The Miami Dolphins are not playing in the Super Bowl and are getting ready to watch and see if Tom Brady will take the Patriots back to the biggest game of the year.
While the Dolphins fans wait, they are most certainly shaking their head.
Flashback to the 2008 NFL draft when the Dolphins, in dire need of a starting quarterback opted to take offensive tackle Jake Long with the number one overall pick. The anticipated pick they should have made so many years ago is now a Super Bowl quarterback.
Today Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, taken after Long in that draft, has beaten the Green Bay Packers for his first trip to the Super Bowl. Ryan wasn’t even selected number two overall, he was taken in the third spot. Yet Miami who was desperate for a quarterback opted for Long and Chad Henne in round two.
Nothing is to say that Ryan would take Miami to the promised land. The franchises which started so similarly that season have taken similar routes with different results. Sadly the common thread between the teams is the fact that Ryan is on his way to the Super Bowl and Miami is still criticized for passing on him.
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In 2008 both teams entered the season with new head coaches. Miami with Tony Sparano and the Falcons with Mike Smith. Things were almost a lot different. At the end of the 2007 season the Falcons and not the Dolphins were in deep negotiations with Bill Parcells and it appeared that Parcells would be the “czar” of the Falcons.
It was reported that then owner Wayne Huizenga swooped in at the last-minute and guaranteed Parcells everything. Including his salary. Parcells spurned the Falcons and hired Sparano and Jeff Ireland. The Falcons were very close to having them himself.
Mike Smith would go on to win the Coach of the Year award in 2008 despite the Dolphins winning the division. Smith would also last one more season than Sparano before getting fired. Since then the Dolphins have fired Sparano and Joe Philbin and now have Adam Gase while the Falcons have fired Smith and hired Dan Quinn who is now a Super Bowl coach.
In the time that Ryan was drafted, the Dolphins have gone through Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Matt Moore, and Ryan Tannehill. They also drafted Pat White in round two.
Miami and Matt Ryan are as connected to the “what might have been” as much as the Drew Brees two-time passover.
Congratulations to Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Hopefully Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill in time will make fans stop wondering what might have been.