The Miami Dolphins are not a winning team right now. The team won’t admit they are rebuilding despite the fact that everything seems to point in that direction. The team is an underdog at home against a limping Oakland Raiders team who is flying across country on a short week. The stadium will look like a bowl of orange fruit dotted with empty aqua seats despite the fact that the Dolphins are giving away free 1972 Perfect season hats.
Now, so called “fans” are ridiculing owner Stephen Ross for buying the remaining tickets to lift the blackout so the game can be televised locally. Notice I said “so-called” fans.
The Dolphins can’t win for losing and nothing they do these days are met with any degree of real understanding. Brandon Marshall has dropped two TD passes in two weeks and looked lazy and interested on national TV last night. Damn you Jeff Ireland for getting something more than the back of chips he is actually worth. The best game he had since leaving Miami was week one versus the last place team in the NFL last year. Oh, and he was of course being covered by the guy that the Dolphins traded for a 2nd round pick. Vontae Davis.
Damn you Jeff Ireland.
I don’t give passes for stupidity but I do recognize enough failure in Jeff Ireland to let the naysayers and crystal ball illusionists to have their say. After all, it’s not like Ireland has done enough to prove them wrong and he may not. I do however draw a line when it comes to the stupid comments about Ross, especially in regards to buying up his own tickets to allow those who want to see a game, you know, see it.
Tickets are expensive and the economy isn’t exactly exploding with money on trees. Miami isn’t exactly comprised of upper middle class who can afford to attend every single NFL game. There is a large population of fans in Miami who have never seen the Dolphins play live. They can’t afford to and a good portion of them never will. But on Sunday’s, they get to cheer the team on win or lose because the game is broadcast locally.
Sure, the numbers are down but given the current state of the team and the endless stream of doomsday garbage that some in the local media throw out there, who wouldn’t believe that the team is ready to pack up and move to LA? The truth is, you believe what you read. So why not read what is reality instead of what sells papers?
I don’t like losing. Not one bit. I am old enough to remember the Super Bowls with my own eyes. The so called “glory days”. I do not belong to the generation of fans who have never seen Dan Marino throw a football live or the team make the playoffs because they were so much better than their division rivals. So you know what? Like a lot of other fans, I know what that feels like and I know that this really sucks.
I also know that being a fan means supporting the team win or lose. Supporting the team because they are “my team” and not something that hinges on a win/loss record. I live in North Carolina so I can’t make the eight home games each year. If I lived in Miami, you can bet I would. I do however make one trip down there each year and while my ticket may get comped, my hotel and travel expenses for the weekend do not. In other words, in the span of that Wednesday to Monday trip for one game, I spend more than it would cost for season tickets if I lived in Miami.
So as I step up on this pedestal for a moment know that I have as much right to call some of the fans out as any of those fans claim to have the right to complain.
My issue is not with fans griping about the team. Each fan deals with losing in his or her own way just as some fans will read what I write and appreciate the angle I approach the news with as opposed to just dishing the negative spin that others will for the sake of selling papers and web hits. Believe me, negativity and nitpicking the worst of a situation would make me a hell of a lot of money. I’d rather tell you the way it really is, good or bad, and let you decide the rest yourself.
Which brings me to my latest rant, those of you out there criticizing Stephen Ross for buying up the remaining tickets to lift the blackout. He isn’t doing it for your sorry ass!
If you can afford to buy game tickets, pay for parking, buy beer, and choose to sit at home because you think it’s “making a statement” then this is for you. Do us and Stephen Ross a favor and don’t turn the TV on. You are a hypocrite. You are the fan that says “I support my team” but only when they are winning. You may have the right to decline your season ticket renewals, you have the right to call it a message to the owner that you do not agree with the direction of this team, but you also give up your right to complain about the owner buying those tickets you forfeited if you park your rear-end in front of a television on Sunday’s and watch the game that otherwise would be blacked out if he didn’t.
Send your message. The empty orange and aqua seats are empty because you are not at the stadium. Yes, your message is loud and clear and it is your right. But get off the soapbox and stop complaining because there is a blackout of the games or that it’s lifted because Ross bought up the tickets. You do not have that right to judge what he does with the tickets you decline. Understand what I am saying here. If you can afford to go to the game and don’t to make a statement, fine, you have that right, but you don’t have the right to criticize the owner for making the games available to the rest of Miami and if you are complaining about that, find something else to watch on Sundays.
I don’t stand to tell fans what level of “fandom” they represent. You go to a game you don’t go to a game. You complain, you don’t complain. Whatever, you are a fan and to what degree that means to you should only matter to you. I don’t however condone or respect those who feel the need to call out every single negative thing in the world and then turn around and claim “I’ve never wavered in my support of the team” when they finally start winning.
I remember how many of those fans reared their heads up out of the abyss when the 2008 Dolphins made the playoffs then sunk back into the muddy waters to complain a year later. If you want to stay home and watch the games, then you do that. If you want to complain about blackouts/no-blackouts or the empty seats at the stadium and how much a joke this franchise has become on the national stage just remember you decided to stay home.
It’s funny, the Jets, Bills, Patriots, Browns, Lions, Buc’s, and Cardinals have all had decades of losing seasons upon losing seasons and yet you never see their stadiums empty. What does that say about the fans of the Miami Dolphins who can actually afford to go to games? What does it say about those same fans who make fun of the teams owner for spending his own money so that those same fans can have something to complain about while they watch the game at home?
You are the only fan that can determine what kind of fan you really are. You don’t have to support Stephen Ross or Jeff Ireland, but at least support the “TEAM” you claim to be a fan of.