America’s Wang’s Team (well, one of them) Dolphins 2015

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Welcome to the life of a Dolphin fan. Not a dolfan. Keep your face paint to yourself, I just want to drink beer and scream at the TV. In real life I teach history, so my fallback is the old-man-on-a-bus-bench-with-an-onion-tied-to-his-belt-because-it-was-the-style-at-the-time narrative form. To those of you seeking insightful, quantitative analysis I would like to ask, how did you get here and why are you still here?

Fun Fact: Flipper’s actual name was Mitzi.

Around the time the Israeli Olympic team was heading off to Munich, what was left of my family moved to South Florida. Both were spectacularly bad decisions. Meanwhile, everything was coming up marine mammal in Miami. We had Flipper on the TV and in the Orange Bowl which was also where Don Shula was leading a gritty team (mostly white uniforms, mostly white players) to 3 consecutive Super Bowls. I was at the prime NFL imprinting stage of my life, so I was hooked. Dolphin jerseys, mugs, notebooks, etc.

Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula poses with quarterbacks Earl Morrall and Bob Griese on Jan. 3, 1973 in Miami. The schedule says Denver at Miami on Dec. 21. That could also mean the unbeaten '72 Dolphins against the unbeaten '98 Broncos.   The 1972 Dolphins achieved the only perfect season in NFL history. Now the Broncos have a chance to match the accomplishment. (AP Photo/file/ Mark Foley)
You can set your clock to these haircuts. And your calendar. It’s 1972. For you archivists, L-R is Earl Morrall, Don Shula, and Bob Griese.

My father decided the best treatment for PTSD was to load up a van with his military buddies and cases of cheap beer (Old Drill and/or Carling’s Black Label – citrusy with undertones of septic tank) and head to the Orange Bowl where we would park in the yard of a guy who called himself Manny, but probably wasn’t, who claimed he was a sergeant when Batista ran Cuba, and probably was, and who my father said had a necklace of ears in his house, except he probably didn’t. I got to play mascot to this crowd and later, when I could reach the pedals (I was 11 or 12), designated driver. We would haul the coolers (no wheels in those days, pussies) to the stadium where we would sit in the “picnic” area near the dolphin tank, which more often than not had no dolphin, and get sunburned and drunk while watching the Dolphins win. The games themselves were pretty boring. Czonka up the middle for 4, Kiick off tackle for 4, then either Mercury Morris (shut up already) around the end or Paul Warfield on a slant for 6. Lather, rinse, repeat. Get Garo to kick a FG, then let the defense and the Florida sun smother the shit out of the other team and go home 13-7 winners. Boring, but winning was good.

Czonka Kiick
Check (czech?) out the great 70s staches and Czonka flipping off the photographer. I expect PK would say it was gritty to sneak that onto the SI cover.

Then the World Football League beckoned and Czonka, Kiick, and Warfield all bolted. The AFC East, which then included the Colts, wasn’t very good, so the Dolphins could feast on division foes and get to the playoffs, but the Steelers and Raiders now did the stomping. In the 80s, thanks to Miami Vice, the city of Miami became flashy. Still shitty, but now with a layer of pastel paints and neon added. The same thing happened to the Dolphins. Thanks to some luck in the draft, Shula was able to trade in his old, reliable, four door Plymouth Valiant for a shiny, aqua and orange, two-seater Marino.

Mullet. Zubaz. Miami skyline. The 80s were awful.

Marino was a douchebag, but he was our douchebag and we loved him. Unfortunately our defense was dying on the field and our running backs were dying off the field. That, and the Bills were just too damn good and the AFC East was no longer so friendly. Through the 90s, the Dolphins still made the playoffs, but the Super Bowl no longer seemed possible. The owner, Wayne Huizenga, who had almost as much success running Blockbuster Video as he did with the Dolphins, decided to dump Shula. The Dolphins sought someone who had experience throwing coaching legends under the bus and hired Jimmy Johnson. Along with his fabulous hair, JJ brought aqua pants.

JJ and Dan
Best buds.

