“Why Not?” Those are the words of Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano following yesterdays win over the Broncos. Now, he did make an addendum to that saying the good coaching speak that puts if’s, but’s, and everything else that basically implies “don’t pull the cart before the horses“. Still, playoffs? You know, he’s right…why not?
There is more good news on this Monday than simply a victory that can no longer be relished by the team as they prepare for next week. Well, not really good news, but for Dolphins fans everywhere, it’s something that is worth smiling about.
Take for example the fact that the Fins are 1 game out of first in the division half way through the season. The last time that happened…2003 when they finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2003 for the last time that the Phins had a winning record at this point in the season. In 2005 the Phins went on a 6 game winning streak to finish out the season but at this point that year, they were below .500.
In that same 2005 season, the Dolphins were never really in the playoff picture although they were never “mathematically” eliminated until later in the season. They were an afterthought. In 2003 the Dolphins looked to be a lock but their 10-6 season was plagued by conference losses that broke tie-breakers including 2 losses to the Patriots.
The Dolphins are not in the playoffs this year if you play the “if the playoffs started today…” game. They are in the 7th spot. One behind the Bills and Jets. They have the tie over the Bills but not the Jets…yet.
If you look one spot down you will see the Colts who are also 4-4 on the season after winning late Sunday night against the Patriots. What’s funny with that is the fact that Colts are listed below Miami because the Dolphins have put up more points than the Colts….now who seriously thought that was going to be remotely possible?
All of this comes down to one thing and one thing only. What happens next week. The Dolphins must ask themselves that question each and every Monday morning and each and every Saturday night. It’s a cliche’, “one game at a time”, “one team at a time”, “Don’t look ahead”, and of course the recently revealed…“Don’t eat the cheese”.
The season is a long way from over and the Dolphins are a long way from being a good football team. They are however a long way from the team that they were last year and that in and of itself has not only fans, but the media talking.
It’s funny really. Yesterday morning on one of the pre-game shows, Sterling Sharpe picked the Dolphins to beat Denver. He did it by saying the Phins defense was too much for the Broncos offense and the Dolphins offenst too much for the Bronco D. When was the last time anyone said that? So the next time you hear the word “Playoffs”, you too can ask, “why not?”