Time Machine Of This AFC East Team Has Intriguing Seasons From 2018 Until Now

June 14, 2022

Time Machine: 2018

The Miami Dolphins were already eliminated from the playoffs when Tom Brady and the Patriots were scheduled for week 14 in 2018. From Dolphins fans’ perspective, things looked bleak as they usually did when we got to that time of the year. The game was lost but we got a small ray of light as the miracle in Miami occurred. We squeaked past the Patriots and won what has been our Super Bowl for years, playing the Patriots in Miami.

Dolphins fans saw the team finish the year losing the last three games. The future of our Dolphins looked bleak. We knew we were letting our quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, go. We needed a new head coach and didn’t have much talent outside of a few outliers like Xavien Howard and Laremy Tunsil.

Time Machine: 2019

The 2019 season arrived in Miami with another head coach, Brian Flores. The former defensive assistant for the New England Patriots, Flores, was a disciple of Bill Belichick. Everyone familiar with the NFL knew the history of Bill’s disciples and for most of them, it hasn’t been great.

But we were optimistic as fans. Even though we were skeptical, we saw Flores as the Dolphins chosen one to bring balance to the division. To make matters worse, we traded one of the few great pieces of talent we had. Laremy Tunsil was traded to the Houston Texans for three draft picks and two players.

We were ready for the worst season the Dolphins would ever have in recent memory…or so we thought. With career journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick coming to Miami, it was clear we had a place holder who was the fill in until we found our guy. At that point we all suspected what we thought Miami’s intentions were, Tank for Tua.

The year began with a demolition by the Ravens and the Patriots. We believed the tank job was in full swing. As the team collapsed, first round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick, didn’t want to participate in the rebuild and demanded a trade. The Dolphins traded him for a first, fifth, and sixth round draft pick. We knew things were going to get worse before getting better. On November 16th our clear draft target at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa sustained a major injury that dislocated his hip and fractured his posterior wall.

After Tua’s injury, question marks were evident as to who would be the franchise quarterback for the Dolphins in the draft. In week 17, the Dolphins miraculously (as we always seem to do) beat the Patriots at the end of the year once again, giving us our Super Bowl.

We hoped for the best and prepared for what we’ve been waiting two years for, the 2020 draft. Everyone knew that Joe Burrow was going to the Bengals. Would the Dolphins sway on the side of caution because of Tua’s injured hip and go with Justin Herbert? The vast majority of the fan base still wanted Tua, regardless of the injury. We knew Tua saved his Alabama team by helping win a National Championship after replacing Jalen Hurts in the third quarter. Tua seemed like the obvious choice.

Time Machine: 2020

We powered through the draft, taking three first round picks and Tua was our guy, shattered hip or not. It was clear we had another year of tanking ahead of us, knowing that Tua needed time to recover, and could not possibly be 100% going into the 2020 season. We also knew we still had four picks in the first two rounds for the next draft.

The excitement started to grow as our terrible tanking team in 2019 showed a high amount of promise. They weren’t nearly as bad as we assumed they would be. Ryan Fitzpatrick was also excited to teach our young up and coming quarterback the ropes.

We started the season losing our first three out of four games. We played the lowly Jets in week six, blowing them out, up 24-0 with 2 minutes left in the game. The time came to throw the kid out there. We assumed this was for Tua to get playing experience with a big lead with no possibility of him starting the next game. We were wrong.

Flores wanted to know what he could do regardless how ready he was physically or mentally. That is where the fan base began to turn on Flores in my eyes. The Dolphins won the next week against the Los Angeles Rams with Tua behind center.

In week eight, Tua had the greatest game of his career against the Arizona Cardinals, with a Dolphins victory of 34-31. The fan base was delirious with joy, thinking we finally found our quarterback. Unfortunately, the Dolphins ended the season getting blown out by the juggernaut of the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills.

However, the Dolphins finished the season with a shocking record of 10-6 in what was considered a rebuild year. We were way ahead of schedule at this point. What was even better was the Texans collapse, which led to us having the third overall pick in the 2021 draft. We once again gathered our excitement and prepared for another massive draft in Miami Dolphins history and possibly the greatest draft the franchise has ever had.

Time Machine: 2021

The Dolphins had their quarterback and had a solid defense. It was clear they needed to give Tua some weapons and get the best players available in other positions. Juggling picks around with the Eagles and 49ers, the Dolphins ending up getting the sixth overall pick.

It was clear we were taking one of the three elite wide receivers in Jaylen Waddle, Devonte Smith, or Ja’marr Chase. We knew at least one of those guys were going to be there at six and the Dolphins could build the offense how they needed. We took Waddle, got the best edge rusher in the draft in Jaelen Philips, and took safety Jevon Holland in the second round.

The fan base was clamoring for the season to start, and we were assured a playoff berth at that point, or so we thought. The season had been a microcosm of emotions the Dolphins experienced over the entire process. It was everything from the emotional high of beating the Patriots week one to the emotional low of watching Tua being destroyed by the rivaled Bills because of an inept offensive line.

Then, the emotional high returned, watching the Dolphins go on a seven-game win streak. But then the high went back down, watching Tua’s worst game of his short career against the Titans in a must win week 17 match up. Things were even bumpier mid-season, hearing rumors that the Dolphins were interested in Deshaun Watson while in the middle of a sexual misconduct scandal.

The entire fan base of the Dolphins was splintered. Half of the fanbase wanted Watson and half of the fanbase wanted to remain with Tua. To make things even more decisive as the season ended, we heard stories that the head coach of our team refused to communicate with our coordinators. We also heard that Flores was the force in attempting to get Watson, meaning he was finished trying to work with Tua. Things got ugly on a team that had a lot of talent. But Flores got the boot, and it became clear we were sticking with Tua. We also needed a head coach that wanted to work with Tua.

It appeared the stars finally aligned when they hired Mike McSwag, I mean Mike McDaniel, as the new head coach after he immediately contacted Tua and told him directly he was going to get the most out of him. The Dolphins hired a coach who finally wanted to support the kid instead of tossing him over the next bridge available for another guy.

On March 23rd, we did what was seen as unthinkable at the time and acquired the greatest weapon in the NFL in the form of Tyreek Hill. This was it. This was what the Dolphins fans had been waiting for since the day Tua was drafted, a team loaded with talent and endless amounts of speed in the form of Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Raheem Mostert. Plus, the Dolphins signed the highest graded offensive lineman in free agency in Terron Armstead. Excitement for this team has never been higher and this is the most talented roster easily since the Marino era, possibly even before that.

This is the year. We may not like specific people on this roster but we as Dolphin fans should be excited. If you’re not excited at this point to quote Mike McD… Check. Your. Pulse.