Tanny goes deep in the 2013 season!

I love my Dolphins and I tell it like I see it.
I tell it like I see it.

Grimes returns INT 94 yards for TD 10-31-13 vs Cincy

1-1-12 JT leaves field for final time a 19-17 winner over hated Jets Coach Shula, Don Stock, Dan Marino--one of my favorite pictures ever! Zach Thomas--all-out--an all-time favorite!
******My journal is below.  It contains my periodic thoughts on the Dolphins beginning on July 30, 2001 (bottom of page), and goes through the present.*******
Monday, December 11, 2017  1:49 PM
It is prep time and I find myself thinking about tonight's game.  I am SUPER PUMPED!!!  I can't wait to see the field and the uniforms for the first time.  It truly is one of the most beautiful things in the world that I can see--so many great memories attached to the old look.  I still wish Mr. Ross would make a change back to the original uniforms.   Anyway, regarding the game tonight, New England enters the game with a 10-2 record.  The Dolphins, at 5-7, are 11-point underdogs.  I truly have a good feeling in my heart--it comes to me based on what players have said, last week's performance, hope and, of course, some history thrown in there.  Who can forget the 2004 MNF game when the Dolphins took out Brady and the Patriots by one point, 29-28?  How about the 1980 game when the Dolphins, also underdogs back then, managed to score a 16-13 overtime victory on MNF over New England.  I feel like Kenyan Drake might just bust out tonight.  The biggest area of concern is at linebacker for me--will Kiko and Company make some game-changing plays?  Patriot receivers cannot be allowed to run free like they did two weeks ago.  I'm really hoping that the crowd makes an impact.  Lucky are those who are on vacation in Miami and get to attend the game tonight.  They need to get fired up, be loud and be heard.
I will be watching this game by my lonely tonight.  Alex finishes with finals at SDSU on Wednesday.  We will be in touch.
My prediction: DOLPHINS 25, New England 20.  Ohhhhhhhhhhh, how happy I would be if the Dolphins can find a way to win tonight!!!  I can't imagine the rest of the week.  Sure, the Dolphins are undermanned, but it's time to pull out their very best effort of the season.  I want this game on DVD to enjoy for years to come.  Please, Miami Dolphins, find a way to play your best football!!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, December 12, 2017) 7:52 P.M.:  The glow in my heart continues to shine brightly!  Yes, I am as happy as I had anticipated I would be given the Dolphins win.  An impressive 27-20 victory on MNF sporting their throwback uniforms against a 10-2 rival—does it get much better?  Certainly not!  I watched that game alone in my living room last night and had the time of my life.  The highs I feel are indescribable.  Jay Cutler was one of the keys; his decision-making and desire drove the Dolphins up and down the field against a defense that had yielded an average of just 11 points in Weeks 5-11.  The Dolphins very easily could’ve had 34 points, but a perfectly thrown ball by Jay Cutler was dropped in full stride by Jakeem Grant.  Speaking of Grant, he was like many other Dolphins in that he had the best game of his season.  The way he jumped up to grab a ball for a touchdown showed his athleticism.  He provided a spark early in the game by a catch and run for a nice gain.  But, the offensive MVP might’ve been Kenyan Drake.  It was made clear last night that Kenyan has the talent to be a big-time player.  Gone is Jay Ajayi…and, as much as I liked Jay, I don’t miss him.  If Coach Gase didn’t want him, then I’m fine with that.  Kenyan has decent hands, but his main strength is running the ball with decisiveness.  He will throw in a quick juke or spin and then…catch him if you can.  Juice Landry was, as usual, fully charged.  He is so fun to watch!  If he has the ball on the five yard line and it’s number 14 and one other defender, there ain’t no doubt that it’s going to be six points for the Dolphins.  He inspires me--BE GREAT!!  The offensive line, so different than just two years ago when the Dolphins hosted the Giants on MNF, did it’s job to provide Cutler time and open holes for Kenyan.  Oh, Mike Pouncey had another holding penalty, but there was such good play otherwise that they—Tunsil, Larsen, Pouncey, Davis, Young—deserve a lot of credit for the win.  On defense, how can I not mention Xavien Howard first?  He made the first key play of the game by picking off Brady on NE’s first drive.  Xavien came up with another interception on an athletic leap, thus giving him four interceptions in the last two games.  The defensive front was HUGE.  Ndumakong Suh dominated.  Jordan Phillips took over.  The edges provided heat.  Alonso and Timmons made enough plays, while Chase Allen continues to achieve.  Matt Haack and Cody Parkey continued their excellence.  Coach Gase came up with some different things for this game; he didn’t try to make the things that didn’t work two weeks ago work.  He said he dug into some plays that were run earlier in the season and may have been forgotten about.  Anyway, to make it clear, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  HAPPY and PROUD!!!!!  I love those Dolphins and have no problem proclaiming it!!!  I am 47 years old and it still never gets old.  LOVE IT!!  Suddenly, the Dolphins are back in the race for a playoff berth…and that’s all I can ask for.  The upcoming game at Buffalo, possibly in the snow, is now much more important than one would’ve thought two weeks ago.  FINS UP!!!

Friday, December 1, 2017  3:08 PM
While my homeroom plays a game to close out the week, I find myself getting fired up about the Dolphins' chances on Sunday.  Oh, how I could use a win, the first since October 22 against the Wets.  It seems like forever since the Dolphins won, and I need that winning feeling back in my heart more than anything.  At 4-7, the home Dolphins are underdogs against the 3-8 Broncos.  WOW!!  Clearly no respect for the Dolphins.  I certainly understand as it has been downright ugly at times.  The Dolphins have done little to excite their fans.  After such a promising season a year ago, this seems like such a deep, dark hole. 
I have $73.06 bet on the Dolphins with students and Mr. Olson.  They took the Broncos.  The money will go to Penny Wars, a fundraiser for the less fortunate during the holidays.
My score prediction: Dolphins 30, Denver 13
FINS UP ALWAYS!!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 3, 2017) 8:49 P.M.:  So HAPPY for Dolphin fans! It took a long time to get another win after beating the NYJ on October 22.  I can now set up the Christmas tree in my classroom--always a good time! I was really curious to sSee how Kenyan Drake would come out.  Well, he clearly might be the real deal.  He can juke, has speed, breaks tackles, and is injury-free.  I really liked everything I saw in him this afternoon.  However, I was not impress with Devante Parker.  He is much too quiet.  When passes do go to him, it seems the ball often gets intercepted.  He had opportunities to make plays today, but no balls were caught by #11.  Disappointing.   A guy who had a large impact was Jordan Phillips.  He stuffed the middle and played with passion.  ‘Twas so nice to see Xavien Howard get a pick-six and found a way to get a second interception.  Bobby McCain’s confidence is gaining.  Andre Branch, mostly quiet this year after signing a big contract, was in on a few plays.  The Dolphins had two safeties and an interception return for a touchdown—that hadn’t been accomplished since 1961!  Also, the Dolphins came up with an onside kick.  A fantastic day for Alex and me all the way around!  Oh, and the aqua end zones are always a hit!! It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins play next Monday night versus New England.  Today seemed to be a confidence builder, and you know the guys will want to beat the best.  I know this—I am fired up and this week will be a breeze.  FINS WIN!!

Friday, November 24, 2017  9:10 PM
The Dolphins are a large underdog at New England on Sunday...like 17.5 points.  I understand why.  NE is on a long winning streak, while the Dolphins have lost four straight.  The Dolphins announced today that Jay Cutler is out for Sunday; that means the gamer Matt Moore gets the start.  I now believe that the Cutler era must end.  I was patient and had an open mind.  Finally, too many different things pointed toward the reality that his playing career must be done.  He doesn't have "it."  And, while Moore Magic is capable, he is no Ryan Tannehill.  Tanny is needed to return in order for this thing to work.  It just so happens that many on this crew might not be around for the '18 campaign.
I will watch this game on Sunday with SupNef. What more can I hope for than the Dolphins? I want to see the Dolphins play with passion and lay it all on the line--no reason to hold back.  I want them to create some momentum for next month's game in Kansas City.  I do NOT want to drive all the way down there and return on Christmas Eve having seen the Dolphins play a flat game.  No, I want this team going all-out, playing like their lives depend upon playing well.  Oh, I get that this is "just" a game, but I feel like they get paid to put everything they have into the game. 
Score prediction for Sunday: Dolphins 20, New England 19.  When the DOlphins last won in Foxboro (2008), it was a total surprise victory.  This one would be, too.  Gotta put my FAITH in the FINS and see what happens.  Like Darren Rizzi said, the Russians were supposed to beat the Americans in hockey, too.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 26, 2017) 7:35 P.M.:  The Dolphins were outplayed, outcoached, out everythinged today.  Tough to watch. Sad.  It sure ain't the 80s and 90s anymore.  New England is a machine and it's a matter of waiting it out.  Things will change.  In the meantime, I await answers. 

Why is it that the Dolphins cannot convert a 3rd and 1 by running the ball while the opponent can easily convert a 3rd and 3 by running the ball?  Why can opposing blitzers get open lanes to the Dolphin quarterback?  Why would the Dolphins not go for it on 4th and an inch from their own 34 when the game was on the line?  So many questions.  No answers to be had.  I feel helpless. I just want to drown myself in the 1982 season.  There is a full week to dwell on the fact that the Dolphins are no longer “In the hunt” for the playoffs.  At 4-7, some fans are doubting whether the Dolphins will win another game this season.  After such a great ride last year, this makes it doubly tough to swallow.  I guess I just have to control my own destiny.  By the way, if you’re a present or former Dolphins fan living in the Pierre area, please shoot me a text this week at 467-3365.  Thank you!

Sunday, November 19, 2017  8:38 AM
A HUGE day at The Joe today as the 4-5 Dolphins take on the 3-6 Bucs.  A chance to get to .500 today!  In front of the home crowd.  Relatively healthy.  Guys needing to prove that they belong.  It's all there.  A day after the Dolphins promptly released Rey Maualuga for a battery charge the previous night, these Dolphins have it all right in front of them.  The entire AFC is struggliing with the exception of a few teams.  It's a battle royal for that last Wild Card spot.
I will be without Alex C for a fpourth consecutive week as he is returning from watching Notre Dame's 24-17 win over Navy yesterday.  It's certainly not as fun to watch a game without him. Going into this game, I am 0-4 without him watching the Dolphins this year, while I am 4-1 with him.  Definitely want and need him back!
I've been feeling slightly down over these past three weeks due to the dismal performances.  I need this one.  The Bucs are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, a guy the Dolphins have seen with the Wets and Ills a number of times.  He started his first game last week and didn't fare so well.  I would think the Dolphins are just plain irate and will lay the smackdown today on their in-state rivals.
I am going to predict a FIN WIN by a score of 26-7.  I had a dream two nights ago; the Dolphins were hosting Detroit and it was close until late in the game when the Lions failed on a fourth down conversion.  I see the Bucs filling in for those Lions in the dream.  26-7 sounds about right for this one (Vegas has it at a pick 'em).  FINS UP!!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 19, 2017) 9:53 P.M.:  The nightmare continues. Losing to a weak Tampa Bay team says it all.  The Dolphins had four turnovers (3 picks by Cutler and a fumble by Landry).  The 17 penalties was one shy of a team record set in 2005.  Undisciplined.  The players just aren't there.  The defense seems slow.  No sacks.  Fitzpatrick ate the Dolphin D alive.  This was hard to watch.  Some people will blame it on the officials.  Not me.  This game was lost because the Dolphins don't have as good of players as the Buccaneers do right now.  Shameful.  I don't want to think about this one anymore.  Day ruiner.

Monday, November 13, 2017  1:48 PM
It is NOT just another day--of course, that means the Dolphins must be playing...and they do...Monday Night Football!!  This doesn't happen every year.  Monday Night Football---WOW!!!  What a a gift this could be if the Dolphins find a way to pull this one out!  It won't be easy tonight--on the road versus a good Panthers team (6-3).  Jay Cutler--gotta remain poised.  Gotta get the run game going.  Tackle.  It'll be great to have TJ McDonald in the secondary, his first game as a Dolphin after an 8-game suspension.  There has to be hope that the Dolphins now have one of the best safety tandems in the league.  This is the third consecutive primetime game for the Dolphins...and I'd like to think they can get one win out of the three!
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Carolina 23  Do I really believe this can happen?  YES!!  No doubt about it.  For one thing, this is the NFL. Anything can happen.  Also, the Dolphins have many talented players--a couple of them need to go off and play the game of their lives.  Cam is also capable of stinking things up--gotta pressure him and contain him.  If they can win this one, there is a good chance the Dolphins can get to 6-4.  That could propel them right into the playoffs.  It's all for the taking!
UPDATE (Tuesday, November 14, 2017) 7:11 P.M.:  A nightmare of a three-game stretch has mercifully come to an end.  It has been embarrassing and ugly and bitter and disappointing.  It takes the greatness out of life.  It makes me feel blah.  Yet, despite all of the negatives, I still feel like there are numerous positives that arise.  I feel like this all might be a necessary step in the process.  Not all is lost.  The good times shall return.  The Dolphins have lowly Tampa Bay coming to town in five days--that's reason for optimism.  A 5-5 record could be theirs if they go to work.  I won't give up my faith in the Fins.  I'm ready for another game.  It's time to rid my mouth of this bad taste. 

Monday, November 6, 2017  8:24 PM
Six years ago on this date, the Ogdahls, Alex and I were in Kansas City to watch the winless Dolphins (0-7 at the time) pummel a pretty good Chiefs team, 31-3.  It was an absolute blast as everything came together.  Next month, Bolt, Tallhead, SupNef, and I will make our way to KC...and I hope the Dolphins are up for another extraordinary performance.
Last night in JRS, the Dolphins played okay and lost.  It wasn't good enough against a game Raider team.  The Dolphins were called for holding often and those drives died.  The 27-24 loss has put the Dolphins at 4-4.  They'd need to finish 6-2 to match last season's 10-6 record.  Not gonna be easy!  I was impressed with Jay Cut.  He was confident and threw accurately.  He did a nice job of buying time in the pocket and guys got open for him.  Devante Parker returned and bolstered the receiving corps.  Juice played with 110 percent intensity as usual.  Nothing from Carroo.  Both Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams performed admirably.  I like what they gave going!  As for the defense, they are up and down.  They need to figure out what they can do really well and bring that game consistently.  They did put the Dolphins in position to win, but the offense couldn't take full advantage.
How do I take a loss like last night?  Very disappointed.  Takes the energy out of me.  Life isn't as I'd like it.  Cloudy.  Try not to think of it often.  Try to think of whatever else--like getting MYSELF better.
Now the Dolphins are 0-2 in primetime.  They need to get something done next Monday night.  I look forward to seeing an all-out effort.  If the Dolphins can find a way to get that one, they will likely improve to 6-4 by beating Tampa Bay the following week.  There is a chance!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017  7:40 AM
Jay Ajayi is no longer a Dolphin.  I found that out via Marshall V. in Period 2 yesterday.  I thought he was kidding.  My response was, "We don't joke around about that type of stuff in this classroom."  Turned out he was right.  I was bummed.  I thought of the signed picture that Matt L. gave me of Jay23.  I thought of the orange 23 jersey that I bought for Alex.  I thought, "What are the Dolphins going to do now...with Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams.  Can they handle the grind?"  I guess we will find out come Sunday night against hated Oakland.  I trust Adam Gase.  Obviously, there had to be some tension between Coach and Jay.  Coach G will be there for a long time--he's got to go with whatever he's most comfortable with.  He said there would be changes and he hinted that he wasn't happy with some of the best players.  He said that there would be changes...and he wasn't kidding.  Good luck to Jay--I wish him well.  He provided us Dolfans with many wonderful moments last season.  What a run he had--3 200-yard games.  Are you kidding me???  Best wishes in Philly, 23!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017  1:40 PM
Just clearing my mind before Day 2 of parent-teacher conferences begins...and writing a few thoughts about the Dolphins is a great way to do it!  The 4-2 Dolphins are probably on a plane right now en route to Baltimore for their Thursday night battle against the 3-4 Ravens.  Do the Ravens need this game?  Absolutely.  Throw out the records--this one won't be easy, especially with a short week, the game being on the road and, perhaps most importantly, all of the injuries on the Dolphins.  Guys like D. Parker, L. Tunsil, A. Branch, A. Steen, M. Pouncey, X. Howard and Jay Cutler (out) are hurting to some degree.  So, there are plenty of Dolphins that will be thrown into the pit and must rise to the occasion.  Last year, the Ravens beat down the Dolphins as badly as I've seen in several years.  It was pure domination by the Ravens in Baltimore.  Well, it's a different season and many things change.  Joe Flacco isn't having his best year.  He does like the screen pass and that's an area where the Dolphins have been especially vulnerable.  The strong defense must set the tone, and I'd like to think the offense, now led by serious gun-slingin' Matt Moore, has the confidence to put 24 or more points on the board.  Running the football will be key--grind out yards, score points, and keep the defense off of the field. 
Oh, what a great feeling it would be to improve to 5-2 and have a Sunday off!  It sounds almost too good to be true...but these Dolphins have surprised me much more than a win tomorrow night would.  The character on this team is special.  Like Coach Gase said, "these are some different cats."
I'm still on a high from Sunday.  I think about the great win often.  To trail like they did for the hometown fans and then find a way to battle back and win was a tremendous accomplishment.  So, with no school on Friday, I have the chance of living through a great, great Dolphins victory and feel that I'm the luckiest fan in the world.
My early prediction: Dolphins 26, Ravens 19.
Thursday, October 26, 2017  2:19 PM
One more class for the week--homeroom! I've got it made!  Today is gameday and I'm thrilled.  The weather has turned very cold and windy.  I will take leaves to Kevin's pasture, lift at Unity, and then go home for a night of Dolphin enjoyment.  A Casey's pizza might be a possibility.  So fortunate to love a team with this much heart and grit.  It's the Dolphins against the world tonight.  Flacco is 5-0 all-time against the Dolphins...so what at fantastic win this would be.  Headed to SF tomorrow to paint Perrion's garage...and the pure delight of a win dancing in my head would make the job sooooo much easier.  FINS UP!!!
UPDATE (Friday, October 27, 2017) 8:33 A.M.:  I woke up to a wintry day--some snow on the ground and a cold, gusty wind.  This came after a mostly sleppless night.  Last night's loss has left me a bit numb.  I can't think of a better descriptive term right now.  I do know that the Dolphins are not as bad as they showed last night.  It was just one of those nights when everything went wrong.  THere was a variety of things that broke down.  It'd be best if I blocked it all out of my mind, took a step back, churned out some painting in SF today with Scott and with Alex tomorrow, and allow the Dolphins to regroup and prepare for the Raiders next Sunday night.

Saturday, October 21, 2017  11:33 A.M.
The AWESOME 3-2 Miami Dolphins host the ugly 3-3 NYJ team tomorrow in Miami.  I can't wait for this one!  After the Wets manhandled the Dolphins in NY in Week 3, one team has undergone a lot of change...and that team is the Dolphins.  Confidence.  Points scored.  A defense that is suddenly being regarded as one of the best in the league.  The Dolphins and their fans are now riding high.  After five games a year ago, the Dolphins were just 1-4.  Being 3-2 puts the Dolphins in good shape; a 4-2 record really brings in the hope for another playoff run!
Of course, the Wets are the Wets.  They can be awful and then put forth their best effort simply because they are playing the Dolphins.  There could very well be some stress and tension tomorrow afternoon at Joe Robbie Stadium.  I am predicting a 27-10 FIN WIN, but I fully realize that it might not be that easy.
Jay23 is now running tough.  He did little against the Wets in NY because there was simply no blocking.  I know that changes tomorrow.  I believe Juice is now playing with a high level of confidence, and he will be sure to make a difference.  The defense seems to be composed of a bunch of hungry dogs.  Thinking about what they will do to the Wet offense tomorrow brings me high amounts of joy.
The trees are beautiful, the outdoor smell of the air is tremendous, the temps are cooling (after reaching 76 yesterday), and the only way I could get much happier is by seeing a dominant Dolphin performance along with SupNef in my living room tomorrow!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 22, 2017) 8:04 P.M.:  OHHHHH, BABY....AGAIN!!!!!!!  I witnessed complete and utter magnificence today with my SupNef.  We watched our Dolphins suffer through some bad times during the game.  Yet, we kept hope going...and the Dolphins responded big time in the fourth quarter.  Jay Cutler did fine in the first half.  One giveaway TD given to the Wets on a tipped pass/interception at the Dolphin 2 enabled the Wets to lead at halftime, 21-14.  Then, early in the second half, Jay Cut got hit hard...and he was out of the game.  It sounds like he cracked a couple of ribs and might be out 2-3 weeks.  Well, in comes the crowd favorite, Matt Moore, and he immediately whistles the Dolphins up and down the field.  Oh, he threw a pick (mostly because Anthony Fasano failed to look for the ball), but the plays he made, even under duress, were impressive.  How can't you love the gunslinger known as Matt Moore??? He made it happen.
Alex and I played catch on TT Field afterward.  Did that ever feel AWESOME!!!  Knowing the Dolphins are 4-2 and feeling good is such a great feeling for me.  Should I be this happy?  Probably not.    Watching a FIN WIN with Alex is tough to beat.  We saw so many great efforts.  Jarvis Landry needs to be signed.  He is ENERGY!  Matt coming in and getting the job done.  Bobby McCain and his late pick.  And, how about Cody Parkey?  He has been nothing but automatic!!
Yes, I am loving life! Bring on parent-teacher conferences! Bring on anything!  I am ready!!


