My journey into one of the greatest moments in Miami Dolphins history
By Sean Moon
My journey into one of the greatest moments in Miami Dolphins history was a simple one of the greatest Christmas gifts anyone could have ever given me, let me share my experience with you.
When I sat down in the preseason to pick which games I wanted to travel to Miami to watch, the New England Patriots game on home turf in mid December stood out to me as a game that would most likely not disappoint. I mean for some reason, only the football gods know, we usually win that game and who, besides a New England Patriots fan, wouldn’t want to watch Tom Brady pout on the sideline in a loss.
What I didn’t know was what I was about to witness was going to go down in the Miami record books, make the wall of photo fame in the Miami Dolphins facility and be the talk of the NFL alumni, fans, coaches and the media for a long time.
As I am sure all of you have watched the play a thousand times, watched it from multiple angles from throughout the stadium on many recorded phones and cameras. Talked about it with friends and family and frankly, anyone who was willing to stand in front of you and listen. So I thought I would share my take with you and how it went down, but you will have to excuse my tardiness as I was traveling and did not want to take away from my celebration in the moment.
Ok, so let me set the stage. Its 8:30 am Sunday, as I pull up to the stadium in my rented car with my wife, I see some friends parked at the gate in front of the orange lot, we’ve just flown in from North Carolina and we have a small amount of food and just about enough spirits to get the fanmanship up to par. I enjoy talking some trash with the opposing fans and new friends while doing some tailgating, and to my surprise I’m hanging out with some great people from up north who were Patriot fans, I know, I was fraternizing with the enemy, but it seems every time I show up and tailgate in South Florida I make some great new friends and it always just backs up the saying, “sports bring all walks of life together”, and that’s a fact.
The conversations are all the same, about a 1% chance the Dolphins win, all based off the track record in Miami Gardens leads to the 1%, but you can sense everyone’s (including the Dolphin fans) on the same page, the Patriots will win, but how bad will it be?
As me and wife walk up to the Hard Rock Stadium, we are always amazed with how beautiful the place is, it seems to change for the better ever so slightly every time we go there, so a lot of props to the Miami Dolphins Organization especially to Tom Garfinkel and the stellar job he has done with the Hard Rock Stadium.
We find our seats, which my wife had purchased for me as a Christmas gift, they were excellent seats, behind the bench 7 rows up from the field with a perfect view of the beautifully retro painted field with the best logo in franchise history right in the middle. We watch the players warming up and I point out to her how well the New England Patriot fans were representing, it was a very good showing from them and they were very loud.
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So the after feeling the Huge flames from player tunnel introductions, we are ready to go. The New England Patriots open up with a 12 play drive and in typical Tom Brady fashion he is carving up the defense with accurate throws to all his offensive weapons, the Dolphins pass rush is again nonexistent and Tom Brady has all day to throw on every play. With eight minutes to go in the first its 7-0, oh correction its 6-0 nothing because the hex that is south Florida has already shown its head to the New England Patriots, causing them to miss their extra point.
You can feel the enthusiasm level drop as every fan in the stadium is like, “Oh man here we go again”. But then, we see what we could come to expect for the rest of the afternoon, Ryan freaking Tannehill comes out throwing and running, Frank “the tank” Gore rips off a huge run and then Kenny Stills catches a touchdown. The fans go berserk, and ladies and gentlemen we have us a game.
Back and forth it goes, both defenses have gotten involved, both special teams are ballin, then Brandon Bolden rips off a 54 yard run, everyone is doing their thing, the place is electric, highs and lows and I’m just absorbing it all in. Tom Brady steps up with a dart to Cordarrelle Patterson for 37 yard strike that burns the defense for a go ahead touchdown early in the second, again I get that queasy feeling like the Patriots are about to start their offensive onslaught and bury the Miami Dolphins. But, then Ryan freaking Tannehill stands in the pocket on the ensuing drive and throws a dime to Kenny Stills deep, the Ryan and Kenny show is in full effect, and in that moment right there, everyone in that stadium could feel the magic and realized that our boys came to ball and the Miami Dolphins were gonna give the New England Patriots everything they had.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter, after a back and forth battle throughout the third and fourth quarter, Kiko Alonso makes a huge 3rd down and goal tackle to force the New England Patriots to kick their last scoring play of the game and essentially end the game 33-28, their fans were going nuts and the Miami Dolphins fans were actually starting to leave, they were leaving, what a mistake that proved to be.
As I stood there and let my whole row get by I could not understand why you would leave before the fat lady had sung. It’s never over until it’s over, right? right? How true it turned out to be.
So on to the Shock at the Rock or The Miami Miracle or what ever you want to call it. Seven seconds Tannehill to Stills, Stills pitches to Parker, Parker pitches to Drake, Drake plants his foot and starts to run, I’m one my feet watching, I’m starting to scream “oh my god, oh my god”, over and over, there are two New England Patriots fans behind me screaming, “get him, get him”, two Miami Dolphin fans in front of me jumping up and down, my wife is beside me screaming, “run, run, run”, while jumping up and down, I think Rob Gronkowski is going to get to him, he misses Drake and Kenyan Drake scores with a zero on the clock. The Hard Rock stadium goes deafening loud, the place is shaking, everyone’s high-fiving, tears are in people eyes, emotions are maxed, simple incredible, simple incredible.
Now, I’ve seen the fake spike game, I’ve seen the wildcat game, I’ve even saw the 64 yard Greg Camarillo catch to prevent a winless season, but the electricity and pure emotional shock and awe of that game moment was simple to hard to put into words, the fans on both sides were simple in awe. What a moment in time and I’m truly grateful that I was there in person to witness and share that moment with family and friends (thank you Anita for the Christmas present) and I seriously doubt that will ever be recreated. I know I’m not suppose to really use this saying while I try to keep my writing as professional as I can, but from one fan to another, “Oh My God, Fins Up”!