I almost never place any wagers on sporting events, for the same reason that I never, ever buy lottery tickets, because if I’m going to put my money on something, I want to be sure that I can win.
However, there are exceptions to almost everything, and in early 2003, in the days leading up to the Bucs-Raiders Super Bowl, I noticed a rather strange, although not entirely unexpected, phenomenon taking place. Almost everyone — including the Las Vegas bookmakers — was sure that the Oakland Raiders were going to win. Indeed, Oakland was favored by four points. The one thing that jumped out at me from media outlets and various conversations I had with other football fans, was that seemingly everyone wanted to view the game through the wide-angle lens of history. The Raiders had already played in four Super Bowls to that point, winning three, while the Buccaneers had seldom even qualified for the postseason, and their all-time W-L record was horribly lopsided with losses. In short, the public at large believed that the Raiders’ rich history of winning would eclipse the Buccaneers’ collection of young, highly talented players that they’d been able to acquire as a result of years’ worth of high draft picks. Sounds eerily similar to another team from Florida that we know of, doesn’t it?
Worse still was the fact that so many folks who believed the Raiders would win forgot one of the most important rules in sports: that in a championship game or series, great defense will almost always beat great offense. The two teams that met at Qualcomm Stadium in late January 2003 had the top-ranked offense and top-ranked defense, respectively; I’ll leave it to you to guess which was which. Anyway, the Bucs won big and so did I, which brings us to the current incarnation of the Miami Dolphins, and the fans’ collective perception of it. Far too many Dolphin fans are seemingly uncomfortable feeling optimistic about their team’s prospects in the years ahead because they’ve been burned too many times in the past. And I understand where they’re coming from. After all, if we ended up being disappointed when Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban, Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin, and Adam Gase were here, then this regime and roster will probably bring us nothing but mediocrity as well, right? Just as we tend to lump the current Dolphins’ team in with other Dolphin teams, that have disappointed us in the past, from an emotional standpoint, we seem to also seem to want to lump the current team in with the overall times we’ve been in for the past thirteen or fourteen months. After all, if everything else we’ve experienced over the past year or so has been bad, including Covid, a bad economy, weather, etc, then this team and this front office are probably bad, too, right? Call it a double-barreled dose of negative thinking that’s been fueled largely by emotion and fear; It’s been so long since we were happy that we’ve either forgotten how to do it or are afraid to try.
All of which brings us to one Derrick DeShaun Watson. I believe that the only way anyone could think that Watson could or should end up in a Dolphins uniform as if they don’t trust the team to make the right picks in the draft, or sign the right free agents this year and next. Let’s set aside Miami’s current quarterback situation for a moment, and pretend that they have some generic equivalent of the 16th ranked QB in the league, right in the middle, a nameless, faceless entity who is an average QB in the league, rather than near the top or near the bottom. Even if that were the case, you’d still almost have to believe that good things were on the horizon for this team, yet many fans clearly still don’t. Again, I believe that this is largely a visceral, gut reaction, rather than one based on the team’s players and coaches and the resources they have available. In sum, if you even remotely trust the process, there’s hardly any conceivable way that we can connect the dots to DeShaun Watson being acquired. Remember, history has no bearing on the current state of the team, or the next few seasons, even if our hearts are telling us otherwise.
Perhaps the best thing to come out of the Watson soap opera thus far is that he has publicly proclaimed the Miami Dolphins as an up-and-coming team that he thinks would be a good destination to go to. That Watson would arrive at such a conclusion cannot be based solely on the social justice angle, and while there’s certainly nothing wrong with social justice, the Dolphins, like their AFC East counterparts from New England, aren’t generally inclined to go out of their way to acquire players who have the potential to be any kind of distraction, no matter how noble a cause it might be. The idea that Miami should, essentially trade places with another NFL team, simply because player ‘A’ is probably an upgrade over player ‘B’, when we’ve only seen player ‘B’ for nine games, with no training camp, three rookies starting on the offensive line, and with many more good offensive players soon to be around him, is fool’s gold, or, if you like, pessimist’s platinum.
Finally, I want to tell you about a guy whom, although I disagree with him on one particular issue, I have nothing but praise for everything else he’s contributed to this site, which is considerable. Panther Paw and I have disagreed about the Dolphins’ situation at quarterback, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s because of guys exactly like him that I’ve learned more about football in the past seven years than I did in twenty years before that. On top of that, he seems to be a pretty tough guy. I’ve hammered him about being in ‘group number four’ previously, and he didn’t even blink. It didn’t faze him one bit. He was like, ‘Yeah, okay, whatever. It’s just conjecture’, etc. That’s my kind of guy, and his mock drafts and the work he’s done on players in this draft have been great, in my opinion. Don’t ever think I don’t like you, just because you don’t like Tagovailoa. I may not like the fact that you don’t like him, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you. ’The Paw’ also brought to our attention a good looking safety named Paris Ford, so accordingly, this week’s track is dedicated to Panther Paw, and the player he told us about: Paris