Dolphins and Hurricanes Are Through, and So Is Miami as a Football Town
On the bright side, weekends in South Florida just got incredibly less depressing.
The Miami Dolphins' and the Miami Hurricanes' 2014 seasons came to a fitting end this weekend, with matching embarrassing, uninspired, and downright unacceptable performances. Both teams began the season with catchy slogans pointing to renewed hope, change, and progress toward a title. Yet both ended the year exactly where they have so many times recently -- watching other teams and programs play meaningful football.
Perpetual mediocrity would be a nice way to describe these teams' performances in the past decade and a half. In reality, it's been the definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Remember when Miami was a football town? That was fun.
The Hurricanes' 24-21 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Duck Dynasty Bowl Saturday was their fourth straight, dropping them to 6-7 on the year. It was their third losing season since 1980. The Canes now have yet to win a bowl since they beat Nevada 21-20 in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl, a bowl that no longer exists. People who graduated from high school that year are now doctors; that's how long it's been since the Hurricanes won even a shitty bowl.
The Dolphins' 37-24 loss to the putrid New York Jets Sunday dropped them to an even 8-8 on the year. For the sixth straight season, Sun Life Stadium will sit empty during the playoffs, like a shuttered shopping mall during Christmas. Tomorrow marks 14 years since the last Dolphins playoff win.
Both of these teams continue to underachieve yet somehow refuse to replace their head coaches. UM has already said Al Golden will return to UM next year, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has already publicly stated Joe Philbin will come back for the final year of his contract in 2015.
Neither program gives much hope for the future. It's as if the two are looking in the mirror.
It was thought that with the Miami Heat's Big Three era over, the Dolphins and Hurricanes could take back the city of Miami, making it a football town once again. That didn't happen. Not even close.
One might even argue this year pushed them farther from that happening, as the town seems so fed up with the Dolphins' and Canes' annual pain that apathy has begun to replace anger. An apathetic fan base is so much worse.
Sure, winning would cure all, but you would be fooling yourself to think either of these teams is on the path to success.
Programs like FSU continue to land five-star recruits, making the gap between them and a poorly coached Canes team -- which will lose RB Duke Johnson and lots of other talented players -- even bigger.
The Dolphins figure to cut loose quite a few players from this year's team due to salary-cap restrictions, especially because Ryan Tannehill's option, which they must pick up, is $15 million next year. So you can't expect them to just all the sudden piece together a winner in 2015. If they don't, it's another teardown. The coach and GM are gone, and in comes a new regime. Rinse and repeat.
Nothing has changed in so long you'd be a fool to expect otherwise. Miami is no longer a football town, and there's no hope in sight of that changing anytime soon.
The Dolphins and Hurricanes seem just fine with that.