 win

Sometimes, it’s better not to ask questions.

I asked myself if maybe it was time to put my annual “State of the Dolphins” post on ice, so as to spare myself the disappointment of yet another campaign full of empty promises. But why should I deny my loyal readers the chance to join me for the undertow party? So I said to myself . . . Self? Just write the damn thing. 

It was deep into the third quarter of the Dolphins game in Baltimore on Sunday when I realized just how much I suck as a sports fan. My beloved Fins were getting clobbered 35-14 and the Ravens were killing more grass than an unemployed pothead. Two games in and I was throwing in the towel; the one Rocky should have thrown in Rocky III. Down by three touchdowns, it was time to call in FEMA and start making excuses for next week’s loss . . I mean game (I mean loss) against the Bills. And then the thought ran through my head . . .

Waddle is tearing it up! 

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is so good, it doesn’t seem possible that he’s ours. He wasn’t our first choice, which makes the fact he’s ours that much sweeter. Anyways, that’s not why I was so excited about the game Waddle was having in Baltimore. Nope. I was pumped because he’s on my fantasy league team. I knew it wasn’t right to feel so good about a loss, but hey! It’s the kid’s fault!

That groan you just heard is Vince Lombardi crapping in his dead pants.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: How to fix your NFL quarterback.

Heading to the fourth quarter, Miami found itself trailing by twenty-one points with Tua Tagovailoa at the helm. Now don’t get me wrong, this Tua fellow is an outstanding individual by all accounts. But here’s the thing. I don’t want my quarterback to be an exemplary individual with scruples for miles. I want my quarterback to be an asshole. Which is why I was coo when we tried to bandito Tom Brady. You put that dude in a phone booth at winning time and go pend your patent.

Heading into Year Three of Tua, the Dolphins have been just fine. Sort of the way a Buick or a hand-knit sweater vest or Nilla Wafers are just fine. It doesn’t help when Justin Herbert- the guy we passed on in the draft- is the best QB not named Mahomes or Kelly . . . even with fractured ribs. Miami’s Coulda Closet of QB’s includes everyone from Herbert to Brady to Watson. Even Baker Fucking Mayfield snuck into our rumor pile for a minute, and he’s more Mickey Spillane character than franchise quarterback.

As for the game, it was the fates complying as Miami ran their dime store offense down the field for a less than giddy yup to make it Baltimore 35 Miami 21 with enough time left for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to hang a Fifty Burger on the board. I was okay with my team having thrown a punch, I was more okay with Waddle leading my make believe team to the promised land.

And then . . . Baltimore 35 Miami 28.

A career best four touchdown passes for Tua and now my (real) team was counter punching the hell out of a lost afternoon. And then they had the ball back yet again, and im had decided to amscray from the possible. But no . . . of course not . . because there was plenty of time left for us to fuck it up in some Hitchcockian horror story . . . hold on . . what?

Baltimore 35 Miami 35.

When Justin Tucker hit a bomb to give the Ravens a three point lead, I breathed a sigh of relief because I hadn’t actually lost consciousness after all. But I wasn’t expecting what came next to, yanno . . come next. In fact, if I had to make a top five list of shit that I thought was going to happen in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, it would have gone like this.

1) Giselle purchases the Dolphins and announces that Tom Brady will never get to visit.
2) Lamar Jackson scores on a 101 yard run. Which isn’t even possible.
3) Miami HC Mike McDaniel is arrested for stealing actor Jamie Kennedy’s identity.
4) Jimmy Hoffa’s remains are found in the end zone. By Geraldo.
5) Anything other than . . . .

Miami 42 Baltimore 35 . . with Waddle cradling the go ahead score for my real team and my make believe team.

Both!

From the ashes to the top of the heap in fifteen minutes and somewhere, Warhol was smiling. When it went final, I was left to wonder how they’re going to break my heart before the dealing’s done. Maybe the wake up call is next week when they take on a Bills team that is playing as if they stole Superman’s identity.

And I don’t care, because I will be Sebastian to their Mia(mi) if they’re going to be this damned interesting.

Mike McDaniel's path to Dolphins started with a lost hat

The new football boss Mike McDaniel wasn’t our first choice either. And the Boy Genius circa Yale University and the NFC Champion 49ers would say fuck it if you asked him how much that matters right now. No, seriously. That was the play he called with the Dolphins down seven late in the game. The “Fuck It” play was actually in the playbook, and it called for all offensive personnel to line up on one side so’s Tyreek Hill could win his matchup on the other.

