So we begin closing in on the end of yet another decade. For some of us far too many to want to count. For the Dolphins, probably one they likely want to forget. Here is the first part in our look back at the Miami Dolphins‘ “Decade of Disaster: Part I“. You can read part II here. In part I we take a look back year by year at the big headlines from those seasons gone by.
2000 - Jimmy Johnson kicked the decade off with a retirement announcement. It wasn’t just a retirement, it was an all out quit. Jimmy left the sidelines for the FOX pre-game show and left the Dolphins with his personal replacement choice. Dave Wannstedt who immediately gave Dan Marino enough reason to hang up his HOF cleats in smiling disgust. It would be a sign of things to come and in the end, a defining moment in Dolphins history and the premier reasons behind the Dolphins facing a “Decade of Disaster”.
2001 - The Wannstedt led Dolphins finished the season 11-5 under the QB’ing of Jay Fiedler and Ray Lucas but they would get trounced in the WC round by the Ravens 20-3. Perhaps the biggest news out of 2001 was the fact that Dave Wannstedt overrode his college scouts the night before the draft and chose CB Jamar Fletcher over Drew Brees. Wannstedt cited that he believed there was no difference between Jay Fiedler and Drew Brees. The Dolphins would draft only one QB under Dave Wannstedt. A 6th rounder who didn’t make the roster.
2002 – The Dolphins had a 5-2 record and a 2 game lead in the AFC East when the duties of QB were handed over to Ray Lucas after Jay Fiedler was injured. Lucas came off the bye week to lose two consecutive games and eventually the division lead. The Dolphins would finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs. Much like the year before, Dave Wannstedt’s draft prowess proved to be “genius” again when he traded 2 first round picks to the New Orleans Saints for RB Ricky Williams.
2003 - The Phins would turn to Brian Griese mid-way through the season for help as it spiraled downward. Griese would prove to be ineffective and Jay Fiedler would return to get the Dolphins a 10-6 record by years end. The Phins would miss the playoffs and Dave Wannstedt would proclaim the season was a success despite the lack of playoff appearence.
2004 - The season would ruin the Miami Dolphins and the recent history of horrible draft picks would finally catch up to the team.The Phins would open the season with 1 win in 9 attempts and the bye week would force Dave Wannstedt to “resign” leaving Jim Bates as interim HC. The Dolphins would finish with 4 wins on the season. The season kicked off with the “retirement” of Ricky Williams on the eve of training camp and later it would be revealed that Williams had failed a drug test for pot.
2005 – Enter Nick Saban. The Dolphins wanted profile and they got profile. Saban immediately began dismantling the Dolphins overpayed veteran roster and sliced salaries in an effort to get the team out of cap trouble. His straight forward attitude would send waves throughout the Dolphins training center. Saban would use the 2nd overall pick in the draft on RB Ronnie Brown. The team would finish the season strong at 9-7 winning their final 6 games.
2006 - Nick Saban would attempt to continue his first seasons success but by mid-season the team would begin to fall flat. Passing on a free agent named Drew Brees, Saban would opt to trade for injured Daunte’ Culpepper. Culpepper would be unable to finish the season while Drew Brees excelled in his new digs in New Orleans. The season would prove to be nothing as the team finished with 6 wins. Rumors and speculation began to surface mid-way through the season that Saban would leave Miami at the conclusion of the year. Ricky Williams tests positive again for Pot and is suspended for the year.
2007 – Nick Saban quits the Dolphins after stating two days earlier “I am not taking the Alabama job”. He left for Alabama. The Dolphins began a search for their 7th head coach in it’s history and their 5th of the decade. Cam Cameron would be introduced shortly before the start of free agency with Randy Mueller becoming GM. Cameron would cut ties with QB Daunte Culpepper and make a trade for oft-concussed Trent Green. Green would last 4 games before suffering a season ending concussion. The Dolphins would finish the season with a 1 win record. Bill Parcells is hired as the Dolphins all things football guru. Some guy named Brian Miller start writing for a website covering the Miami Dolphins…;)
2008 - Enter the Parcells era. Bill Parcells first act after the season is over is firing GM Randy Mueller. He sends an understudy in to do the job. He fires Cam Cameron and replaces the departees with members of his Dallas Cowboy staffs. Jeff Ireland becomes the GM followed by HC Tony Sparano. The Dolphins brass will release stallwart middle LB Zach Thomas and trade Jason Taylor as they began to rebuild the franchise. The Dolphins would have the first overall pick in the NFL draft. The Phins would start the season 0-3 before battling back to a miracle 11-5 record winning the AFC East for the first time since 2001. They would lose in the first round of the playoffs to Baltimore. The Phins would draft a top tier OT with the number one overall pick and a possible franchise QB in Chad Henne. During pre-season, the Dolphins would sign free agent QB Chad Pennington to be the teams starter.
2009 – The Dolphins are in year two of the Parcells plan and have turned over 75% of the roster in two seasons. The Dolphins would lose starting QB Chad Pennington and the Chad Henne era would begin. The Phins are currently in the playoff chase.