The (pathetic) history of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football

Miami Dolphins Daunte Culpepper Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Dolphins Daunte Culpepper Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports /
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Does it feel odd that the Miami Dolphins are one of the teams playing on Sunday Night Football this coming week? It shouldn’t.

Sunday Night Football is held for the elites. It is typically the game of the week in the NFL, the marquee matchup that is held under the brightest lights that the league has to offer. If it feels foreign to you to see the Miami Dolphins appear on the SNF schedule, it is because it is.

The NFL has technically been playing games on Sunday nights for generations. The original Sunday Night Football broadcast belonged to ESPN, which carried the program from the late 80s up until 2005. During that time, the Monday Night Football broadcast was typically the game of the week, and the must-see prime time NFL event. That all changed when NBC took over.

The rights to SNF coverage changed hands in 2006, and it quickly became the premier telecast that the league had to offer. It was the first sports program to ever be the most-watched program on network television for any given year, and has been the best of the best ever since.

The league and schedule makers have it in their best interests to show the top teams in the premium prime time slot each week, of course with ratings and viewership in mind. The reward has so often been given to the teams that America loves to watch playing: Patriots, 49ers, Chiefs…anyone in the NFC East.

The Jaguars have the least amount of Sunday Night Football appearances since 2006, with a whopping 2. And who might you guess is the team that has appeared the second-fewest times? The Lions? The Panthers? The Texans?

All wrong.