I shall not be at another regular season game at Third and Long as I am flying home to London for the holidays. So barring a Christmas miracle of a Miami post season chances are I won’t get to catch up with many of you until the draft. So here’s to hoping.
Posts Tagged ‘miami dolphins’
The Miami Dolphins are about due a victory of the Patriots – in the last 4 meetings between the two teams, the Patriots are 4-0. This simply will not do. They are travelling to our turf; and if what I am hearing around the interwebs is true, then home field advantage is unlikely to be in effect, as it seems that they will have just as many of their supporters present, if not more. One report I read suggested that the Dolphins’ offense have been practicing with loud crowd noise blaring away this week in preparation for just that scenario. It’s embarrassing but it seems that that’s just the way it is.
The Brady-lead Patriots are just as good as they have ever been with the sixth round pick out of Michigan at the helm. Since taking over the mantle, Brady has made New England a perennial playoff team and a force within the AFC and the AFC East. He is to Patriots football what Marino was to Dolphins football. They will sure miss him when he is gone. Look, this isn’t me just paying lip service to the guy – the fact of the matter is that the Patriots’ success hinges on Brady. The facts are that this Sunday we face a team that is 1st in scoring, 1st in offensive yards and 4th in passing yards, on the shoulders of the QB. Brady is putting together another MVP-calibre season having thrown just the 3 interceptions and currently holding a QB rating of 105.2. They are good, but Brady is the cog in the machine that keeps this team ticking over so nicely, disrupt his game and the whole thing kinda doesn’t work so well. Yeah, the running game currently ranks 6th in the league, but make no mistake, many of those are Brady’s yards as as well, he just now has a running back who can make the most of a great passing game.
I wanted to post these earlier but two crushing losses were hard to deal with. I will say that leading up to the Titans game I had an amazing weekend. Michelle and I were invited down to the 9th annual Miami Dolphins Web Weekend. It’s an event the Dolphins hold every year where they bring staff of Miami Dolphins fan websites down for a game, a locker room tour and some really cool other things. This is actually my 9th year and Michelle and I met at the weekend when we both ran other Phins related sites.
I took a ton of photos so let me break down the weekend so you know what you are looking at when you check out the gallery. The first night of the weekend we had dinner at theÂ trainingÂ facility. Normally the Friday dinner is a little more informal with just free food and people hanging out talking. Last year we had a surprise visit from Nat Moore. This year they upped the ante with Joe Philbin surprising us. He talked to us for a while and signed some hats for our fundraiser. After that Sam Madison and showed up and talked with everyone for the rest of dinner. No one could get him to stop talking. It was great. He was showing people how he would defend Randy Moss and stuff.
The next day we got up really early and went to the stadium and helped the Miami Dolphins Special Teams pack up care packages for the military for Veterans Day. After that we had some time off and then met up back at the Dolphins training facility. There was a tour of the facilities and we saw that Richie Incognito had the Dolfans NYC shirt I sent him sitting on his locker. I thought that was pretty cool. The Dolphins equipment manager talked to us for a while which wasÂ surprisinglyÂ interesting. After that we had dinner and then we went into the team meeting room where we had a series of guest speakers. Some of them were Dolphins staffers you probably don’t care too much about, but the big ones were Mike Dee, Jeff Ireland and Jim Kiick.
Jeff Ireland was hilarious. He came out right away and made fun of all his mistakes and the trip to get Harbaugh and what he called “Dezgate” He answered our questions surprisingly honestly and was very straight forward. It made me like the guy a lot. Of course that was before we lost two horrible games in a row where our team failed to show up completely. Mike Dee answered a bunch of questions and talked about how the new logo was going to be a combination of retro and modern. He told us he had showed it to Bob Greise, Nat Moore and Dan Marino and they all loved it. It got me exited. When he said he only had time for one more question I raised my hand. I thanked him for coming to our tailgate and then I told him that Michelle and I had a present for him. Â We walked up to the front of the room and Michelle handed him an envelope with $1000 that we raised for the Miami Dolphins Foundation. Â It was a really cool moment and he thanked us and the Dolphins staff photographer took photos. Next time we have to get him aÂ novelty sizedÂ check. Lastly Jim Kiick came up and was hilarious as well. Talked about how he hated Shula and it only took them 40 years to become friends. He introduced a documentary about the ’72 season and then did a Q&A after the movie. He also signed a ton of autographs and posed for photos. Very cool guy.
At some point during the night (after the speakers but before the movie) the Miami Dolphins announce the “Webby Awards”. The Webbys are awards given to different Â fan sites. Dolfans NYC had never won one because we don’t have a forum and we aren’t very similar to the other sites so there hadn’t been a category for us to win. This year they added the Eddie Jones Community Award after the late Dolphins president Eddie Jones. We thought this was an award we could win since we do so much fundraising and we have a real community. Â So we were shocked when we actually heard our name called for another award. We won an award for best columns and features so that was pretty cool. We actually tied withÂ Phin Phanatic and then tied with them AGAIN for the community award. Brian Miller who runs that site is a really great guy so it was an honor to share the award with him. Â He won best over all site as well.