Who knows? Maybe Miami hot-wired a road trip from Miami proper to January. Because none of these dudes was at the top of our wish list and yet, they dollar billed a penny opera ending into the kind of comeback dub that just might have playoff games calling on the back nine.

Jesus, this feels like a heist film penned by Zack Syder: Tua as the afterthought point man and Waddle as the chip on his shoulder weapons expert. McDaniel is the wanna be white rapper whose side hustle as a safecracker allows him the chance to strike it rich. And they’ll have to go through the mafia in Buffalo, the syndicate in Kansas City and maybe even that hot shot gunslinger on the left coast if they want to get to the desert. You can’t tell me Hollywood wouldn’t dig that script.

I’m liking it my damn self.

The Someone Of Lost Causes

Brian Flores defends race discrimination lawsuit against Giants, NFL in CBS Mornings interview: 'This is bigger than football' - nj.com

Just when I think life as a Miami Dolphins fan couldn’t get any shittier, it somehow proves me wrong.

I realize I’m being selfish about this, but isn’t that what sports fans do? Don’t we take the most personal shit and somehow find a way to make it all about us? Never mind that a forty-year old man with decades worth of achievement laid out in front of him is probably going to be remembered for a very different reason now.

Because its a solid bet that Brian Flores has coached his last game in the NFL after he filed a class-action lawsuit against the league in general and three teams- The Dolphins, Broncos and Giants- specifically. Flores is alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices. If history has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t buck the establishment for free. All it’s going to cost a coach who acquitted himself quite well in his three years at the helm, is everything.

As a fan, I was sold on him. Flo was straight forward, no-nonsense and results oriented from the get. He lost his first seven games as head coach, presiding over what looked to be an historically awful team. After which he was somehow able to muster a 5-4 record down the stretch; with a quarterback room that left a lot to be desired and a roster that had been depleted as the result of a rebuild. So from the nadir of that forgettable start, Flores went 24-18. It wasn’t enough to save his job.

Owner Stephen Ross explained the firing as having been the result of Flores not getting along with others. As far as arguments go, this one borrowed from the league’s current preach, which is focused on collaboration. Flo wasn’t down with that, so the owner can follow up the question as to how you fire a guy who was clearly coaching the fuck out of a pretty average roster with, “Yeah but . . .”. And he’ll win that argument thanks to guys like McVay and Shanahan; smart guys who don’t just win the field but win the front office too.

And I don’t buy it.

I don’t buy it because Bruce Arians won it all last year and there ain’t many peeps in his front office who send him bouquets on the regular. So excuse me for not holding it against Brian Flores for not gifting his co-workers with peach pie every morning. Smart, driven people don’t care about emulating Mister Rogers.

If I had a scorecard with which to judge things so far, Coach Flores is ahead on points in the early rounds. He’s the buttoned up guy. He’s the one who coached his team off the mat of a 1-7 start to finish 9-8 this year. And while he didn’t get the best out of his supposed franchise quarterback, maybe there just isn’t a best to to had.

Ross on the other hand, engenders no such goodwill from yours truly. To this point in his tenure as Dolphins owner, he’s provided far more doubts than benefits. In his thirteen years as boss, his teams have gone 96-113 with three winning seasons (2 of which were under Flores’ watch). He’s also gone through six head coaches in that time, so excuse me for not buying his line about how the Flores firing was about his desire to maintain a consistent dynamic through all branches of the organization.

None of this means Flores will win his lawsuit. The sad fact is, his charges regarding racial discrimination will likely go nowhere. Even with the Belichick texts and proof of the sham interview with the Giants. Because Flores isn’t just up against Ross, he’s up against the other thirty one owners too. And he’s up against a league that didn’t really lose even when it was proven that they were criminally negligent as far as concussions were concerned. Oh, and don’t forget the sponsors, who love to spout on about equality and fairness but who love to get paid even more than that.

Listen, I’m not defending Brian Flores out of some need to come off as socially just. I’m on his side because as a human being, I’m watching a man put his livelihood on the line here. And I just don’t believe he would do such a thing unless there was an ugly truth that too many people already know about and too few people will stand up to.