Turns out, however, that doubling down on douchebags wasn’t a great idea and JJ and Marino didn’t get along too well. In the end, they reconciled, walking together into the sunset off a short pier in Jacksonville, where they got curb stomped 62-7 in one of the worst playoff losses in NFL history. And that’s it. Since then the Dolphins have been the most mediocre of mediocrities. One playoff win (2000) and one number one draft pick (2008, Jake Long, woohoo!) stand as perfect outliers. Since 2000 they’ve compiled a record of 115-125 which works out to 15 years of 7-9. Compiling that record of mediocrity required the efforts of a new owner, 7 head coaches, and 18 starting quarterbacks including such luminaries as Damon Huard, Sage Rosencopter, Cleo Lemon, the decaying carcass of Daunte Culpepper, the son of Bob Griese, Joey Harrington, John Beck, oh fuck me, I can’t continue this list.

You rang?

So where are we now? Living in the past, in case you haven’t noticed. Our current head coach is Joe Philbin. He enters his fourth year leading the Dolphins with a 23-25 record. Like his predecessors, Philbin has made sure that off field events are far more interesting than on field achievements. In the Philbin era incidents of note include, but are not limited to, a Mike Wallace breakdown, the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bromance, the end of Jeff (“Is your mother a prostitute”) Ireland’s tenure as GM, and something involving Lauren Tannehill and guns in a rental car. On the field, Philbin continued the long tradition of putting the team in position to make the playoffs in November only to end the season on a losing streak and fuck that up.

Ryan and Lauren shooting

Moving on to a really bad analysis of the current team, Bill Lazor enters his 2nd season as OC and with a full off season of work with the team we should see more of the Chip Kelly-style offense we were promised when he was hired. At QB, Tannehill, like Philbin, is in his 4th year. He’s improved each year, but I believe the ceiling isn’t much above his head now.  His QBR last year put him at 16th, right behind Mark Sanchez. He’s achieved adequacy, maybe even proficiency, and after the quarterback-go-round of the last several years, it looks like the Dolphins finally have someone who will be set at the position for several years. So we’ve got that going for us. The running backs, led by Lamar Miller who rushed for just under 1100 yards last year, are also adequate. The receiving corps is very young and fast and might actually be really good, but for now we’ll stick with adequate. The real concern on offense is the line. Mike Pouncey, when not advocating for the freedom of murderers, is good and will be moving back to center this year. Brandon Albert is a stud at LT but will be trying to return from ACL and MCL surgeries and might not hold up. The rest of the line is a guess. I’m going with less than adequate, which means Tannehill will continue to be among the most harassed and sacked QB’s in the league.

Suh Ice Cream
“That better be dolphin-free!”

Over on defense, the front four, already a strength, got stronger and much more expensive with the addition of Ndamukong Suh. If he can keep from nut-stomping people and being suspended, he and Cameron Wake should be a force and hopefully strike fear in Dreamboat. The secondary is somewhat of a concern. It was shut-down good for the first half of the season, but injuries and fatigue set in and big plays began to happen. The linebacking corps is a train wreck. Last year, Dolphin linebackers had real trouble with strong running games and talented tight ends, in other words, all the good teams in the NFL, and with no upgrades it looks like that trend will continue.

Dolphin GIF

Overall, it looks like the Dolphins will score points, but so will their opponents and when the defense needs to produce a stop and get off the field, they won’t, which is pretty much the hallmark of every mediocre team in the NFL. Fortunately, the clockwork orange and aqua dolphin is here to reaffirm my allegiance. All hail our aquatic overlords!

Prediction: 9-7, just so Philbin can go out at .500. Folks over at Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (collective? must be bolshies) have the Dolphins with the best odds of all AFC teams to make the Super Bowl. Haha, fuck them and everyone else who says anything similar. This year, with electronic banking becoming ever more popular, saying “this is the Dolphins year” will officially surpass “the check is in the mail” as a bigger lie. Vegas has Miami tied at 16th with something called the Texans and a bunch of other mediocrities at 30-1 odds. Go with Vegas.

You make the call. (Thanks Moose)

Fantasy analysis: Don’t take any Dolphins on your team.

Final analysis: Just beat the fucking Jets in Miami and I’ll call the season adequate. Beat the Patriots and it’s a success. And don’t go to Florida if you don’t have to. If you’re already there, move.

