The Miami Dolphins used to run the city of Miami. They were the beginning and the end of sports talk in the city. That changed of course and the Miami Heat became the talk of the town.
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Today, 13 year Miami Heat veteran Dwayne Wade has opted to leave Miami and return home to Chicago to play for the Bulls. Over the last 13 seasons in the league, Wade carved out a Marinoesque following. And now, he is gone.
The departure of Wade opens a door for the other Miami sports teams and more specifically the players on those teams to take a step forward and earn the respect and love of the Miami city fan base. For the Dolphins, it’s a prime opportunity for a player to step up.
The logical player who could benefit from Wade’s departure is Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill is the quarterback. The team leader. Tannehill also has not done much with the opportunities he has had since arriving in Miami in 2012. Tannehill lacks the emotion that Wade displayed or for that matter Marino displayed. It’s that type of raw desire and attitude towards win at all costs that endears players to fans.
And Tannehill has none of it.
With Adam Gase now the new head coach perhaps he can wake that part of Tannehill’s inner psyche. If it is there at all. First however, Tannehill has to win and that is something that the Dolphins haven’t done since Marino left the field.
If a Dolphin is going to step into the “son of the city” role, they need to start winning.
While it’s unlikely that Tannehill makes that leap in 2016 one player could. Jarvis Landry is becoming more and more the player fans talk about. He has the leadership qualities that elevate players. He had the drive and desire to win. Can he however take a step towards “city-elite”?
No other players on the Dolphins today have a shot at becoming the sports face of a city and both Landry and Tannehill are too young to be considered royalty just yet. 13 years for Wade, 17 years for Marino.
Had Wade opted to stay in Miami he may have continued to build upon his legacy and his status in South Florida. Time will tell if his name continues to embody the city after he leaves the league. Some players can move on to other cities and still be revered by the city they called home for most of their career. Others are not afforded the same.
Ryan Tannehill has more to worry about than becoming the city of Miami’s golden child. He needs to win over his teammates first. He needs to become a leader and he needs to win. That’s asking a lot from a player who is still apparently learning how to play the game instead of just how to throw a football.
In other words, it’s not likely going to be a Dolphins player, any time soon at least, that fills the void that Wade’s departure has created. But it does create an opportunity to win back the city.