As far as the allegations that Ross offered to pay Flores $100,000 per loss back in 2019, that there might force Roger Goodell to actually put some time in at the office, seeing as how the league has taken to canoodling with sports books under his watch. The shield doesn’t want to come off as a glorified version of professional wrestling, after all. And if there is any kind of evidence to prove Ross went there?

Not even Winston Wolfe would be able to save him.

I’m Such A Baby Cause The Dolphins Make Me Cry

Dolphins fumble away opportunity to make statement, fall to Bills 35-7

They say that breaking up is hard to do.

Check that . . Neil Sedaka sang that song, because it had a catchy tune and nobody really cared to verify the authenticity of his claim. And while I’m not going to call old Neil a liar, he really was. No one called him out at the time because the song went to #1, but it was a lie. Breaking up is easy. Staying broken up? Not so much.

Take the Miami Dolphins. Please. I’ve broken up with this team more times than I care to admit (Twenty-eight), from the Reagan administration to present day. As with any relationship, I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs. Problem is, I can count the ups on one hand. Don’t believe me? N’kay . . .

  • The Dolphins top rated defense reigned supreme in Super Bowl 17, holding to a 17-13 lead over Washington after three quarters. Problem is, they play four quarters in the NFL and Washington took advantage of this fact by scoring 14 unanswered to win it.
  • Wunderkid Dan Marino hit Joe Rose for the go ahead touchdown against Joe Montana’s vaunted San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 19, giving the Dolphins a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. And just when it looked like nothing could stop Miami’s top rated offense, well . . Final Score: 49ers 38- Dolphins 16.

That’s all I got for ups. And do you happen to notice a grotesquely asymmetrical pattern in the two events I listed? In the span of three short years, Miami owned the best defense and then the best offense. Just not at the same time. And when they flipped, they flopped. A solid offense would’ve won them Super Bowl 17 and conversely, a solid defense would’ve at the very least given Joe Montana’s boys a game. But it didn’t happen that way because with the Dolphins, it never does.

When it comes to timing, the Dolphins and their fans are the sporting equivalent of Mia and Sebastian in La La Land. We want to believe in happy endings, but then the season starts. For Dolphins fans who go back even farther than me (All six of them) Miami’s championship bagel currently stands at forty-seven years (I included this season in order to save time).

The team formerly known as the Indians owns the longest drought in North American sports, but whereas their heartbreak reads like Longfellow, ours is more Mapplethorpe. The Lions never win, but at least they don’t pretend to actually . . yanno, want to. The Maple Leafs haven’t won since the Beatles were still together, but they can blame their Montreal neighbors for hoarding all those Cups. What’s worse, we don’t even have a curse to fall back on. Unless you think bad art and fans who leave early to beat the traffic counts.

The current iteration of professional (sic) football in Miami was going to be different, and I believed it completely. Okay, I believed it pretty much. Alright, I wrote a post about it . . so, there’s that. In the post, I imagined Miami making it all the way to the Super Bowl in New Orleans next season with third year quarterback Justin Herbert at the helm.

Problem is, Miami didn’t select Herbert in last year’s draft in spite of his height, his cannon arm and his big numbers. Nope, they went with the shorter, slighter and more injury prone Tua. So while Herbert is going all supernova for the first place Chargers, Tua has underperformed to this point in his young career and is currently on the (shocker!) injured list.

The Dolphins have made picking the wrong guy an art form. They chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees in free agency and then watched as Culpepper crashed and burned before retiring while Brees went on to have a Hall of Fame career which included a Super Bowl win with the New Orleans Saints. They chose Jake Long over Matt Ryan, Ronnie Brown over Aaron Rodgers and most recently, Ryan Fitzpatrick over a guy named Tom Brady.

So at 1-4, I am once again breaking up with the Miami Dolphins. Call me a fair weather fan if you will, but I have better things to do with my time. Like stand in line at the grocery store and watch Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes. And I’ll also be rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs to win it all this year, but not too intimately, since I don’t want to transfer any of that Miami juju to those guys.

I’m getting out while the getting is gravy, since next week the Dolphins play the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. Who happen to be coached by Urban “Magic Lap” Meyer. I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch the Dolphins gift that fuckhead his first NFL win. I mean, getting our asses handed to us by the Bills and Bucs is one thing, but next week would be a bridge too far for yours truly. So I’m out.

