Some people are fans of the Miami Dolphins. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Miami Dolphins. This 2020 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Miami Dolphins.
Unfortunately for you guys, they did.
Your 2019 record: 5-11. The Dolphins did everything they could to lay the groundwork for an 0-16 season. It was admirable, really. They hired a former Pats assistant as head man, which is always a death wish. They traded for Josh Rosen, who can’t play. They opened with seven straight losses. They traded the wrong Fitzpatrick to the Steelers, instantly gifting one of the league’s most annoying franchises the All-Pro safety it has coveted ever since Carnell Lake died. They traded their only good running back to the Cardinals. They traded wideout Kenny Stills to Houston, perhaps because he called out team owner and seemingly kind librarian accused of molesting children Stephen Ross for hosting a fucking Trump fundraiser.
Before being remanded to the hideous Bill O’Brien, Stills also reamed out the NFL for partnering with Jay-Z to make money off of their half-assed attempts at community outreach. He was then openly trolled by his own head coach. The Dolphins traded Laremy Tunsil to Houston as well, because there’s no real point in protecting any QB who’s played for this team since 1999. They threw enough failed screen passes to give John Shoop a HUGE boner. One of their stadium vendors charged a fan $724 for two beers. They lost to an equally moribund Washington team when they couldn’t pull off a two-point conversion at the gun. Anyone good they couldn’t trade away in their early-season fire sale—Xavien Howard, for instance—they listed on Poshmark. This team was so shitty that people were actively angry at how little effort they were putting in.
And then, somehow, it got worse. These assholes started to WIN. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB in place of Rosen, the Dolphins won five of their final nine games. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the absolute GOAT when it comes to entire seasons of garbage time. Anyway, the Fins could have had Joe Burrow. Instead, they tanked their own tank job and now stand ready to serve as homecoming opponent three times a season to the rest of this god awful division.
Ryan Tannehill started in the AFC title game.
Your coach: Brian Flores, who actually might end up being a good head coach. But for now, I still get to say HE IS SHIT.
“Football is a team game. Stars are a me thing. The so-called stars need to be on the team page.”
Coaching is a disease. Anyway, your offensive coordinator is still Chan Gailey. This team ranked 27th in offense leaguewide a year ago. Look here and there and you’ll still find enough tankage for Snowflake to swim around in.
Your quarterback: TUA! LOOK HOW HAPPY THEY ARE TO BE HEADED TO SOUTH BEACH!!!
I’ve seen happier families in CHURCH, for shit’s sake. The Dolphins managed to draft Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 after Tua’s hip got COVID-19 toward the end of last season. I’ve now read every headline about Tua making a miraculous recovery from what could have been a career-ending injury. HE FEELS GREAT! HE HAS FULL RANGE OF MOTION! HE CAN EAT CEREAL WITHOUT ASSISTANCE NOW! I know a cursed player when I see one. He’s fucked. He’s more fucked than anyone driving under 80 in the passing lane on I-95.
Flores, with boilerplate New England evasiveness, has already said he’s unsure if Tua will be ready for the season. So for now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is still the nominal starter. He’ll be pulled for Tua after ten minutes, and then an oncoming defender with rip out Tua’s collarbone and break Tua’s leg with it. Then it’s another season of Fitz winning six games. You won’t remember a goddamn thing about any of them.
Rosen got released. Maybe the Bucs can best make use of his LOL JK HE’S LEGITIMATELY SHITTY.
What’s new that sucks: In addition to Tua, the Dolphins process-trusted their way into two additional first rounders on the O-line (Austin Jackson) and at corner (Noah Igbinoghene). To replace Kenyan Drake, the team signed the two-headed injury designation of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard.
In fact, the Dolphins spent more on free agents this offseason than any other team. And yet, you’d never know it from looking at the roster. They signed Kyle Van Noy away from the Pats, thereby signaling the end of the productive portion of Van Noy’s career. The biggest “prize” of their free agent spree was Ereck Flowers. You might remember Flowers as the worst lineman ever to play for the Giants. But real tape eaters know he’s ALSO the guy who signed with Washington, switched to guard, and allegedly became a productive player. There really are pro-Flowers people out there. I’m not hallucinating. I’ve been on Fentanyl in a hospital. I KNOW hallucinations. This is not one of them.
Shaq Lawson is okay. Don Shula died.
What has always sucked: This is the first Florida team I’m previewing, which means I get to pull my asscheeks apart and spray hot diarrhea over that hellhole of a state. Thanks to Floridians, no other person can ever safely enter Florida again. This is a cursed land, home to multiple fountains of death. This is the state that rich fascists decamp to, to avoid paying taxes, to marry American mail-order brides, and to build houses that look like office parks.