As fun as Saturday was it was now game time. We woke up early Sunday morning and headed to the stadium just a few minutes after the gates opened. We did a few laps around the stadium and ended up at the Phin Addicts tailgate where they were hosting a bunch ofÂ militaryÂ members for Veterans Day. It was very cool. Those guys are serious fans. I would be in the Deep End with them every week if I lived in Miami. Before the game we hit the Nat Moore BBQ tailgate for some serious food and then got to go on the field and watch the team warm up. Finally we went to our seats in the “Locker Room Club”. The seats are actually on the field in the endzone and you are right there. You can then walk in the stadium right where the lockers are and you can see the players go in and out of the locker room. I have sat in these seats one before and it’s a much better experience when the team isn’t getting destroyed by the Titans. Another highlight was that Stephen Ross came over to the Locker Room Club before the game and shook my hand and told me how much fun the tailgate was. I had a copy of the Miami Herald that had a photo I took of him on the cover of the sports section so I pulled it out to show him. He signed it for me and a picture of us ended up on the Miami Dolphins Instagram account and on Mike Dee’s Twitter. Oh, and I saw Don Shula driving around theÂ fieldÂ before the game on a golf cart! Very cool.
Unlike many other sports leagues in the U.S., the NFL is a short season; it’s a brutal and punishing game that all too quickly takes its toll on those who play it. A loss at any time is big, and in the NFL it doesn’t take long for there to be one too many.
I needed a little time to gather my thoughts following Sunday’s debacle.
I have been guilty of hubris, and that arrogance made me look foolish this Sunday, as much or more so than our own beloved Dolphins. When the final whistle mercifully blew on Sunday, many fans were angry, shocked, lost for words, distraught… I could go on and on. During the game I felt many of these feelings, but as I walked home from 3rd and Long, I put it in my rear view mirror and reflected. Truth is, at the start of the regular season, had someone said that nine games in we would be 4-5, I would have been happy; I would have taken it.
The Colts snapped a 3-game winning streak. It was a game that was ultimately closely contested, so take heart, Dolphin fans. Despite the record setting day that Andrew Luck had, for his record passing yards by a rookie, the scoreline was a marginal 23-20 victory. The Colts’ strength lay in the fact that Luck is a quality signal caller. Throughout his Stanford career and the buildup to the draft, everyone knew that he had the goods to excel in the NFL, and that is why the Colts did not hesitate to pull the trigger on selecting him to replace one Peyton Manning. Luck was able to knock our secondary around for most of the game.
I do not think that will be the case with the Titans. Jake Locker (set to return this Sunday) is no Andrew Luck, furthermore he has not played now in over a month. Combine that with a team that just took an absolute drubbing to the Bears last week, and there is not a lot here to inspire much confidence among the Titans’ fan base. Through the first half of the season, this team has been lackluster to say the least; the offense has been feeble, and the defense virtually nonexistent. They rank dead last for points allowed, 30th for yards allowed, 27th in pass defense and 30th against the run.
Before we look ahead at things to come, let’s first revel in the glory of a truly epic victory over the Jets. Rex Ryan must be sweating as his seat grows ever hotter. Perhaps even more epic than the victory itself was the event put on by Dolfans NYC – Michelle and Igor, Curtis, and all those involved with the tailgate committee – a big thank you from all who were there. Phin Nation took note, from the publicity we saw heading into the game, to the increase in membership on the Facebook page. Let’s not forget that Mr. Stephen Ross, Mike Dee, Nat Moore, Fergie and a host of Dolphin cheerleaders turned up at the tailgate as well, proving once again that the Dolphin fan base and the organization are the best in the league. Just so sweet to top it off with such a one-sided victory.
Right – this Sunday, the Dolphins head to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts. Like the Dolphins, many pundits did not expect much from a team that finished in last place with their talisman QB. Seemingly landing the most coveted QB in college football would not be enough to get them back on track, but just like the Dolphins, the Colts currently hold a 4-3 record. Luck has been as good as advertised, throwing 280 yards a game. To give you a comparison here, his rookie year should and will turn out much better than his predecessor. Reggie Wayne has been the go-to guy throughout Luck’s season, catching 108 yards a game – a league best. Their defense is a capable unit: in the Colts, we have a perfect example as to why having decent QB play is so crucial for the success of a team. It isn’t just that Peyton Manning was so good, though that has a large part to do with it, it is more that Curtis Painter was so bad, the Colts were never really as bad as they appeared to be last year and, in many respects, I think that people underestimated how good many of the players on that roster still were. Enter Andrew Luck, and we have a revitalized Colts team ready to compete for a playoff spot.
