If there is one thing that has the fans pitting themselves against each other and the off-season rhetoric firing like a sub-machine gun, it’s the acts or non-acts of the Bill Parcells regime. What I want to know is this. Who says this regime needs to honor it’s past?
So Jason Taylor is miffed at the Dolphins because two years ago they traded him to the Redskins. So Zach Thomasis miffed because he didn’t get to stand at a podium, thank his fans, and walk out of the Dolphins complex with his swan song farewell speech. So the Dolphins wanted to hand out his number to a rookie. This regime has done more for the history of the Miami Dolphins than anyone since Don Shula strolled the hallowed corridors.
Memories are relatively short when it comes to things like this. It’s nature. We all seem to forget that Zach Thomas didn’t retire, he got cut and went and played for the Cowboys and Chiefs. Jason Taylor played for Washington and now is with the Jets after a one year home stint. But you need to go back further than that first year of the Parcells and company arrival in south Florida.
In fact, you need to go all the way back to Don Shula’s “retirement” and the Jimmy Johnson mistake.
Johnson started a trend that has found a place for over a decade in Miami. He refused to allow reference to the achievements of the Dolphins organization. Don Shula was not welcome at the training facility that he ran for most of his career. The 17-0 team? Forget about it. The rest of the players that had donned the Dolphins attire? Nope. If they weren’t on the roster then, they never existed. Talk about respect.
When Jimmy quit and Dave Wannstedt took over, the first order of business for DW was to show Miami favorite and future Hall of Famer Dan Marino the exit. In favor of Jay Fiedler I might add. Marino stood on a podium and thanked his fans, his teammates, Wayne Huizenga, Don Shula, and a slew of others. Even in his HOF acceptance speech, he mentioned more names than I can count. But never did he utter Jimmy Johnson’s or Dave Wannstedt’s name.
Unlike Taylor and Thomas, Marino turned down the opportunity to continue his career elsewhere I might add.
History, was treated with indignation and over the next few seasons, all traces of Don Shula were wiped from the roster in not so much as a team mention.
And then along came Nick Saban. Saban ruled with an iron fist and the entire complex became a house with eggshell flooring. The past? Nowhere to be seen.
When Saban left, the Dolphins handed over the reigns to a one year blunder in Cam Cameron. For all his talk of family he was in no position to instill the past into the present. When he left however, something changed.
Tony Sparanochanged the past and brought the past to the future. It was Sparano in that first season who began inviting former players to the practices and it was Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland who reached out to the historic figures of the franchise to speak to the players. Motivate them. 72 was back in the house and suddenly there was a sense that the Miami Dolphinswere coming home after a long absence.
Now, we see that two members of the team who are beloved by fans are being treated with the cold shoulder. There is no press conference announcing their departure. Yet, it was Jason Taylor who decided to leave for NY instead of waiting to see what else may come around the corner. It was Zach Thomas who after suffering two consecutive season ending concussions decided to throw his hat into the silver starred helmet of Dallas.
Why exactly should the Dolphins celebrate that? Hold a presser for that? It made and still makes no sense. Now it’s Zach who wants the ceremonial one day contract to retire a Dolphin. Is there a real reason behind this? Is this for the fans or for Thomas? And if the Dolphins don’t hold press conferences for their players, why should they suddenly make an exception?
The Dolphins conceded to public view by re-assigning AJ Edds to jersey number 49 instead of 54. But one of these days, someone else will suit up in 54 and someone else will be in 99.
So while fans and some media spend way too much time complaining about the antics of this regime, it really goes without saying that it was this regime who handed the olive branch bridge to members of a team that time had forgotten and past regimes had summarily cast aside with extreme prejudice.
To that end, I say this regime deserves a lot more credit for making this franchise relevant again. In the present, for the future, and finally, again, the past.