Friday, October 13, 2017  11:22 A.M.
That's right--it's my lucky day!  Another Friday the 13th has arrived!  The 2-2 Dolphins are on the road this week to battle a well-rested, 3-1 team named the Atlanta Falcons.  The one loss to the Falcons suffered was at home to the Buffalo Bills.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins are coming off of a less-than-spectacular win against lowly Tennessee.  Jay Cutler got booed (to which Jarvis Landry spoke out on that happening this week and said he's embarrassed the Dolphin fans that did that).  The running game isn't even close to showing similarities to last year.  DeVante Parker is banged up (ankle) and may not play.  The defense has yielded the lowest number of points in the entire league, but look at who they have played.  I guess I'm just not sure what this Dolphins team is all about.  I do know that it won't be easy trying to win in Atlanta's new dome.  The Falcons are big favorites (12.5?).
I must predict a Dolphin win.  I cannot go against them.  Loyalty is me.  I pray they can find a way to sneak out a 22-21 win.  The Dolphins have had bigger upsets in their history.  If they can get the running game going, something that will burn the clock and keep the ball away from Matt Ryan & Co., the Dolphins' chances will greatly improve.  Alex will be home for the game...and I don't want it to be a depressive situation like we had when the Dolphins lost to the Wets and Aints in consecutive weeks.  It's a great time of the year (I'll be in Sioux Falls tonight through possibly Sunday morning) and I would LOVE to see the Dolphins improve to 3-2!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 15, 2017) 8:20 P.M.:  OHHHHH, BABY!!!! I returned from Sioux Falls early this morning (around 12:17 A.M.), and I wasn't sure that I wanted to leave Mack and Sam behind in favor of being home early for today's game in Atlanta.  In hindsight, things couldn't have gone any better!!  I had the perfect time in SF--even saw the Reidburns at STARZ last night--and then I got to have a BLAST with Alex as we watched the Dolphins rally.  This was the Dolphins' biggest comeback win since 2005 when Chris Chambers caught the game-winner versus Buffalo.  It was the Dolphins' largest deficit they were able to overcome on the road since November 27, 1994, when Danny Marino fake-spiked the Wets.  The Dolphins were the largest underdogs of the day at 14.5 points.  Atlanta was coming off its bye week.  Oh, and the Dolphins didn't have their big target named DeVante Parker, either.  But, Alex and I fought to the finish.  I had thought the pass was complete and the Dolphins were going to have to have a goal line stand.  Instead, ALex made some sort of noise that let me know that the Dolphins had picked off the ball.  Indeed, Reshad Jones had the ball and then ran out of bounds.  The Dolphins were going to win the game!!!  I felt that rush that I get with Dolphin victories.  Feels so goooood!!Players that stepped up to me were Jay Cutler (kept his poise, has been doubted, fans wanting Matt Moore to take over, etc), Jordan Phillips (returned for the first time in three weeks after injury), William Hayes, Lawrence Timmons, Kiko Alonso, Jay23, the entire offensive line, Jarvis14 (he provided the spark by his will to win, ran overl time to pick up valuable yardage), Coach Gase (keeping it all together, the "issue" with the offensive line coach on Monday,...)  I am just so p[roud of the Dolphins--never giving up when it would've been so easy to do.  That motivates me to push through another week of teaching.  I can do this!!
There is one thing that is very special to me about this game: the final score.  The Last time the Dolphins had beaten the Falcons in Atlanta was in 1980.  On that September 21 afternoon, I was with family in Webster, SD, visiting Ramona.  That is where I saw that the Dolphins had beaten the Falcons, 20-17.  It appeared in yellow on Ramona's living room TV screen.  So, this game immediately took me back to that great moment.  I will have to watch that game soon.  In that game, the Dolphins had trailed 17-3 before rallying for the 20-17 win.  A very, very special day to me, indeed!!!
In conclusion, I will keep it quiet all week (as I usually do) and will gladly talk about it should anyone bring it up.  The inner happiness will come through in different, subtle ways...and I'll enjoy every sweet feeling of success!


Sunday, October 8, 2017  7:59 P.M.
I had no pregame thoughts on here, so this is my "postgame update."  The Dolphins won today.  Hadn't happened in 21 days.  I needed this.  Fires me up.  2-2 now--needed it.  Last year at this point, the Dolphins were going nowhere with a 1-4 record after losing to Tennessee in Miami, 30-17.  I'll take 2-2, but 4-0 was expected.  This team has so much talent and I'm waiting to see it offensively.  Punter Matt Haack and many on the defense won today's UGLY game.  The Titans, thankfully, were without Marcus Mariota today; so, Matt Cassel started...and the Dolphin D ate him up.  They harassed him like no other QB so far this year.  Blitzes actually worked.  Cam and Andre Branch provided pressure on the edges.  Suh and Taylor and Godchaex stuffed the middle.  But, the player of the game on defense in my mind was Reshad Jones.  It was clearly his best game of this young season.  He picked up a fumble to end a drive....and then followed that with picking up another fumble that most players on the field was an incomplete pass.  He took the ball to the end zone and 60 seconds later the referee signaled touchdown.  Replays were not clear and so the call stood.  That was HUGE--it gave the Dolphins a 10-10 lead.
Jay Cutler was booed often; chants of "We want Moore" were frequent.  Gase said later that he makes the decision and isn't taking a poll.  He has lots of confidence in Cutler, while I'm beginning to wonder.  I know the offensive line isn't doing its job--Jay has very little time to pass--but there comes a point when another guy deserves a try.  Cutler was 5 of 11 in the first half for 21 yards and threw a laugher of a pass that was picked off.
Am I sky-high as I was three weeks ago after the road win against the Chargers?  No.  But, I'm not feeling that dreaded feeling of defeat.  This team has lots of talent and things can be corrected.  Last year, things were looking quite bleak and then, BOOM, things really took off.  I hope that history has a way of repeating itself.  I should note that Devante Parker has an MRI coming tomorrow on his ankle.  The Dolphins NEED him.  I pray for the best.
I was on the road from Friday night through this morning.  I was camping at Pickeral in Scott's awesome new camper.  It was hard to leave Mack this morning, but Rhianna and I left the campground around 10:30.  I got home for some pregame.  Alex couldn't make it back today, the first time since the Dolphins beat Arizona last year.  It's great to watch wins with him, but is upsetting to watch losses together as we both hate it.  The next time I watch a game with him, he will be 21.  So, this made for Alex's birthday win.  Happy Birthday, SupNef!!  Thanks for being one great nephew!!

Saturday, September 30, 2017  11:12 A.M.
A cloudy Saturday after a full homecoming week.  Chances of rain for the next several days.  October up next.  The Saints in London are up next.  Televised nationally on FOX beginning at 8:30 CST.  At 1-1, the Dolphins need this "home" game.  The Saints just impressed by whipping the Panthers in Carolina last Sunday, 34-13, while the Dolphins laid an egg in NY.  I continue to hate the feelings that a Dolphin loss put inside of me.  There is a sense of panic.  How could the Dolphins look so bad?  What is fundamentally different from last year?  Is Jay Cutler capable?  What happened to the offensive line against the so-called tanking Wets?  Does Adam Gase have his team?  Will the return of Lawrence Simmons make a difference?  Is there a key injury looming? 
So many questions. It's all about winning and that will put to rest many of the questions bouncing around in my head.  The key tomorrow is defense.  Drew Brees is elite.  He can make average players look like stars.  No missed assignments tomorrow by the Dolphin D will be mightily important.  The run game with Jay23 must get pumping down the tracks.  If he can't run, I'm not sure Cutler can be effective.
I know that Gase was ticked off about the performance last week.  Because of that, I am expecting one of the best efforts I've seen in years from the Dolphins.  All-out effort and doing whatever it takes to fly back to Miami a winner.  I can't wait--there won't be a problem to wake up tomorrow morning for pregame.
Prediction: DOLPHINS 29, New Orleans 20.
Not sure if Alex is coming home for the game--we suffered last Sunday--it was NO FUN.  If it's good luck to watch in different places, I'll go with the good luck.
UPDATE (Sunday, October 1, 2017) 9:17 P.M.:  This hurts. Was not any bit enjoyable watching today's mess of a game.  Zero points against what has to be one of the NFL's worst deffenses.  Are you kidding me???  Unlike many Dolphin fans, I refuse to blame Jay Cutler.  He hardly has any time to pass.  Jay23 hardly has any popen lanes to run.  And when something does go right, there is a flag.  SO VERY FRUSTRATING AND HATE TO THINK ABOUT IT.  But, I refuse to give up.  It has to get better!!

Friday, September 22, 2017  9:10 P.M.
It is rare that I get a Friday night off in the fall, but our high school officiating crew was not assigned a game for this week's action. That gives me a chance to post this entry...and not have to worry about it tomorrow during the College Football BBQ Bash at Kevin's, a day I always enjoy to the max.  The Dolphins are 1-0 and on the verge of making that 2-0 as they travel to the 0-2 New York Wets for a 12:00 kick.  It's another Dolphin Takeover for Dolfans at the Meadowlands.  I love it when Dolphin fans come together for the at Wets game, reserve an entire section, get their "Let's go Dolphins" chants going, and the Dolphins pummel the Wets.  Last year was pure and utter delight.  Who could forget Suh and Wake meeting at the quarterback??  I could watch that play a million times.  I must say I hate the Wets.  I can't imagine being a fan of theirs.  What a downer, season after season after season.  Oh, the Wets have beaten the Dolphins from time-to-time, but it's not even close--give me the Miami Dolphins.  The Wets have taken cheap shots and seem to be the annoying mosquito type.  Just go away!!  Well, the Dolphins are in position to dominate them in front of the obnoxious Wet crowd (that will be overrun by Dolfans).
Winning that game on the road in LA last week after going through everything they had to deal with shows the character of this Dolphin team.  They all believe in each other.  They believe they will win.  They believe in their coach.  There is a great thing going on with the Dolphins...and earlier this week Colin Cowherd went off about "nobody is noticing the Dolphins." 
Oh, the Dolphins are a little banged up--Jordan Phillips may not play, Jay23 is questionable along with Jarvis...--but they've got enough talent on this team to be successful against a rotten Wet team.
I am looking for a 31-17 win.  Sure, it'd be nice to win by 40, but the Dolphins don't need to do that.  I'll take a 14-point win and follow that up with a terrific week!
What does a Dolphin win do for me? LOTS!!  I rode that scooter to school with a huge smile on my face on Monday morning.  All things positive consume me.  And, here I am on a Friday night still glowing. 
I can hear the rain on the high school roof.  Time to finish up and make my way back to 909 S. Main.  It's going to be a wonderful weekend!!
Sunday, September 24, 2017  9:19 A.M.
METLIFE TAKEOVER!!  OUR DAY!!  GO DOLFANS!! I am thrilled for the many Dolfans congregating in NY for today's 1-0 Dolphins (-6) at 0-2 Wets game.  It is a soggy, cloudy morning in Milbank, a perfect day for watching the Dolphins approve to 2-0.  SupNef is home and will be over to 909 around 11:45 with some Chinese food.  Ahhhhhhhh, it doesn't get much better--love my NFL Dolphin Sundays like nobody else!!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, September 26, 2017) 10:01 P.M.:  I am still reeling from the extremely disappointing loss.  One touchdown scored? Are you kidding me?  This was supposed to be an easy win over a team in turmoil.  It looked as if the Dolphins were the team in turmoil.  There was no blocking.  Jay23 had no open lanes.  It took everything he had to get back to the line of scrimmage.  Jay Cutler had no time to throw.  The extra bodies the Jets would bring frequently were not picked up.  The Dolphins, meanwhile, got torched when blitzing...for the second straight week.  The receivers did a poor job of catching.  Tackling was bad.  Coverage was weak.  And it all reulted in a 1-1 record.  Next up: the Saints.  The Saints happen to have a lot better offense than the Jets.  This is a scary game.  However, I am expectin gthe Dolphins' best effort in recent memory.  Adam Gase said the offense played like (curud).  He said changes should be expected.  Well, the Dolphins did reinstate Lawrence Timmons today.  I would think that'll make a difference.  I'm curious to see what will happen.  The last time he seemed this upset, he sent guys like Billy Tunrner packing...and it resulted in wins.  It has been a tough week already.  I need a Dolphin win to make the first week in October a whole lot better!

Saturday, September 17, 2017  6:54 P.M.
Here I am in Milbank on a cool, cloudy Saturday, the eve of the Dolphins' 2017 season opener at the LA Chargers!  Such an exciting time!!  Super pumped to see my favorite team go out and play some football that counts for the first time since January 8 of this year.  This is the latest the Dolphins have opened a season since 1977 (I LOVE STATISTICAL THINGS LIKE THAT!!!).  The Chargers are coming off a decent performance at Denver on MNF; they lost by three, 24-21.  Defensive standout Melvin Ingram already said "None" when asked what part of Jay Cutler's game concerns him the most.  The Dolphins won the thriller in San Diego last year when Kiko took it to the house.
Quick ADD update on last Thursday's entry: it was ruled that the would-be TD by New England to take a 14-0 lead was dropped in the end zone...and the Chiefs proceeded to stop New England on downs inside the 20...and KC would eventually roll and take the game....YES!!!!  Thank you, Kansas City!!
Now, for the Dolphins tomorrow, Alex will be back for this late kick, a game that features the Chargers playing a home game back in Los Angeles for the first time in 56 years.  I look forward to seeing how Jay Cutler comes out.  He's done nothing but impress, and people continue to say that he's got more weapons at his fingertips than ever before.  He surely won't want to let his buddy Coach Gase down.  Suh, who will be playing before the smallest crowd since playing at Baylor, said the team needs to do something special for the people of Miami and Florida after Hurricane Irma went nuts.  As I was leaving school yesterday, I was notified that Jarvis Landry is listed as questionable (knee).  Don't like that one bit...but perhaps WR is one position that might be okay.  Jay has to have a huge game running behind the big boys.  Very few penalties.  I see a 27-20 Dolphins victory.  This is one of those winnable road games versus an AFC opponent that the Dolphins need to find a way to win.  I was just at Kevin's and saw Florida somehow fling a 67-yard pass on the last play of the game.  The pass was caught for a TD and Tennessee went down, 26-20.  I'll take a win in that same way.
I am hoping for a fun adventure in Gase's second year.  I look forward to going on vacation with Markus and then hitting up KC with SupNef, Bolt, and Tallhead.  Sure, there will be some down times...but those high times are gonna find nobody enjoying life more than me!! 
A few season projections that I sent RK this morning via Hotmail:

Season record: 10-6
Place in the AFC East: 1st (I gotta believe!!)
How many games will Cutler last: All 16

TD passes for Cutler: 28

Rushing yards for Ajayi: 1,384

What kind of year will Devante Parker have: Very good--1,200 yards and 9 TDs
How many points will the defense average giving up: 19
What will be their most impressive win of the season: at Kansas City on December 24
Tomorrow's game prediction at the LA Chargers:  Dolphins 27, Chargers 20
UPDATE (Monday, September 18, 2017) 12:12 P.M.:  A great week lies ahead as I've got that winning feeling in my heart!!! It was a fantastic finish at StubHub Stadium yesterday.  The debut of kicker Cody Parkey in a Dolphin uniform was, um, spectacular, stunning, impressive and game-winning!!  The Miami Dolphins showed grit.  To think the defense yielded just 17 points to Rhilip Rivers and Company is remarkable, especially after Lawrence Timmons left the team spinning (he was later found at LAX).  Jay Cutler seems to be having a blast and nobody is running harder than Jay23.  I just can't say it enough--I am so thankful for this exciting opening day victory!!  Dealing with Hurricane Irma and all its disruptions was anything but ideal...and yet the Dolphins now stand atop the AFC East all alone at 1-0!  The Coach Gase Effect is ON!!!  I should note that I brought the winning energy to all four of my morning classes--things run so much better!!  A FIN WIN elevates my mood to such a level that nothing bothers me.  All is well!  I can do anything.  And, I'll end with this: absolutely none of this "Dolphins win" stuff takes a very far backseat to the GOOD Lord.  I know what is MOST important.  Also, the health of my family and friends are way beyond any football game.  But, ohhhhhh what a feeling it is to see the Dolphins win a game of football with SupNef on a Sunday afternoon!!




Thursday, September 7, 2017  7:57 P.M.
Last Thursday at this time I was watching the Miami Dolphins live as they creamed the Vikings, 30-9.  I had a blast with Mark Ogdahl!  We were both impressed with US Bank Stadium--what a palace!!  Getting home just before 3:00 AM was well worth the trip. Right now I am watching the season opener and it ain't pretty--New England leads Kansas City 14-0 after two drives.   Blowout city!  Yesterday it was announced that the Dolphins' season opener was being pushed back to their bye week on November 19.  The Bucs happened to have the same bye week, so it seemingly all worked out.  Bummer.  Was excited to see the Dolphins open at home on Sunday but, instead, I'll probably see video of the devastating Category 4 hurricane (Irma) that will sweep through Florida over the weekend.  I pray to the GOOD Lord that the hurricane weakens considerably.  Without the Dolphins playing, I will make the most of it by staying in Sioux Falls and watching games with DP.  It's finally here--the NFL!!  What a fantastic time of the year!! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017  4:28 P.M.
Tonight, at 6:00, the Dolphins play in their most important preseason game of the year.  They are in Philadelphia--and have been all week to practice against the Eagles--and will give their starters some considerable playing time.  Jay Cutler--here we go.  Probably his last action of preseason.  I can't wait to see how the Dolphins stack up against a pretty good team.  The game will be aired on NFL Network; I'm hoping for very few look-ins to other games.  I want to see how this defense holds up against Carson Wentz.  Earlier in the week, it sounded like there was no pass rush.  I want to see if things improved.  I also look forward to watching the offensive line.  They are trying to figure things out as injuries have been all to frequent at that position.  Can Mike Pouncey hold up?
I'll enjoy this game on the second day of school.  It is going to be a beautiful evening outside, but I can't wait to stay in and cheer for the Dolphins.  Next week I'll be in Minneapolis at this time!!


Thursday, Thursday, August 17, 2017  4:56 P.M.
In just under an hour, the Jay Cutler game experience era begins.  I am excited.  I've heard nothing negative about him to this point.  I do know that he needs to stay healthy or else...  I think a fresh start and the fact that he's with his friend Coach Adam Gase again will mean a lot to him.  I can't wait to see what he does against those stubborn Ravens.
It has been a training camp from heck.  It seems that injuries have piled on like no other year I can remember.  Get through tonight, Dolphins, and continue to improve.  I know that New England is a team that experts claim improves with every passing game, and so must the Dolphins!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017  10:30 P.M.
I am walking out of Scott's house in Sioux Falls this morning.  My phone beeps.  I look at it.  It says that Tony Lippett suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.  Oh my gosh.  Are you kidding me???

 Sunday, August 13, 2017  2:27 P.M.
I ain't feeling good 'bout much.  Ajyai-concussion. T. Larsen-torn bicep. Tannehill-ACL. R. McMillan-ACL.  It seems that every practice and game results in rotten news.  Not fair....but that truly is the NFL.  The Dolphins beat a team I really, really don't like--Atlanta--on Friday night at The Joe.  23-20.  The WR depth is...WOW!!!  Stringfellow caught a 99-yard TD pass.  J. Grant making plays.  Other guys making tip-toe catches on the sideline.  DEEP!!  And that leads to another worry--the possible trade of Jarvis.  I DO NOT WANT TO SEE #14 GO, especially to hated Buffalo.  The Ills just sent Sammy Watkins packing.  YES!!!!  But, the many former Dolphin execs in the Ill front office might be conducive to taking the Juice from Miami.  NOOOOOOOOO!!!
I just don't know what to think.  I was so hopeful for this team and it is now taking a beating.  I guess I just have to hope that Coach Gase is handling everything as it should be.  Another game in four days--Cutler at the helm.  I'm excited...but bracing against injuries!!

Monday, August 7, 2017  9:04 P.M.
The Dolphins have signed Jay Cutler.  One year.  $10,000,000.  In Adam Gase I trust.  He worked with Jay in Chicago.  If Adam didn't feel comfortable about it, he wouldn't have pursued Jay so keenly.  I am relieved that Kaepernick wasn't signed--what a bunch of media hoopla that would've been.  With Cutler, sure, there is going to be plenty of talk....but it'll die down.  It is great that Cutler will have a full preseason to prepare.  He's got lots of weapons; he needs to figure out how he's going to use them.  I've heard that he knows Gase's playbook very well.  So, it's more about getting to know his new teammates and getting in football shape.
I'm excited--the first preseason game is Thursday against Atlanta.  Lots of guys fighting for spots.  This Dolphins team has a lot of talent--every preseason game will count!
Finally, I can't lie: I feel like I'm getting up off the floor after a six-count.  I loved Tanny--it hurts to know he won't play this season after all he did to return.  I want #17 back!!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017  7:21 P.M.
There is no doubt in my mind--the Miami Dolphins mean a great deal to me.  After a night of rain and deep sleep, I awoke to misting and pisting and a gloomy, cold day.  To follow suit, news of doom hit me: Ryan Tannehill went down in practice with a knee injury.  The reports on NFL Network and ESPN came in often.  I was on my phone with Twitter bringing me the latest all morning and into the afternoon.  I had to know about Tanny!  I love the guy.  He has never received the recognition/credit/respect he deserves and yet he lays low and does his thing.  No need for attention.  He's a family man, a really, really good guy.  Never any trouble with #17.  So, yes, I was and am concerned about Ryan the QB, but I am more concerned about Ryan the person.  I feel badly for him.  Everything seemed to be clicking.  He was just interviewed and had said his knee was a non-issue.  And then this.  It depressed me.  I wasn't hungry.  My productiveness was zero.  I could think of nothing else.  And this told me how much the Dolphins still mean to me.  I'm 46 and the Dolphins matter!
Well, late in the afternoon, it was reported that no structural damage was revealed in the MRI.  However, the doctors are meeting and trying to figure out the best course of action.  Is surgery required? Will he be a go in the season opener?  Will this last two months?  Is the season over with?  I'm hoping and praying it's the preseason that is the only pass, yet my gut tells me that this ain't gonna be good.  Chin up, Tanny!!  You are the quarterback I love having on my favorite football team.
Also, as if today couldn't have been more gloomy, it was a announced that Ted Larsen tore his biceps and will be gone for an extended time.  A starter, coaches were just raving about his ability.  Bummer.  Chin up, Ted!!
And, more importantly to me, Mom turned awkwardly and strained something in her knee.  She is limping around.  I'll pray for you, too, Mom!!
Headed to Mankato tomorrow for with some of the greatest friends a guy could have.  Can't wait.  Also can't wait for a positive update on Tanny!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017  11:40 P.M.
The Dolphins rookies and other young players already reported to Davie for camp.  Everyone will be there tomorrow for the first day of entire team camp.  BRING IT ON!!!  So excited to see what Coach Gase can do.  Players have been added (LB Lawrence Timmons) and some have been dropped (LB Jelani Jenkins) among many others.  How could a big fan not be pumped up for the upcoming season?  And, a very important part of that season--practice, evaluation of players, getting through healthy--begins tomorrow.  I am very much looking forward to camp updates!!
I've been trading DVDs this summer.  I really enjoyed watching the 2016 Dolphins video yearbook yesterday at noon with SupNef and Bolt.  What a season 2016 was!!!  (Note: the yearbook video was shown twice on NFL Network on July 22 and 23)  So, I've had Dolphin fever throughout...and so has Alex.  He'll love the Orange Rush jersey I got for him as a summer painting Dolphins fan bonus.  It's an Ajayi jersey and it is a beaut!  I claimed a Landry Orange Rush jersey--super sweet, too.  We love talking with Bolt about our trip to Kansas City for the Dolphins at Chiefs game on December 24.  It will be a magical time, indeed.
I must also mention Jason Taylor.  I can't wait for the induction ceremony.  Being there four years ago helps bring the experience to life.  There will, no doubt, be a ton of FIN FANS in the crowd.  JT deserves the glory!  Putting my JT Fathead on my classroom wall has to happen SOON!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017  7:31 P.M.
The draft ended yesterday.  I invested very little time into it again this year.  I just don't get into all of the speculation...and I don't watch college football closely enough to get to know more than a handful of specific players.  So, when I hear what the newest Dolphin draftees said and/or how they reacted upon getting drafted, that is all I need to know to rate this draft as successful.  The number one pick, Charles Harris, basically said he likes to go out and play ball.  He said he'll do whatever he's asked to do.  Can't wait to see him coming off the edge and leaving Brady in a pile of dirt.  Isaac Asiata, the Dolphins' fifth-round draft pick, hardly said anything as he got the call.  He cried.  That shows passion.  They say he's got a nasty streak.  I love it!!  And, to end the draft, the Dolphins took Virgina Tech's all-time leading receiver because he is smart and knows how to get open.  That is a Tanny kind of guy!!  From top to bottom, I trust in Gase and this draft.  I know that this draft will dictate how the Dolphins will be doing in years to come.  I'm plenty fired up--always an exciting time.  Time to start molding these guys and instilling that "Must win" mentality. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017  2:17 P.M.
Has it really been three months ago since I last made an entry on this page?  Why, yes.  Yes, it has.  Today is the day that the NFL releases the 2017 schedule and, as usual, I'm fired up to see how the schedule will play out for the Dolphins.  Who do they get to open with?  Will it be as difficult as last year in Seattle?  When will their trip to Kansas City take place?  I am hoping it works out for Alex as he's got a Notre Dame game to attend.  I sizzled in Kansas City September heat and froze there in December.  I also enjoyed a perfect-weather day in early November.  Perhaps the game will come in the "new" month of October.  How many Monday night games will the Dolphins get (I am guessing two)?  Will there be a Sunday nighter?  How about a Thanksgiving battle?  And, how will the Dolphins close out the season?  Will the hated Pastries make it a third consecutive year of traveling to Miami to close out a season?  So many questions will be answered in a few hours.
Alex will be in Brookings.  His Cavs play Indiana at 6:00.  I had contemplated driving down there to meet him at BWW but, with the playoff game going on, I figured I'd leave him in peace.  We will break down the schedule at a later time.  ((It is now 4:12 P.M. and to say I'm extremely excited is an understatement!))
UPDATE (Thursday, March 20, 2017) 9:47 P.M.:
 
Another schedule release has come and gone and this one is quite intriguing! Some of my favorite things about the schedule? Read this:

For the first time in 13 years, the Dolphins will have four prime-time games this season — two on Monday nights, one on Sunday night and one on Thursday night. Furthermore, the Dolphins are scheduled to have a first in franchise history with three consecutive night games — Thursday, Oct. 26 against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 5 against the Raiders, and Monday, Nov. 13 against the Carolina Panthers. The Dolphins have had back-to-back prime-time games 11 times through the years, the last time in 2013 when they faced Cincinnati on a Thursday night and Tampa Bay on a Monday night 11 days later. The Dolphins had two sets of consecutive night games in 2004, including one when a day game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was moved from the afternoon because of the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne. This will mark the first time the Dolphins end a season against Buffalo since 2001, although that game was the one postponed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The last season finale against Buffalo that was scheduled as such came in 1985 when the Dolphins won 28-0 at the Orange Bowl. The Dolphins’ road game at Buffalo will come Dec. 17, marking the second time in franchise history and the first since 1968 they face the same team twice in their final three games. The Dolphins faced the New York Jets on the road Dec. 1 that year and ended the season against them at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 15. The bye will come Nov. 19 in Week 11. That’s the latest bye the Dolphins have ever had, and only the third time the bye has come in November. It also happened in 2004 and 2007.  Between the two games against Buffalo, the Dolphins will play their final road game Dec. 24 at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins’ last December visit to Kansas City came in 2008 when they won 38-31 on their way to their AFC East title. That game was the coldest in franchise history, with a game-time temperature of 10 degrees.The thing that will have to be dealt with? Going to Kansas City on Christmas Eve for the 12:00 kick.  WOW!! Any date but that one.  Oh, well!  It will all be part of a special season.  All Dolfans have to be fired up for this next season.  There will be ups and downs and I can't wait to experience all of it!!

