The wait is almost over. Only two football-free Sundays stand between Miami Dolphins fans and the regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers September 10 at Hard Rock Stadium. After a strong close to last season that saw the Dolphins finish 10-6 and make their first playoff appearance since 2008, Fins fans are more excited than they've been in a long time to see football return.
That's right: You just read "Dolphins fans" and "excited" in the same sentence. That's because it's late August and that's the emotion Miami fans feel every year around this time before the inevitable regret and disappointment kick in. Sure, it's not always easy to be a Dolphins fan, but we deal with it every fall because it's tradition, dammit.
True old-school Dolphins die-hards know the drill. Here's how you can tell if you qualify as an OG Fins fan:
1. You have a Murphy's Law mentality. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong; that's been the Dolphins fan battle cry ever since Dan Marino threw his last pass. Truth be told, that mentality began to take root in fans' psyches even before then. This summer, Ryan Tannehill was widely expected to take the next step as a quarterback. Instead, he blew out his knee yet again. That's just the most recent moment when the universe reminded Dolphins Nation that it's not entitled to nice things.
A Dolphins fan hopes for the best but expects the worst. You might call that a defeatist attitude. Miami fans just call it preparing for the inevitable.
2. You still call it Joe Robbie Stadium. Long before it was Hard Rock Stadium, decades before it was called Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, LandShark Stadium, or Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins had a real home. To old-school fans, the patch of dirt where they watch football every month will always be called Joe Robbie Stadium. Trying to rename Joe Robbie Stadium every other year is like trying to rename your pet; it won't take.
Some Dolphins fans are old enough to remember when Marino moved from the Orange Bowl to the new location in Miami Gardens. Hard Rock Stadium sounds badass, but Joe Robbie Stadium just feels natural.
3. You forced your kids to root for the Dolphins. In any other scenario, demanding your children do something that brings annual misery would seem like a terrible idea. Where else in life would you recommend your children put their faith in an operation you know damn well will probably let them down? Watching Dolphins football causes a lot of pain, but it's a pain handed down from generation to generation as a rite of passage.
True fans might let their kids become artists or major in golf-course management at an expensive school, but damned if their kids are going to embarrass them by rooting for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The hell you are, kid. Dolphins fans force their offspring to suffer just like they did, back when they used to walk uphill to Joe Robbie Stadium both ways in the, uh, snow with no shoes on.
4. You know all the words to the worst fight song ever made. "Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team..." You know the rest. You know why you know the rest? Because you're a real one. Also, because you're a Dolphins fan who is numb to embarrassment. Honestly, "we take the ball from goal to goal like no one has ever seen"? Not only is that lyric superhokey, but it's also flat-out false. Stephen Ross tried to put lipstick on the fight-song pig when he had T-Pain remix it a few years ago. That predictably ended in disaster.
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The Dolphins fight song isn't as prevalent as it used to be, but it is certainly still a thing. If you know all the lyrics, congratulations, you're a true OG fan.
5. You would prefer the Dolphins go back to their old logo. Many Dolphins fans approve of the new corporate-looking team logo. Many more do not. Though it's not exactly a controversy brought up on a daily basis, whenever the team busts out the old logo and the throwback uniforms, it's quite obvious which look the fan base overwhelmingly prefers.
Sure, the old logo looks like something a 10-year-old drew on his folder at school, but it's what everyone grew up with every Sunday. If this matter were put to a vote, the old logo would win in a landslide.