Until next year. Of course. Because between now and then they’ll fire a bunch of coaches, hire a bunch of new coaches, draft a couple players with high ceilings and sign a couple of promising free agents. And then they’ll be like Hey baby! And I’ll be like No boo, you can’t keep doing this to me! But they’ll promise me that this time, things really are gonna be different and I’ll believe them. Again.

Love bites.

 

 

 

A Love Scenario For My Favorite Team

The following is a simple thank you to my beloved Miami Dolphins. For being the most relevant 5-11 squad in the history of the league. They somehow out-won the mighty Patriots down the stretch by going 5-4 after that 0-7 beginning; capped by an upset victory in the final week to knock New England off its perch. Last night may have been the end of the Patriots dynasty, and maybe I’m being a tad bit hyperbolic . . but I like to think this wonderful bunch of miscreants played a small part in the final breaths of a dynasty.

Thank you to Monika for suggesting Justin Herbert in the starring role as Miami QB. Not sure if it’ll work out this way, any of it. But who cares? All I know is that I found reason to believe inside this lost cause of a season. And while there is a long road ahead, there is a lot more hope involved than I had bargained for at the get. Sometimes, a season can be that way; it can give you something you never saw coming. Where one minute you’re throwing your arms up in disgust, and the next, you’re uttering that most magical of sporting refrains, and meaning it.

Wait till next year.

New Orleans 2024- Brian Flores sits in his makeshift office inside the New Orleans Superdome and scratches out an idea, whittling it into precise measurements as if a master carpenter. He is a craftsman of sorts, having built the foundation of a championship club from the rubble of obsolescence along with general manager Chris Grier.

It’s as if the moment Flores walked in the door, those couple decades of mediocrity that preceded him hitched a ride to someplace else. He paid scant attention to the collective shrug that accompanied his introduction as Miami’s field boss in February of 2019. And he paid little mind to the vitriol heaped on his club due to the clumsy maneuvering that led to a mass exodus of their most talented players in the name of draft capital. The overpaid suits said it was morally reprehensible that a football organization left its players in harm’s way by fielding a prohibitive skeleton crew.

Their criticism was temporarily vindicated when Flores’ Dolphins team lost his first game 59-10 to the Baltimore Ravens. It reached Chernobyl status when they began the season 0-7. The critics were only too delighted to break out their “Told You So” material, to which Flores responded with three simple words: We’re not tanking.

He was parodied for this, but he never minded that too. All he concerned himself with was drawing up a game plan that would give his fledgling outfit a fighting chance. And just as importantly, changing an organizational culture that was equal parts Caddyshack and Animal House.

Five years to the date when he was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins, he’s sixty minutes away from the Holy Grail of professional football. His opponent- the Arizona Cardinals- present myriad complications for Flores and his defense. But they’ve been up to the challenge all season, and on through January in wins over the Vegas Raiders and then, the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.

There is irony in that Baltimore was the team Flores beat to get his squad to the Super Bowl for the first time since ’85. But he hasn’t got time to dwell on it with MVP Kyler Murray next up on the docket. Later today. About ten hours from now, to be exact, as evidenced by the bustle of doors and chatter that is making its way to his office now. His guys, come to keep their coach company.

“Hey coach,” Justin Herbert says as he sticks his head in the door whilst munching on a power bar.

“What’s up ten?” Flores says, referring to his quarterback’s number.

“We’re here to kick ass and chew bubblegum . . .” Herbert smiles.

“AND WE’RE ALL OUTTA PATIENCE!!!” The guys whoop and holler as Herbert leads them to the field. Flores grins as he moves out of his chair for the first time in several hours and stretches out before moving towards the tunnel of the North end zone. His Dolphins will be the ‘home team’ today- dressed in their dark aqua old school threads out of the time of Shula and Marino. And it’s appropriate, since the feeling is of yesterday once more.

“I can’t believe we’re actually here . .” Justyn Ross, their third year wide receiver out of Clemson says as he looks out over the field.

“Not yet JR . . .not yet,” Flores says.

A Momentary Lapse Of Season

Miami Dolphins

We learned something about ourselves inside that darkest of nights. We learned that the cause was not lost, and that it hadn’t even been missing. And once seen, it could not be unseen. It possessed us with a most magical ability. We believed in tomorrow . . .

