How the Hell Did this Become the Most Important Game of the Season?

28 Sep

Perusing our schedule during preseason it was hard to glance at our silly jaunt to jolly ol’ England as a season-defining, must win trip. But you know what? We’re there, folks.

The stench of last year’s Sparano-esque losing of the team has returned. Joe Philbin spent the last week engaged in some bizarre game of no-confidence in Ryan Tannehill. No disrespect to the intricacies of coaching, but who among us doesn’t know several fellow fans who could serve as Offensive Coordinator for an Aaron Rodgers offense and look pretty competent doing so? But hey, Stephen Ross’ reputation precedes him, and with a laughing stock front office we’ll be shopping in the coaching candidate bargain bin for the foreseeable future.

But we digress. The season is still young, but not that young (if we may borrow from THE WEDDING CRASHERS). Does this team look like it has “the stuff” to take on San Diego and Pittsburgh (or Cincy) for a wild card? Whatever blip of spark we witnessed in week one has faded, and now this feels like a team in danger of collapse. Of course, Philbin presided over a collapse last year, with the playoffs on the line and two losing teams on the schedule. True to form, this led Ross to double-down on Philbin. This may have, as it did with Sparano, doomed us to a lost season. Unless…

Yes, there is an unless. The men in that locker room could do it for each other. They could look one another in the eye and refuse to lay down. They could use the adversity as fuel, and in a weird way, win in spite of their coach? Sounds ridiculous, but if a coach has lost the team (the signs are there, people) that may be the only scenario by which the SoFlo Sea Mammals don’t go belly up this year.

A loss to the hapless Oakland Raiders could set the tone. It could signal the end of the Philbin Era, and a painful repeat of the Sparano “bonus year” mistake. It could serve as another sign that the Dan Marino hangover will continue. Green Bay, Chicago, San Diego and Detroit loom in our next five contests, and to head into that string with a loss against the Raiders would be disheartening.

Or, today’s game could be another flicker of hope, a game that says, “We may be adrift, but we’re not Raiders bad.” From there we’ll still face that gauntlet of touch matchups. But being .500 heading into the bye, considering what we’ve been through already, and that 3 out of the 4 teams we’ve faced were in the playoffs last year? Hell, we’d take it.

Are we going to fight, or are we going to let the wheels come off? Strangely the fate of this year’s team may be decided in week four, across the pond. We’re certain Joe Philbin is preparing a rousing speech on his trusty cue cards. I mean really, Joe?

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

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