Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Dion Sims (80) celebrates with teammates after his touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Hey all, the following article is a little more personal than usual so sorry for that but I’m sure you can relate. As always feel free to shoot any comments or questions to me on twitter @thecuffester. Hope you enjoy the read.

All Dolphins fans have experienced dark days over the course of the past decade. Draft picks squandered, stupid head coach hires, dumbfounding trades; we’ve been through it all. My darkest days as a Dolphins fan came under somewhat unusual circumstances. In my junior year of college I spent a semester abroad on the West Coast of Australia. It was an incredible and unique experience, which I will never forget. However, watching NFL games in the land down under was a serious commitment thanks to the 13-hour time difference. Nevertheless, like any good fan, I had decided that I would endeavor to watch every game no matter the cost to my health (or more likely grades).

So on the morning of Tuesday September 13th, 2011 I woke up at 6:30 am to watch the ‘Phins battle the Pats on Monday Night Football. I was excited. The offseason had been an interesting one but I couldn’t wait to see what Reggie Bush could do and for some reason I still had high hopes for Chad Henne. 4 hours later I was sitting in class miserable and tired after watching Tom Brady throw for 517 yards. But all hope was not lost, there was always next week or so I thought…

Over the next several weeks I woke up or neglected sleeping all together to watch the Dolphins play at varying hours between 1 am and 4 am. Naturally, they proceeded to lose their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th games in a row. It was BS! The experience of watching that Miami team lose so much and in such a consistent manner bled into how I felt about the Dolphins over the course of the next two years. The feeling of disappointment stemming from missed field goals; late game interceptions and costly goal line fumbles became so familiar that I began to anticipate and even expect the worst results.

I bring up this story because this is the exact feeling I experienced as I watched Ryan Tannehill’s pass sail over Charles Clay’s outstretched hands and right into the Falcons possession this past Sunday.
I immediately thought “oh well, that’s the Dolphins. We always do this. Good effort guys but we’re just not that good.” Then something happened. Something I haven’t seen from the team in an important game in a long time.
The defense stood strong and shut down a Falcons offense that had been consistently battering us most of the day. We somehow had the ball back. “Ok, don’t get your hopes up. We’re probably gonna drive to the 50 and then toss a deep interception like always” I thought. But no, Tannehill put together a masterful drive culminating in a beautiful touch pass to Dion Sims in the end zone. I was stunned, dumbfounded. The team from which I had come to expect so little had won a last minute fourth quarter comeback against a team who played in the NFC Championship game last year.

It took this kind of display but I can now truthfully say that I believe this team has what it takes. This game represented a paradigm shift for the Dolphins; it should tell the coaches and players that they can beat anyone. It should put the rest of the NFL on notice that Miami is a contender. However, I believe the real take away from this game should be for the fans: The Dolphins are for real. We should expect more from this team and not be satisfied with mediocrity but further we should be support them in the manner a 3 – 0 team deserves, Sold out games and boisterous home support. This is a GameChanger.