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The Rime of the Ancient Marine Mammal
Updated 11-19-01
   Ugh! I can feel it starting again. Can you? Tilting ever so slowly, leaning just a bit, looking down at the ground below. We were at the top, but now we're teetering on the edge of our annual trip down the slide. And like an impatient kid standing behind the smaller child on the playground the Jets gave us a bullying push. Brace yourself Fin fans, down we go….

I can't remember when I screamed louder or yelled more profanities at the TV. I ranted and raved so much like a madman that my wife sough refuge in the bathroom. Not even last year's playoff lost to the Raiders had me this angry. Our defense played well, giving up only 10 points, and only then because the Jets started within our 35 yard-line on their two scoring drives. But thanks to our offense, we spotted the Jets two touchdowns, and they never looked back. I wonder if the Jets will send Jay Fiedler a game ball?

I mentioned yesterday that I feel like there is an "albatross around our necks"; and like the "grey-beard loon" from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, we are forever doomed to repeat the story. You know, the annual "Be swept by the hated Jets, go ass-backwards into the playoffs, and get pounded in the divisional round" story.  But the tale of woo doesn't end there. Because of our record, we'll draft somewhere in the mid-20's, watching the impact players selected before us. (Don't forget, we have no second rounder next year.) And so the vicious cycle perpetuates itself again and again.

It should be apparent at this point to all but the most loyal Dolphin faithful that Jay Fiedler will NOT take Miami to the next level. And unfortunately, Lamar Smith is probably not a long-term solution at RB. So in addition to a QB, help at OL and depth at LB, the Dolphins will also have to seek a primary RB in the off-season. I like Travis Minor, but he won't be a "20-25 carries a game" back. And now Gardner's back is acting up again. I wonder how much longer his career will last? The holes in the dam seem to be increasing; yet the Dolphins are starting to run out of fingers.

At this point in time, I can see Miami winning 3 or 4 more games. Sweeping the Bills is extremely feasible, as is a win at home against the Falcons. Even the game against the Colts could be won, so realistically I see Miami going 9-7 or 10-6. Looks like my 11-5 prediction might fall a little short. But this year, 10-6 is not going to get me excited. I know, I know. I've argued for years that teams like the Bengals and Cardinals would kill to go 10-6 each season and that we should be thankful for the continued success each season. But following Miami's yearly trend of collapsing after Thanksgiving, I'm beginning to feel less successful each November. Would one or two 6-10 or 5-11 seasons help Miami? Maybe. It has helped the 49ers and the Chargers. But then I look at the Cardinals. So who knows….

After the game, I swore that my days of being a Dolphin fan were over. "Ridiculous" I said. "Why am I wasting my time cheering and yelling when I know the end result already? Why am I setting myself up for heart break and disappointment?" And for twenty minutes or so, I was no longer a Dolphin fan. But much like the Dolphins that I cheer for, I have my own cross to bear. Regardless of what I say in the heat of anger, I know that this Sunday, I'll be in front of my TV, with my Marino jersey on, cheering for my beloved Dolphins to beat the hated Bills. It is my lot in life. As long as "this heart within me burns", I will cheer for the Fins. The "Wedding Guest" from Coleridge's poem left "A sadder and a wiser man". I just leave sadder....