It’s hard to believe that when the 2016 season started the Miami Dolphins were 1-4 and several missed field goals from being 0-5. Something clicked with the Dolphins after they were blown out by the Titans.
The Dolphins control their own fate in the AFC. Win out and they are in. Win one of their final two and they still have a pretty good shot if things shake down as expected. Yet when the national media start talking post-season, the Dolphins are not the darling surprise that they are to their fan base.
Why should they be?
The last few times the Dolphins had an opportunity to control their destiny they lost. They lost late in the season and they lost to the Ravens, Jets, and Bills in previous years when they could have potentially advanced.
Even local beat writer Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel still downplays the talent on the team while treading lightly on the topic of a post-season birth.
Not because they beat the Jets and the Broncos lost. It’s because the Broncos lost. It sounds like he is saying the Dolphins were handed it and didn’t earn it. Regardless of whether that is what he is saying, that is how most of the national media portray it.
While the Dolphins are not media darlings and are not gaining national attention, they are more than likely fine with it. Miami has done something very few teams have done in the NFL. Recovered from a very poor start to almost run the table.
The Dolphins have lost exactly one game in their last nine. They rode a six game winning streak into Baltimore and after the loss rebounded to win two more. Their biggest game is still up on the schedule but another win moves them closer to something no one believed they could accomplish. Or expected.
The coaching staff will point to the players and say they are the reasons the Dolphins are in this position. The players will point to the coaches and say that it is them. While it’s clear everyone involved is, it’s still a miracle that no one expected.
Consider that the Dolphins lost their defensive leader early in the season when Reshad Jones was injured. They lost Mike Pouncey for all but four games this year. They lost Ryan Tannehill two weeks ago.
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The Dolphins started the season with Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas rotating at guard while Laremy Tunsil missed time and Branden Albert missed time. The Dolphins have lost once they were released. They started the season with Xavien Howard, benched Byron Maxwell for poor play and started Tony Lippett, lost Howard for most of the season and then watched Maxwell rebound. All the while Tony Lippett quietly did his job. No Jelani Jenkins? No problem.
Mario Williams has been horrible and yet the Dolphins chug along. This is far more than a team believing in themselves it’s about believing in each other, the coaches, the systems, and most of all not quitting.
The Dolphins very well could make the post-season and the national media won’t talk about what they have overcome to get there and that will be o.k. But you never know what the Dolphins might do if they do make the post-season. Afterall, no one expected them to get this far.