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2016  2:06 P.M.
Three minutes ago, while discussing some things with my boss, I turned to the right and saw this on the TV: "Broncos hire Vance Joseph as DC."  Yes, that hurts...but Adam Gase will figure things out.  No doubt about that.  I appreciate what Coach Joseph brought to the Dolphins--a man to respect--and of course I want him to succeed in Denver...but not too much.  The way I look at it is this: it's nice that teams are finding people talented enough to pursue on the Dolphins staff or team.  This is a NEW AGE of the MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017  10:32 P.M.
HERE WE ARE!  THIS IS ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS I LIVE FOR IN LIFE!!! Oh, don't take that wrongly--I care more about family and friends and humanity and the LOVING LORD than any Dolphin Super Bowl berth, but THIS IS HUGE FOR ME AND DOLFAN NATION!!!! T-minus 2 hours.  All I've heard about is the Steelers, Steelers, Steelers.  They won't allow Jay to do this.  They won't allow that.  The "Big Three" are together.  This defense is fired up.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  What that Steeler team is facing today is a Dolphins team with drive and desire.  This Dolphin team is tough.  Resilient.  Gritty.  Passionate.  I love the season they've had and I pray that they can keep it going!!!
Should the Dolphins fall, there is so much hope for the future.  With Adam Gase & Company, woahhhhhhhh, bring on next season already!!  Nothing can take away from all of the accomplishments of this season.  Overcoming doubts and injuries and a 1-4 start.  Personally, Alex and the Ogdahls and I going out to Los Angeles and watching live the Dolphins finding a way to beat the Rams late in the game was a lifetime highlight!!!
I'm just so happy and grateful inside.  What a GREAT opportunity!!!
I'm sticking with DOLPHINS 21, Pittsburgh 17.  I'm putting $13 on the Miami Dolphins.  LET'S GO!!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, January 8, 2017) 5:45 P.M.:  LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I AM SUPER PROUD TO BE A DIEHARD FAN OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS.  LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I AM SUPER DUPER PROUD OF THE DOLPHINS' 2016 SEASON!!  A first-year head coach that inherited a 6-10 team? Injuries like crazy to key starters at key positions.  Try starters like Mike Puncey, Reshad Jones, Isa Abdul Quddos, Koa Misi and, of course, the starting quarterback named RYAN TANNEHILL!! Do you want to know how many teams could overcome something like that?  There is NONE.  Not that many key starters. No way!!  Can't argue with me on that one.  These guys were all lost and the Dolphins had to literally sign people off the street (Bacarri Rambo).  Even Buffalo didn't want him.
There were so many reason to throw in the towel, yet there were ten (10) awesome wins!
So, hope fills me!!  I cannot wait until the schedule comes out! I cannot wait until the draft!  I cannot wait until the summer to relax and watch many of these great, great games.  I look forward to the preseason.  ANd, ohhhh, the opening day of 2017!  I have no feelings of loss.  I'm numb right now, but I don't feel the pain of a loss.  This season was a GIFT!!! And, boy, did they ever inspire me.  Did you see Matt Moore take that hit?  Well, he returned two plays later.  Love that guy--grit, toughness,, passion!!!

S
aturday, January 7, 2017  1:06 P.M.
Hard to imagine that tomorrow at this time, the Dolphins will be an hour into their PLAYOFF game in 10.5-favorite Pittsburgh.  How exciting!!  THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!  Just 12 of the Dolphins have any previous playoff experience, the least of any of the 12 teams that made the playoffs this year.  It'll be so good for them to walk out of the locker room and onto the grass in the cold weather, in a hostile environment, with thousands of Terrible Towels waving wildly in the snow.  The atmosphere will be electric and will hopefully launch them to new heights, win or lose.  The more I listen to the Dolphins, the more confident I feel.  Guys like Bobby McCain are saying, "I play for Cam Wake."  Jarvis Landry loves being doubted (what a cool guy by the way--he was interviewed by Jeff Darlington for ESPN the other day in a restaurant...the food comes out...and Jarvis takes Jeff's hand and says a quick prayer before the meal).  How couldn't anybody love Juice?!?!  And Coach Gase says, "We've got to go 1-0 this week."  He seems so experienced and poised.  So, knowing these Dolphins provides a sense of confidence.  Yet, on the flip side, everything the reporters say about Pittsburgh would have a guy thinking that the Steelers will run away with this game.  "They finally have the 'Big Three' playing together."  "They are healthy now."  "The defense has vowed to prevent Jay from doing much."  Etc., etc., etc.  And it's the biggest spread of the weekend.
I worked at school last night and then decorated the house with some of the best Dolphin stuff I have.  Never too early to get set up!!  Will do more today and tomorrow morning.  Plan to wake up around 8:00, shower, put on most of my gameday wear, and then settle in comfortably for this first playoff game since 2008.  Man, have I ever waited for this day!!!  It sounds like older brother Kevin will come and join us.  Alex and I will do what we always do--hope and cheer and hope and cheer.  Not a lot of negativity coming from us!
To win this game, the Dolphins obviously have to be able to run the ball.  The pass will set that up.  I would hope that Jarvis would demand the ball and make play after play.  If Jay can get going, everything will take care of itself.  Big Ben will be on the field less and the defense will have a great chance to keep their wind.
Matt Moore will have to avoid any big mistakes--can't give anything to a home playoff team.  Gotta be able to pressure Big Ben, too.  Jordan Phillips must make a huge difference.  He's got it in him--just need to learn to play every play.  Oh, the Dolphin secondary is much different that the previous match-up in Week 6, but they still have some guys who are quite competent.
I hope to see some Dolphin fans in the crowd.  This game means a lot to all of Dolfan Nation.  They've got a ton of support...and some of it is coming from Milbank, SD!!

Friday, January 6, 2017  7:29 A.M.
We are just two days away from the MIAMI DOLPHINS in the PLAYOFFS!!!!  I got a great e-mail from RK last night--thanks, Ross!!  You have added to the excitement and I hope your throwback prediction of 17-16 is exactly correct....if my 21-17 prognostication isn't accurate.  The Dolphin players have the right mindset--"Us against the world"!  The Dolphins remain as 10-point underdogs, the widest spread of Wild Card weekend.  All of the Dolphin stuff will be set out.  My heart will be hoping.  My mind will be praying.  I will be loving every minute of it!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017  9:09 P.M.
The MIAMI DOLPHINS are in the PLAYOFFS, folks!!!!  I'm SO EXCITED!!!!  And, yes, it is a big deal!!!!  In fact, it's a bigger than HUGE deal!!!  If you don't know why, you need to take some time to research this 2016 Dolphins team; it's truly a remarkable story.  As each day passes, I feel like we are getting closer to a Dolphin playoff win on Sunday.  Cannot wait!!!


Sunday, January 1, 2017  11:09 A.M.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, DOLFANS!!!  What a finish to 2016--our Dolphins got hot and now find themselves in the playoffs!!! AND I'M LOVING IT!!!
At 10-5, am I satisfied?  YES!!!  Oh, I predicted a 10-6 Dolphin record and the greedy ways that make up a human being will overcome me as I watch the Dolphins, in their all-aqua uniforms, take on the 13-2 Pastries to end the regular season, but I must revert back to the last many weeks and my pride as a Dolphins fan.  This has been such a wonderful roll!  How could a guy beat last week--Christmas Eve--as I watched the Dolphins find a way to beat hated Buffalo in overtime...and then I rolled on to Sioux Falls where Samuel Gregory would be born?
So, I must remember the goodness and joy that these Dolphins have brought!!
The Dolphins have lost many key starters--Tanny, Reshad Jones, Mike Pouncey, and a host of others--yet they still play football with passion.  I have a ton of respect for the job Adam Gase has done.  The players have totally bought in to his high expectations and it shows in the "W" column.  Today won't be easy!  New England is a 7-point favorite.  However, I have to believe in my Dolphins.  I'm going with a 26-24 Dolphin victory today.  The all-aquas, the home fans, the grass, the history, the confidence, the need--I look for it all to come together today.  Matt Moore is a grateful man, and he knows that this is his chance to get THE RING.  Yes, THE RING!!  Give Jay the ball, pass whenever desired, and let the chips fall where they may.  I BELEIVE, I BELIEVE!!
UPDATE (Sunday, January 1, 2017) 3:44 P.M.:  Sure, this hurts.  I'm not a passive, wishy-washy fan.  A 35-14 loss to a divisional rival is gonna hurt.  However, knowing that there is a next week with everything on the line is one great feeling!  The sixth playoff spot?  Nobody can take that away.  What a regular season it has been!!  So proud, so happy!!  Alex and I now await the day and time of next week's Wild Card game at Pittsburgh, a team the Dolphins beat up at Joe Robbie Stadium this season.  No matter what happens in Pittsburgh, this season already has to be regarded as a success.  Ten wins!  This is a young team with a young coach.  Things are coming together! It is quite obvious that the Dolphins have to add some pieces to this team in order to compete with NE consistently.  I know that'll happen.
Hey, the Miami Dolphins are my team--I wouldn't want any other team!!
 
Saturday, December 31, 2016  11:12 P.M.
Inside the final 48 minutes of 2716, and I must say that 2016 has been the best year of my life...and not just because the MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!  That accomplishment has just made the year all that sweeter.  Family, friends, students, painting, weather, activities---so much good.  Important to thank the GOOD LORD often...and not only when things are going well.

Thursday, December 29, 2016  7:58 P.M.
The MIAMI DOLPHINS are going to the PLAYOFFS!!!  SCREAM IT!!!  I have been saying this to myself regularly throughout the day since Kansas City defeated Denver on Sunday night...and it FEELS SO GOOD!!!!  I loved what was said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" show this morning.  All four hosts were chiming in about the Dolphins and their fans.  They talked about how Twitter is FULL of Dolphins fans...and how nice they are....and how they've stuck with the team....and how they haven't complained about a lack of network attention on them (one of the hosts siad that if there's any team that hasn't received due attention, it's the Dolphins).  I'm just so proud to be a Dolphins fan and I can't thank Coach Adam Gase enough.  He came in and changed the culture.  The players love and respect him.  He cut Billy Turner, a number TWO draft pick out of NDSU a couple of years ago, and Dallas Thomas, a player that kept on getting chance after chance after chance.  Arian Foster, the starting running back in the opener, retires midway through the season.  The team begins 1-4, with the lone win coming against the Brownies.  Yet, the players continue to believe and grind.  ANd look what has happened!  Truly the best story in the NFL this season!!!  Yes, the MIAMI DOLPHINS are going to the PLAYOFFS and that makes me both PROUD and HAPPY!!!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016  10:53 A.M.
Ain't nobody HAPPIER than Greg Cantineeeeee----ohhhhhhhhhhh, Baby!!!!  Not only did the Dolphins win a thriller in Buffalo (thus leading to the firing of arrogant Rex Ryan), but I have a new nephew named Samuel Gregory!!!  CAN IT GET ANY BETTER?? I THINK NOT??  I love to keep things even keel--never too high or too low....but this is THE BEST, ladies and gentlemen!!!  Everything I touch seems to turn to gold--just sayin'...and may this entry serve as a reminder of the way it can be once things turn...and they will...because this is life.  A time to soak it all in and live it up!!!


Saturday, December 24, 2016  11:08 A.M.
The 9-5 Miami Dolphins can clinch a playoff berth by beating 7-7 Buffalo and a Denver loss at Kansas City tomorrow night.  Make no mistake about it, I want this win with all of my might and soul!!!  A lot has to do with the fact that I hate Buffalo, but more of it has to do with my wish for the organization and great Dolfans to be happy!  Owner Ross deserves it.  The coaches have to be regarded as some of the best in the league for they took a team with a 1-4 start and continued to put the players in a position to win.  Who woulda thunk that the Dolphins would have such a great opportunity on Christmas Eve?!?!  My season record prediction of 10-6 for the Dolphins might even be exceeded!  And, anybody who looks into the Dolphins would agree that these players have come together and play with a passion that most teams do not have.  There were two players chosen to the Pro Bowl--Wake and Suh--yet these players have come together to make this a PRO BOWL TEAM! 
What needs to happen today?  The Dolphin "D" is the key.  McCoy is having a great run and Tyrod Taylor makes plays.  The Dolphin defense must overpower the Buffalo offense and put the Matt Moore-led offense in nice scoring position.  The ball will need to bounce the Dolphins' way a few times, too, as it's never easy in Buffalo.  Would I rather have Tanny at QB?  Of course!  But, there is every reason to believe that Matt#8 can take the baton and win.  He's a gamer.  I love it!!
So, ALex will be showing up soon (leaving SIsseton a little early) and we will cheer like crazy.  The nerves will be going, no doubt.  A win would be a Christmas gift as nice as a FAN could get!  A loss?  Well, it would be important to remember to keep things in perspective.  The Dolphins have had a terrific season in Adam Gase's first year.  There is so much to be proud of.  Also, the Dolphins would still be in contention for a playoff berth.  But......the Dolphins will win today, 24-23!!!  I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!
UPDATE (Monday, December 26, 2016) 12:22 P.M.:
 
Here I sit in Sioux Falls on 84th Street next to my wonderful nephew Mack, a happy boy wearing his little orange Dolphins shirt.  Life cannot be much better!! Scott and Sara are at the hospital with the unnamed baby boy born on Christmas Day.  So exciting!!  This truly has been my favorite Christmas in my 46 years of life.  The Lord has blessed me beyond my expectations!  On top of it all, the Miami Dolphins are now in the playoffs!  They qualified as a result of their unbelievable, thrilling, heart-pumping victory over the hated Bills...and it was as close as my 24-23 prediction! It went to overtime.  Jay23 got the train going on a huge run, and Andrew Franks kicked the short FG for the WIN!!!! Yeah, Baby!!!!!!  Then, last night, the Chiefs beat Denver and that clinched the spot for the Dolphins.  I will be watching the Dolphins with Alex on either January 7 or 8 and I am elated!  It is now two days after the win in Buffalo and my thoughts go from the new baby to Mack to the Dolphins in the playoffs.  LIFE IS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!
The Dolphins showed so much heart and perseverance in Buffalo.  This is a true team.  They got off to a great start, and Buffalo stormed back to grab a lead with just over a minute remaining in the game.  I could hardly stand to watch a smiling Charles Clay as he talked to Tyrod Taylor on the sideline after Buffalo went up.  It hurt.  The Buffalo crowd was whooping it up.  But then Matt Moore & Co. went to town.  Matt Moore got the Dolphins a scoring attempt to possibly tie the game.  Andrew Franks had a 41-yard FG on the year, nothing longer.  His attempt from 55 came in the cold and in a wind.  He swung his leg and that ball carried low over the right crossbar.  I don't think I've ever seen Alex so happy!!!!  Former Dolphin Dan Carpenter showed why the Dolphins had to move on from him as he missed a couple of crucial field goals, one of them in overtime.  The Dolphins got the ball back at their own 15 with just over four minutes left in overtime.  That is when Jay23 scampered for his long run and the Dolphins were in business.  He accounted for 75 of the Dolphins' 77 yards on the winning drive.
I could write a book on these last few days--about Ryan "The Bolt" coming over late in the game (he was wearing his "N" shirt and Suh93 had a key play during his visit when he batted away a Tyrod Taylor pass on third down), about driving to Sioux Falls on Christmas Eve overcoming icy roads and fog, about Scott coming down into the basement and telling me that he was taking Sara to the hospital at 12:26 that night, about waking up on Christmas Day and finding out that Mack had a new baby brother, about watching Pittsburgh knocking Baltimore out of the playoffs (Yes!!) and then following Kansas City's win over Denver on the 45th anniversary of the longest game (the Dolphins beat the Chiefs in the 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game in double overtime).  So much to write about, but I want to play with Mack and head to Five Guys.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, for the people who don't like me nor the Dolphins, I'll say that you ain't winning this battle!  I'm on top of the world and I'm as grateful as anybody could ever be.  To watch the Dolphins win with SupaNef Alex was extra special.  Thank you, GOOD Jesus!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2016  2:45 P.M.
 I AM THRILLED TO BE A FAN OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!  I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!  Today is extra special as it's a DOUBLE BONUS!!!!  First, the Dolphins play tonight.  I love the idea of something different.  I can enjoy the Dolphins tonight and then pack in many different games tomorrow (and it's going to be a fun day to watch--lots of freezing temps, especially in Chicago).  It's awesome to have them on cable--I can DVR the game to convert at a later time if needed.  Knowing I don't have to wake up early to make it to school is another great thing about a Saturday night game.  the DOUBLE BONUS comes when I can connect it to history.  Saturday, December 18, 1982, was the last time that the Dolphins played the NY Wets on a Saturday.  It was in the Orange Bowl and Uwe Von Schamann kicked a 47-yard FG with seven seconds remaining to give the Dolphins a 20-19 win.  BEAUTIFUL!!!  And the highlights of the game that NFL Films made along with the narration of legendary John Facenda became a slice of heaven for me--whenever I think of that video I am instantly HAPPY!  I texted this out to a few buddies this morning regarding that game 34 years ago (almost to the day):
CHAPTER 1
Not that you care, but it was 12,418 days ago (34 years) that the Dolphins last played the Wets on a Saturday. It was Sat., Dec. 18, 1982, when Uwe Von Schamann kicked a 47-yard FG with 3 seconds left to win the game for the Dolphins, 20-19. The next day I got a Minneapolis Star Tribune as I would cut out every Dolphin newspaper clipping I could find. Sure enough, there was a picture of Uwe hugging the holder, Don Strock (still have the clipping!). Anyway, I watched the game alone from our living room floor. Opened a new box of Raisin Bran in the second half only to find a mini NFL poster of the NY Jets! After the win, I went out in the front yard in my Dolphins sweatshirt and pretended I was different Dolphin players as I threw the ball high in the air countless times, ran under it, and caught it for touchdowns. I remember hoping that every car that drove by saw me and my Dolphin sweatshirt.
Definitely a favorite memory of mine! 
CHAPTER 2
There is no second CHAPTER, thank God. 
FINS UP/ 🐬⬆️
Dolphins 24, NYJ 10?!?!
Talk soon!! 