And I know Miami tries to use its Northeast transplants and vibrant Cuban community as twin meat shields to protect itself from the rest of Florida’s reputation. But guess what? I’ve been to Miami. There’s PLENTY of Florida in Miami. No one can drive. Everyone has horrible taste in art. The nightclubs are stocked with posers who think they’re cooler than L.A. people but are not. The mayor is a boilerplate Republican chump. The real estate market in town is the world’s foremost example of systemic climate denialism. Live chickens walk around unleashed. It’s madness. That city is a cruise ship toilet.
So fuck Miami. Fuck their supremely casual fans. Fuck their graduation cap of a stadium. Fuck Ross. Fuck D-Wade and his support for other people’s brands. Miami wants the rest of country to idolize Wade like he just died in a helicopter accident. We can’t be bothered, so fuck him and fuck the Heat, too. Fuck the Marlins. Fuck Derek Jeter. Fuck the hockey team that no one even knows is there. Fuck Florida. And FUCK Ron DeSantis with a used CPAP.
The U will never be relevant in college football again.
What might not suck: Every season the Dolphins steal a game from the Pats when New England comes out inexplicably flat. It’s like getting a nice party favor. “Ooooh, free bubbles!”
HEAR IT FROM DOLPHINS FANS!
Their inability to read a medical report accurately.
Tua Tagovailoa: the second coming of Dante Culpepper. A limping quarterback on a soon-to-be-crippled team.
Limp your ass down to Miami, Tua. Prepare to get sacked more times in one season than you have in your entire life.
Greg Camarillo literally gets mentioned in WYTS every year because what else are Dolphins fans supposed to talk about?
Many Cuban Americans have taken to calling them the Tristesa, which means Sadness in spanish.
One of our most prominent beat writers doesn’t believe slavery was racist, and he spent all of 2017 whining about players kneeling.
Ryan Tannehill last year became the first quarterback drafted by the Miami Dolphins since 1983 to start and win a playoff game. He did so (twice no less) for a different team and while throwing for fewer than 100 yards running a 1950s offense. Tua Tagovailoa, bless his heart, will be starting by week 8 because Bad Ryan Fitzpatrick always rears his head in the face of slightly raised expectations. Tua will reinjure his hip by week 10 because we haven’t had a competent offensive line this millennium. I will be watching this team go around 7-9 until I die.
Name a player not named Tua on the Dolphins roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely be the 1st player mentioned. After all, he has been in the league for over 15 years and he’s played for nearly half the teams, so most fans are familiar with him. Next? Likely Devante Parker and Xavien Howard. And for most non-hardcore fans of the NFL, that is where the list will end.
P.S. The Dolphins also have the 3rd hardest schedule in the NFL this season.
Last year’s successful 5-11 season prompted questions on Miami fanblogs like What were the biggest reasons for Miami’s incredible turnaround, and what can be said about the job Brian Flores did in his debut season? Fan confidence is the highest it’s been in a decade after a season where the team was regarded as one of the worst of ALL TIME.
I can’t believe I root for this fucking team because I saw Ace Ventura as a kid.
I hate that I will always remember the name Greg Camarillo.
Tua’s hip will somehow explode from COVID (I’m not a doctor).
My dad is a Cowboys fan and I had to hear about “Dallas east” for like 5 years because of Bill fucking Parcells. I’ll never forgive the franchise for that.
I won’t list our coaches and quarterbacks because some other self-loathing imbecile will do that for me.
They haven’t won a playoff game since I was ten years old.
If someone from the Pats gets COVID, the Dolphins coaching staff will pump the building full of COVID spores (I’m not a doctor) because they must follow the Patriot Way.
Their stadium is where people go to die and yell at black people with impunity. If you’re Richie Incognito, you got paid for that.
They finally finish a full year devoid of any outlandishly humiliating fuckups, and yet fate still managed to deliver the devilishly twisted Monkey’s Paw version of everything I wished for.
-“I wish that I never have to watch Ryan Tannehill play another game for Miami.” (“Fine. But enjoy watching a redemptive three-week playoff run as he leads a scrappy Titans team past two AFC juggernauts.”)
-“I wish this barren Mason Rudolph-led Steelers team would be desperate enough to give up a first-round pick for a disgruntled Minkah Fitzpatrick.” (Minkah instantly turns into Ed Reed 2.0. The 1-4 Steelers finish 8-8, resulting in a middling 18th overall pick.)
-“I wish they could finally have a competent coach this century.” (Brian Flores turns out to be a revelation—so effective that his shit-ass hollowed-out tanking roster overachieves, finishing 5-4 after an 0-7 start and playing their way out of a top pick and surefire franchise quarterback.)
-“I wish that we could somehow STILL get Tua.” (Cue Dr. Hibbert nervously chuckling while showing Dean Peterson his flimsy replacement hip.)
