The Miami Dolphins will wrap up their 2023 regular season at home against the Buffalo Bills. The AFC East title is on the line. Dolphins fans, many of them, have bad memories.
The Dolphins have a big rivalry with the New York Jets. It dates back to Don Shula's Super Bowl loss against the Joe Namath led Jets in the Super Bowl. Through the decades since the Jets and Dolphins have played some memorable games.
Each year, there is a big "Takeover" in New York. Not in Buffalo, in New York City (New Jersey for the literal crowd). It's a big deal. Buffalo, however, hits differently.
The Patriots and Dolphins never really had a huge rivalry. They have played big games and Dolphins fans don't like the Patriots and vice versa but the rivalry itself was more interesting with Tom Brady at QB. Again, the Bills hit differently.
For a decade the Dolphins owned the Bills. Buffalo didn't beat Miami from October 18th, 1970 until September 7th, 1980. That's 20 straight games of losing for the Bills.
This brings us to now. There are a bunch of fans who know the Dolphins will go out and whip the Bills, win the division, and move into the playoffs with a victory. For many other fans, us older fans, we remember what the Bills have done to the Dolphins. And it was absolutely heartbreaking.
The Dolphins went to one Super Bowl with Dan Marino and that is because of the Buffalo Bills. Miami lost to the Bills three times in the playoffs during Marino's heyday. 1991, 1993, 1995. These were some of the best seasons for the Dolphins. Ended by the Bills.
Today, most fans realize that Josh Allen has owned the Dolphins since he came into the league. Since 2018, Allen has played 11 games against the Dolphins. He has won 9 of them. He has posted a QB rating of over 100, 8 times including a 158.3 rating earlier this year.
History, whether we like it or not, repeats itself. The Dolphins, not the Bills, are playing with their backs against the wall. They are the caged animals because they were the one written off. They clawed back into the division race and they could be playing with their postseason on the line Sunday night.
Fans can say what they want but the narrative is against the Dolphins. It is Miami's job to change it. The media do not believe the Dolphins can win on Sunday. Don't believe me? The bettors don't believe it either. Miami opened the week a three-game underdog, in their own stadium, with an 11-win record. That says a lot about what people think about the Dolphins outside of Miami.
What matters is what Miami thinks. About themselves. It matters what they believe they can do and what they can't do. On Sunday night, the Dolphins have to prove it.
This will be an old-school fight between two rivals who have been fighting each other for nearly six decades. I suppose in a way, this weekends game is fitting and the way it should be. It brings back memories, mostly bad, of playoff type games against the Bills from the mid-80s to the mid-90s. Instead of Marino vs. Kelly, it is now Tagovailoa vs. Allen.