Bugs GIF

And for today’s puzzle, which of the products featured in Balls’ underwear review is Brent Grimes modeling?

Crotch Shot

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All the Farts

Perfect preview of my middling, mediocre favorite team. The picture of Suh chasing the little girl had me in tears.


I’ve now heard on different days that the O-line looked terrible at training camp. That’s pretty alarming when usually training camp brings in optimism because you’re playing against yourself and therefore nobody gets skunked. If the O-line is as bad as they’re reporting, Tannenhill is going to get killed and Miami is going to finish 6-10.

Phenomenal write up.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

I loved the biographical slant to this one. Well done!

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

So very well done.

Point is; quit being an asshole and setting the curve too high.


Boy, is everyone going to be disappointed when they read my preview!

Damn good job! Loved the history angle. It really helps explain a LOT and makes me feel sad how far this franchise has fallen.

Old School Zero

Excellent preview. Troy McClure is very happy.

monty this seems strange to me

Football team preview AND electronic banking industry analysis. What a county!

Don T

Dolfans ’round here (PR) are surprisingly many, mostly douchebags who hate Ricky Williams or don’t know of him.
That’s the only reason I hate MIA; that notwithstanding, when they lost in ’14 to GB on defensive time outs and a Rodgers fake spike, that was too rough to enjoy.
Great write up; loved the stories.


Puerto Rico? Lucky island-living mofo!

Don T

Yeah, I’m proud and loud about it.
/ignores all news of present and further economic doom and facile Greek parallels.


It knows when you’re asleep.

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Covalent Blonde

Ha, WCS! Jokes on you! I already wasn’t planning on sleeping tonight!


That Dolphin looks rapey.


That looks nothing like Bill Cosby


Well, his name IS Ben…

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh


“The games themselves were pretty boring. Czonka up the middle for 4, Kiick off tackle for 4, then either Mercury Morris (shut up already) around the end or Paul Warfield on a slant for 6. Lather, rinse, repeat. ”

Alex Smith: *Silently Cums*


I love how he can’t even muster up the energy to be loud.


Outstanding. Just outstanding.
So who is the 12 year old designated driver now?


From the little I’ve seen of Tannehill the QB, he does quite well when he has protection-doesn’t rush his throws, moves well in the pocket and doesn’t make stupid mistakes. I’m not sure about his arm but the Dolphins could do far worse.

King Hippo

Holy shit, this was a good preview. WHY DO THESE KEEP GETTING BETTER? I am going to have a stroke or three by the time my turn arises.

monty this seems strange to me

Yeah, this is like the company golf tournament where you don’t sign up to play because you’re no good at golf but everyone in the office says “Oh just sign up it’s all just for fun nobody cares how good you are.” So you sign up but when you get there all the “just for fun” stuff goes out the window and everybody really wants to win and if you screw it up for your foursome, god help you, and dammit Monty, I thought you said you’d played golf before, holy shit you look like you’ve never even held a club in your hands before. Then they pull down your pants and laugh at you as they drive away in the cart with your beer, leaving you stranded on the 9th green.

Or so I’ve heard.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Maybe because I’ve been working there a long time; last tournament the other three changed from golf shoes to hiking boot and started drinking early.

Covalent Blonde

I’ll be doing a spectacular job of lowering standards pretty soon. It will contain neither facts nor biographical account but instead will be incoherent rambling–similar to but not as accurate or painfully dry as a Cris Collinsworth broadcast.

Beastmode Ate My Baby

Look, CB, that was going to be my angle.

/goes back to drawing board
//remembers he hocked drawing board for alcohol money

Old School Zero

Don’t worry. We got you covered.

Horatio Cornblower

The crack about Munich was sharper and more spectacular than anything anyone associated with the Dolphins is likely to pull off this year.

Unless Lauren Tannehill decides to start attending games topless; then it’s a tie.


Well done. You are apparently very, very old, which is fitting for a preview of a South Florida team.

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Pictured: Warthog

Anyway, congratulations on still being alive, although I believe all of this is moot as we welcome our new dolphin overlords.

Horatio Cornblower

/Ladies proceed to call Warthog on a rotary landline phone.

Sill Bimmons

Pictured: Warthog’s Internet connection