What a difference two months makes.

Exactly two months ago in this very spot, I penned a bad romance of a love letter to my favorite team in the world, the Miami Dolphins. There was no need to read between the lines since I was as brutally honest as a Jim Bob Duggar paternity test. The Dolphins were all set to rewrite history . . in crayon, and the only reason I wasn’t doing somersaults is because I am on a strict somersault diet. But I was all chips in on a losing hand because I was under the impression that less would equal more in the long run.

A funny thing happened on the way to NFL ignominy. The Dolphins stopped sucking.

By winning their third game of the season, the Dolphins would basically have to get Tony Soprano to serve as their draft point man in order to score a top three pick right now. Say adios to quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive end Chase Young- the top studs at their respective positions. A couple more wins and not even Tony Soprano will be able to un-fuck the situation.

And guess what? I’m kinda loving the zeitgeist of these formative moments that are busy trashing the temporal sensibilities- like standings and draft positioning. Because what Brian Flores is coaching up in South Beach is a bulldog mentality that doesn’t give a blessed fuck about gutted rosters and tank jobs.

Because maybe all this worrying I was doing about getting a top name in the NFL draft was for naught. Maybe it doesn’t matter one little bit whether we draft first or fifth . . or wherever. Maybe what matters more than that is what’s going on, right now. What Brian Flores is doing with the skeleton crew of a band that started the season 0-7 but has gone 3-2 since. He isn’t winning coach of the year, but he’s damn worthy of getting someone’s vote, out of principle. It would be a fitting apology, after Flores got trashed for presiding over what many sportswriters were calling the biggest sporting abomination of all time. Which is hyperbole at its most hypocritical when you consider all the real world shit the sports world has thrown at us.

This might sound strange, but this team is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. Because that country club mentality which had worked its insidious vines into the heart and soul of a franchise for the better part of two decades is withering just a little bit. It’s by no means dead and gone, but it’s no longer being allowed to retrench itself. Because maybe they’re figuring out that most prized possession of all; more vital than a blue ribbon prize in the NFL meat market. Maybe they’re figuring out a culture that transcends big names and splashy acquisitions.

Ask the Steelers what culture means, because they pretty much wrote the book on it. They lost their star quarterback, running back and wide receiver in one calendar year and yet they’re standing at 7-5 after beating the Browns today. The Steelers have had three head coaches in the past fifty years. In that same span of time, there have been five Popes. Enough said.

And look at those Browns, with all their big name talent- including quarterback Baker Mayfield, who oh by the way . . was the first pick in the draft a couple years ago- who are busy making vacation plans for January after falling to 5-7.  If ever there was a cautionary tale when it comes to falling in love with top picks and big names? They are it.

If I had to choose one word for this season, it would be perspective.

Lamar Jackson beat the stuffing out of us in the opener, but he’s done that to a lot of really good teams since. And it’s worth noting that thirty teams overlooked him in the draft. And okay, putting up a thirty seven burger on this Eagles team isn’t nearly as impressive as it might have seemed back when everyone- including yours truly- was penciling them in as a playoff team. But it still counts.

And so what if they’re not the worst team of all time, destined to take home the top prize for their futile efforts? And so what if they’re light years away from having a legitimate shot at knocking off guys like Mahomes and Jackson? All that really matters is their allergy to the canvas, because they refuse to lay down on it. And it’s not much, not really.

Not yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Audacity Of Nope

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys

If you haven’t watched the Miami Dolphins play football this season, it’s perfectly understandable because well . . . . nobody has. Four games into the 2019 season, they’ve already been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. Their record stands at 0-4, which is bad. They made the plenty good but certainly not great Baltimore Ravens look like Joe Montana’s ring bearing 49ers teams, which is worse. And in their four losses, they’ve been outscored 163-26. Which is history’s way of saying “Are you fucking kidding me?”.

In case you were wondering, and I’m not sure why you would be wondering, but okay . . . the Dolphins point differential through the first four games of the season is the worst in NFL history. If you’re playing along at home, the league was born during the W administration, as in Woodrow. Wilson. Which means that when teams were playing football with cinder-blocks and no helmet whilst their head coaches pointed a gun at ’em for motivation, the worst team was still coming up bigger than these Fins.

