The NFL has some great rivalries. Dallas vs. Washington. Chicago vs. Green Bay. Denver vs. Kansas City. In the AFC East it’s the Dolphins vs. the rest of the AFC East. See the AFC East rivalries can change but the one constant is the Dolphins. Everyone in the AFC East hates Miami.
To understand fully the ire of the AFCE you have to look at the other rivalries within the division. Not much is made of the Bills vs. the Patriots or the Bills vs. the Jets. Not much is made of the Patriots vs. the Jets. Not until Eric Mangini walked out on Bill Belichick and took his secrets and left the cameras. That wasn’t a rivalry between teams. That was a rivalry between women.
Looking back on the history of the AFCE it’s clear that the Dolphins always draw the ire of the rest of the division. The Patriots long ago would consider their season successful if they could split the season with the Dolphins. The Jets still do and the Bills really seem to care only about beating the Dolphins. Why? Why is that the other teams don’t bench mark their seasons with wins against anyone else? Even when the Dolphins played like the old Jets, Bills, and Patriots, the other 3 teams wanted nothing more than to beat “Them” down.
Need proof? Consider this off-season alone. The Jets go out and try and trade for a big name receiver to match what the Bills did with signing Terrell Owens. Yet no one in the media has talked about the Owens/Moss match-up or how the Jets would defend him. No, instead the media has made reference to the fact that the Dolphins haven’t even tried to match the WR corp in their division and instead are simply going about their business. It’s not the Jets vs. Owens or the Patriots vs. Owens. It’s once again, Miami vs. Owens. Miami vs. Moss. Miami vs. whoever the Jets throw onto the field.
Maybe it’s the Florida sunshine. The hot cheerleaders prancing the sidelines in what amounts to a bikini. Maybe it’s the fact that while the Jets, Bills, and Patriots play on snow covered tundra in the later portion of the season, the Dolphins bask in 80 degree sunshine. Maybe it’s because when the Phins visit the north and play in those chilly games, they board a plane and head back to the warm tropics leaving their northern rivals to shovel their driveways. Is it something more?
Continue reading to page 2 but answer this poll first: Who is your biggest rival in the AFC East?
The Dolphins, and their fans, get to choose who their rival is each season. For awhile it was the Jim Kelly led Bills. The Patriots have had their “snow plowed” turn as well. If you really want to talk about rivalry though, it starts and ends with the NY Jets. See, Dolphins fans don’t generally care for Patriot fans, especially the “new” ones who have crawled out of the woodwork or the entire network of ESPN. Generally the Phins fans don’t give a rats ass about the Buffalo Bills fans and still laugh because they call their cheerleaders the Buffalo Jills. That’s original. The Jets however? Oh, no. There is no mutual respect. No chivalry. Nothing. It’s o.k. to marry a Patriots fan or a Bills fan. It’s like you have added some class to their family. But you don’t marry a Jets fan.
So why the Jets? You have to go way back to the first year of Don Shula. Shula of course had just lost the Super Bowl while in Baltimore to the Joe Namath led NY Jets. It started with that ill-fated Super Bowl attempt by the “Shue”. His coming to the Dolphins began what is now a hated rivalry.
From choke signs and fake spikes, Monday miracles and epic battles, AJ Duhe and mud soaked Miami, so many more the Dolphins don’t bench mark their season on splitting with the Jets. The Dolphins could win the Super Bowl and lose one game to the “gange green” and fans will still complain about that one loss. Doesn’t matter what they do against the other two.
The NFL has some great divisions with some great rivalries. The NFC East is a long established zone for hate where everyone hates everyone. The NFC North centers on the love lost between the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings. Everyone hates everyone else. In the AFC West, is there anything bigger than Oakland vs. San Diego? Kansas City vs. Denver? Denver Vs. Oakland. Kansas City vs. Oakland. You get the idea. But in the AFC East, it’s who is playing Miami. Not the Bills vs. the Patriots or Jets, it’s who is playing Miami. The AFC East is the only division where one team truly stands out as the enemy to all others.
In the AFC East…everyone hates Miami.