Miami Dolphins fans are a proud bunch. Whether you're a 10-year-old Fins fan who only knows Dan Marino from YouTube mixtapes or a 40-year-old lifer who vividly remembers when the Dolphins making the playoffs wasn't weird, there's plenty to feel good about as a Dolphins backer. Through the ups and the downs, the Miami Dolphins have had some of the most loyal fans in sports.
After all, this is a team that hasn't won a title since 1973 or a playoff game since 2000, and consistently finds new-and-unexciting ways to disappoint its fans.
The type of person willing to put up with such ongoing psychic trauma varies a lot. Here are the kinds of Dolphins fans you'll find coming out of the woodwork when football training camp opens in Davie next week.
1. The Undefeated Dolphins fan. In a broader sense, there are just two kinds of Dolphins fans in this world: Those old enough to have actual memories of the Dolphins kicking the rest of the NFL's ass in the early '70s, and everyone else — including a percentage who still doesn't believe this ever really happened. That's it. Everyone falls into one of these categories.
From 1971 through 1974, the Dolphins lost eight games and won two Super Bowls. Yes, eight losses over four entire seasons and two NFL championships. That makes the modern-day New England Patriots seem like just another middle-of-the-road team.
For some perspective, since 2009 there has been only one season in which the Dolphins haven't lost at least eight games. We don't need to tell you about the Super Bowls since 1973, because they don't exist. There are none of those things since the year the original The Exorcist was released in theaters.
Undefeated Dolphins fans are similar to modern-day Heat fans: You can't tell them crap.
2. The Ryan Tannehill Dolphins fan. Ryan Tannehill Dolphins fans are just that because really, that's all they know. These are fans 14 and under who had no opinion of Dolphins football before 2012 because, well, they were in the first grade back then. These Dolphins fans — bless their hearts — can't even drive themselves to games but know that Hard Rock Stadium is a place where it's totally acceptable to act like a crazy person.
Tannehill is the sum of these kids' experience, thank God. Cleo Lemon is not someone they are familiar with. John Beck sounds like someone who plays the piano. Making the playoffs two seasons ago was their Super Bowl.
3. The Deserted Island Dolphins fan. There's a large group of Dolphins fans — let's say, 26- to 40-year-olds — who have come to terms with their fate as Fins fans and accepted that there will be only darkness in their future. No one is coming to save them from this deserted island. This is where they live now. Long ago they stopped forming rocks on the beach that spell "HELP" or making bonfires. This is just home now.
The Deserted Island Dolphins fan is the best Dolphins fan there is, but they seem like the worst to outsiders. Back in middle school, a Dolphins loss ruined their Monday. Now, they laugh during the most miserable moments of Dolphins games and predict missed field goals before they happen. They have no expectations of a Super Bowl win, only a few fleeting moments where they're — for the millionth time — tricked into believing everything isn't bad, when in fact, everything is indeed bad. Somehow, though, they continue to support the Dolphins and fall for their same tricks every year. It's borderline abusive.
4. The Tailgate Dolphins fan. Some Dolphins fans (arguably the smartest) have turned Dolphins games into yet another reason to drink and grill meat. For them, Dolphins games have always been about this. The field action is secondary to what is happening in the parking lot. Sometimes these Dolphins fans don't even go into the stadium; they just tailgate and leave: Brilliant!
A watermelon filled with vodka on a normal Sunday is the sign of a problem, but 500 feet from where the Dolphins are about to play football, it's totally acceptable. Is this really that odd? We live in a country with multiple made-up holidays that in essence are just reasons to get drunk and eat fatty meats. Ask around your office why people celebrate Cinco de Mayo or St. Patricks Day. They don't know and probably don't care. Many of these tailgate fans don't know what the fair-catch rule is, but they can tell you exactly how many ounces of gelatin powder and gin to combine for the perfect Jell-O shot.
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5. The Zombie fan. Everyone knows a Zombie Dolphins fan. He or she is the person who believes everything the team does makes sense and has positioned them to make a run at the Super Bowl. Every move is Patriots-like in its big picture, smarter-than-you logic. We may not get why the Dolphins would trade Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round pick, but there must be a great reason: Trust the process.
Zombie Dolphins fans now and forever believe the Dolphins know it all. Each coach, general manager, and president of the team has just had bad luck. Anyone that looks at the roster and thinks it's going to produce anything short of a Super Bowl run is a fraud. Tannehill is an elite quarterback and just needs more weapons. These fans offer a never-ending barrage of reasons — not excuses! — why the Dolphins always fail.
Zombie Dolphins fans are the best Dolphins fans. Just ask them on social media! The Dolphins will one day praise their greatest supporters and give them a front-row seat on the 2045 Super Bowl float.