Matt Moore gets the start tonight for the very, very tough champion Ryan Tannehill.  Matt hasn't played regularly since 2011.  He's kind of a gunslinger and I'm very much looking forward to the kind of game he brings tonight.  Knowing Adam Gase, there will be a plan in place that ensures Moore's success.  The running game will be huge.  Jay has to be fired up to play on Primetime TV, and I'd love to see Damien Williams make a difference tonight.  Special teams will be key, probably like it was when the teams met on November 6 at JRS.
Alex will be coming over tonight and we will hope for a 9-5 record that will boost the Dolphins into that sixth playoff spot should New England win at Denver tomorrow.  As Bill Polian said on NFL Live yesterday, nobody will want to play these Dolphins in the playoffs, especially if Ryan returns.
 Can't wait for tonight--Dolphins 24, NYJ 10 is my prediction.  This is FUN TO THE MAX!!!!
UPDATE (Saturday, December 17, 2016) 11:42P.M.:  9-5!!!!!!!!  WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! My bold prediction going into the game was that Matt Moore would throw three touchdown passes.  He threw four!!  What a night for Moore--a career high 4 TD passes for him.  That's how you make a return!  SO good to see Tanny on the sideline, too--always encouraging.  Was such a great day!  Got the old newspaper clippings out from 1982--not even yellowing!!!  Read about the Dolphins' win over the Wets in the OB on 12-18-82.  So much fun!  Made a couple of videos in the sweatshirt I wore back in sixth grade.  Watched some of the actual broadcast of NYJ at DOlphins in the OB in '82--Don Criqui called the game.  That is art!
So happy for Dolfan Nation!  Alex and I could hear the Dolfans chanting. The Metlifetakeover was a huge success, obviously.  Wish I coulda been there!! 
So many Dolphins had great games.  Suh was an absolute force.  Xavien Howard had a darn good game.  Cam Wake forced a fumble and had his first career interception.  Kiko blew up Forte on one play and was all over the field.  Tony Lippett had two picks.  Walt Aikens blocked a punt and then returned it for a TD.  By the way, right after it happended, I asked ALex when the last time the Dolphins had done that--blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown was.  He said it was Olivier Vernon in 2012...and he was right!!  Very impressive on his part!!  Jay kep running hard despite lots of Wets in the box.  Kenny Stills ripped it up.  Dion SIms playued like a man amoung boys.  Jarvis was Jarvis.  Devante Parker made some playes.  The line provided pretty good pass protection.
There is every reason to believe the DOlphins will go into Buffalo and earn another vicotry.  ALl I know is that this is a TON O' FUN!!  I am really, really enjoying this.  Pretty sure again--nobody is happier than Greg Cantine.  Nobody!!!
FINS UP

Sunday, December 11, 2016  11:23 A.M.
The Dolphins are wearing their white pants with aqua pants.  The end zones are painted beautifully again--aqua end zones.  In come the underrated (in my opinion) Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1).  The 7-5 Dolphins need this win to keep pace with the Denver Broncos.  Losing today means a painful reality check, one I thought had been dealt after the 1-4 beginning.  I'll never say never, but the door could be close to shut with a 7-6 record.  The Dolphins will be without Mike Pouncey again, and Kiko Alonso (hand, hamstring) is also out.  His replacement will be Mike Hull--I like his mentality and aggressiveness.  Perhaps this is the week he establishes himself as a really good NFL player.  I do know this: the Dolphins MUST come up with some turnovers today.  I really the think the Cardinals are a solid, confident team that could blast a team if there's any weakness.  Carson Palmer, David Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald.  Throw in Patrick Peterson and a host of others and it will not be easy in Joe Robbie Stadium today.  It sounds like there will be some rain and wind to contend with--maybe that's a good thing as you never want the opponent to come in and feel comfortable.  Sometimes I wonder if Miami is too enjoyable to play in--I'd love to get some Tandem Terror going on out on that field any day!
The Dolphins are 2-6 all-time on this date.  One of those two wins was an all-time favorite of mine--at San Diego in 2005.  The Dolphins were large underdogs and found a way to win, 23-21.  Arizona is favored by two in this Week 14 game.
I'll be without the presence of Alex today.  Hopefully, we can tell our own stories of this Sunday at a later time.  I'm going with the Dolphins, 20-17, while Alex predicted a 35-31 Dolphin win!

UPDATE (Sunday, December 11, 2016) 5:20 P.M.:
 
So many things to comment on.  Where do I begin? The Dolphins WON!!!!!!  VERY HAPPY!!!!!!!  The eighth win of the season....and combining that with the Denver loss today places the Dolphins back in the sixth spot for the playoffs.  Who woulda thunk??  This team has overcome so much--a 1-4 start was just one thing--and now they'll need to overcome the loss of Ryan Tannehill for the rest of the season (ACL).  How couldn't anyone not love Ryan Tannehill.  Doubted by so manyu--including yours truly early in the season--and yet he remained poised and confident and continued to WORK HARD!!  I have so much respect for people like him.  Inspiring to say the least!!  Always the professional.  I know he will be there with this team every step of the way.  He's a passionate leader.  LOVE HIM...and sending prayers, prayers, prayers.  So, the Dolphins have now lost their best defensive player in Reshad Jones and their best offensive player and leader in Ryan Tannehill.
Am I thrilled to see my favorite team in the playoff race??  OHHHHHHHH MY!!!! YES!!!!!!!  For anybody that would take the time to research what the Dolphins have been up against this season, they'd quickly learn that this is one remarkable football team.  I am thrilled with what Adam Gase has been able to do.  Yah, it's "just" football...but this Dolphins team inspires me to be great.  What a way to return to action after last week's performance in Baltimore.  Says a lot about the character of this team!
As for today, how about the blocked extra point by Jordan Phillips, picked up and returned for two points by special teams ace Walt Aikens?!?!?!?!?!  Every week, it seems, I remind Alex that it has been since 1971 ththe Dolphins returned a blocked FG for a touchdown.  Well, this is the next closest thing!  How about the play of Kenny Stills.  He grabbed his sixth TD of the season.  He also had the great catch to set up the game-winning field goal by Franks.  By the way, it was Franks' first game-winning FG attempt...and he's now 1-for-1.  How about the defense keeping the Cards at bay for most of the day?  Wake was a terror.  Jason Jones mixed it up.  Mike Hull, starting for ALonso, picked off a pass on the sixth play of the game.  Damien Williams ran hard as usual.  Dion Sims scored a touchdown.  Devante Parker gave a great block to allow Jarvis an easy first down.  The line opened some holes.  Tanny had good time.  Jay ran hard--breaking tackles like he's become accustomed to.  Just so happy for DOLFAN NATION!!!  Best fans in the world--meet some and you shall agree!!!!!
I could go on and on.  But, that is it for now.  Six days away from DOlphins at NYJ for another MetLife DOLFAN Takeover!!  SO hoping they go ways happy and doing the 9-5 chant!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016  9:59 A.M.
LOVE THIS POSSIBILITY: For the first time since I was an eighth grader (1985), the Miami Dolphins have put themselves in position to win seven games!!!!!!!  WOW!!!!!!!  It has been 31 years since they accomplished that feat, certainly not easy to do!!!!!!! To think it can happen today excites me beyond words.  Alex will be watching alongside me as the 7-4 Dolphins play at the 6-5 Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens have the NFL's number one rated defense.  Nothing comes easy against them.  Yet, with the talent and character currently on this Dolphin roster, there is every reason to believe that a seventh straight win will come.  And Milbank's own Travis L. will be there to see it!
I have never criticized anybody's way of showing fandom.  We all do things in our own unique ways.  My celebrations for these past six wins include wearing Dolphin ties to school, making my winning posters, thinking about the big plays, getting information on Twitter, buying some Dolphin stuff, converting TV coverage to DVD, and much, much more.  The best thing is that the sweet feeling of success dwells in my heart and in my spirit.  I am so excited, and I can only hope that other people have something to help escape reality from time-to-time and experience those high highs.
And, if things don't work out today, I can look back on this winning run with a great bunch of elation.  The Dolphins were 1-4 at one point, out of it and showing no signs of a turnaround.  Suddenly, Reshad Jones picks off Roethlisberger and the Dolphins have a spark.  They go on to beat Pittsburgh...and then Buffalo...and the Wets.....Chargers...Rams...and 49ers!  7-4 and now possess the sixth playoff spot if the season ended today!!
If the Dolphins can win today, they'll be my number--84! 
What do they need to do to win today?  The offense needs to score points.  Easier said than done.  Be patient with Jay.  He gets better as the day goes on.  Stay healthy--the o-line has been beaten up, but they are getting Tunsil and Albert back today.  The receivers need to create space for Tanny to get the ball in there.  Oh, the defense needs to look for like they did against SF in the first three quarters rather than the fourth quarter.  They have the desire and are gaining in confidence from week-to-week.
Bottom line: all one can hope for as a fan is that the Dolphins go out there and leave it all on the field.  This Dolphins team does that.  I am so thankful for Adam Gase--he is the PERFECT guy for this job.  I believe the Dolphins will get it done today by a score of 24-20.  Remember, I haven't picked against the Dolphins since a Monday night in 1983 in a game that was Dan Marino's first game.  That's not ever going to happen again!  FINS UP!!!

UPDATE (Sunday, December 4, 2016) 5:20 P.M.:
 
I get it.  I understand.  I had to think the Dolphins weren't going to win out, and maybe that makes this easier to bear.  The Ravens did whatever they wanted to do today.  Flacco had all the time he needed.  He threw a record number of completions (36) for himself.  The Dolphins never threatened.  The secondary was soft, extremely soft.  Raven wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs were wide open in the middle throughout the day.  The Dolphins were slipping all over the place. Tanny threw three interceptions.  Just a frustrating day.  Time to push this one aside and start thinking about the home game against Arizona. (9:35)--It's now just over six hours since the game has ended, and I'm trying to turn my focus toward the spectacular six-game win streak.  Gosh, that was a blast!!  The feeling on Sunday nights was one of better than satisfaction; I knew very well that the upcoming week was going to be mighty fine!  Tonight I feel the bitterness of a loss, something I have handled many times over many years.  I know that the good feeling can return in a few more days.  It's time to stay positive and thankful.  Hey, I went to Los Angeles and had a trip that many would go on and on and on and on about claiming to everyone that they had the best trip a person could ever have....and, on top of it, I got to see the Dolphins win with my nephew and two great friends.  So, there is no feeling sorry for self.  The first seven-game winning streak will have to come another year--next year sounds good to me.  The playoffs remain a decent possibility--get to control own destiny.  I really believe they'll find a way to get there.  As for now, bring on a full week of school action!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2016  9:55 P.M.
The Dolphins are in the midst of something special!  They have not won six straight games since 2005, my third year of teaching eighth grade.  That was a long, long time ago in many respects.  They also completed their fifth perfect November (4-0) in the team's 51-year history (1971, 1972, 1973, 2005).  That is quite the impressive feat!  Now, am I making the most of it?  DEFINITELY!!!  I think about the greatness all of them time.  I wake up thinking about it.  I check the Internet for news and updates.  Twitter is a great source of information for me.  I teach better with that winning spirit inside of me.  I don't let the little things that wear on a person get me down.  I stay healthy.  I order Dolphin stuff.  I write about them.  I make winning posters with gameday and home pictures.  I go all out to celebrate the winning performance of the Miami Dolphins!
Yet, I know things can change in a hurry.  Just look at the Vikings--they were 5-0 and the talk of the league.  Now look at them.  A playoff berth seems doubtful.  The Dolphins play at Baltimore this coming Sunday.  The Ravens have the top-rated defense in the NFL.  Points will come at a premium.  It's basically a playoff game.  There are road games against Buffalo and the Wets.  Never easy!!  The feeling I have now can easily be replaced by "What happened?"  Well, this much is true--I have taken advantage of this winning feeling in every possible way.  Going to LA to see the Dolphins win was priceless.  Coming up to school on a Sunday night after a big win was FUN (making the winning poster).  I have to look back on this time with nothing but gratitude.  Nobody can take six straight wins away from the Dolphins...or me!!!


Saturday, November 26, 2016  11:33 A.M.
THROWBACK SUNDAY!! It returns tomorrow as the 6-4 Miami Dolphins, winners of five straight, host the struggling 1-9 San Francisco 49ers.  Oh, it won't be easy.  Just when you think it's going to be a runaway game, things get tense and disappointment leaks in.  That is why I'm predicting a Dolphin victory of 28-24.  I think it'll go down to the wire.  The crowd should be loud--if South Florida isn't stoked for this one, they'll never be!  This kind of hot winning streak hasn't happened since 2008.  That's a long, long time ago when I really sit back and think about it.  That was way back in the Tony Sparano days.  Now, in the Adam Gase days, I am confident that this won't fall into the "trap game" category.  He will cover all of his bases.  Guys like Jarvis and Cameron Wake won't allow for a a weak performance.  There is too much character on this team...and too much confidence. 
To think the Dolphins have stormed all the way back to have the potential to be three games over .500 is ridiculously cool.  It has made October and November months of pure joy for me.  Though I'm now 46, the passion I have for the Miami Dolphins hasn't left me.  Oh, I don't know as much player-wise and statistic-wise as I used to in the past, but my love for the Dolphins continues.  Actually, Nephew Alex has taken over that role--he knows a bunch.  When it came to identifying the players coming in and out of the tunnel six days ago in the LA Coliseum, he really helped me out.  Was awesome!!  Anyway, perhaps I'm fooling myself, but I feel like I have to be one of the happiest guys on the face of this earth.  My life is kept extremely simple and the Dolphins are included in it.
Now, the Dolphins have some hurting offensive linemen.  Mike Pouncey is out and Brandon Albert is ailing (probably out).  Albert is having a great season, while Pouncey seems to have that injury bug.  Laramy Tunsil is questionable tomorrow, but reports indicate that he'll probably play.  Guys like Steen, Urbick, and Young stepped in last week and performed competently, and they might have to be ready to go against the 49ers.
I love what DaVante Parker is doing.  What a huge target!  He has the ability to go up and grab anything out of the air.  Jarvis is special.  Who plays harder than him?  And Kenny Stills is definitely a talent.  At tight end, Dion Sims is getting it done, while Dominique Jones and MarQuis Gray continue to impress when given the chance.  The Jay Train continues to roll.  If you haven't heard him speak, do a Youtube search.  You've got to love his accent and he's such a likeable guy!! To me, it appears that he's literally running downhill.  He almost seems to stumble ahead at times, but he has a way of keeping his feet.  It looks like he's having a blast.  He did have a tendency to get injured, but he has avoided that rep.  I pray that he continues to roll and that his sky-high confidence remains.
This team is having fun...and isn't that the key?  Fun will carry a guy over the rough spots, and there will be rough spots.  Every single team in the NFL faces adversity many times within a season.
As for going to the Super Bowl and winning it all this year, WHY NOT???  A confident team full of talent and desire is going to be a tough one to beat.  I am cognizant of the fact that this could end up being that special year where the Dolphins shock the world.  They control their own destiny.  That gets me fired up!!  So, bring on the 'Niners and bring on the throwback uniforms.  Tomorrow is gonna be a fun one!!
One more thing: a sixth grader named Anthony comes and visits my classroom everyday.  He told me he's a Dolphins fan and we have built a great rapport.  It is so fun to see his big smile on Mondays after another big Dolphin win.  I hope I see that same smile on Monday, November 28. :)
UPDATE (Sunday, November 27, 2016) 5:20 P.M.:
 
It went down to the final play of the game and the Dolphins found a way to get it done again!!  Today's escape makes it six FIN WINS in a row and I am flying high!!  Just love the feeling I get after a Dolphin victory.  The Dolphins were seven-point favorites and that's exactly where it ended up.  The 31-24 win puts the Dolphins in the playoffs if the season ended today!!  They did it without three of five missing starting offensive linemen.  I'd almost call this a double win in many ways.  Now, it's on to a tough Baltimore team.  We shall see how the Dolphins perform against a competitive AFC team on the road on the east coast.  I know the guys are having fun and would play it tomorrow if given the choice.  Just so, so happy, I am!! I will run up to school after meeting the new little puppy at the farm and make the winning poster that I enjoy so much.  It was an extra special treat to have Mack around here for the victory.  Win or lose, seeing that boy's face makes my day--better than any Dolphin win!!  So, I'll close out November and roll into December with a Dolphin win.  What a treat!!!

Wednesday, Novermber 23, 2016  8:39 A.M.
School is beginning one hour late today, so that gives me a bit of time to record some thoughts.  Looking back on the trip to California makes me wonder how things could go so well.  The Ogdahls, Alex, and I were able to see a last-second Dolphin victory (36 seconds to be exact!).  We ran into great people, very nice weather (even the rain at the game made it more awesome), and lots of money was saved (cancelled reservations at the VegaBond and opted for different hotels wherever we happened to be and saved tons).  It all seems to go so fast...and here I am back at school, a day after we had no school due to slippery conditions.  I found myself quite tired after returning the from the trip and to have the day off yesterday was truly a blessing.
I'm so proud of the Dolphins!  This five-game winning streak is JOY.  After the 1-4 start, I was down.  They weren't playing good football at all.  But, the offensive line got healthy and Jay23 seemed to be shot out of a cannon.  It was, however, no walk in the park in Los Angeles.  The Dolphins found themselves without Brandon Albert and Mike Pouncey going into the game and Laremy Tunsil suffered a shoulder injury and didn't make it to halftime.  Still, the Dolphins hung in there.  Things looked really bleak after the Rams took a 10-0 lead, but the Dolphins came storming back.  Led by Tanny, they moved right down the field twice, the second time providing the winning margin.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016  4:03 P.M.
I will be leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow morning.  I am quite excited to see the Dolphins play the Rams in the historic Los Angeles Coliseum!  Just yesterday, the Rams announced that they will start their rookie QB, Jared Goff, for the first time this season. I am licking my chops, and the Dolphins must be, too.  Oh, the NFL is a funny thing--there are no guarantees.  So, if the Dolphins don't pull it out after spending the entire week in California, I shouldn't go home surprised.  It is never easy to win a game on the road, and the Dolphins are a long way from home.
I'll be sporting an old white throwback jersey shirt--#89.  My Dolphin Zubaz will be in full and serious effect.  I can't wait to spend the day with Alex and the Ogdahls on this exciting adventure.  We are sky-diving on Friday--very, very nervous about that--and I hope it only gets better from there.  We plan to attend the USC at UCLA game on Saturday night; seeing a game in the Rose Bowl has always been a dream of mine.
It is now getting late (4:08).  Time to run!!


Sunday, November 13, 2016  4:39 P.M.
It is early in the second half.  The 4-4 Dolphins took their first lead at 14-10 just a bit ago.  Knew this wouldn't be easy.  Alex made it here--very cool!  Last game here until after Thanksgiving.  Go to LA next Sunday and we will be there.  As for today, there is a long way to go.  4-5 San Diego can play good football and this one is likely to go down to the wire.  FUN TIMES!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 13, 2016) 11:06 P.M.:
 
I LOVE IT!!! YES, I'M YELLING!!! I'M SCREAMING, TOO!!  AS THE OGDAHLS, ALEX, AND I PREPARE TO HEAD TO LOS ANGELES THIS THURSDAY, I CANNOT BE MORE  STOKED THAN I AM RIGHT NOW! I SAW PHILIP RIVERS MOCKING THE DOLPHINS' DEFENSE...AND THEY ENDED UP TAKING IT TO HIM!!!!  I LOVE BEING 5-4!!!!! FOUR STRAIGHT VICTORIES!!!!!  THIS TEAM IS HAVING FUN AND DOLFANS EVERYWHERE ARE LOVIN' EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!  This entry could be the longest one on this page, but I must be brief as we have inservice tomorrow.  Thank God we have no school--I have all of this Dolphin stuff to do!!!!  The Dolphins hadn't had a four-game winning streak since 2008 (5 straight to close the season) until today.  The secondary picked off Rivers twice in the fourth quarter.  Maxwell had his first as a Dolphin, while Tony Lippett had the first of his career (came in the end zone to stop a drive after Jakeem Grant had fumbled at his own seven) and his second sealed the game.  PERFECT!!!  Earl Mitchell returned to play for the first time since Week One at Seattle.  He made a difference.  He blew up a play where he pushed a Charger lineman into the running back for a four-yard loss.  Neville Hewitt played with energy all game long.  Tanny stood in the pocket and took on some big hits all for the good of the team.  Jay ran tough--didn't quit.  Damien made plays--two touchdowns.  The tight ends caught and blocked.  Jarvis was Jarvis.  Cam Wake came off the edge strongly and had two sacks.  Suh earned his pay.  Andre Branch was closing the pocket.  And Kiko Alonso read Rivers and picked him and took it 60 to the house for the game-winner!! Alllllllllright, Miami!!!!
Gots to plan what I'm taking to LA.  Can't wait to check out the LA Coliseum and see a team that is flying high right now!!  GO DOLPHINS!!!!  Thanks for making my birthday a special day to remember!!!


Saturday, November 5, 2016  9:22 P.M.
It was one of the most gorgeous November afternoons possible.  Warm.  Sunny.  Calm.  And our officiating crew was in Webster working a great football game between two undefeated teams vying for a berth in Vermillion next weekend.  I was nervous throughout the week and, now that it is over, I feel relieved and physically exhausted at the same time.  Knowing I get to watch the Dolphins run over the Wets tomorrow is a thought I find most delightful.  We set the clocks back an hours tonight and the extra sleep will be used to become fully ready for the Dolphins' last home game until November 27.
Jay Ajayi seems to be turning all kinds of heads in the media.  There was lots of coverage on his back-to-back 200+ yards achievement...and rightly so.  The talk continues.  Can he do it three times?  My guess is that he won't, and I believe Tanny will go off tomorrow.  It might very well be a field day for him as he will have time to set up and pass.  I know I predicted Tanny would have one of the best days of his career a few weeks ago and I was wrong.  But, I'm coming back with that same prediction this year.  After the Wets swept them last year, it's a chance to get that good feeling back. 
The Wets have had their share of controversy in the QB department.  Fitz was benched.  Geno got the call.  Geno tore his ACL.  Fitz is back.  And so is Brandon Marshall.  But, Decker is out for the season.  The bottom line: this is about the Dolphins, not the Wets.
The confident Dolphins will be the Wets 41-17 tomorrow.  This is a statement game.  A day to trounce the 3-5 Wets.  It will happen.  Jay will rush for 68 yards, but Tanny will pass for 430.  The defense will rise to the occasion in their second game without Reshad Jones.  Oh, how nice these last three weeks have been.  Last Sunday was rather blah without the Dolphihns to cheer for.  Tomorrow will be another heavenly kind of day!!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 6, 2016) 4:50 P.M.:
 