The DolfansNYC tailgate and takeover was the most successful thing we have ever done as a club. We bought 200 tickets, rolled up to the stadium in two packed busses and were pretty much the only fans left at the end of the game. It was amazing. There had to have been more than 300 fans at the tailgate and we sold out of EVERY Dolfans NYC t-shirt and raised a bunch of money for charity. We plan on donating $1500 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation when Michelle and I head down to Miami for the Titans game in two weeks. Really great experience.
If you somehow missed the news we had a few special guests at the tailgate… Dolphins owner Stephen Ross showed up with minority owner Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, CEO Mike Dee, Phins great Nat Moore, MiamiDolphins.com Andy Kent and a ton of cheerleaders. It was so cool of them to do that and a pretty good PR move. Some Jets fan hit Mr. Ross with a cheeseburger knocking his glasses off. Luckily they fell right at my feet and as soon as Ross got his glasses back on he just ignored the whole thing and kept posing for pictures and signing autographs. One of our members asked him why he came down and he said “I could have stayed in my box all game but I had to check out the tailgate. This is the biggest Dolphins fan club in the United States!” Very cool.
After the tailgate we filled the stands. We may have been in the endzone in the nosebleeds but I assure you ourÂ presenceÂ was felt. Mike Dee tweeted after the game “Great to head home w/a win. Complete team effort w/ an assist fromÂ DolfansNYC, who kept the Fins chants going all game long!” Reggie Bush didn’t mention us by name but he Tweeted “Loved the Dolphins fans showing up today! We heard you guys loud and clear and so did the rest of the stadium! Thanks for your support.” Not to brag or anything (okay maybe a little) I was leading the chants from the endzone. By the end of the game all the Jets fans were gone and the Dolphins fans left seemed to flood into our sections and we chanted “LET’S GO DOLPHINS” so loudly you could hear it on TV. It was one of the best experiences of my life. What a great day.
I want to thank everybody who came out, and especially want to thank my partner Michelle who did all the dirty work on this one. I am pretty good at doing the promoting and doing the screaming but Michelle is the best party planner you could imagine and put all 199 tickets we bought on her credit card. We have worked on this for months, but she busted her ass all week on the details while I was off hanging out with my girlfriend in California. So thanks Michelle, thanks to Sailor Jerry rum for sponsoring the tailgate, thanks to Third & Long for hosting a breakfast before we got on the buses, thanks to everyone who joined us at the game and thanks to the Miami Dolphins organization for not just recognizing us but supporting us.
All the pictures I took at the tailgate are below. If you want to save one just double click it or you can just go directly to our Flickr page to see and save all the pictures there.
Jeff Fisher was highly touted to be the next coach of the Miami Dolphins, but after a brief courtship, Fisher rejected the offer on the table and took the job in St. Louis, much to the dismay of many a Dolphin fan. We were left wondering who would take the helm of our beloved organization. Around the league we were being scorned, from tweets and remarks from players like Joey Porter, to the media and our own fanbase picketing outside the offices and hiring private propeller planes asking Stephen Ross to fire Ireland. It seemed like dark days indeed, until Joe Philbin emerged to take up the challenge of getting our team back on course and steering us in the way of respectability. So far he seems to be on the right track – I have not agreed with everything he has done, but then again I am not down at the practice facility every day keeping a watchful eye on everything like he is. It really does feel like a plan is starting to come together, so as we settle in for what will be a thrilling encounter, I am sure I can’t help but wonder which team got the better coach to move the franchise forward? Right now I am betting on Stephen Ross and his man Philbin.
This Sunday, the St. Louis Rams face off against the Miami Dolphins in Miami. Playing in front of a home crowd with growing expectations by the week, this game presents the Phins with a great opportunity to move to .500 on the season and put the AFC East very much back in contention heading into their bye week.
This is a real chance to get some momentum. We have looked every bit the part of a contender for most of the season but for a few sloppy mistakes where we turned the ball over. That, there has killed us, ending potentially great drives (something we have seen a bit of already this season), but worse, allowing our opposition to put points on the board and stick around in games where we were the better team for the majority of the game. But in any sport, it is never really about the team that played the best for most of the game, it is about the team who took their chances when they got them and made the most of them. The Dolphins have not. Until last week, that is. We saw the Dolphins force more turnovers than the Bengals, and what happened? We were able to win the game. Well done to a very great defensive effort here, especially you, Mr. Randy Starks. Great pressure throughout, and not only did you get your hands up on that pass but you managed to hang on to it – absolutely fantastic. Sean Smith is like a different player so far this season and Reshard Jones has stepped up big time, he was everywhere last week and his contribution in stuffing the run was inspired.