-“I wish that this long-rumored Brady-Patriots divorce finally happens.” (Brady splits for Tampa, recruits Gronk, ensuring we’re not even the most interesting team out of the perpetually uninteresting teams in the state.)
-“I wish that Adam Gase has better luck on his second go-round as a head coach than he did with us.” (Alright, at least I got the reverse psychology figured out by now.)
I’ve lived my entire life in Nebraska. I could have been a Broncos fan, and enjoyed Elway, Von Miller, and Super Bowl 50. I could have picked the Packers and had Favre and Rodgers. Hell, I could have picked Kansas City and would currently be enjoying the most fun QB/Offense of my lifetime. Instead, eight-year-old me picked the Dolphins during Marino’s twilight years because my favorite color is teal and I loved their mascot. I will spend the rest of my life following this team because of a misguided sense of loyalty, watching them badly lose their once a decade playoff game.
I had a discussion with my father not too long ago about Miami’s best quarterback since Dan Marino’s retirement (we settled on Chad Pennington, but recency bias probably ranked Tannehill lower than he should’ve been), and while remembering Some Guys, I asked him if it hurts that I never watched the Dolphins when they had a good quarterback. He said it doesn’t bother him, but I know it’s a brave face. He owned a complete set of the ’72 Dolphins trading cards as a kid. He’s known team success, of which I have never experienced in my now 20 years of watching the team. I’m sure it’s killing him inside, and the best I can do for him is remain positive about our fancy new golden boy, even though we all know Tua will be tossed onto the field a full year before he’s ready to start, if he’s ever fully healed.
I’ll try to remain neutral for now on Tua’s potential and success, but it’s pretty telling for my petty psyche as a Dolphins fan that I am way, way, waaaaaaaaay more excited about the team’s future because of Tom Brady’s departure rather than anything Miami did this summer.
Tua will play several mediocre seasons for the Dolphins, subjecting the internet to a deluge of stupid “Is This the Year Tua Makes the Leap??” and “What Does Tua Need to Take the Next Step??” articles. Eventually, the Dolphins will decline his 5th year option, ending his time in Miami with something like a 26-30 record as a starter, at which point Bill Belichick will immediately pick him up and resurrect his career.
I am as sure of this scenario playing out as I am in the sun rising and setting each day.
The latest concept from the ownership braintrust is to park 13K people in Hard Rock Stadium in the middle of a pandemic, and the FL governor has formally agreed that This Is A Good Idea.
And while I’m sure there will be a shit-ton of “Stupid Dolphins—can’t even tank properly” blast furnace-like hot takes out there, it should be some indicator of the fundamental resiliency of the team that when the owner did his level best to tank the season by selling off any player who could be reasonably considered at best as mediocre, the team basically flipped him off and won only two games less than they did the previous year.
There’s more to it than that, of course—abysmal drafting, bad luck with injuries, trying to ride David Woodley to Super Bowl greatness. I don’t think the team is necessarily bad. The coaching staff sure appears to be very good at lashing it together with baling wire and Vicodin. But above it all, I point my trembling-with-anger finger at Ross and the other ersatz owners who are treating the team the same way a real estate goon would.
In 2007, I was dating a girl who loved to bake cakes. As a “fun” surprise for my birthday, she made me a Miami Dolphins cake with a big frosting adornment of “0-12”, their record at the time. I laughed it off because I was young and desperate to lose my virginity, but I died a little inside on that birthday.
I did end up losing my virginity to that girl. I was drunk enough to be sloppy, but not drunk enough to be confident, and the whole experience was terrible. It was truly a Dolphins-esque performance.
Before my senior year of high school, my dad and I got our only year of season tickets. It was the most exciting thing I could imagine, getting to go watch Dolphins games every weekend with my dad in our seats before heading off to college. That was 2007. The Dolphins were 0-11, 0-5 at home, coming off the all-time inglorious mud game against Pittsburgh on the day I got royally screwed up in an accident I won’t get into here. That Saturday night, medicated off my ass in a South Florida hospital, I couldn’t move or make much sense when I spoke, but I insisted to everyone around me that someone get my tickets for the next day’s game. Someone HAD to be at that game for me. From the hospital bed the next day, I watched our one W that season. Cleo Lemon to Greg Camarillo on the first play of overtime. No one had wanted my tickets.
Their time has finally come. No Tom Brady in the division. A true, franchise-altering quarterback. Possibly ready to shatter at any moment, but still, a franchise-altering quarterback. The next decade will be the best I’ve had as a Dolphins fan since I was a little kid, and I see no reason why this email should possibly be saved to be posted in mockery at a later date. None at all.
Submissions for the NFL previews are closed. Next up: Los Angeles Chargers.