2009 is coming to a close and with it another season of Miami Dolphins football. While last year ended with a Miami Dolphins playoff birth, this year ended with a fight to the finish that will likely end with Miami out of the playoff’s.
With the end of the year, it’s time to look back at some of the top stories that encompassed our last 12 months that not only ended a year but an entire decade. Here are this years top stories.
Tell us in the comments what your top 10 2009 moments are?
10: Dolphins lose to Ravens in playoffs: The Dolphins kicked-off the new year with a loss to the Ravens in the wild card round. The Phins won the division for the first time in almost 7 years.
09: Dolphins lose Ronnie Brown…again..Gain Ricky Williams…again: The Miami Dolphins lost Ronnie Brown for the season effectively shutting down the teams wild cat offense for the entire season. Brown’s injury also paved the way for Ricky Williams to have his first 1,000 yard season in over 5 years. At the age of 32 Ricky Williams more than shouldered the load for the Dolphins at the RB position and kept the team in the playoff hunt until the final weekend.
08: Bob Kuchenberg: The Dolphins outspoken lineman entered 2009 with his final year of eligibility for the HOF. He didn’t get in. The perennial Pro-Bowl guard will only be able to get in now as a senior candidate.
07: Ted Ginn returns two: Ted Ginn set an NFL record for returns when he ran back to 100 yard plus kick-offs back to back against the New York Jets allowing the Dolphins to sweep their division rival.
06: Matt Roth: In a surprise move, the Miami Dolphins release LB Matt Roth after only 3 games removed from activation off the PUP list. Roth is picked up by the Cleveland Browns off waivers and impresses on a team short of talent. The Dolphins gave no reasons for his release.
05: Jason Taylor returns: After being traded to the Washington Redskins a year earlier, Jason Taylor was re-signed as a free agent prior to the start of training camp after last April’s draft. Taylor opts for a 1.3 million dollar 1 year deal with Miami rather than a deal with the rival Patriots.
04: Chad Henne: Following the Chad Pennington injury, Chad Henne takes over the reigns at QB and becomes one of the best QB’s Miami has had since Dan Marino. Henne, while far from perfect, used his time to impress on fans his arm strength and resolve. While still too early to annoint him the future of the franchise, his play in 2009 kept the Dolphins in the playoff chase.
03: Cornering the market: The Dolphins draft Vontae’ Davis in round of the draft and follow his selection with a late 2nd round pick named Sean Smith. Both rookies found themselves starting by week 3 and neither looked back. Having to face a trio of top receivers in Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards, and Terrell Owens, twice, and a slew of others who rank at the top of WR chain, the Rooks held their own for most of the season. Like Chad Henne, the duo are giving Miami fans the feeling that the positions will be secure for the future.
02: Randy Starks: Starks was an afterthought coming into this season after being signed as a free agent two seasons ago. He asked for a chance to compete for a starting DE job in pre-season and was given the chance. He didn’t look back. Taking the job over by seasons start, Starks became one of the leading tacklers on the team and a run-stopping machine. Starks also became a defensive leader and his play will likely earn him team MVP honors.
01: Ross and Wayne: The Dolphins owner for the last 2 decades stepped aside one year removed from adding Stephen M. Ross as a partner. Ross took over the team around January 21st as sole owner leaving Wayne Huizenga holding a 5% stake in the team. Ross immediately began putting his own imprints on the team. He struck deals with Jimmy Buffet and “Landshark Lager” on a stadium deal, and then began selling small percentages of the team to celebrities.
Among those joining the team were Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Serena and Venus Williams, and Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony…the most visual at home games of all the additions.
In addition to adding the celebrites, Ross avoided a PR nightmare when he retained Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells who could have opted out of his contract.