FINS WIN!!!!  If I thought my weekend couldn't get any better, it just did!!!!  Happy, happy, happy!!!!  This win makes three tough wins in a row and it shall propel me to yet another wonderful week of life and school!  This game showed the Dolphins' grit.  Perseverance.  It was a chance to show they were the Dolphins of last year or '04 or whatever.  Nope!  This team found a way to get it done.  Alex and I watched closely as the Dolphins played their fourth straight home game.  It was a game of twists and turns.  The Wets finally took another lead with just over five minutes remaining.  The Wets then kicked off and lil' Jakeem Grant wiggled and waggled his way back to the 20-yard line.  However, the Wets were called for offsides on the kickoff, and they had to do it again.  This time rookie Kenyan Drake took the kick and hit the crease quickly and took it to the house for the score!!  It was the Dolphins' first kickoff return for a TD since 11-15-92 when Mark and I were in Buffalo and saw Marcus Thigpen do it.  What timing today!  When the Dolphins really needed a play, Kenyan came through!
It was fun to watch Jay23 get the Train going again.  Sure, he struggled at times versus the NFL's number one ranked rushing defense.  But, patience paid off.  His first three carries of the game went for negative yardage, while his fourth run went for a 20-yard TD run.  And, at the end of the game, two big Jay runs sealed the victory!!  Oh, what a feeling!!
The weather is beautiful, the leaves are picked up, I leave for LA in 11 days, and the Miami Dolphins have improved to 4-4 after it looked hopeless.  YES!!!!!
Just want to say that I love what Cam91 did today--forced two fumbles.  The secondary found a way to hang in there.  Suh was a force.  Damien Williams had a huge run and a big catch.  Dominique Jones85 caught the ball well and scored a TD.  The offensive linemen continued to give Jay some creases.  Just an all-around team effort.  Gotta treasure these kinds of Sundays!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016  7:43 P.M.
My favorite month is now in session and, as I sit here in Room 84 at my teacher's desk, I am filled with joy.  Things are rolling almost as well as I could hope for.  After a 1-4 start, the Dolphins have beaten two quality teams to improve to 3-4.  They had their bye week this past Sunday, and I would hope that many of the guys are feeling good again.  Coming up next for yet another homestand is a team called the New York Jets.  Oh, they're the Jets and that always makes for a tight game.  Throw out the records.  To think that this is a game that could put the Dolphins at the .500 mark at the halfway point is really exciting!  A bitter division rival is coming to Miami and it's a chance to pounce.
Arian Foster retired last week.  That is fine by me.  Sure, he brought something to the team--taught the young guys how to be pros--but his retirement means an open roster spot.  It's time to start giving young guys opportunities to prove what they can show next year.
The confidence has to be high among the players and the fans.  I've been feeling great since that big win over Buffalo on October 23.  Though some would question my maturity, the last two wins put me in the "Very happy" category.  Life is better.  I'm more patient.  I sleep better.  Everything seems to work better.
I can't wait to see what Sunday brings.  Will Jay post his third straight 200+ yard rushing game?  The Jets have a good run defense, but Jay is proving that he has what it takes.  The linemen will have a whole lot to say about it!  As for now, I'm going to keep on being happy, working at school, and actually cheering for a baseball team called the Cubs!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016  10:20 A.M.
It is Week 7 in the NFL and it is THROWBACK SUNDAY!!  Coming to play in Miami is hated Buffalo, winners of four consecutive games and a team seeking their first five-game winning streak since 2004.  Oh, it won't be easy today.  Buffalo is a gritty team, hard-nosed, tough.  They will bring brute force and nastiness.  So will their fans.  On a day that the Dolphins will sport their latest throwback uniforms for the second time (lost to the NYG on MNF last December), I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see them come out with passion and confidence like they did last week against Pittsburgh.
I am hoping that the Dolphins gained plenty out of that domination last week--how to practice during the week, the benefits of film study, the best way to get the body ready for gameday, how to scheme, the mindset is takes to win, etc.  I pray it wasn't just a win that comes and goes.  It's time for things to start sticking.
The Dolphins announced on Wednesday that Reshad Jones will be out for the season (torn rotator cuff).  What a devastating blow!  To me, he had to be considered the best player on the team.  An all-out leader.  He'd put his body on the line.  Smart.  Intense.  Confident.  His absence will leave a huge hole.  But, just like winning teams do, the Dolphins will have to find a way to get it done.  The Vikings did that when they lost Tedy Bridgewater...and then AP.  Gee, even Buffalo was hit hard by a series of injuries before the season began.  They have battled back.  No excuses, Dolphins, just like Omar Kelly always says.
What to expect in the game?  Well, I've set yup the living room as well as I ever have.  Throwback stuff abounds.  It is a breezy 46 degrees outside.  The Sunday Ticket is ready to deliver.  Everything is set up to make this day one of the best!  A win over Buffalo improves the record to 3-4 and suddenly knocking on that .500 door gets fun.  It'd be a huge confidence booster to get it done today.  It's going to take running the football.  I hope Jay is ready.  No fumbling!  Tanny has to be careful with the football.  Buffalo is going to bring some heat.  Gotta go down when it makes sense.  As for the defense, they are the key.  They have to find ways to get off of the field.  Buffalo cannot be allowed to go on those loooong TD drives that seems to be a pattern against the Dolphins as of late.  Andrew Franks must make every field goal attempt, and Matt Darr needs to continue his excellence.
I have to believe the Dolphins will find a way.  Dolphins 23, Buffalo 17.  I can't wait to watch the game with Alex, an SDSU nephew coming home just for this game.  4-2 at 2-4.  By day's end, it's going to be a case of 4-3 and 3-4.
UPDATE (Sunday, October 23, 2016) 5:38 P.M.:
 
Oh, I've said this before, but I must say it again today: I HAVE TO BE THE HAPPIEST HUMAN IN THE WORLD!!!  Yes, some will be critical of that statement and say, "All because of a meaningless football game?"  Call it what you want, but there is no denying how I feel.  HAPPY, HAPPY!!!  The Miami Dolphins wore the most beautiful jerseys in the NFL.  They hosted a bitter rival named Buffalo, winners of four straight games.  The Dolphins rallied from a 17-6 second half deficit and pounded their way to a 28-25 victory!  And now I get to sit on this WIN for the next two weeks!!  When is the last time that happened??  I will soak in every sensational tidbit about the current state of the Dolphins.
Jay Ajayi went for another 200+ burger.  He became only the fourth player in NFL history to accomplish such a feat.  He joins OJ Simpson, Earl Campbell, and the Dolphins' very own Ricky Williams who have rushed for 200+ yards in back-to-back games.  The o-line opened things up for him.  And, there were times when Jay's desire saw him though.  He took a carry 62 yards from the Dolphins' own 2-yard line--that got the Dolphins out of some serious trouble. 
I noticed more pressure by the defense.  Kiko was coming hard.  The d-line really got after it.  Mario Williams had his best day as a Dolphin so far.  Maxwell played well again.  The loss of Reshad was hardly noticed.
The lone are to pick apart would have to be the penalties.  Way too many.  15-yarders.  The Dolphins gave Buffalo the last touchdown.  Don't like that!
I wore my throwback 84 jersey on this 48-degree day in Milbank.  Alex made it here.  Rhianna and Miranda stopped by with a sub for Alex.  Rachael came for a short visit, too.  It seems that Ashton provided some very good luck!
Now it's time to sit back and let the highlights flow.  I can't hear enough about how great the Miami Dolphins are!!  Thank you, Dolphins, for your awesome effort today!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016  8:23 P.M.
Didn't provide a pregame view largely because of the presence of Lil' Mack Cantine in town.  Also, have to admit, that thinking of the state of the Dolphins didn't bring positive thoughts.  Oh, I've been surprised by their performances before, including when they are a 7-point or greater underdog and then win outright, but the combo between Mack and the 1-4 record didn't make for much of an opportunity to get to school.  I didn't have the laptop home so that I could listen to the Dolphin Radio Network during the game, either.  Mack Cantine will ALWAYS come first!!
For the first time since Week 1, the Dolphins had their best five linemen on the field and starting.  That made a huge difference: Tanny was not sacked and Jay Ajayi ran for the fourth highest single-game total in Dolphins' history (Ricky Williams twice).  The holes were there and Jay seemed to lean forward and barrel down those open lanes for big gains, the last long run going 62 yards for the game-breaking touchdown!!
And so, the Miami Dolphins won, 30-15, before their home crowd!!  'Twas AWESOME!!!  I had predicted a 16-15 win before the game, while Alex also took the Dolphins, 30-28.  Well, he hit the Dolphins' score of 30 and I hit Pittsburgh's score of 15.  And a 2-4 record it is!!
Tanny was clutch.  They converted many third downs that had so often fallen incomplete this season.  The front line kept Pittsburgh defenders at bay for most of the game.  And, when they didn't (Mike Pouncey), Tanny would do something like roll to his left and go deep downfield to an open MarQueis Gray.  He was on.  He was confident.  He made key plays.  And the doubters will remain silent for a week.  Oh, he has earned the doubting, and I've been one of the people to question whether he's the long-term guy or not, but he performed admirably today.  Go #17!!  As for Jay23, he ran for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Pittsburgh's defense gave up the most yards in a game since their Week 15 of 2007 game.  Love it!!
The Dolphin defense was tough against the run and pretty tight in the air.  Byron Maxwell clearly had his best game as a Dolphin.  Reshad Jones made a very athletic interception.  He had been questionable for the game due to a sore groin.  Oh, boy, was it great to see him out there giving it his all!  Though the linebackers didn't make any game-changing plays, they were noticed.  Cam Wake brought good pressure from the edge, and Jordan Phillips was responsible for making Big Ben roll to his left and throw the pick to Reshad.  Also, Big Ben was hurt on the play and missed a series when Phillips tripped him a bit.  Isa Abdul-Quddus snared his second interception of the year.
One thing I would like to say is this: Mike Hull ran down on the opening kickoff, make a play, and looked jacked!!  I turned to my nephew and said, "That's what I wanna see from these guys--passion!"  Mike Hull, it was a little thing, but you were part of the great effort!
Overall, it was a great, great day to be a Dolphins fan!!  I am so glad that Alex drove from Brookings to watch this game with me (yes, he came just for the 1-4 Dolphins)!  We enjoyed a free pizza from Casey's after playing catch on a cloudy, windy, warm late afternoon. 
At 2-4, there is hope again in DolphinLand.  Perhaps Adam Gase found something that is going to work for the rest of the season.  He's young and needs time.  I love that he was able to lead his team against a team considered one of the best teams in the NFL.  This is definitely something to build on!  It's going to be a wonderful, feel-good week for Dolfans!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016  11:35 A.M.
Gotta be honest--I'm writing on hopeful and loyalty fumes.  Nothing can change my mind, so I'll stick with a BOLD prediction that Tanny will ball today.  He'll go off for 400+ yards of passing and multiple touchdown passes.  We found out that Tunsil was hurt this morning (ankle) and is inactive.  So, NDSU product Billy Turner will start for the first time in the NFL at the tackle position.  It'll be a makeshift o-line agaisnt a strong defensive line.  Needless tos ay, that spelsls lots of quick passes for Tanny and maybe some rollouts.  Gotta keep Tennessee off base.  How about a flea-flicker?  Who will step up on defense?  I'm not too concerned about Misi and Jenkins being out--not exactly playmakers.  So, Donald Butler and Neville Hewitt will start and get a chance to show they can produce.
Am I fully confident today?  Um, I'm feeling a sense of bravado.  It just feels down.
ONe thing I really want to see is passion--guys getting excited, whooping it up!  If I don't see that, there is a whole lotta culture change that needs to happen.
I left Sioux Falls this morning.  I did not want to leave a smiley little Mack.  But, ALex is here in Milbank and I'm on the same couch.  It's about time to sit back and watch the latest with the Dolphins unfold.
Dolphins 31, Tennessee 17.
UPDATE (Friday, October 14, 2016)  9:31 A.M.:  I am not in a good state.  The Dolphins are one weak football team.  I can't figure out exactly what is wrong with this Dolphins team.  They have many highly-paid "stars."  Are some satisfied with losing just so long as they're getting paid?  Is this a team filled with guys who aren't enjoying the game?  Is it bad luck?  Is it a matter of a new coaching staff that has yet to find its groove?  Are they lacking a "mature" leader?
I don't know, but it sure is frustrating.  Alex and I sit before the TV each Sunday and don't enjoy it.  It's discouraging.  The defense gets pushed around.  The offense provides some sparks of hope, and then it dies.  The lone win this season came against the winless Browns...in Miami...and it took overtime to do it.
Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, and Isaiah Peed were all cut on Alex's birthday.  Thanks for nothing, guys.  Jamil Douglas was also released; I'm hoping he doesn't return.
The entire culture of the team needs to change. 
For the first time, Alex told me that Tanny might not be the guy.  That's saying something.
We have purchased our plane and game tickets for the Dolphins at Rams game on November 20.  If the Dolphins only win one more game this season, I pray that it's that game!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016  9:07 P.M.
Tomorrow night at this time Alex and I will be cheering on the Dolphins at STARZ in Sioux Falls with a cast of others.  Should be one fantastic time!  Younger brother Scott is a Bengals fan and we saw this match-up coming a long time ago.  We decided we'd shoot for a night of football, friends and eating.  It sounds like he reserved a table for ten and we'll have the volume going--a key for Alex and me.
Alex and I are hoping that the Dolphins can find a way to win on the road, their third away game out of four.  Three years ago, Cam Wake pummeled Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety in overtime for a dramatic Dolphin victory on Halloween night.  Oh, we'd take that again!  (By the way, Dalton clearly blew off Tannehill after the game and I haven't forgotten that.)
It'll be an entirely different atmosphere than what Alex and I are used to.  For 95% of Dolphin games, Alex and I are home on the couch with the TV right in front of us.  I sit on the left side and write notes of the game during commercials.  I also play the Dolphins Radio Network from time-to-time.  Alex sits on the right and uses his phone during breaks.  He finds things out on Twitter and adds that to the enjoyment.  Tomorrow night, however, there will be no notes, no FLIP camera, no quiet moments.  And it'll be a late-night return to our respective cities.
I'm hoping Tanny can go off before a national audience.  He has shown signs of taking over, yet he has had his bad moments that make every Dolfan wonder whether or not he's the long-term answer.  The offensive line is a bit banged up, so that presents another challenge.  Another position that has taken a hit is linebacker.  Maybe it's Neville Hewitt's time to make an impression.  Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi (neck) are likely out.
The guy we can definitely count on is Reshad Jones.  Talk about an all-out player!!  He seems to use every bit of energy he can to help the Dolphins win.  That sounds pretty cliche, I know, but that is exactly what this guy does.  Pedal to metal.  Everything he's got!
As for a final score, I'm looking at a 20-19 game.  The Dolphins will find a way to kick a late field goal and that'll send the hometown fans away disappointed.  The last time the Dolphins were in Cincinnati, Gaard, Scott, and I were there to see the underdog Dolphins win, 17-13.  History has a way of repeating itself.
One really great part of tonight is being able to see Nephew Mack!  I love him so much!!  Let's say things don't turn out well for the Dolphins tonight.  I still got to see Mack and that's a great, beautiful, blessed day!!!  LOVE YOU, MACKSTER!!!
UPDATE (Friday, September 30, 2016)  7:34 P.M.:  It was a dismantling. Right now, the Dolphins are a pretty weak team.  There are multiple reasons for their struggles. Bad execution--at times, Tanny only has time to backpedal and go down; sometimes Tanny fails to make the easy throw. Bad luck--how many times has that football been knocked loose and bounced right into the opponent's hands?; Matt Darr crushes a punt and it misses going out of bounds at the one-yard line by a yard and a half.  Bad tackling--missed tackles galore; a quick pass to AJ Green is read well by the young Tony Lippett, who makes contact with Green immediately after the catch...Green makes one move and Lippett is left grabbing air on the turf. 
So, it is a little bit of everything that is leading to a night of pain and misery as a fan.  Now, as a person with great family and friends surrounding me, it wasn't a bad night at all.  In fact, it surpassed my expectations!  It'll be a long time before I watch a game in a restaurant again, but that's only because I like to hear the announcers.  I like to focus on the game before me.  And that gets to happen next on  Sunday, October 9, versus Tennessee. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016  8:41 P.M.
Joe Robbie Stadium is looking gorgeous!!  "MIAMI" appears in white letters in the all-aqua end zones along with the Dolphins' logo.  BEAU. TI. FUL!!!!  In come the lowly, lousy, hapless Cleveland Browns.  At 0-2, The Brownies will start their fifth different QB in their last five games going back to last season.  Incredible.  The Dolphins have lost two straight close ones, and there is no way they can fall to 0-3 and expect anything good out of the season. 
DOLPHINS 36, Cleveland 13.  There can be no mercy.  This is a confidence-maker.  Can Tanny play an entire game?  Can Devante start back up last week's strong performance? Is the defense ready to stop a team throughout the game, including in crunch time?
I see it all coming together.  Coach Gase will have the guys fired up and Alex and I will enjoy every minute of it!!
Moment of the week: C. Bergan contacts me on Facebook and tells me he's been hanging out with Glenn Blackwood--eating and bowling.  Then, he has Glenn sign a card for me.  Not a big deal to most...but a HUGE HAPPENING to me!!  I loved Glenn Blackwood, number 47.  He played on some of my all-time favorite Dolphin teams.  Great guy!!

UPDATE (Sunday, September 25, 2016)  6:13 P.M.:  Barely, barely, barely.  Cleveland had every chance to win that game.  Many would say they should've won that game.  After the sack/fumble of Tanny, Cleveland set up shop with 20 seconds in easy FG range.  Their kicker, supposedly a Pro Bowler for Philadelphia a few seasons ago, missed his attempt of 40+ yards at the gun to win it.  The Brownies then won the toss and elected to kick.  Tanny hit Dion Sims for 18 yards on the first play in overtime.  The drive quickly stalled, but that pass-and-catch set up a fantastic punt by Matt Darr deep inside Cleveland territory.  The Browns went nowhere and Jarvis returned the punt 13 yards to the Cleveland 45 or so.  A run that went nowhere was followed by a 37-yard pass to Jarvis14 on 2nd and 9.  Tanny was under pressure and found Landry on the left sideline.  Just before Jay Ajayi took the ball 13 yards for the winning TD, I told Alex it'd be sweet to win 30-24 as the Browns had beaten the Dolphins by that same score (also in overtime) way back in 1979.  I remember that loss.  I heard the final score on the radio downstairs back when I was nine years old.  Well, Jay ran it in, 30-24 in overtime it was, and Alex and I celebrated!!
It was a tough game.  It looked like the Dolphins were going to take control at 24-13 in the fourth, but Cleveland rallied.  A good headache overcame me.  I couldn't imagine going 0-3.  What a rotten week of life it was setting up to be.  But, the Dolphins found a way.  I'm excited to record all of the highlights and shortcut.  It's going to be a mighty fine week!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016  1:59 P.M.
Oh, how tremendous a' feelin' it would be if the Dolphins can find a way to win on the road in New England tomorrow.  Billichek coaches NE, so I know full well it will not be easy at all.  Brady isn't playing QB while on his suspension, so it's Jimmy Garropalo.  He looked dang good at Arizona last week in leading his underdog Pastries to a good win over Super Bowl favorite Arizona.  Ya, the Pastries might be without LB Hightower and TE Gronkowski and whoever else, but that team has a way of finding players to step up and play great football.  So, after a long trip to Seattle, the Dolphins will find themselves in enemy territory tomorrow.
A game like this makes me think of past history.  There have been times when the Dolphins played well in Week One, thus providing hope and confidence to me, only to get dumped in Week 2.  How about the season the Dolphins went down to the wire at home versus the NYJ, lost the game, and then took to the road only to get blasted by Arizona.  The Dolphins have to decide that they're going to do whatever it takes to win the game.  All out for 60 minutes of execution!!  That's the key--execution.  Gotta make the bounces to their way.  Might have to throw a new wrinkle at NE just as they did with the Wildcat in 2008 (eight long years ago already?!?!?!).
Prediction?  Dolphins 30, New England 20.  No doubt the Dolphins can do it!  Alex will be home and we are as hopeful as anyone can be for a FIN WIN!!

UPDATE (Sunday, September 18, 2016)  5:42 P.M.:  Why do I put myself through this? It's not fun to feel this way.  For the eighth straight year, the Dolphins will be flying home tonight with a loss in NE.  Frustrating as anything!  Jimmy Garappolo shredded the Dolphin D.  If he hadn't gotten hurt, it had the feel of a 51-0 game.  But, Kiko Alonso lands on the young  QB's shoulder and in comes the NE third-stringer.  Jacoby Presbitt (???) calmly finished the game--mostly handoffs. Blount bulldozed his way to chunks of yards and the Dolphins couldn't do much about it.  It's a depressing day.
Now, the Dolphins go home for their opener to face the lowly Brownies (0-2).  I refuse to chalk that up as a win after what I saw today.  Inconsistent.  I don't even want to think about it right now.  Gotta get set for the Green Bay at Minnesota game--home opener in the new stadium.  That will hopefully help me forget about today's dumbness.


Sunday, September 11, 2016  11:11 P.M.
Week One in the NFL!!!  Yes, the excitement lives!!!  No need to fake it, I'm stoked for today's late kick in Seattle.  The Seahawks are being picked by a large majority in the survivor leagues.  How awesome it would be go in there and shock the NFL world.  Oh, I'm always filled with optimism when it comes to the Dolphins, but I really do feel like the Dolphins can win today's game.  Their offense is loaded.  If Tanny is sharp, I can't see any team stopping the Dolphin "O."  To me, it really comes down to the defense.  What kind of linebacker play will the Dolphins get?  Will the secondary hold up?  Those are my two main concerns.  Russell Wilson can scramble like Fran, so a key to today's game is to limit his play-making abilities.  Jay Ajayi didn't make the trip; he was the projector starter in preseason.  It has been described as a coach's decision.  Makes me wonder if they want to see what they've got in Arian Foster before totally handing Jay the duties.  Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake might have to pick up some slack.  I'm very interested in seeing what kind of different the youngest coach in the NFL will make.  He's only 38, but he has the respect of his team and they believe he can lead them to victory. 
I want to see the team compete, take some chances, have fun, and will themselves to having a chance in the fourth quarter.  Is this game ultra-important to win?  No.  It is a road game against a non-conference opponent.  Yes, I want the win today--I'd be SKY-HIGH.  However, I know that there is a considerable difference between where the two teams are at right now. 
I've been a Dolphins fan since 1979, and it's a great day to begin another exciting year of Dolphin football.  I am predicting a 10-6 season that sees the Dolphins win the AFC East after owning a tiebreaker over New England.  This is Tanny's chance to prove that he belongs.  Anything less than a playoff appearance means he's gone in my opinion. 
Okay, I'm rambling.  Time to get ready for the early games, greet Alex once he gets here, and settle in for three hours of great entertainment.  God bless America!!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 11, 2016)  9:42 A.M.:  There is much to be proud of after today's loss in Seattle.  I loved the way that my favorite team came out and threw punches.  They played tough run defense and the secondary was better than anticipated.  I loved how Arian Foster ran fast and hard.  He could've run out of bounds at times, but he opted to cut back inside and pick up more yardage (in one case, 30 more yards on a screen pass).  Tanny took some bit-time hits and kept on tickin'.  Jarvis played hard like he always did.  The o-line was substantially better than last year's line, giving Tanny lots of time to throw in some cases.  I loved the fire that I saw from Coach Gase--he threw out some very powerful fist pumps.
Now, does losing an opener feel good?  No way!!  The Dolphins were the biggest underdogs in the NFL and just about left with a win.  They didn't and that means they must win at New England next Sunday, a team playing very well at Arizona right now.  It won't be easy even without Brady playing.
All in all, I don't feel the sting of a loss.  I'm left with optimism.  I will teach my buttocks off this weak and give it my best next Sunday.  FINS UP!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016  3:56 P.M.
Last Thursday, preseason ended for the Miami Dolphins.  Tonight, the first NFL game of the season begins with Carolina (-3) at Denver, a rematch of Super Bowl 50 last February.  I'll take the Panthers, 20-10, and get things started off right.  It's always nice to NFC teams beat AFC teams--gotta be thinking playoffs at all times.  The Dolphins are 10.5-point underdogs at Seattle.  No doubt, I'll go with my Dolphins to win outright and shock the world.  There hasn't been much reported as far as transactions.  The Dolphins seem to be set, and they flew out to Seattle today just to get a jump on things and get settled.
Another season has arrived and I'm extremely excited to see it get going.  I'll be watching tonight...but I'll probably be up at school getting things done so that I'm not up here much for the weekend.  Kevin's college football birthday bash takes place on Saturday, Scott is bringing Mack home, and the Dolphins play on Sunday.  GOOD TIMES!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016  1:43 P.M.
Preseason game number three.  I don't mind saying good-bye to the preseason games.  As I kid, I used to put lots of stock into them.  I'd hear that they beat the Giants in 1982 and my day would be made!  Making tonight's game more special is the fact that this is the first game in Joe Robbie Stadium since they put up the canopy.  Man, does that ever look good!  I'd love to be there this season, but it doesn't look like it'll happen.  Mark O. just called me last night as he was making reservations for our flight to Los Angeles, California!! I AM STOKED!!!  I don't feel like I take much time off for a great time like the Dolphins playing in the Coliseum, but I will be in November.  I'll miss three days of school as I get to watch the Dolphins play in the same stadium where they won Super Bowl VII to cap their undefeated season.  JOY!!!!
As for tonight, I will find a way to watch the game.  Brandon Doughty versus Zac Dysert seems to be up in the air.  One promising, young QB will be released.  After that, I'm interested in seeing what offensive linemen step up.  Will some of the back-up linebackers show that they'll push a starter for time?  As always, I'll enjoy watching many young guys fight for a job.
I pray for no injuries--always a concern.  ((I do feel badly for Teddy Bridgewate, r, the Viking QB who went down two days ago.  I wish that upon nobody!))  I pray for a beautiful night in Miami, Florida, as many fans get their first experiences in what will become home to future Super Bowl Champions!!
UPDATE (Friday, September 2, 2016)  8:51 A.M.:  The Dolphins came out with what appeared to be little focus and motivation last night.  Kenyan Drake, seeing his first action of the preseason as a rookie, received the kickoff and returned it to the 24.  On the first play from scrimmage, Zac Dysert handed off to Jay Ajayi.  Jay fumbled and the Titans had the ball on the Dolphin 21.  Three plays later, the Titans led, 7-0.  It wasn't too much longer before that lead went to 14-0.  The Dolphin defense could do nothing to stop the run nor the pass.  It was tough to watch.  The Dolphin defense managed to pick of the back-up Titan QB, Alex Tanny, but it didn't necessarily equate to points.  Tony Lippett made an awesome leaping interception...that led to the Dolphins being stopped on 4th-and-1 around the Titan 20.  Bobby McCain had a nice pick and return, too.  Daniel Thomas was able to score the Dolphins' only touchdown of the night on a one-yard run.  He played hard throughout the preseason and can only wait for a Dolphin injury to be signed.
All in all, it was a fast preseason that ended without any serious injury.  The guys should be healthy and ready to perform in nine more days in Seattle.  How do I feel about the Dolphins at this time?  I have this feeling that their weaknesses will be glaring.  Can the Dolphin secondary stop anybody?  They seem to be hanging by a thread.  Why can't the linebackers do more to win games?  Is the run defense going to get anything done?  On the other hand, I have confidence in the offense.  I feel like they're going to be a blast to watch.  The offensive line is, at the very least, marginally better than last year.  Tannehill will have time to check down.  Big difference!  Tanny seems to be more accurate and decisive, too.  I do think the running back position is a concern.  Jay Ajayi is not proven and makes me think that an injury isn't too far away.  It's the same with Arian Foster.
However, if everything comes together and the Dolphins improve from week-to-week like no other team, there is talent that could take them places.  As a Dolphin optimist, I stand by my prediction of a 10-6 season and winning the AFC East.  I love knowing that Adam Gase is the coach of my favorite team and he shall lead them to success!

