If you’re a fan of NFL football, you’re well aware of the many little things that just ‘fit’. A typical game lasts three hours and starts at 1:00 on Sundays. This means they start at 1:00 on the East and the West coast. How convenient! A game is four quarters long, as is a complete regular season. And at the end of the first quarter of this season, it’s time to sit back and see how things are going.
The last four Super Bowl winners have started their seasons a combined 12-4. That’s a 75% winning percentage. So as I look at my beloved Dolphins sitting alone in the cellar of the AFC East at 1-3, it doesn’t look good. Neither does the offensive line. Neither does the secondary. Neither does the running game. When the top team-MVP candidates after the first four games are the #3 Wide Receiver and the Punter, things have to get better.
Miami is known for its tropical atmosphere and hot scenery. The art deco is nice to look at, too. Miami’s weather this time of year varies from mild to hot, but for the most part it’s fair. So it’s only appropriate that Miami is home to the a-typical fair-weather fan. In Miami, sell-out is a concept and not a recurring reality. The expectation to win is as unreasonably high as the mercury in September, and the attention span of the average sports fan is as frivolous as the spending on South Beach.
So it doesn’t surprise me to hear the nay-sayers bash Duante Culpepper. It doesn’t astonish me to hear negative comments about Nick Saban. I find it common place to hear about ALL the things that are wrong with this team, and how they should fold up their tents and mail it in for the rest of the season. There’s no hope whatsoever. The only reason to watch is to see who will have a worse season. The Dolphins or the Hurricanes?
The last four Super Bowl champions found success in their first four games. The champion previous to that, however, did not. The champion previous to that lost its starting quarterback in week 2, lost its fourth game of the season 30-10 to my beloved Dolphins, and saw itself staring at a 1-3 record at the end of the first quarter of their season. That team was the 2001 New England Patriots, and we all know how that turned out for them.
No, neither Daunte Culpepper nor Joey Harrington is Tom Brady. But then again, neither was Tom Brady until he was given the chance. No, Nick Saban is not Bill Belichick, but he is a disciple of Belichick. For what it’s worth, Saban is in his 2nd year as a head coach. Belichick was in his second year in 2001. It’s just another of those NFL tidbits that just ‘fit’. So it shouldn’t surprise you the Dolphins play the Patriots this Sunday. The football gods know what they are doing.
Only time will tell if the Fins can salvage this season, and this Sunday needs to be a statement game for the Dolphins. I still believe Daunte will come around and the offense will gel as the season progresses. The O-Line needs a lot of work, but they will come together as a unit. Despite what the locals of my hometown say, all is not lost. However, if come halftime of Sunday’s game a win is already out of reach, at least I can smile knowing the Miami Heat open up the pre-season in a week.