Explaining to a Young Fan How the Miami Dolphins Used to Be

Explaining to a Young Fan How the Miami Dolphins Used to Be
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Hey there, little guys and gals, are you excited for another Miami Dolphins football season? That's right! Your mom and dad could learn something from your positivity! I bet your parents have told you about how exciting and dramatic things used to be around this time of year. No? Oh, well, they've probably just been waiting until you got a bit older to explain to you how things used to be.

This season is a fresh start for your favorite football team. New coach, new stadium, lots of new players — it's exciting. You've waited too long long for a successful Dolphins season. Believe it or not, being a Miami Dolphins fan used to be a badge of pride. This time of year used to be like Christmas morning.

If you're confused, I get it. Let me explain further how things used to be. 

A long time ago, you couldn't walk a block without seeing a Miami Dolphins logo.

Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, but it's true — people used to walk. Like, on purpose! Sometimes even while wearing Miami Dolphins gear. I know this is a lot to take in, but if you're having a hard time processing this, let me explain it this way: You know the way people wear Miami Heat stuff nowadays? Not too long ago, people wore Dolphins stuff the same way, and they weren't even washing their cars. 

Oh, and I should mention, the Miami Dolphins logo used to be much different from this corporate mess they stick on stuff now. Once upon a time, the Dolphins logo was terrible, hideous, oddly off-center, and faded. It looked malnourished. The cartoon was wearing a weird helmet that didn't match the team's helmet. But you know what? It had character. It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world, but we loved it.

Explaining to a Young Fan How the Miami Dolphins Used to Be (2)
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

There was a time when it was actually shocking when the Miami Dolphins lost.

I swear, kid, this is a thing that used to happen. When the Dolphins lost, it was infuriating. Sunday frustration bled into Monday. We really didn't get over a Dolphins loss until the following Friday. People at school and work talked for hours about what happened in the game. If the Dolphins lost to the Bills or Jets, you had revenge in your eyes for weeks as you counted down until the next time the two teams played. If it was the last time the two played that year, it was devastating. 

The Dolphins quarterback used to have his own TV show.

It's hard to even picture Ryan Tannehill saying something meaningful when asked a question, much less hosting his own television show, but it happened back in the day. Dan Marino's show used to be must-see TV. Every week, you got to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Marino's show was taped early in the week and played days later, but it was just as riveting hearing the star player of your team conduct interviews and break down what had happened the previous week.

These days, you'd be lucky to get a quote worthy of putting in an online blog from the Dolphins quarterback; back in the day, there was an entire TV show filled with nuggets.   

The New England Patriots really didn't matter. 

The Patriots were the Bills, the Bills were the Patriots, and the Jets were basically the Jets; that's how it used to be. The Bills never won anything, but they were top dog. Weird, right? The Patriots had some silly-looking logo — a center in colonial garb snapping a ball — on their helmets, and nobody really feared them at all. They'd occasionally beat the Dolphins, but not very often. In the '90s, the Patriots had seasons when they went 1-15 and 2-14. Yeah, that happened.

Explaining to a Young Fan How the Miami Dolphins Used to Be (3)
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

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The Dolphins had the same coach for basically your entire life.

Don Shula was like your dad. Good, bad, or disappointing, when your next birthday came around, he was still in charge. For 25 years, Don Shula was the coach of the Miami Dolphins — that's basically seven modern-day Dolphins coach tenures combined. Many things around the team changed, even stadiums and logos, but the coach always stayed the same. It was comforting, and Shula became like a grandpa for many. The fact that he's still hanging around the team from time to time in 2016 is a miracle. 

Once upon a time, the Dolphins were the winningest team in all of sports. 

Not just in football, but in all of sports. All of them. It was every Dolphin's favorite line — the team would consistently win double-digit games every year, even in down years. The combined record the franchise had over its entire history was astonishingly fantastic. It was a given that every year the Dolphins would make the playoffs; the only question was whether they could make the Super Bowl and, most years, whether they could get past the Bills. It feels like decades ago. Wait, it was! That's why it feels that way. 

We used to have it all, kid. This season, let's hope you'll get a small taste of what the Miami Dolphins used to be. You sure do deserve it. 


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