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Bring on the Jets!!!
It’s that time of the year again, Jet’s week!!! Every football team has that hated opponent for which they feel they must win no matter what every time they play. A game in which the intensity is overwhelming the moment the players take the field. A game in which fans spew venom so treacherous you would think it was a life or death situation and not just a football game. The Dolphins have forged many rivals over the years but the New York Jets are unmistakably the Dolphins most hated rival. This rivalry may not be as old as old as the Bears/Packers or as popular as the Redskins/Cowboys, but it is just as heated and intense as any rivalry in sports.
For me, this is the two most fun games of the year. There is nothing like the anticipation of a huge upcoming football game. Unfortunately the games themselves and the aftermath haven’t been that fun during the past four years. Losing one game to the Jets is painful enough, but as the streak reached 8 it became pure Hell. They may as well have taken my lunch money and my girl while spitting in my face while they were at it. Will the streak finally end this Sunday or even this year? We believed it would last year, but it didn’t. So what makes us so excited about the 2002 Dolphins finally getting that monkey off their back and beating the Jets?
The first thing that stands out is that the Jets have to come to Miami in September. While the Jets 8 game winning streak is impressive, it stands small in the shadow of a 16 game home winning streak in September for the Dolphins. Well something has to give here because both streaks can’t continue. There are many mental mountains the Dolphin players have to overcome to win this game. Being at home in September is the climbing tool that gives the Dolphins the confidence to finally conquer Mt. J-E-T-S after four years of torture, aggravation and even embarrassment.
Now we could discuss the finer details on how the Dolphins need to run the ball and stop the run in this game. We can talk about putting pressure on Jet quarterback Vinny Testeverde and an ailing secondary that needs to stick to the Jet receivers like superglue. We can talk about the heat and humidity that could very well affect the outcome of the game. Or how about special teams, penalties, turnovers, individual match ups, or dozens of other factors in this game but none of that really matters anymore. All that matters is that the Dolphins WIN! Not to say that all that stuff isn’t important in this game, they most definitely are. But considering the Dolphins have won these battles throughout the streak, even completely dominating games at times, and still have lost makes pointing at all that stuff irrelevant. All you have to do is think about the “Midnight Miracle” of two years ago and you’ll be quickly reminded of that. Even both of last year’s games had dominant performances by the Dolphins in one aspect or another, yet we still lost both games. In the Meadowlands the Dolphins dominated the first half just about as much as a team can dominate another, only to let the Jets reverse it in the second half. In Miami the defense only allowed 162 yards of total offense, and we still lost 20-0. The reason for those losses is easy to figure out; it has to do with a -7 turnover ratio. Being on the wrong side of that important stat has been a disturbing trend during this streak and turnovers will be a factor once again on Sunday. But the way this streak has went I wouldn’t be too shocked if the Dolphins were a plus 7 on turnovers and still lost, that’s just how bad it’s been. The only key stat us Dolphin fans truly care about is the final score, and I don’t care what it is as long as Miami has a higher score.
Despite all the concerns and pessimism, I again look forward to this game with my spirits full of hope that the Dolphins will beat the Jets. On Monday morning the only streaks we’ll be talking about is 17(home games won in September) and 1(consecutive wins over the Jets). Jet fans will be saying that they’ve still won 8 out of 9 and claim dominance because they get us later in New York, probably while pointing out the Dolphins’ flaws and tendency to falter down the stretch. Anything to put a negative spin for the Dolphins, but that is part of the fun. Oh yes, the rivalry lives on, stronger and hotter than ever. In football, the bitterness is so sweet. So BRING ON THE JETS!!!