With Miami Dolphins training camp just a few days away, it's time for South Florida to pay attention to a new-and-improved team doing big things in Davie. On July 27, the Dolphins officially start a season with more promise than any in recent memory. The Fins are ripe to legitimately contend not only in the AFC East but for a Super Bowl. Scoff all you want — it's true. In the NFL, every year a team makes the jump from mediocrity to Super Bowl contention. That team that takes the next step could be the Dolphins. All the ingredients are there.
In fact, Miami's football team is ready to finally flip the script on Heat fans this fall and once again make this a football town where everything NFL dwarfs the next most important thing. It's been awhile since Miami was an NFL city first and foremost, but it feels close to happening. The door is cracked and the Dolphins can swing it open with a great season.
Let's be real: Football has always been Miami's first love. The Dolphins and the city of Miami may have lost that loving feeling, but it's high time they rekindled their affair. Sundays used to bring goosebumps and butterflies that started percolating on Friday after you got off work. From the undefeated 1972 team all the way until the early 2000's, Miami cared about pigskin. Shaquille O'Neal changed that. Dwyane Wade changed that. LeBron James definitely changed that. With all of those players long gone, Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have a solid chance to change things back to the way they used to be.
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It helps that every other professional team in town is wholly mediocre at the moment, with little-to-zero chance of winning a title anytime soon. It's been some time since South Florida fans could say the Dolphins were the closest team in town to winning a title. That's definitely the case now, and it's set up to be that way for at least the next handful of years.
Last year, the Dolphins brought back memories of those old-time feelings with an amazing midseason turnaround that saw the team win ten games and clinch their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade. This year, the roster is more talented than last year's squad, and Adam Gase, the Dolphins savvy head coach, has a year of experience under his belt. All signs point to the Dolphins building on what they had in 2016.
The Dolphins should make the jump from the surprising dark horse to a perennial contender. From Gase all the way down to new rookie first-round pick defensive lineman Charles Harris, the vibe around Miami's football team is quite different. Miamians actually are expecting an exciting team that can score points on offense and gets after the quarterback on defense. Yeah, that sounds right. Dolphins fans actually anticipate... winning? Yeah, seems so.
The time is now for the Dolphins to plant their flag and turn Miami back into a football town.