So yeah, my boys are a lost cause on the level of a pair of Isotoners gifted to Johnny Cochrane. And you know what? That is plenty fine with me, because as Jimmy Stewart is my witness, lost causes really are the only ones worth fighting for in this world. And don’t take my word for it, here’s Jimmy to provide . . .

Alls I know is, my Dolphins are relevant for the first time since Dick Cheney’s twenty eighth heart attack (That would be 2008). It would be the last time a team from the AFC East not named the New England Patriots won the division. Since then, my team has gone through ten quarterbacks, six head coaches and a handful of uniform changes.

Fast forward to present day and the Dolphins are relevant again. Problem is, it’s in the same way a Trump tweet or Ebola is relevant. Because once the shit gets loosed into our cranium or bloodstream, all manner of zombie apocalypse prevails. And the Dolphins are fifty three dead men walking . . no, marching. Loudly. Right onto the four lane highway those horsemen from the law firm Pestilence, War, Famine and Death are busy crunching their radials on whilst blue-tooth deep in negotiations with God and Lucifer.

Pro football experts are shouting mighty daggers into the Dolphins organization for tanking a season so obviously. Welp, I guess these geniuses didn’t watch the final season of Game of Thrones. Because those fuckers had WAY more talent and money going on than the Dolphins do.

And yes, the results are uglier than Gordon Ramsey in traffic. But it’s not like it ain’t been done before. Once upon a time, teams like the Cubs and Astros gutted their roster and started from the bottom. And it paid off with titles in both instances. In basketball, the 76ers took half a decade off during “The Process” in order to compile high draft picks in the hopes of fielding a winning team and now they’re one of the favorites to win it all. And the Browns transformed losing into the kind of art form that would’ve inspired Andy Warhol to buy them. And while they ain’t won jack yet, their team is interesting as hell with a punchers chance to do some real damage this season.

Optically, the dynamic blows. Because to charge major league money to the fans whilst rolling out a minor league product is certainly not good business practice. Last week’s game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was played to a half empty stadium, which shocked the hell out of me because I was wondering what in the hell was wrong with the half that showed up.

So the Dolphins will take a hit- both in the sports columns and in their bottom line. And it’s the latter that will keep this tanking expedition from going on indefinitely, because billionaires like Stephen Ross ain’t made their money by mistake. I figure a year, maybe two of really putrid football will result in enough draft pick sustenance to build a solid foundation. And yes they have to hit on their picks, as well as be smart with the free agent acquisitions, but to my way of thinking, it’s a chance worth taking.

I’ll take breaking bad over plain old mediocre every day of the week and for sixty minutes every Sunday. Because over the last eight seasons, the Dolphins are 66-66 with exactly nothing to show for it. There is nothing worse than mediocrity, and that includes a possible 0-16 campaign.

I’m done with asshats like Jeff Ireland running things into the ground and then skipping town for greener pastures. I’m sick and tired of clowns like Jay Cutler receiving a ten million dollar retirement package to achieve absolutely nothing. And I absolutely cannot stand the country club atmosphere that has held sway over the organization since Dan Marino stopped throwing footballs in anger.

Several weeks ago, when it became clear that the Dolphins mission was to suck balls, several prominent Dolphins players got on the phone with their agents and told them they wanted out. And that’s when I realized something was very different about the current brain trust. Because instead of sweet talking these guys back with drinks at the Clevelander and a cushy bonus . . they traded them. The message was clear as day.

You’re in or you’re out. No more in the middle.

It’s uncomfortable sure, but that signals growth. Change. Difference. And I could kiss Brian Flores and Chris Grier for having the cojones to undertake a strategy that might end up costing them their jobs. I hope it doesn’t, because they’re good football men who give a damn and I want to see them hoisting some hardware for all the shit they’re gonna be put through.

If things work out, the Dolphins’s fortunes should start looking up right around the time Tom Brady and the Patriots are decommissioned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And so I’m rooting for my lost cause of a football team . . to suck mightily. For now. Because I’m done with the middle. In an all or nothing NFL world, I’m willing to take the latter for now. Because it’s a chance, which is something we haven’t had since Bill Clinton was installing a strippers pole in the Oval Office. And if this tanking strategy doesn’t work, the Dolphins can always dial up Pat Riley, who’ll be cooling his heels in retirement down in the Keys by then. And so what if he doesn’t know a lick about football.

He’d be perfect.