For quite some time, watching the Miami Dolphins play football has been more work than pleasure. Things were much easier when Dan Marino was slinging the football every Sunday at 1 p.m. and the Fins were winning more games than they lost.
These days, being a Dolphins fan takes a lot more patience and a helluva lot more alcohol. It takes a seasoned fan to make it to January without pulling out any remaining hair. You need to have a game plan going into the season if you expect to make it through all 16 games.
Need some tips? You came to the right place. Here are a few pointers that will help you survive another season of probably maddening Miami Dolphins football.
1. Diversify your NFL portfolio. One of the biggest keys to getting through a long season of Dolphins football is to spread your NFL eggs among multiple baskets — including some that are well outside anything the Fins and their 16 to 13 losses can screw up for you.
Play a lot of fantasy football, preferably daily fantasy like Fan Duel, and invest zero dollars in Dolphins players. Place bets. Root for players across the league who went to your school. Do anything to spark your interest in the game on the very good chance that the Dolphins won't be Super Bowl contenders this year.
2. Make game days more about the kids. You've already burdened your offspring terribly by making them Dolphins fans, so you might as well invest in their therapy early. The best way to make Dolphins games less about the Dolphins is to, well, make Sundays less about the three hours the team plays.
Sundays should be a celebration of the NFL and everything that comes with it, with tailgating and pregaming with family and friends highest on that list. Fins games can just be background noise on Sundays. You don't need to obsess over every single play.
Get the kids' favorite food and let them eat candy. You made them Dolphins fans — it's the least you can do.
3. Be realistic — don't hurt yourself.
Expect the Dolphins to do great things at your own peril. You must temper expectations and prepare yourself for the worst. Think of a Dolphins season like a hurricane: Hunker down and be ready for all hell to break loose, and when it's not as bad as you prepared for, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
4. Root for Ryan Tannehill, not to be right about Ryan Tannehill. At this point, there are two kinds of Miami Dolphins fans: Those who believe in Ryan Tannehill, and those who believe he should have been replaced long ago. Now it seems there's a competition each week for one of the two types of fans to be proven right, results of the game
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Dolphins fans can relieve a lot of pressure this year if they stop these shenanigans and simply root for the best possible outcome. If Tannehill doesn't play well this season, he'll be gone anyway. Stop constantly judging each Tannehill pass and you'll enjoy this season much more than the other recent campaigns. If the Dolphins win, everyone should be happy, no matter if it affects your personal narrative
5. Remember: Bad football is better than no football. When the Dolphins are 6-9 in December, it's kind of difficult to remember the terribleness of July. No football stinks. The Dolphins losing 33-3 is better than a Sunday without them. As crazy as it sounds, Fins fans kind of love the pain. We'd miss the agony if Stephen Ross moved this team to Las Vegas and renamed it the Gamblers.
Enjoy Miami Dolphins football for what it is: not Miami Marlins baseball. It could be worse. You could be a Buffalo Bills fan.