Thursday, August 25, 2016  2:08 P.M.
It's the second day of school and it's the third Dolphins preseason game tonight.  This was scheduled to be a home game in the new-look Joe Robbie Stadium, but they decided to play this in Orlando just to give a little extra time to ensure everything is ready to go.  Tonight's game is taking place in Orlando against Atlanta.  My thought is that this could end up being one of the lowest-rated games on TV ever played.  But, I am very excited about it!  There is a lot to be learned through this game.  How do the Dolphins sit?  The loss at Dallas last Friday was a bit demoralizing; the game tonight offers a chance to feel good againl  First and foremost, I want no injuries.  Second, I want the defense to get a lot of stops.  I just love the thought that this game is live on NBC at 7:00.  I wonder if Alex will be watching??
UPDATE (Thursday, August 25, 2016)  10:36 P.M.:  I am feeling so much better after this preseason game.  I was quite worried after the performance at Dallas.  But, players brought game and beat a decent Atlanta team in Orlando.  So cool to see those beautiful aqua jerseys on the turf in Orlando.  Perhaps two minor injuries (Suh and Fede), but there was nothing major.  The Falcons had quite a few guys go down.  I was happy with Tanny.  The o-line gave him time.  Also, the line opened up a few cracks for the running backs.  They still have a ways to go.  Mike Pouncey didn't play and I didn't notice any difference.  He might be quite over-rated.  Not totally sure at this point.  He does seem injury-prone.  What can I say about Jarvis Landry??  Amazing talent!  Kenny Stills is starting to warm up.  I really like what he's doing.  The tight end position is a huge question mark.  Cam Wake saw his first action since I was in Sioux Falls watching the game at NE last season.  He had a good push.  The secondary bent, but they found a way to keep the Falcons out of the end zone.  Reshad Jones made three consecutive great plays and capped the third play with an INT in the end zone.
Coach Gase is the man for the job!  From everything that is said about him, he's headed for lots of success.  The players love him; he relates will to them. 
Now, I'm fired up to end the preseason and get to the real games.  What a great time of the year!  Time to head home, get some sleep, and knock out a Friday!!


Friday, August 19, 2016  5:37 P.M.
Preseason game #2.  At Dallas.  7:00 kick.  Live on NFL Network.  Cannot wait!!  Gotta see how Arian Foster does.  Tunsil will get his first start--will he hold his own?  R. Jones and B. Maxwell will see first preseason action--very curious to see how this secondary does.  Sounds like Andrew Franks might be in a kicking battle.  Will Tanny impress?  Zero first downs last week--looking for first one tonight.
I won't be able to watch with Alex tonight as he moved into his dorm at SDSU this morning.  Love watching with him!!  But, that's the way it goes and I'll just have to entrance myself into the game that much more.  I want to see a victory--keep the winning feel.  I think the Cowboys provide a good challenge.  Praying for no injuries! 
UPDATE (Saturday, August 2016)  10:48 A.M.: Well, the main positive coming from last night's horrific preseason loss (41-14, one of the top ten widest margins of loss in team history) is the fact that there were no injuries.  Matt Moore is now in concussion protocol, but nobody was carted off.  A second major positive was the play of fifth-year QB Ryan Tannehill.  He threw some absolute dimes into the hands of Dolphin receivers.  He went short and deep for completions.  He had a couple of throws that should've been touchdowns--spot-on passes--but were dropped (Cameron and Landry).  Uncle Kenny Stills was a playmaker last night.  He got open and hung on to the football.  After that, it was ugly.  The defense is a major concern.  Where are the defensive linemen??  There was no pressure on Romo nor Prescott.  Where are the linebackers?  They couldn't get off blocks, picked wrong holes, etc.  Of course, the secondary then takes a beating.  Is Maxwell a competent corner?  How will this defense ever stop Brady...or even Tyrod Taylor??  The o-line was not in the business of opening holes last night.  Arian Foster, playing in his first preseason game since 2012, found no openings.  He had no pop, either. 
I don't know, maybe this is a game to forget and move on.  It hurt.  To think I sacrificed a night watching this disaster gives me a headache.  But, that's what being a true fan is all about, I guess--supporting through thick and thin.
Bring on a nationally televised preseason game from Orlando next Thursday night!  Versus Atlanta!  Better see lots of improvement or else...



Friday, August 12, 2016  5:25 P.M.

Dolphins at Giants kicks off in less than 35 minutes.  Preseason game #1!  I AM FIRED UP!!!  BRING ON DOLPHINS FOOTBALL!!!  I am headed over to the farm to watch the game with Alex.  We've got the free trial going on NFL.com.  The Bolt will be there with us to watch his Vikings.
There are so many things to look for tonight.  It is Coach Gase's first game.  How will handle himself on the sideline?  He seems to have all the makings of a superior coach; tonight we shall get our first taste of that.  Will Larame Tunsil see lots of action?  He's not a starter, and he needs experience.  Thought the Giants won't be playing Eli Manning, it's important for the secondary to come out and make plays.  It appears that the number one weakness of this Dolphin team is at cornerback.  Some of the big dogs up front--Suh, Wake--won't be playing, so we will see if the DBs can hold their own, even when the QB has some extra time to throw.  I can't wait to see how Jay Ajayi looks.  He has missed a little camp and he's got Arian Foster on his tail.  Interesting race there!!
I gots to get my Tanny jersey on, pick up the two large Casey's pizzas, and get over to Alex's.  What a way to spend a Friday night!!  The road to Super Bowl 51 begins tonight as far as game action.  I pray for no injuries.  I want few penalties.  And I want to see guys getting some great experience.  GO DOLPHINS!!!
UPDATE (Saturday,August 13, 2016)  10:14 A.M.: One year ago I found myself in Chicago watching a Cubs' win over Milwaukee at historic Wrigley with DP and followed that up with watching the Dolphins get dominated by the Bears at the prestigious Soldier Field.  Well, last night, I was able to watch the Dolphins get their largest margin of victory in a preseason opener since 1984 in the comfortable basement of SupaNef Alex C.  Ryan S., not like him to bring good luck, watched alongside us with one eye on his Vikings getting a one-point win at Cincinnati.  We put down two large Casey's pizzas.  As for the actual game, the first quarter was highly disappointing.  Bad play by the Dolphins first-stringers had Alex and I quite frustrated.  Could it be blamed on the 45-minute weather delay?  Nope!  On the first play of the game, Jordan Phillips had an illegal hands to the face penalty dropped on him.  Lousy!!  Michael Thomas was caught giving up on a play that saw a Giant rookie catch a long pass.  These two plays were just a small part of the badness as the Giants drove right down the field on their opening possession and cashed it in for seven.  The Dolphin offense was pathetic.  They couldn't earn a first down.  Tanny was hit and hit hard.  Olivier Vernon, wearing Giant jersey #54, hit Tanny twice.  It was ugly.  No running game.  No receivers running open.  Nothing.  This continued into the early stages of the second quarter.
Then, after back-up Matt Moore threw an awful interception to set up an easy FG, the Dolphins finally got things going and it turned into a fantastic night!!  I really felt that Alex showed more excitement for a the long Moore-to-Hazel TD pass just before halftime than he did during the seventh game of the Cavs' NBA title in June.  The Dolphins took a 17-10 lead into halftime as a result of Moore stepping it up and a couple of nice interceptions in the secondary.  Isaiah Reed (10 carries for 50 yards) and Daniel Thomas (10 carries for 40 yards) banged away at the Giant D.  Moore continued to be accurate and rookie Brandon Daughty picked up right where he left off.  Daughty found a way to lead the Dolphins to a FG on his opening drive.  The guy showed that he can play; I noticed that he just looks like a quarterback, a guy in command.  Loved it!!  Also, the quick, speedy Jakeem Grant caught four balls and had a couple of nifty punt returns.  He had to be feeling great after the game!
The Dolphins went on to a nice 27-10 win in Coach Adam Gase's sideline debut.  Is there reason for concern?  YES!  The first-stringers did nothing.  However, there is definitely hope.  Many of the young guys played with passion.  They made plays.  The Dolphins ended the game with forcing four Giant turnovers.  Four Dolphin quarterbacks, including Dysert, saw action in the game--that's something that didn't happen in the Philbin era.  Guys like Warmsley and Coleman on defense stepped up. 
I can only hope that last night's game produces some answers to the concerns and makes for increased competition.  It was only the first preseason game but, oh, was it fun!  Alex brought up the WQAM feed and was able to sync it quite well to the TV in the second half.  After the game, he showed all kinds of Dolphin highlight films.  It was all about football last night!!  The kind of night I live for!!
Then, I went home and cleaned dog crap off the bottom of my shoe.

 

Thursday, August 11, 2016
I didn't plan on posting this letter to a Dolphin buddy here, but I decided I wanted it here so I can better remember and celebrate this major anniversary to me.  Here' the letter written today, August 11, 2016:

Hello Ross~

Here we are exactly 32 years later!  On this glorious date of the eleventh of August, I saw my beloved Miami Dolphins dressed in their all-white uniforms warming up on the green turf of the Metrodome.  I was immediately struck by the enormity of the dome and the bright blue seats that surrounded the field.  I remember glancing up at that white ceiling and thinking, "How did they do that?"  But, 99.99% of my attention was focused on what was taking place on the field--my favorite football team was preparing to play the hometown Vikings in what would be the first of many Dolphin games I have attended.  To this day, the initial impression I had was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen and experienced in my life.

I sat next to my older brother, Kevin, who had graduated from Milbank High School just three months earlier.  My colors weren't of aqua and orange; rather, I sported a short-sleeved, light yellow shirt that was purchased at a Jane Rhoades' rummage sale earlier in the summer.  I'm unsure as to why I didn't show my support of the Dolphins with one of my many Dolphin shirts, but the main thing was that I was there...in person...about 20 rows up on the lower deck.  The only question I remember Kevin asking me that night was, "Who is that quarterback and where did he go to college?"  A Dolphin rookie named Dean May had entered the game and he was to whom Kevin was referring.  I answered, "Dean May. He's out of Louisville."  I recall thinking, "Wow, I do know my Dolphins pretty well."

 

In this second preseason game, the Dolphins were without the services of second-year QB Dan Marino (injured right pointing finger).  So, Don Strock got the call as starter and led the Dolphins to a 20-0 lead.  Shortly after rookie Joe Carter returned the opening kickoff 43 yards, Strock capped the drive with a three-yard TD pass to Mark Clayton, who was starting his first game ever for the Dolphins and was entering his second year (Jimmy Cefalo and Nat Moore were back-ups for the game).  The Dolphin defense was relentless, sacking Viking quarterbacks five times.  After Bob Baumhower sacked Tommy Kramer in the second quarter, the TV camera somehow found Kevin and I in the crowd.  We weren't aware that any camera had been pointed in our direction.  My grandma, far from a football fan, happened to be watching this meaningless preseason game on TV back in Truman, Minnesota, only because she knew her grandsons were there.  Kevin and I found out shortly after the game that Grandma had claimed that she had seen us.  She was sure it was Kevin and me!  Still having doubts, I was able to acquire the a copy of the game on DVD on April 15, 2009.  I immediately threw the first disc of two in the player and fast forwarded through the action, especially looking for shots of the crowd.  Well, clear as a bell, there we were, centered in the TV picture right after Baumhower's sack.  Never doubt Grandma Cantine!!

The Dolphins proceeded to coast to victory, 29-7, and improved to 2-0 in the 1984 preseason.  I walked out of the Metrodome as pleased and proud as any young kid could feel who had just seen his team dominate and win.  One thought I had as I made my way up the steps was that it could've been 30-7 had veteran kicker Uwe von Schamann's third extra point attempt not been blocked.

Ross, you provided the motivation I needed to get my butt on e-Bay and purchase a mint program from that game (bought on April 23, 2015) and an unused game ticket (bought this spring of 2016). I put the program and the ticket together this afternoon and then dug out my August 20, 1984, issue of Dolphin Digest. These fine items helped me reflect on the game and I read the coverage of the game in the Volume 13, Issue 7 of DD.  I found out that Vern Den Herder and Jim Langer, both former Dolphins, were in attendance that night.  Also, Dan Johnson, the Dolphin TE, who grew up in New Hope, MN, bought 89 tickets for the game.  Unfortunately, he did not play due to broken ribs.  I can't get enough information about this night and the idea just occurred to me that I should ask my older brother what he remembers from that night in Minneapolis.  

 

Anyway, I treasure the program and game ticket as both do their parts in helping to bring that one-in-a-million night back into my mind!  Thirty-two years ago--wow--those were the days!!  I am forever grateful to my parents for allowing me to attend the Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings game. When I think of the word "priceless," the night of August 11, 1984, was exactly that for me!

Makes me wonder how many young kids tonight will see their favorite NFL team on the field for the very first time.  If their experience is even half of what mine was, they should consider themselves very, very lucky!

(Pictures of the ticket, the Dolphin Digest, and the game program attached along with a picture as seen on TV)

Go Dolphins,
Greg


Saturday, April 30, 2016  6:18 P.M.
The draft has ended and the Dolphins did GREAT!!  I spent last evening and most of today with DP--he is unbelievable to watch the draft with!!  Papa Bear knows his stuff, and "B" works the kitchen as a wonderworker!!  So, after stealing Laremy in the first round, the Dolphins added plenty of firepower.  I really thought they'd pick up more defensively, but that was not the case.  Tanny will have NO EXCUSES this year.  If he doesn't find a way to lead the team to the playoffs, he is gone.  I love him, but...
The Dolphins traded away Jamar Taylor to the Brownies today and I'm totally fine with that.  He never made a splash.  I want more impact players.  Without mentioning names, I hope there are more Dolphins outgoing.  Let these young guys come in and try to change the culture!!
I can't really pick a favorite selection, but I am anxious to see the "little" guy--Jakeem Grant--show his stuff.  DP had told me that he was his sleeper and, sure enough, the Dolphins nabbed him!  Very excited for preseason football now!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016  4:06 P.M.
The NFL Draft begins tonight!  It is one of DP's favorite days of the entire year and I'm excited for him...and me!!  This is the night that the Dolphins have another opportunity to draft a future Hall of Famer, perhaps the best pick since Danny Marino.  The Dolphins were at the eight position before a trade with Philly (Alonso & Maxwell) moved them to Lucky Number Thirteen.  I'll be sky-high if Ezekial Elliot somehow drops and the Dolphins are able to swoop him up.  If not, Hargraves (Florida) would probably become an instant starter.  I am certainly no draft expert; I have a couple of guys on my radar and that's about it.  Largely, I'm an interested fan who trusts Dolphin management to select the best player possible.  That hasn't happened nearly enough; hence, the struggles for the Dolphins in recent years.  I need to finish up here at school and get home to prepare for the goodness!!


Thursday, April 14, 2016  9:40 P.M.
The Dolphins' 2016-17 schedule was just released this evening and I got to take a look at it about seven minutes ago on ESPN.  Honestly, it looked quite blah.  I don't know if there are any primetime games, but I doubt it..and I'd certainly understand.  I sanded most of the evening in the new addition and now I'm at school to get a lot done for the last day of school for this week.  I know that they travel to Seattle in the opener--what a great opportunity to steal one!  And, the Dolphins once again finish the season at home against the Pastries.  That might be the game to attend...after attending the game in Buffalo!

Thursday, March 31, 2016  9:19 P.M.
A sad day for Dolfans as the FINSIDERS, a program found on MiamiDolphins.com for the past six years, closed out its run today.  Host Greg Likens and the rest of the gang--Troy Stradford, Troy Dayton, Sam Madison, Tristan Jones and more--said farewell to a program that has closely covered the Miami Dolphin organization, past and present.  I'll especially miss the old players that they'd bring in for interviews.  Guys like AJ Duhe and Tony Nathan, players that I grew up on, would make appearances.  Of course, they provided coverage throughout the season and various times throughout the offseason.  I guess I'm not exactly sure as to the reason it was cancelled, but I'm getting the feeling it was about money.  SMH.
Alex texted me today and asked me why they were ending the show.  I wish I knew.  Both he and I will miss the pregame and postgame coverage.  Right now, I'm thinking about how I'll miss the coverage of the draft.  It was awesome to be able to watch the Dolphins' selection on TV and then turn it over to the FINSIDERS to listen to an interview with the newest Dolphin.
I just hope they bring it back.  Dolfans, write to the organization and let it be known that we want the FINSIDERS back on the air!


Sunday, February 7, 2016  9:47 A.M.
This is the morning of Super Bowl 50. How awesome it would be if I were getting the living room ready right now with the excitement of a Dolphin Super Bowl appearance later in the day!  Today makes 31 Super Bowls ago that the Dolphins were last there, competing in the biggest game of the year. I was in eighth grade, not as a teacher, but as a confident young kid who knew that Danny Marino could not be beaten.  After the record-breaking season he had had, there was no way the 49ers could beat Don Shula's Dolphins.  The game started out well--Danny hit TE Dan Johnson on a short TD to give the Dolphins a 10-7 lead (FYI: the TD was not shown live in Milbank due to technical difficulties with our local ABC channel).  But, after that, the 49er offense carved up the Dolphin defense.  The final score of 38-16 showed the domination.  That hurt.  I removed all Dolphin stuff off of my bedroom walls and kept it that was for at least a couple of months.  It was hard to look at anything Dolphin.
Now, 31 years later, I'd settle for the same result if it meant that I could go through all of that anticipation and hope once again.
Today features Peyton Manning's Broncos against the one-loss Carolina Panthers.  Cam Newton will not be denied today as the Panthers will roll.  They are six-point favorites to beat Denver in San Francisco, and I've got to put my money on Cam's team.  I was thinking that the final score would be 34-10, but I have changed that prediction to 38-16 in honor of Super Bowl XIX.  I'll watch the National Anthem, the introductions, the coin flip, the game action, the halftime entertainment, the final seconds tick down, the confetti fall, the coaches' handshake, the Disney commercial, and the postgame interviews...and I'll imagine what it'd feel like if it was my favorite team being there and winning it all.
Would I want to cheer for any other team?  NO WAY!!!  Someday it'll all be worth it!!!
UPDATE (Monday, February 8, 2016)  9:31 A.M.: School is one hour late today due to blowing snow, so this gives me a chance to remind myself how wrong I was about yesterday's game.  Denver became Super Bowl 50 champions by bullying Carolina around, 24-10.  This game proved that a great defense usually prevails over a great offense.  Cam had little time to throw and got knocked around.  Hopefully, the Dolphin front office took note and will build the team around a stout defense.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016  2:18 P.M.
Feeling SO, SO great as a result of Denver beating New England two days ago!!!  Let it be known that the Dolphins had a big effect on the result of that game.  They beat NE in the finale and that gave Denver the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Yah, BABY!!!!!!


Saturday, January 9, 2016  2:58 P.M.

The Miami Dolphins have hired their twelfth head coach in team history.  His name is Adam Gase and he is 37 years old.  They officially made the announcement within the last hour.  After looking at seven applicants very seriously, Steve Ross and Mike Tannenbaum made the decision to go with a guy described as extremely intelligent, hard-working, likeable, and offensive-minded.  In the past few days, I had my doubts about Coach Gase; Alex did, too.  However, after hearing what DP told me via telephone this morning and reading some of his former players' comments (Peyton Manning, etc.), I feel quite excited about this hiree!!
I can't wait to see how this all plays out!  This is quite the exciting day and, who knows, it could be the beginning to some great, great days for Dolfans!!
Coach Gase will be the youngest coach currently in the NFL.  That means that he can stay with the Dolphins for a long, long time.  Some people will be critical, some will be overly positive/hopeful.  The truth is that nobody really knows how this will all pan out.  Time will tell.  And I'll be keeping track of everything!
Welcome, Coach Gase!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016  1:51 P.M.
Don Shula's 86th birthday was yesterday; furthermore, it was Black Monday.  And the Dolphins did NOT fire Coach Campbell.  However, it has been reported that he will likely not be retained, much to the players' chagrin.  Like I've said many times this year, I do not have a good handle on this Dolphins franchise right now.  Things are totally up in the air.  Just when I think they're going to do something predictable, the exact opposite occurs.  Who should the Dolphins hire as their eleventh head coach in team history?  I don't know.  Something tells me that Coach Campbell is clearly not ready for a head coaching position.  Is Mike Shula the right man?  Perhaps.  I am not opposed to that.  Mike Shanahan was interviewed twice already.  I'm not sold on him.  Hue Jackson seems to be getting a lot of attention.  Maybe he's the right guy.  Adam Case (Chicago Bear OC) has been brought up plenty of times.  I guess I have no idea as to what they should do and I certainly have no clue as to whom they will hire.
I know that I'm happy the Dolphins won to end the season and I'm sticking by my team.  Like Alex said a few weeks ago, the first playoff appearance will feel so, so good after all of this pain we have endured as fans.


