Is it wins? Is it playoffs or bust? Is success just needing to see improvement?
The NFL is a black and white league defined by wins. The Dolphins are currently heading into their 6th season where Jeff Ireland has been tweaking and trying to improve the roster by acquiring and drafting with the intentions of building a contender in Miami.
Recently an Atlanta Falcons fan Adam Smoot posted an article disagreeing with myself as well as some of the other members of the Dolphins twitter world on our definition of what would categorize a successful season for the Dolphins. (Link below)
I have reiterated my thoughts on the topic numerous times stating I believe, playoffs have to be the number one measure of success while giving the team some wiggle room of a 9-7 or 10-6 season where they would come just short of the playoffs due to a very strong AFC.
Stats, Pro Bowls, and rankings are all fine and dandy but at the end of the day as Herm Edwards once repeated many times “you play to win the game!”
The Dolphins are not in a rebuilding mode, this isn’t Ryan Tannehill’s rookie year, there isn’t a new system or coaching staff struggling to teach their system, there are no more excuses. Ireland has been building this roster with the intention of winning now.
We all know Ireland has been put on the hot seat for what it seems like forever now, however, he has never truly felt the leash being pulled by owner Stephen Ross. With time not on Ireland’s side he knew he had to make a big splash this season. Ireland did exactly that with an off-season of spending money and bringing in the big names the fans were hungry to fill the roster.
The years of building this roster and money spent this year on building a contender are not the only reason however this team needs to win now. The Dolphins fan based recently ranked as the 29th most engaged fan base in the NFL. As most have noticed by the bright orange empty seats in the stands, this fan base is exhausted from being mediocre and it doesn’t help having to compete against LeBron James and the two time champion Miami Heat. The fact is whether you like it or not the aura of the Miami Dolphins just isn’t felt in Miami anymore.
With a new logo, new jerseys and new look Dolphins there is simply one way to help build this fan base to what it once was and that is, winning. 8-8 is not putting fans in the stands.
Of course the team and Tannehill can improve from last year but improving from last season cannot be the standard of success. Development and improvement are essential but they are also dependent on winning.
If Jeff Ireland and Mr. Ross want to bring this team back to the glory days, making the playoffs is the only way to do so, and now is the time to do it. For people who will dispute what if the team mirrors the '08 Dolphins and are taken out in the first round of the playoffs, the two teams cannot be compared; this roster is young and built for sustainable success unlike the ’08 team.
Year after year the team has been in the 6-8 win range and the excuses have mounted due to needing to find a QB, lack of playmakers, tough schedule…etc. Well the pieces are supposed to be in place this go around, the excuses are moot, this is a put up or shut up league, there are no moral wins, there are just W’s and L’s.
I will finish once again with the memorable words of Herm Edwards:
“YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME”