Anyone who knows me knows that I am the eternal Dolphins' optimist. Just read any previous articles, or any of my forum contributions if you don't believe me. I am that guy that thought Jeff Ireland was doing a great job. I was the guy that thought losing to Green Bay at the last second was a good thing. I am that guy that said it was great the the Dolphins hung tough with Denver.
Today, I think I hit my breaking point.
OK, well, maybe it was last week, after the strikingly disappointing home loss to Baltimore. I was an emotional wreck and I was going to come here and write a long-winded reactionary post to express my disgust with what seemed like another season-ending devastation at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. But, before I did, the optimist set in again. "If the Dolphins could steal a win in New England next week, all is not lost," I thought.
Today, there are no silver linings. There are no positive takeaways. There is nothing to learn and nothing to be gained. Although not mathematically impossible, playoffs are a distant dream for the Dolphins. This realization is truly depressing.
The looming questions are equally unnerving for the die-hard Dolphins fan in me. What does this mean for the future? There's still improvement to be shown if the Dolphins can win the last two games and finish 9-7. But one win worth of improvement year-after-year doesn't seem to be enough for this fan base. They want the coach fired, they want fresh blood - let's bring in someone who can do it. And for the first time since Joe Philbin was hired, its a stretch for me to disagree.
It clicked with me during the game yesterday. I watched Brandon Gibson draw a 15-yard penalty to help dig the Dolphins out of a 2nd-and-a-cab-ride hole, and then stupidly go back into the pile and taunt the guy that just got penalized. This cost the Dolphins a great opportunity, for utter stupidity. As a fan on my couch, I'm losing it. Yelling and screaming at my TV! And then they show Joe Philbin calmly talking to Gibson like a kindergarten teacher addresses little Johnny after he slapped his classmate. Why isn't Philbin losing his mind? Why isn't Gibson getting ostracized by his teammates? Why is this act of stupidity going unpunished?
I get it, football players are competitive and play with emotion. I'd like to see that emotion out of the coaches too. I'd like to have see Gibson get an angered earful from the coach and then be benched for the rest of the game. But Philbin isn't that kind of guy. Maybe Philbin isn't the kind of coach for the Dolphins.
And then there's the other fans, who are changing Twitter avatars to Vikings logos and rooting for the Dolphins to lose. This hearkens back to 2011's "Suck for Luck" campaign, and is equally despicable. I get it - the Dolphins playoff hopes look bleak, so fans would prefer a higher draft pick for next year. But, I legitimately question the level of these "fans'" dedication to the Miami Dolphins. Rooting against your "favorite" team - for ANY reason - is nothing short of treason. It baffles me how anyone could go to Sun Life stadium, boo your heroes, and applaud the enemy. The same people who, just one week ago, you cheered so vehemently, are now your adversary? It doesn't make sense, draft pick or not. True fans want their team to win, in any circumstance.
I don't know if this game spelled the end for Joe Philbin. I don't know if the rest of the AFC falls apart and the Dolphins can't back into a playoff spot with 2 wins. I don't know if there's anything left to be taken from this Dolphins' season. But I do know that it feels like failure. It feels like defeat. And to this Dol-fan, its the worst feeling in the world.