Sunday, January 3, 2016  11:23 A.M.
Finally, it is here--the season finale!  Couldn't come soon enough!  What a disappointment!  The 50th season was anything but special and the Dolphins are continuing their firings.  GM Dennis Hickey got the axe yesterday.  More are coming, possilby as early as tomorrow.  Coach Dan Campbell just told the media that he takes full responsibility for not holding the players and coaches more accountable.  I don''t like hearing that...but I had a sense that that was going on.  He's a passionate guy and he comes across as loyal to a fault.
The 12-3 Patriots need this win to clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.  I don't want that.  There are many Dolphins out of this game, and the Patriots aren't playing a bunch of guys, either.  So, that's a push.  Can these rookies and first-year players go out and compete?  Will they play with reckless abandon or will they simply try to avoid an injury that lingers into the off-season?  I have no confidence in this team.  After losing to the Colts last week, I could see a 38-3 loss. 
The Dolphins could pick as high as fifth in the upcoming draft with a loss today, but I want the win.  I want another Sunday afternoon of sitting on the couch with my nephew enjoying a great Dolphin victory.  The Patriots are 10.5-point favorites.  Makes sense to me, but...
Today's far-fetched prediction: Dolphins 27, Patries 22.  Don't want ignorant New England fans being happy.
UPDATE (Sunday, January 3, 2016)  10:40 P.M.: HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!! A win like today's makes for a more enjoyable life and I will feed off the positive energy for a long time.  The Dolphins sported their all-aqua jerseys for the third time ever (first time since we saw them in Miami last year on my birthday) and have imporoved their record to 4-1 when wearing them.  That is a gift!  It was fun to see players step up today--D Parker had a great game and his 64-yard catch down the sidleine set up the winning touchdown.  Neville Hewitt was busy making plays.  Heck, Kelvin Sheppard was all over today.  Michael Thomas made some stops.  Brent Grimes was a shutdown corner today.  Tanny had a key run late in the game that made a huge difference on the sealing FG drive.  Andrew Franks was 2-of-3 on field goals and Matt Darr was steady.  Jarvis was Jarvis. 
I know some fans wanted the better draft position that comes with a loss.  I guess I look at every game as the last one I'll possibly see....and this one was a 20-10 DOLPHIN VICTORY!!!!  I wouldn't want it any other way.  To watch the game with my SupaNephew, Alex C, and watch the Dolphins close this "special" 50th season with a win is priceless.  He came over every week to watch the Dolphins--talk about faithful!!  Love that guy!!  Was fun talking about next season with him and what the Dolphins need to do in the offseason.  There will be a ton of change! Will Lamar Miller return?  I think so.  Will Olivier Vernon be back?  Hmmmm, not sure.  Who will be the next coach?  Gase from Chicago?  Mike Shula?  Don't know.  Might even be Coach Campbell.  The players were chanting his name as Steven Ross was addressing the team in the winning locker room.  They love him!
I know this: I'm looking forward to football all night long--Vikings at Packers should be a good one.  I will bask in the glow of victory for a long, long time.  Thank you, Miami Dolphins!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015  8:30 P.M.
Some think this could be the last win of the season for the 5-9 Dolphins as they play a 6-8 Colts team and next week brings the 12-2 Patriots.  And I suppose those people might be right--tomorrow's game at Joe Robbie might bring the 2015 winning to a close.  Matt Hasselbeck, the banged up quarterback for the Colts, will attempt to lead his team to a win versus a porous Dolphin secondary.  He'll actually have a lot of places to pick apart as the d-line has been weak, while the linebackers have been much like a super-soaked paper towel.  It's an absolute disaster of a defense.
I am not as pumped up for the game as I usually am.  ONce the Dolphins lost at Buffalo, I realized that the season was basically over.  It's been mostly misery, frustration, and anger this season as a Dolphins fan.  Therefore, I am ready to move on and do my own thing.  Controlling my own destiny is goal number one.  Racquetball.  Even pickleball.  Maybe even a little bowling.
Oh, I hope the Dolphins can bring some excitement for the sake of the great Dolfans across the world.  They deserve it.  A season like this will test any diehard.  I want the Dolphins to win, of course, but the anticipation simply isn't there.  Alex will come over tomorrow and we will cheer as we always do.  Still love the feeling of a win!  To think that this could be the final win until next September isn't a good thought to have.  But, let's face it, as bad as the defense is, the offense is just as bad.  I'm tired of excuses.  A few players and some media people were saying that we'll find out who really loves to play the game in these last three games of the season.  REALLY?!?!?!  That should've been figured out a long time ago.  Guys who are playing only for the paycheck can play on some other team.  No more loyalty to friendships from these coaches---guys who don't totally care about winning championships need to leave.
Tomorrow's prediction: Dolphins 18, Colts 17.
UPDATE (Tuesday, December 29, 2015)  10:40 A.M.: Six wins and nine losses was only a dream.  Andrew Luck didn't play.  Matt Hasselback was knocked out.  So Charlie Whitehurst led the Colts to victory over a bad, bad Dolphins team.  It looked like this could be the day that the Dolphins could win the game in crunch time.  Instead, Tanny got crunched by three Colts at the Colt 5 on fourth down.  Rookie center Jamil Douglas screwed up the snap (snapped it too early) and Tanny had no chance to get the ball away.  I've got to say it: this Dolphins team is full of players who are either inexperienced, injured, too young, too slow, unmotivated, or poor.  Pick your own excuse.  This team is in need of a major house-cleaning.  Owner Ross must be fuming.  He has spent huge bucks to do anything to bring this team success...and all he has is five wins in this "special" 50th season.  I hate to even think about what's going on with the Miami Dolphins.  The season will end on Sunday, just five days away.  I can't wait for the end.  It's time to figure out the head coach and then start releasing players.  An entirely new mindset is needed!

Sunday, December 20, 2015  1:04 P.M.
This could be the last Chargers' game at Jack Murphy Stadium.  The 3-10 Chargers are in jeopardy of moving to Los Angeles and I know the Charger faithful frowns upon that.  So, after all of the memorable games in that stadium, including the Holy Roller Game in 1978, it will possibly end today against the 5-8 Dolphins.  I am reminded of my trip to San Diego in 2005 with Tommy Seehafer.  What a trip!! It was December 11 and Week 14 in the NFL.  The Dolphins entered the game with a 5-7 record against an 8-4 Charger team that had won five in a row.  The Chargers were 11.5-point favorites.  And the Dolphins owned them.  It was paradise...and it was topped off when I had my picture taken with five beautiful Dolphin cheerleaders.  The 23-21 Dolphin win still lingers in my mind.  Speaking of two-point victories, the Dolphins did that to the Vikings last year on this same week, 37-35.  It was a back-and-forth battle that ended with Terence Fede blocking a Viking punt for a safety.  The exact date of the game was December 21 and it sent me into Christmas with extra joy in my heart.
I want that same joyful feeling for all of Dolfan Nation after today's game in San Diego.  It's a late kick (3:25) and the colors will be beautiful.  I enjoy the late kicks; Alex does not.  This marks the last road game and the last late kick for the Dolphins.  Coming off of the Throwback Loss, I feel like I've been kicked in the gut.  I'm not sure what to think.  I have no answers.  There is something very wrong with chemistry.  Is Tanny the man? Is Kenny Stills a legit deep threat? Is Mike Pouncey average? When will the Dolphins see that Dallas Thomas is weak? Was Billy Turner worth a second round draft pick?  I don't want to get started on the defense.  They are bad bad (not just a single bad).  The kicking game has been Super Bowl worthy and that's it.
So, what happens today?  The Chargers will play with energy.  They want to close out the right way. Philip Rivers is a fighter and he's got Antonio Gates to throw to.  Who can cover him?  I do know that the Dolphins will play some young guys.  Dan Campbell has said that.  Then again, there's been a lot of talk....and some of it has gone empty.  How about the Dolphin running game?  Need to run more?  "Yes, we do."  What happens? Pass more.  Lamar Miller is having a solid season...and yet the Dolphins continue to pass in downs that could be running downs.  I guess I'm interested to see if anything changes today.  Will the mentality change in Zac Taylor's second game as OC?  I'll believe it when I see it.
I do know that these are some of the most trying times for any real Dolfan.  The expectations were so high and reality is so low.  Horrid.  A special 50th season has become a disaster.  I am ready for the offseason.  Get the new 2016 schedule.  Figure out where ALex and the Ogdahls want ot travel to.  But, I will enjoy today's late kick.  And it shall be an 18-17 Dolphin victory!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 20, 2015)  9:50 P.M.: Merry Christmas to all Dolfans! May it be extra merry due to the misery you've endured this 2015 season.  Expectations were so high...and what we have is a 5-9 team with lots of poor or mediocre players by NFL standards.  Hey, this team might have the nicest human beings of any team in the league, but that doesn't mean they are great players.  John Brown, a Charger nobody with little pro experience, came in and ripped the Dolphin D.  Charger wide receivers were running wide open.  Tanny had no time to pass.  With James out at tackle...and ALbert going out later at tackle...and Pouncey eventually carted to the locker room, the Dolphins had nobody to block.  Sorry, but Dallas Thomas is horrid.  He blocked air for much of the game.  I'm not sure Billy Turner (NDSU second round pick last year) is a starter in this league). I get the feeling that there are a lot of guys simply satisfied being on an NFL team called the Dolphins.  The defense has holes like crazy. No depth.  Bobby McCain has a long way to go. Seriously, what are you doing??  Didn't even see Jamar Taylor today.  Lippett got some experience but, boy, does he ever look green. 
Two game left.  I'll be happy when this misery ends.
Of note, older brother Kevin brought Miranda over to meet the parents on this night in 1992--just 23 years ago.  The Dolphins beat the Wets, 19-17, in the epic "Choke" game.


Monday, December 14, 2015  3:43 P.M.
THROWBACK MONDAY!!  Tonight's game versus the Giants on MNF is the game I've been most excited about since the schedule came out and it was announced that the Dolphins would be wearing their throwback uniforms.  They are absolutely beautiful!!  I sported the old suspension throwback helmet today in school along with my personalized throwback jersey.  GREAT ENOUGH!!!  I have told many people that I would trade a win tonight for three losses in their last three games.  I've never said that before.  Tonight's game means a TON to me!  If the Dolphins win, I'll have this game on three DVDs to enjoy for countless more years.  Alex and I will be getting an Italian sausage pizza and enjoying this in the living room. I'll deck the room out in old school Dolphins stuff.   We will do all of the right things to ensure success tonight!
The Dolphins need a huge game from Ryan Tannehill.  It is his chance to make a career-changing move.  He needs to go deep AND run the football.  Oh, Lamar needs to run effectively, but tonight's game, in my opinion, is mostly on Tanny.  I am more than nervous about the Dolphin secondary.  Can Brent Grimes hang with Odell Beckham?  Will Walt Aikens be in the place at the right time? 
These Giants have been a thorn in the side.  I'm hoping for some Miami Magic--an all-out effort combined with the ball bouncing the right way.
Gotta rush home and get ready.  Feeling like time is tight.
Prediction: DOLPHINS 29, NY Giants 7 (29 was the most points the Dolphins scored in 1966 and 7 was the fewest they allowed).  I'll be SKY-HIGH if the Dolphins win by a mere one point!!!  I want this won sooooooooooooooooo badly!!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, December 15, 2015)  4:05 P.M.: I feel rotten and disappointed.  The game didn't really matter with the playoff chase, because the Dolphins were pretty much out of it entering the game.  In came a Giants team that had lost three straight games.  The Dolphins were celebrating the weekend and the night in grand fashion.  Even the cheerleaders were weatring throwback outfits!  But, the team fell flat on its face.  Before the game, Trnet Dilfer went off on the Dolphins.  He said it's like a party in Miami; it's all about having fun and making things look good.  He siad they need a hard leader who will get them back to work.  Steve Yong agreed.  He described the state of the Dolphins as "Redskiny."  Yuck!  That hurt to hear.
Brent Grimes got schooled...again.  The defense missed tackles.  The linebackers didn't create any big plays.  Eli Manning had a near-perfect night (four tD passes, too).  The Dolphins had over 10 penalties for over 100 yards.  Miserable. 
Many changes need to be made.  Maybe Dan Campbell isn't the right man for the head job.  He says the same things over and over and over.
I don't know what to say.  I'm getting cheated out of a good season.  I'm ready for the season to end....after one more win!


Sunday, December 6, 2015  9:54 P.M.:
Gameday!  Level of enthusiasm for today's game? Medium-high.  Why?  Disappointing losses have taken their toll.  They hurt and begin carrying over.  It seems each game is bringing more question marks than answers.  But, I loved the tweet from Reshad Jones on Monday after the loss at the Wets.  He tweeted a thanks out to all of the Dolphins fans that stick with the team in good times and in bad.  He said it is so easy to jump on the wagon during the good times and jump off when the team isn't winning.  So true.
THe offensive coordinator was fired a few days ago--Bill Lazor--and I'm wondering the impact that will have.  Tanny is beginning to take some heat nationally.  Will he continue to have an effect on these different coaches getting fired? 
Do I want a win today or do I want the chances of a higher draft pick to increase?  I WANT THE WIN!!!  I have always felt that the draft is more of a destiny thing.  The Raiders have been awful for many years and they continue to get high draft picks....and look at those losers.  I want the immediate success and hope that current wins translate into a winning atmosphere.
I will take the Dolphins today in a 23-20 overtime win.  It makes me think of 2007 when the Dolphins beat the Ravens for their only win of the season.  Oh, what a thrill that was--Lemon to Camarillo!!! 
Alex is coming over.  Time to go home and settle in after just returning from a great weekend with Scott and Mack (Sara in Watertown for National Guards).  Let's make this a great day and get to 5-7!!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 6, 2015)  8:17 P.M.: Wasn't pretty at all but the Dolphins got it done...and I am HAPPY!  Just got the classroom CHRISTMAS tree put up in the classroom to celebrate the first win of December.  Oh, the Dolphins are only 5-7, and they somehow have returned to the "In The Hunt" lists with the win today, but I'll take a win over Baltimore any day!  The last time the Dolphins defeated Baltimore was back in 2007 in Miami when the Dolphins won in overtime, 22-16.  Lemon hit Camarillo for the TD and I threw a major Dolphins party the next day for all of my eighth grade classes (it was mentioned by the senior valedictorian at graduation in May).  GOOD TIMES!!!
Anyway, the defense did the job today.  A Reshad Jones interception was followed by a Tannehill to Parker strike of 39 yards for a touchdown.  A few seconds later, Derrick Shelby batted up Matt Schaub's pass and returned it 22 yards for the TD.  That reminded me of AJ Duhe's play against the hated Wets in the '82 AFC Championship Game.  FUN!!
After that action, the Dolphins held on.  The offense is very concerning.  They fail to put anything consistent together.  The receivers are rarely wide open.  Tanny gets rushed and it's over.  I'm not sure what the answers are.  Lamar did run the ball 20 times today--only the second time in his career that he's done that--and he ended with 113 yards rushing. 
It truly was a defensive win.  They stopped the Ravens on downs inside the five and harassed Schaub all day.  But, the defense did bend a little too much for my liking.  Brent Grimes might be on his way out.  Jamar Taylor was ruled inactive today--not for an injury.  Bobby McCain struggled and showed that he needs experience.  They've got a week to figure things out.
I am really looking forward to next Monday night's game versus the New York Giants.  The old school uniforms will be in effect.  Alex will be home for the break.  It should be a fun game against those feisty 5-7 Giants!


Saturday, November 28, 2015  10:11 A.M.
It's the annual DOLFAN TAKEOVER tomorrow in NY against the 5-5 Wets.  If you don't know what the DOLFAN TAKEOVER is, you need to look it up right now!!  I will be taking part in it when the time is right--Alex and the Ogdahls will join in on all fun.  As for the 4-6 Dolphins, they are mathematically alive for a playoff berth.  But, I must admit that I saw the writing on the wall after the loss at Buffalo three weeks ago.  It's not a case of Negative Nancy, it's the truth of the matter.  Losing football games to divisional opponents and combining that with a losing record results in no postseason.  It's nothing complicated.  Despite what I know, I'll be encompassed in rapture if the Dolphins can find a way to beat the favored Wets at Met Life (-4.5).  The Dolphins have had a great run there, winning the last three in that ugly stadium. 
What will it take to win and keep Kelvin Sheppard's prediction of finishing the season 6-0 alive?  Well, guys will need to step up big time.  There are a lot of players banged up.  In my mind, the biggest concern is the status of Jarvis Landry.  He's been out of practice, but there is some hope that he'll suit up.  Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, and others are on the fence.  Of course, Cam Wake is out for the season, while we can't wait for the return of Ja'Wuan James (Jason Fox is clearly not the answer).  But, hey, injuries are always a part of every game and every team (Revis won't be playing for the Wets), so that needs to be pushed aside.  This is a rivalry game.  This is a chance to hand the Wets a losing record and prompt doubt in that franchise.  The more I think about this game, the more excited I am for the noon kickoff.
I predict that the Dolphins will continue their winning trend in front of the crowd present for the DOLFAN TAKEOVER.  Gotta get that running game going.  Tackle--fill holes.  Stop the untimely penalties.  Grow up!!  Let's see the Dan Campbell difference!  Lost to the Wets in London in a game that really wasn't that close.  Can the Dolphins show progress?  Gosh, I hope so!
Dolphins 28, Wets 17.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 29, 2015)  9:18 P.M.: Everything is alright when the Dolphins win--bring on the incoming winter storm set to hit us on Monday through Tuesday, bring on a ton of papers to correct, bring on whatever.  But, the Dolphins didn't win.  They got embarrassed.  This loss was worse than the game at London in Week 4.  This was a disaster.  Never in the game.  Injuries were crazy--two guys getting knocked out on one play at least twice in the game.  Brent grimes getting schooled by Brandon Marshall.  No running game.  Coach Campbell not chewing anybody out...but saying that everybody has to be held accountable. 
I'm not sure what to say.  I feel badly for Alex and the owner and the many great Dolfans around the world.  Lots of change is coming.   Might have to be some "surprising" cuts.  They need to start hitting in the draft.  Parker has done little so far (toe injury slowed him up).  Billy Turner doesn't seem to be worthy of a second round pick...yet.
I'll leave it at that for now.  Guess I have to control my own destiny again.

Thursday, November 26, 2015  12:03 P.M.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for so much.  It begins with our loving, forgiving God and then moves to my wonderful family.  Also on the list is my gratitude for this team I have chosen as my favorite, the Miami Dolphins.  I am thankful for the 50 entertaining years of this franchise.  Though I didn't officially follow them until their 14th season, it has always been fun to look back at the triumphs and failures of their prior 13 seasons, including the Perfect Season of '72. 
This Miami Dolphin franchise is full of intriguing, inspirational stories.  Makes me wonder if any franchise can compare in fascination and story.  From a young man named Joe Robbie straight out of Sisseton, SD, and his journey to found the Miami Dolphins (and being told it would never work in Miami) to the current 4-6 team that still believes it can finish 6-0 and earn a spot in the 2015 playoffs, there is no other team that I could imagine following.  The aqua and orange is for me!
I'm especially thankful for those wonderful years of the early 80s.  I was in those impressionable years of ages 11-16 and the excitement and success the Dolphins gave me is truly a treasure.  I learned at those young ages that few people could experience the highs I felt all because of something so trivial as an American game of football.  Oh, yes, people experience great spurts of joy on their wedding days and at the births of their children and more.  Yet, for me, it takes nothing more than a Dolphin victory over a Buffalo team on a Sunday afternoon to bring unparalleled rapture.  And I've always got the thought that I may also experience that wedding day...or even a birth...that will certainly bring just as much joy.
I don't care what happens to the Dolphins--they could roll of 47 straight losses--and I'll still be loyal to my team.
One day this franchise will be on top of the NFL and I will soak in every glorious moments like nobody else could.  I hope it happens sooner than later but, in the meantime, I'll enjoy each wonderful chapter that the Miami Dolphins open.
Oh, and how can't I mention the miracle in Dallas 22 years ago! What an ending!  Thankful for that and so much more!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015  10:01 A.M.
All the media attention is on the 2-7 Dallas Cowboys, losers of seven straight for the first time since 1989 (the Dolphins beat them that year, 17-14, and a Hail Mary touchdown pass proved to be the difference for the Dolphins).  I suppose that attention is to be expected--NFL Countdown just checked in with Ed Werder as their first visit of the day--because of the return of Tony Romo.  Romo was 2-0 before injuring his collarbone.  It'll be interesting to see how he responds.  Will some rust show?  Will he come out fresh and firing?  I think a lot depends on the Dolphin D, playing without Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi (starting LBs).  So, it'll come down to Suh and Mitchell and McCain...  Can Olivier Vernon have a breakthrough game?  Will the return of Brent Grimes make a difference?  The second- and third-stringers had a big impact on last week's win.  Somebody will have to step up as these Cowboys do have talent.
It has been raining and more is expected throughout the game.  The Hurricanes played yesterday at home and the grass surely took a beating.  Hey, if it's a grind-it-out game, there's an up-and-comer named Jay Ajayi.  Feed him!!!  I like where the Dolphin running game is right now.  So, bring whatever weather is out there and let the Dolphins make no excuses.  This is a good team and it's up to them to show it today.  Being 5-5 and heading into Thanksgiving isn't too bad.  There is very much a chance to get that last playoff berth.  Other teams will lose--all the Dolphins have to do is win and the chips will fall right.
It snowed in Milbank last night and blanketed the town with a very thin film of Miami white snow.  A great omen!!  For the first time since December 17, 1984, on a Monday Night football game against the Cowboys in the Orange Bowl, the Dolphins will beat Dallas in Miami.  The score will be 37-24.  All of my Cowboy friends--and there are many--will have to live with this for four years.  I like that!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 22, 2015)  4:23 P.M.: This one was disappointing due to the number of penalties.  They came at inopportune times all game long.  It was ugly in the first half...and then quickly continued in the second half.  Penalties, penalties, penalties.  Jason Fox had two key holding penalties. Jamar Taylor had a defensive hold after a Dolphin sack at the Dallas three...and that resulted in a Dallas first down...which eventually resulted in a Cowboy touchdown.  I guess penalties are a result of a better team pressuring an inferior team.  Give the Cowboys and Romo credit.  They played very well.
The loss has left me numb.  Disappointed...but kind of what this season has brought.  Signs of hope...and then despair.
Time to get ready for the DOLFAN TAKEOVER at Met Life Stadium in New York next Sunday.  Must win that one!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015  11:42 A.M.
It was all about last week.  Had to beat Buffalo.  Didn't.  Now I'm faced with the harsh reality that it's just a matter of playing this season out.  Heck, the Dolphins have had a record of 8-6 recently and found a way to miss the playoffs.  How is that supposed to happen with a record of 3-5?
The Dolphins are on the road again--this time in Philadelphia.  I am reminded of the 19-14 win in 1993 at Philly on November 14.  The Dolphins won it with a third-string QB (Doug Pederson).  Oh, those were the Shula years.  Good times.
But, these are miserable times.  A team that has underachieved for one reason or another.  There are flashes of brilliance, but it's mostly a time of disappointment.  Should the Dolphins retain Dan Campbell as head coach?  Hard to say.  Is Tanny the answer?  I'm doubting more and more as the weeks go by.  Do the Dolphins need help at linebacker?  MOST DEFINITELY!
One thing I am looking forward to in tomorrow's game is the appearance of Jay Ajayi.  It sounds like he'll be getting a really good amount of action.  He earned it last week with agressive, decisive, and powerful running.  Maybe he's the next great one.
Will it be easy to beat Philly?  No.  The Eagles are coming off of a dramatic OT win at Dallas on Sunday night.  They still have a reasonable shot at the playoffs.  They are a physical, fast team who will be looking to punch out the Dolphins early.  I'm interested in seeing what level of urgency the Dolphins come out with.  Not a time to be going through the motions.  Jobs are on the line.
Honestly, I feel a bit dead in the water.  I don't get happy thoughts when thinking about tomorrow.  Last week took something out of me.  I'll continue to hope....but I don't want to become even more disappointed than I already am.
Dolphins 24, Eagles 17...I hope.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 15, 2015)  8:44 P.M.: Thrilled for the Dolphins!!  They showed heart, grit, determination, perseverance, and a will to win!  They played about as badly as any team could in the first quarter and found themselves trailing by 13, 16-3.  Those 16 points included another safety given up by the offense--the first time since the 19809 Seahawks that a team has yielded safeties in three straight games.  Eagle tight ends were running wide open...and there was no Brent Grimes (inactive due to food poisoning) to stop the bleeding.  Also, Jelani Jenkins went out in the first half with an ankle injury.  Tanny took some big hits, especially on the safety.  Guys were dropping like flies.  But, the Dolphins stayed in it.  The defense tightened up.  Zach Vigil, a free agent rookie, blocked a punt and set the Dolphins up at the Eagle 12.  Two plays later, Tanny hit Miller for a TD and it was a new game.  Trailing 16-13 at the half, the Dolphins had some momentum.  They continued to make enough plays.  Putting pressure on Bradford was a key.  Finally, Chris McCain put a big hit on Sam B and knocked him out of the game.  In came the old NYJ, Mark Sanchez.  He clearly had some timing issues with his backs and receivers.  He didn't perform badly, but the Dolphin D was too much for his liking.  Reshad Jones, a guy who is clearly on his way to the Pro Bowl, intercepted Sanchez in the end zone with about four minutes to go.  The Dolphins were able to move the ball and pick up a couple of first downs.  They were forced to punt, but Sanchez couldn't get the Eagle past midfield.  And it was a 13-point comeback win!
A highlight of the day was Rhianna bringing me a birthday card and Reeses for my birthday.  What a card...and WHAT A NIECE!!! I really enjoyed watching the game with Alex.  He drove up from Brookings just for the game.  We were loving that second half together!!  A lowlight was me aggravating my right groin again.  I'm not sure of teh severity--shouldn't be as bad as the one in August, but I don't need to take a step back.  Also, Alex twisted his ankle while playing victory catch on a beautiful day--70 degrees and fairly calm.
But, I remain happy with the win!!  A lot of young guys stepped up today--Tony Lippett, Chris McCain, Neville Hewitt, Zach Vigil, Jay Ajayi, Walt Aikens, and others.  As corny as it may sound, I'm very, very proud of them.  It was not easy to go in there with little experience and battle Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense.  They took it on the chin in the first quarter, but they didn't fold.  Instead, they got some things cleared up and came together.  Judging by what I read on Twitter, these Dolphins are thrilled as I am.  The picture Michael Thomas had taken on the plane says it all-these guys are stoked!!!
What a great week it'll be!  Changes the entire mindset!!  And, just like in 1970, the Dolphins entered their November 15 with consecutive losses and got a win.  LOVE IT!!!
FINS UP!!!!
And, of course, the most important thing is this: people in Paris are hurting due to the violent attacks.  I pray to the GOOD Lord for all of those affected.  I hurt for them.


