The Miami Dolphins used to be a team that reveled in high-drama. The battles of the Dan Marino era with the New York Jets were filled with high-stakes drama as it was against the Jim Kelly led Buffalo Bills. This year the word “drama” fits the team as a defining slogan. It’s one that has embodied the team since the calendar year of the NFL turned from 2012 to 2013.
Free agency started with a bang and the drama flowed as Miami threw money around like Adam Jones in a Vegas strip club. Mike Wallace, Danelle Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler. It didn’t stop there as the team added more one year deals on top of their high flying additions. Free agency was the starting point and it continued with the draft when Jeff Ireland jumped to three overall to take pass rushing DE Dion Jordan with his first pick.
Along the line minor side stories played out in front of the media and fans as the Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace connection was questioned and of course behind the scenes a troublesome cauldron of controversy brewed. The season opened with more high drama as the Dolphins opened 3-0 and fan support was at the highest it’s been since Chad Pennington led the Dolphins to the playoffs. Yet for each victory came a fourth quarter scripted drama movie. The Dolphins needed to hang on or come back.
The team announced that Jeff Ireland was extended and some fans clapped and others booed. Then the team tanked four in a row. Three of those games nail biters to the end but four losses nonetheless. In between that cauldron, now flowing over the edges, became mainstream media. It was beyond water cooler talk and found its way into middle non-football America. It was discussed in human resource offices around the country and the drama played out on every major network regardless of sports affiliation.
Faced with the off-field distractions the Dolphins knocked off the hottest team in football on Halloween night. Fittingly in overtime. They then lost to the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fittingly late in the fourth quarter. They come back to beat a surging Chargers team by holding off a final drive touchdown attempt as time expires and then face the best defense in the NFL and lose with less than a minute remaining. A game they led almost start to finish.
There are seven teams currently tied with Miami for the final playoff spot. Miami is the last of those teams based on conference tie-breakers. They dropped from holding the sixth seed to scratching for the 11th position. With the way the season is going now can you honestly believe that Miami won’t somehow find a way to claw back into real contention for that last spot? Will this team pull it together and take out the Jets and then the Steelers to see themselves take control of their own destiny once again? Will they then lose to the Patriots in Foxboro to put their post-season chances in doubt? Will the season finale come down to loser goes home?
If the previous four months is any indication that is exactly what will happen. The Miami Dolphins through all the adversity have managed to stand together sans one player who simply walked away. On Sunday they played like a team possessed for three quarters before allowing the Hollywood screen writers to finish their script in the fourth.
Drama. High and low it has defined the season for the Miami Dolphins and somehow I’m not sure we have seen the last of it.