There are three things in life which I take seriously. My faith in God, the love of my family and friends, and Miami Dolphins football. Tonight, I thank God for those special people I love, and blaspheme for the professional athletes I sometimes love to hate.
Tonight was the opening game of the 2006 NFL season. My beloved Fins were taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. With the additions of Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington, two significant upgrades at the quarterback position, expectations coming into this season are high. There was a lot of talk about how Culpepper was the best arm to slide through a Dolphins jersey since Dan Marino. Sports Illustrated even has the Dolphins playing a home game in SuperBowl XLI.
So you can understand the smiles on my face as the Dolphins were nursing a three point lead with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Could this be happening? Could the Dolphins really be managing and manufacturing a win against the defending SuperBowl champions? And just as I settled into a cautiously optimistic comfort zone, Daunte unleashed what can only be described as an inferno of a performance.
I preface my next statement by pointing out there is no bigger Marino fan than me. That being said, Culpepper did show shades of Dapper Dan but for all the wrong reasons. Two consecutive interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown. A primetime game against a tough conference opponent and Culpepper throws a touchdown pass to the opposing player. I remember many Monday Night games where Dan Marino left me screaming obscenities to my TV, and I love my TV.
Yes I know it’s only one game. Yes I know it’s early in the season. Yes I know Miami was not expected to win this game, even with Big Ben Rothlisberger sidelined for the Steelers. Nevertheless, it’s still agonizing. The loss still leaves me reeling and too pissed off to try and get some sleep. The performance has me anticipating all the deservedly negative comments in the Miami Herald tomorrow morning. The game has me anxiously waiting for the Dolphins’ home opener versus the hated Bills to see if the Fins will bounce back from this crappy 4th quarter showing.
Yet whatever this season has in store for us fans, be it a pathetic 6-10 showing or a home win on February 4th, I will live and die with every week. From now until the last game the Dolphins play, I will wake up every morning thanking God. I will love my kids, my friends and my Leelee – although she may not love me so much on Sundays – and I will love my Dolphins. It’s a trifecta of passions and I wouldn’t have it any other way.