Dilemma. It means a choice between undesirable alternatives. Well, Dolfans have a dilemma this week in the hugely anticipated game that could be a Miami Super Bowl preview: Patriots-Saints.
Um, Excuse me Mr. Kotex? But what kind of a dilemma would this hold? I mean, it’s a matchup between the team that is currently two games ahead of the dolphins in the AFC East race, and a team that’s in first place in the NFC South, which means the Saints aren’t even in the same division as the Dolphins; they’re not even in the same CONFERENCE!
Somebody will win, and, no matter who, it's going to be a blow to the current Dolphins' playoff hopes, or to the franchise's hopes of keeping a unique claim on the Perfect Season.
Oh GOD! That’s why this is such a dilemma? Ok, let’s sort this out once and for all.
This is not a dilemma, a quagmire (giggity giggity goo!) or even a tough choice to make. So if the Saints win, coupled of course with a Dolphins victory over Buffalo Sunday afternoon, then the dolphins will be exactly ONE game out of the AFC East crown going into a home game against the Patriots next week. If that all comes to pass and the Dolphins beat the patriots, then not only will there be a tie for first place, but the dolphins will hold the key tiebreaker in this situation, division record, meaning the dolphins only have to win out and they win their second straight AFC East title, while the Patriots would have to win out AND hope the dolphins lose sometime down the stretch. However if the Patriots win on Monday Night against the Saints, even if the dolphins beat them the next week, the Patriots would still be in first place in the AFC East, comfortably in the driver’s seat. (Of course if the phins lose to the Bills on Sunday all of this is a moot point.)
However if the Patriots lose, then that 72 Dolphins team will be closer to finishing the year as still the only undefeated team in NFL history.
Leave it to Greg Cote of the Miami Herald to tell us that we should be emotionally torn over this. (Full article here.) That as Dolphins fans we should root for the Patriots because of the fact that we should take pride in the fact that the 1972 Dolphins are the only NFL team to go undefeated throughout an entire season. It’s a load of horse shit honestly.
Fact is, the 1972 Dolphins do not resonate with me for the simple fact that I was born in NINETEEN EIGHTY FRIGGIN-THREE! That’s right, ELEVEN YEARS after they accomplished this feat, I was brought into the world. Since you really don’t begin to follow sports until you’re about five or six, that would mean there’s a good SIXTEEN YEARS between the time the 72 phins went undefeated and when I started watching football. They really don’t resonate with me, that’s like asking a Bears fan born in 1989 about the how 85 Bears and the Super Bowl shuffle affected their lives as sports fans, or a Yankees fan born in 1992 about what the Reggie Jackson Bronx Zoo teams mean to them, or a Lakers fan born in the late 80’s to early 90’s about Magic, Kareem and the Showtime Lakers.
Fact is the only teams that mean anything to you are the teams you grew up watching. Bears fans born in 89 can tell you plenty about Urlacher and Hester, but couldn’t pick out Gary Fencik or Richard Dent out of a police lineup unless their obsessive sports dorks. Yankees fans born in 92 know about Reggie from his Oscar winning performances in The Benchwarmers and BASEketball and know from history being handed down to them about his three home runs off of three straight pitches in game 6 of the 1977 World Series, but couldn’t tell you about it because they haven’t really seen it, to them their Yankee heroes are Jeter, Rivera, and after last year’s post-season even A-Rod. And Lakers fans born in the late 80’s and early 90’s will always be able to tell you that Kobe is the greatest basketball player in the world today, know of Magic Johnson as the guy who tested HIV Positive in 1991 yet is still alive and healthy enough to become almost a self-parody of himself, and know of Pat Riley as the head coach of the Miami Heat that traded Lamar Odom for Shaq and forced Stan Van Gundy to “spend some time with the family”, but their only experience of really seeing the Showtime Lakers is if they stumble onto some YouTube clips or ESPN Classic.
Well, myself, and many other Dolphins fans under the age of 40, are like the fans that I mentioned. To me, Bob Griese is the ABC College Football analyst and father of Brian, Nick Bunnocoti was once the host of Inside the NFL and is known for raising money and awareness towards curing paralysis after his son was involved in an unfortunate incident where he injured his spine playing football in college. Don Shula was Dan Marino’s coach who could never figure out how to build a running game around him, not the run-first head coach known for ball control. The Orange Bowl is the former UM stadium that got knocked down to make room for the new marlins stadium, not the “Home of The Miami Dolphins”. Larry Csonka is the former host of American Gladiators, I could go on. I’m not trying to deny the accomplishments of these men; I’m just saying that, to me they aren’t really relevant.
Fact is, no one is going to take away what they did in 1972, it’s an accomplishment that has only happened once in the NFL’s 90 year history, so even if it happens again this year, they’re still in an exclusive club and should still be proud of what they did.
But the NFL, like all sports, is about “What have you done for me lately?” (YES! I was able to work Janet Jackson into a blog post!) The 2009 Dolphins are more important to me than any other dolphins team. Why? BECAUSE ITS 2009! Next year the 2010 Dolphins will become the most important, and so it will go on.
A true Dolphins fan would rather see the New Orleans Saints go undefeated by beating New England on Monday night and make it so that the Patriots are one game up on the Dolphins going into next week in Miami, then see the Dolphins take advantage of that and beat New England and take control of the driver’s seat in the AFC East.
Now Cote did mention that the post-season seems “unlikely” for the dolphins even if the Patriots do win. I feel that unlikely seems like a strong word that encourages negativity (oh yea, like what the Miami Herald has done with this Dolphins team with the exception of LeBatard for the last 20 years, and LeBatard only has a part-time role with them because he’d rather do radio. And the Newspaper industry wonders why they’re in such trouble!)
A better word would be improbable, which means it’s still possible, still likely, but you’re not quite sure, but consider that their tough schedule is really a tough schedule with winnable games. First up is Buffalo, a game they SHOULD win. Then comes the Patriots at home, they already lost the first one, and usually when the dolphins are decent their due for at least one win against the Pats per season. Then comes Jacksonville in Jacksonville, which if the dolphins win their next two games, could potentially lead to road trips for Dolphins fans to Jacksonville making it like a 9th home game, hell, it might even sell out! Jags are actually better on the road than at home, so this is good for the phins. That’s followed by a visit to Nashville to play the titans, which will be tough but winnable. (I think we can stop Vince Young and make him win the game with his arm.) Then it’s Houston, and, let’s be honest, we’re due to beat Houston, plus it’s at home. Then finally to round it out, we take on a Steelers team that might not have Polamalu (btw Pittsburgh is winless without him this season) and just lost to the Chiefs. Each game, while tough, is against teams with their flaws, and the Dolphins so far have beaten teams that they are better than, and have shown they can keep it close against teams that are supposed to be better than them. Now that you see everything, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so “unlikely” hell, it doesn’t even seem improbable!
Then as impossible as it seems, if we can keep that momentum up, then the 2009 Dolphins can get their second chance against the Saints in Super Bowl XLIII, played here in Miami, and we could be the ones to end their run towards history.
So now that you have the evidence, why in God’s name would any right thinking Dolphins fan want the Patriots to win come Monday Night?