Five Stages of Miami Dolphins Fandom
Photo by Morgan Coleman
Another Miami Dolphins season has come and gone, which can mean only one thing — your Christmas tree is still up. For those of you keeping score at home, you could now officially fit four World Cups between the Dolphins' last playoff victory and their next one, whenever that happens. Seven straight years without a playoff appearance
Every year, Dolphins fans go through the same brutal cycle they must endure. It's a vicious circle they can see coming, yet it always disrespectfully smacks them in the face.
Every Dolphins season begins the same way: Fans play the "W-L game" with the schedule and never end up with the Dolphins below .500. Outside of NFL Draft week, this is the week Dolphins fans feel most alive. This is the time of year — normally August to early September — when you can't tell Fins fans anything. Every sentence out of a fan's mouth in August starts with "on paper." Stores like Macy's put out all the newest Dolphins gear, and the colors seem brighter. You're so happy you almost don't hate the new logo anymore. The holidays are on the horizon, and everything seems so right with the world. This will be the year it all comes together for the Miami Dolphins — you can feel it.
Yes, this feeling escalates this quickly. Before our kids are begging us to buy pumpkins, the Dolphins already suck again. Why do we always fall for it? Because we are sick people, that's why. Almost instantly, Dolphins fans realize drinking the aqua-and-orange Kool-Aid was a terrible mistake — the team isn't different. The annual 24-12 early-season loss to a team you figured the Dolphins would be so much better than has you reassessing your proclamation that "this is the year the Dolphins end the Patriots' run."
Dolphins fans will never learn. This is never the year; it's just another year.
At some point in the season, Dolphins fans become disoriented and confused, like a squirrel running across a baseball field, just sprinting all over the place, trying to escape with no real destination in mind. The Dolphins are perpetually in the hunt — but there are always five teams ahead of them, so you're never quite sure how realistic their chances are at a successful season. Every win is followed by a loss. Every loss is followed by another loss and then an inexplicable win over a good team. You hate them, but you believe in them. You drink. You drink a lot.
A Dolphins shirt for Christmas — really, Mom? THEY ARE 5-AND-8!
Confusion turns to a deep and real hatred for the Dolphins as fans realize this season is over and it will be another long nine months until we can run this thing back again. Everything bothers us: the players, the coaches, the team's social media account, the 1972 undefeated team, puppies dressed in Dolphins clothes, actual dolphins that give you a shitty look on TV — everything. Nobody wants to deal with this team's shit anymore, yet people show up every Sunday for another heaping plate of Dolphins poop, and they bitch about it. They bitch about it a lot.
We're dead inside — again — and the only thing that keeps us from watching the Food Network 24/7 is Miami Heat basketball. This time every year, Dolphins fans don't even care anymore. Our moms are texting us, "What happened?" after games, and we angrily reply, "Same thing that's been happening since I got my braces off, Mom." Nothing good or bad can happen in the final week of the season that would make us feel any joy. We are lifeless fan-corpses.
Possibly the best thing you can say about being a Miami Dolphins fan is it's predictable. We know what to expect after all these years: nothing.