It's time to start calling the Miami Dolphins the No-Name Dolphins again. The last time the team earned that nickname, the Fins won their first Super Bowl and made history as the only franchise to go undefeated. Now, 46 years later, coach Adam Gase is poised to take another team with no superstars on an unlikely championship run.
Entering the season, every NFL pundit pegged the Dolphins as losers. After the Fins cut ties with Pro Bowl players Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, and Mike Pouncey in the offseason, ESPN ranked Miami dead last among the NFL's 32 teams. Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote predicted the Dolphins would produce another boring, middle-of-the-road performance and win seven to nine games.
Instead, the Dolphins have come together as a family with no egos to worry about. When you get guys to believe in the system and to fight for one another, you'll win a lot of games. Gase is doing just that.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill won't draw comparisons to Tom Brady, whose New England Patriots are scheduled to take on the Dolphins this Sunday. But Tannehill is now playing at an elite level. He's said that sitting out last year because of a knee injury allowed him to better understand what Gase wants to accomplish.
Gase made a bold move sticking with Tannehill. The Dolphins had the chance to draft Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson or could have signed Miami native and former high-school football hero Teddy Bridgewater to excite the fan base.
Gase has also stuck by Kenny Stills, the Dolphins' wide receiver who continues to kneel during the National Anthem. Despite the controversy, Stills is a helluva player who has three touchdown passes in the past three games. He's also out there in the community helping people.
Tannehill, Stills, and all of their teammates are not celebrity players. There are no divas on this blue-collar team. In fact, the Miami Hurricanes get more attention than the Dolphins. Local football fans know most of the guys playing for the U, but it's not like that with the Fins.
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Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. On paper, they are a Super Bowl team with a Hall of Fame-ready quarterback and Pro Bowl wide receivers. Yet the Steelers began the season falling on their asses before getting their first win against Tampa Bay.
The Patriots were also pegged for another Super Bowl run because of Brady and celebrity head coach Bill Belichick. People forget the Patriots have been so successful because Belichick surrounds Brady with no-name players who are hungry to prove they have a champion's pedigree. Now the Patriots have turned into divas and gone Hollywood, which is causing their empire to crumble.
Of course, the critics are saying the Dolphins are winning only because the team runs trick plays. When you look at the team stats, there is no way Miami should have started the season 3-0.
But it doesn't matter. As the legendary owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, once said: Just win, baby.