Monday, September 21, 2009

A think piece on the Dolphins

I've always hated the Browns. Growing up in Cleveland, I just intuitively knew that those guys were losers. Even before they were stolen by Baltimore, I was busy looking for a new team. Somehow my search was narrowed down to the Dolphins and the Steelers-- with the Steelers eventually winning out, after I received the Sports Illustrated for Kids issue with Kordell Stewart on the cover (most dangerous player in football, I was told).

But still, even after that moment of great decision, I always held the Dolphins in high regard. Dan Marino ran a very classy show for the vast majority of my life, and I really never had reason to think poorly of the franchise. Heck, I even found myself enjoying Mercury Morris when he ranted about the Pats a few years ago.

But all that has changed.

My respect for the Dolphins died the moment they sold their stadium's naming rights to Jimmy Buffett. Sell it to whoever you want-- but not that guy! Haliburton or Wal-Mart for fucksake, not Jimmy Buffett. I know it sounds like I'm overreacting, but mark my words, this is second only to regular season games being played in Europe.

Alright... for as much as I hate parrot heads, I can't help but enjoy watching Joey Porter blitz Peyton Manning on Monday Night Football. The Dolphins have won me back just a little because of him.

They're also running some very interesting offenses. I've resisted thinking the Wildcat was anything more than a gimmick for a long time now (a year to the day, ESPN tells me), but Miami runs it right, at least. They execute it with purpose, just like it's any other package in the playbook. Most every team in the league has dabbled with the strategy in the past year, but I've yet to see anyone who takes it seriously. It was downright silly when we ran it in the playoffs last year, looking like Bruce Arians had lost a bet to Willie Parker and owed him a direct snap (more likely it was Tomlin who lost the bet, as Arians couldn't spell wildcat if you spotted him the 'wild' and the 'ca').

Anyway, I guess Ronnie Brown has done his job to win me back. Of course, Jon Gruden keeps yelping "WILDCAT!...WILDCAT!" every few seconds, interrupted only by claims that "...IT'S WILD!" So that's a big step in the wrong direction.

There's a baseball diamond on Miami's football field. Jury's out on what that does for the Dolphins.

Returning to the play calling: I'm liking how much Miami mixes up their backfield. They run the draw out of a 3 RB set better than anyone. They're also mixing up QB looks, subbing out Pennington for a lefty off the bench. It's interesting stuff, and very good strategy. The Colts' defense is absolutely exhausted, as Indy is getting destroyed on T.O.P.

Joey Porter just sacked Manning for 8! Wow is that exciting!

I don't know, let's do the math on this.
Pluses for the Dolphins:
+Dan Marino's 17 years of class-act football
+Only perfect regular season without an asterisk
+Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
+beating the Pats with the wildcat last year
+Joey Porter

Minuses against the Dolphins:
-Bill Parcels being an overrated jerk
-this guy

I'd say Miami just squeaks by as acceptable...but-- what's this?? NO! Oh my god they're playing 'Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right' as the celebratory, touchdown music.


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