Saturday, November 7, 2015  6:15 P.M.
As we continue to follow the same calendar as my birth year, 1970, tomorrow's game at Buffalo will be my final Dolphins game as a 44-year old.  It is also the 100th all-time meeting between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.  Oh, how good this one would feel if the 3-4 Dolphins can win this game against a team that already beat them this season--actually, destroyed them this season--to get the 4-4 record and suddenly become a contender.  Buffalo is also 3-4 and is a team that is reeling.  The Ills are not in a good spot right now--much bickering and much doubt.  This is the time for the Dolphins to pounce!
The Dolphins are coming off a pretty good break after the setback in New England.  Buffalo last played a couple of weeks ago in London and lowly Jacksonville found a way to beat them.  The Dolphins haven't played well in Buffalo lately; their last win there was in 2011. 
Tomorrow's game will say a lot.  Will the "Dan Campbell Effect" continue to roll?  Is Tanny truly the Dolphins' answer at quarterback?  Has this team figured out how to be self-motivated? Do they have the chemistry necessary to build a winner?  For me, there are no excuses.  A great performance will tell me that this team is on the right track.  A poor performance means a lot of change remains.  I've been a Tanny supporter since Day One.  I can't continue to insist that he's "The One" if he can't play BIG in a BIG game like tomorrow's game.  I don't want to hear that the offensive line is this or that or missing a guy or whatever.  RESULTS!!!
I predict a 24-20 win.  Lamar needs to carry the ball.  Also, Jay Alayji (and I know that name isn't spelled correctly) might make his debut tomorrow.  Maybe he'll be the NFL's next big thing.  Could happen!!
Alex and I will be fired up on the couch and giving the Dolphins all of the support they could ever want.  Bring on the haters.  Tomorrow night at this time could be one of the most wonderful nights of my life.  WINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 8, 2015)  8:24 P.M.: I have come to a conclusion that I didn't want to ever come to: Ryan Tannehill is not the long-term answer at quarterback.  I have given him time, support, opportunities, and the benefit of the doubt.  He is great at times--very accurate...but dink and dunk doesn't cut it.  The opposing quarterback went deep twice and ended up with a 63-yard completion and a 48-yard touchdown pass.  Tanny's completions were short.  Landry caught one for -2 yards.  Oh, I love the poise of Tanny.  He's a great guy/hard worker.  But that ain'
t cuttin' it.
Tough loss to take.  Hate Buffalo.  But, the Dolphins have had their way with that team in the past, too.  It's simply not the Dolphins' turn.  They are weak.
I loved what I saw from Jay Ajayi.  Tough runner.  Speed.  Can catch.  Suddenly, Damian Williams and Jonas Gray are on the sidelines.  As for the defense, Suh is about the only guy who is making a difference.  The rest of the guys are awaiting tackles.  An upgrade at LB is key!
So, I gotta work hard this week, enjoy it, and get fired up for a road win at Philly.  Never know!  In 1970, the Dolphins lost on November 8 and then closed out the season with all wins...and made the playoffs.  Let the magic return!!


Friday, October 30, 2015  9:42 P.M.
Last night was bad.  I was so excited and even confident that the Dolphins would win by a score of 20-17.  Instead, Tom Brady was perfect and the Patriots did everything right.  The Dolphins were confused and lost Cam Wake for the season (and possibly career).  They also lost Ju'Wuan James for 4-6 weeks (toe).  Gull darn.  After two straight weeks of high, this low is tough to take.  The running game was clearly off track.  The timing with the receivers was off.  The receivers dropped passes.  Miscommunications on defense.  Missed tackles.  A lack of big plays.  It was all of that.
However, this was not a must-win game.  What has resulted from the loss, though, is that the Dolphins MUCH win in Buffalo next Sunday.  Now, the Bills beat the Dolphins 41-14 in Week 3 at Miami, but that Buffalo team has clearly fallen.  Rex Ryan is doing his usual--running a team right into the ground.  This is a golden opportunity to get that bad showing against Buffalo in Week 3 totally out of the minds of all Dolfans.  It's a chance to say, "Hey, this team is much better with Coach Campbell at the helm." 
First comes a string of some down days.  Wondering how it'll really go in Buffalo.  What Miami team will show up.
On a bright note, I was able to watch the game with some of my favorite people: Scott, Sara, Mack, Alex, CR, Ali, Austin, Liam and DP.  Much more important than any football game!!!

Friday, October 23, 2015  9:08 P.M.
Positivity.  A great feeling of confidence.  A new start.  1-0 in this "12 week season."  I love what is going on with the Miami Dolphins right now.  Yes, it's only one win for Coach Campbell, but I am most impressed with how they did it.  The defense led the way.  Sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage and interceptions.  And the offense found their groove.  They ran the ball (Miller and Gray) and Tanny threw the rock.  Rishard Matthews is tough (heard that he caught a football between the legs intentionally today at practice).  Tanny and he have great chemistry.  Still waiting for that same chemistry between Tanny and Cameron Jordan to take hold.  They seem a bit off and that has led to a couple of interceptions.  I'm awaiting the emergence of number one pick D Parker.  I want him to go off in much the same manner as Sammy Watkins did last year as rookie for hated Buffalo (by the way, the bickering in Buffalo has already begun--can't wait for the Dolphins to go in there any lay one on them this season).
As for the game on Sunday, the 2-4 Houston Texans come to town.  They are a team the Dolphins have yet to beat in seven tries.  I've had some depressing Sundays because of that team, and I'd love nothing more than to beat them and get to 3-3 before the Dolphins' home crowd.  This is the time to get healthy and grow in confidence.  I know this Dolphin team is loaded with talent--can't let this season go to waste.
I think the Dolphins will control this one throughout.  A score of 26-14 sounds reasonable.  Alex will be in town to enjoy the win with.  And I'll have a great feeling all week long as we have conferences and officiate our high school playoff game on Tuesday night.  FINS UP!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 25, 2015)  5:49 P.M.: Coach Campbell followed up last week's success with another great win!  Alex and I couldn't believe it as the Dolphins absolutely rolled in the first half.  They had a franchise record 41 points!!  Tanny played a perfect half as he threw 12 passes (all completed) and four of those passes went for touchdowns.  At one point, the Dolphins had 303 yards to the Texans' three.  The Dolphin defense swarmed and forced the Texans to three and out on the first nine possessions.  Meanwhile, Jarvis Landry--I can't say enough about him--cruised through the Texan secondary with ease.  It was so much fun to watch!  Alex and I didn't really know what to say.  I give Alex so much credit for sticking with these Dolphins.  After losing to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, things looked bad.  It went to horrible the following week in London in the Loss to the NYJ.  And here we are today--3-3 in the AFC East and in third place.  The team is healthy and very confident.  Reshad Jones is taking over.  Suh got his first sack as a Dolphin today...and he had another.  Wake appears to be fully healthy.  There was no running on the Dolphin front four when it was still a game in the first quarter.  So happy for Coach Campbell--he's making a run at being named the full-time head coach (NFL rules don't allow him to be named just yet--have to consider minorities).  What a great week this sets up--conferences on Monday and Wednesday and a game to officiate on Tuesday (at Clark)...and then a HUGE game at New England on Thursday night!!  PUMPED UP and PROUD of these MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015  8:53 P.M.
A new era begins in Dolphin football history today when Coach Dan Campbell becomes the eleventh man to be the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.  In his first game at the helm, Coach Campbell will lead his 1-3 Dolphins against the home Tennessee Titans, 1-3 and led by rookie QB Marcus Mariota.  Dolfans have heard a lot of great things from Coach Campbell and, as a result, the players, too, but talk is cheap.  Many newly hired coaches take the podium and produce hope of a total turnaround.  We will see how the Dolphins react to this new approach at 12:00.  I don't expect things to instantly go the Dolphins' way.  In fact, I told Alex last night that I don't believe we'll really see the difference until the second half.  I expect the Dolphins and Titans to keep things pretty close throughout the first half.  Hey, even a 0-0 score at the end of the first quarter would be an improvement.  The Dolphins have found themselves down a combined 37-3 at the end of the first quarter in their first four games.  That can't happen today. A futile start today could translate into bigger problems.
I want to see a relentless, nasty defense AND offense.  As Coach Campbell said, expect this team to toe the line--be on the edge of complete nastiness.  I want to see passion, emotion, and desire.  I want to see these guys earning their paychecks and remembering the many great Dolphin fans across the nation.
Alex will be coming to the house for the beginning of this new era.  We can't wait.  We haven't given up on the season yet; we both know that one team that has been very successful so far this season will tank.  On the other hand, there is a team that has been dreadful to open the season that is going to wake up and roll into the playoffs.  Let's just hope that one team is our beloved Miami Dolphins.
Final score today: Miami Dolphins 30, Tennessee Titans 14.

UPDATE (Sunday, October 18, 2015)  5:12 P.M.: Coach Campbell's head coaching debut was a HUGE SUCCESS!!!  Alex and I had a blast watching our favorite team play with a passion and desire not yet seen this season.  The Dolphins went right down the field by running the ball (Miller) and Tanny making great throws (had time and hit Rishard Matthews a couple of times).  They scored a TD on their opening drive for the first time since November 23, 2014, at Denver.  Cam Wake had four sacks; they all came in the first half and tied an NFL record for sacks in a first half.  Also, the 97-yard drive for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was tied for the third-longest scoring drive in Dolphins’ history, behind 99-yard scoring drives at Baltimore on Sept. 10, 1978 and vs. the N.Y. Jets on Sept. 24, 1989.  Plenty of goodness all the way around!  To see the expressions on the players' and coaches' faces was completely awesome!!  The chants of "Let's go Dolphins" came across the TV and the radio station over the computer.  I can't explain how good this feels!  Hope is back!  The confidence grew as the game went on.  Oh, they need to cut down on penalties (nearly 100 yards in penalties), but there is so much reason for optimism.  It is obvious that the players had a sense of urgency today.  And now they get to go home and defend Joe Robbie Stadium turf as they host a team they'lve never beaten--the Houston Texans. 
It was great to see the Dolphins run the ball on second and long.  Tanny had time today.  Billy Turner started and he helped get some push.  The line got out in front and gave the backs solid blocking.  Lamar Miller went for 113 yards.  Jonas Gray ran hard when he was given opportunities.  Jarvis Landry played like he always does, giving 100% on every play.  His 30-yard TD run got things started.  He was also seen delivering blocks downfield.  It's the little things he does that add up.  N Suh played like he is supposed to.  Olivier Vernon had two personal foul penalties on the QB, but he was part of the defensive pressure all day.  Brent Grimes had a great interception on a bigger tight end.  Reshad Jones was all around the ball and took a pick to the house.  Oh, I could go on and on and on....but I've got to get back to some football watching.  It's always fun to watch after a great Dolphin win!!!!



Wednesday, October 7, 2015  8:47 P.M.
I read something today that made me feel a lot better.  Steve Kerr (Golden State) and David Blatt (Cleveland) both took head coaching jobs last year without any head coaching experience.  What was the result?  Both coaches led their teams to the NBA Finals.  It gives me hope that Coach Campbell is a hidden gem that becomes comparable to Coach Don Shula.  You just never know!  He is saying all of the right things.  His first practice as head coach of the Miami Dolphins took place this morning.  There was a lot of one-on-one drills.  His stance when he took the stand for a post-practice interview is the kind of stance I like to see--athletic and aggressive.  I want this to work out for him, the Dolphins, and all of the great Dolphin fans!  I can't wait to see what takes place at Tennessee on Sunday, October 18!

Monday, October 5, 2015  1:52 P.M.
Just found two hours ago that Coach Philbin has been fired.  Had to be done.  No excuses.  The Dolphins played a pathetic game yesterday in London.  Little emotion. Stupid penalties.  No creativity.  Though Owner Ross has been quite patient, he could no longer afford to continue on.  A change had to be made.  I think Coach Philbin is a great guy who will move on and be successful, however, it is apparent that he's not the right man for being the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. 
I am now awaiting the firing of the defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle.  Also, I can't say that Bill Lazor is safe.  The offense has done very little.
I realize that the poor play is more on the players than the coaches, but firing coaches is part of the business.  What has Wake, Suh, and Vernon done?  Little to nothing this year.  No sacks through four games.  Are you kidding me?  Stupid.  And ineffective. 
Suh is making me wonder if that was a good hire or not.  Running backs are bouncing off of him and picking up 17 yards.  And he's not treating the media well.  With that look in his eye, he just doesn't look like a great guy.  If he doesn't do anything in the next four weeks, I want him gone, too. 
It's house-cleaning time.  Get rid of the old, stale routines and bring life to Miami again.  This isn't the way it's supposed to be.
Dan Campbell, good luck!  Bring some enthusiasm to the team AND the fans!


Friday, October 2, 2015  2:00 P.M.
Sitting here during my prep and feeling like I should enter these thoughts now as I might not have time this weekend.  Tomorrow means a trip to Brookings for the NDSU at SDSU football game--can't wait!!  Then, on Sunday MORNING, the 1-2 Miami Dolphins "host" the 2-1 NY Jets in London.  I can't wait to see how the Dolphins come out for this one after two extremely turbulent weeks.  My thoughts certainly won't change from now until kickoff, so here it goes....
Been hearing from coaches and players that they take all blame for the slow start.  Yada yada yada.  I don't want to hear about it.  To me, some of these issues should've been figured out in training camp, preseason, etc.  I don't want anymore excuses.  Get it done.  The season is on the line. 
Fire anybody who shows a lack of desire.  I want them off of the team yesterday.
If Coach Philbin can't find a way to get these guys going, then he needs to be gone.  Other teams are able to pick a coach known as a great motivator and have him turning heads instantly.  There are coaches out there that can come in and turn things around if Coach Philbin cannot.
I'm not expecting Alex to show up for this football game, but I think he should.  A loss on Sunday drops the Dolphins to 1-3 going into their bye week and the season is over...and some coaching jobs should end, too.
I do have confidence in these Dolphins.  Last year, they were also 1-2 heading into the London game.  They got things going, killed the Raiders, and played some great football afterwards.  I hope that same magic returns!
My prediction: Dolphins 30, Wets 15.  Can't wait to wake up early on Sunday and enjoy a day of VICTORY!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015  9:45 P.M.
It has been brought to my attention in the last few months that many more people than I thought actually read my thoughts on this page.  There are friends, there are past friends, there are acquaintances, and there are strangers, and there are others that find themselves reading this page.  Oh, how bored some people must get!  No matter what, though, I tell it like I see it. I know that some people feel my pain when the Dolphins lose, while others are happy when something happens like what happened today.  Buffalo 41, Dolphins 14.  In Miami.  The home opener.  Even 15 years ago, this would've driven me nuts.  However, now being the wise person that I am, I know that what happened today is all part of the process.  My lows are more than the average fan--because I'm not the average fan--but the lows aren't as low as one might think.  The drubbing today has to cause some re-thinking.  A sense of urgency.  And, at times, major change.
I'll be fine.  Tomorrow is a teaching day.  It will go very well.  And each day my hope for the upcoming Sunday will grow.  Beat the hated Wets in London and all will be right with the world!


Thursday, September 24, 2015  10:02 P.M.
Just writing this down to see if it has any merit...  Last night, just before falling asleep, I had this sudden positive burst of energy as the realization that the Dolphins will beat Buffalo on Sunday hit me.  I feel confident.  It's not about Buffalo, it's about the Miami Dolphins.  In the home opener, the Dolphins have an opportunity to dictate what'll happen.  It's easy to tell that the players are edgy; they don't like this atmosphere of questioning.  Suh should go hostile.  The o-line will be blocking like there ain't no tomorrow.  And Alex will be happy as he sits and watches the late kickoff win with me!  Stay tuned...


Monday, September 21, 2015  9:25 P.M.
Yesterday was painful and miserable.  My four-day cold didn't help matters.  I felt awful for the time Alex spent watching that mess of a game.  But, today came as a relief.  I went over the proofreading stage and that took my mind off of the bitter defeat.  I am blessed to have a job that allows me forget about myself and make a positive difference in the lives of others.  The challenge of teaching eighth graders English skills on a Monday morning doesn't allow one's mind to wander too much.  Every day will get better and, finally, gameday will arrive and a big dose of hope will take care of me.


Sunday, September 20, 2015  11:34 A.M.
Week Two in the NFL.  Assume nothing.  Seems like Jacksonville (0-1) begins 0-8 every season.  No doubt in the world that they're going to be playing with a sense of urgency to stop that trend today.  They are desperate.  Yes, overmatched by my Dolphins, but bad teams at home can snap at ya every once in a while.
The Dolphins need to play better than they did last week.  The big boys on the d-line must get it started very early.  On all-out bum rush on Blake Bortles must occur.  You know Jarvis Landry's gonna bring it....but how about everybody else?  Sure would be nice to see Lamar Miller go off today.  He's got it in him, but I don't see consistency quite yet.  Can't have Tanny feeling all kinds of pressure.
I'm not feeling well at all (day four of bad cold), but Alex is expected to show up for today's 3:05 kick.  I always feel better when the Dolphins are on and a win might just drive me to 100% health.  Dolphins, do what you do and don't play over-confidently and you will win by a score of 27-7.  Alex will be happy.  I will be happy.  And we'll welcome hated Buffalo next week!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 20, 2015)  9:23 P.M.: This game went nothing like I expected it to, either.  A horrible, disappointing and frustrating loss.  Too many penalties.  To me, it's a lot about everybody on defense waiting for the other guy to make a play.  The Dolphins are dictating nothing.  They are sitting back and waiting for yards to be gained.  I don't like the feel at all.  No doubt, Suh has done very little.  Wake didn't play for long (hamstring).  Where is Shelby?  Where is Mitchell?  Where is Phillips?  Is Kelvin Sheppard filling?  So many questions...and it only gets more difficult against Buffalo next Sunday in the home opener. 
Tanny is fine.  He's doing what he can.  Need more of a running game.  Feel badly for Alex.  He invests his time in coming over and all we got to see was misery.  1-1.  OUCH.

Sunday, September 13, 2015  8:39 A.M.
IT'S GAMEDAY AND, FOR LACK OF BETTER ADJECTIVES FOR THE WAY I'M FEELING, I'LL JUST SAY THAT I AM STOKED FOR THIS SEASON TO BEGIN!!!!  There is something within me that tells me this season is going to be really, really special.  And it all begins at Washington today.  I love Dolphin history, and I don't need to strain my brain too much to remember the '84 season opener--also at Washington.  That day a guy named Marino threw five touchdown passes as the Dolphins rolled the Redskins, a team that had just been to the Super Bowl in two straight seasons.  Oh, what a great memory that was!  The Dolphins wore their aqua jerseys that day making for an even more beautiful day.  I'm hoping history repeats itself in every imaginable way today.  Bring the aqua jerseys.  Bring five TD passes--this time by Tanny.  And, most importantly, bring the "relaxing" win.
I don't think I've ever felt more confident going into a season.  Tanny is a leader and very talented.  In his fourth year, he knows that this is his time.  He has the weapons at the skill position that any QB would love to have.  He's got an o-line that is out to prove it can get the job done.  The Dolphin d-line is overflowing with talent.  Suh will make everyone better.  They are scary good--top 5 material.  The linebackers need to stay healthy and pawn off the success of the defensive line.  The secondary?  Pressure. Tough. Confident.  They'll get better and better.  I really believe that this is the year that everything comes together.  The "togetherness" of this team is a large reason of my confidence level.  I love it.
So, Alex is coming back from Brookings to enjoy this game live on the Sunday Ticket.  It's a beautiful day outside (84 degrees for a high today) and we'll be watching our beloved Dolphins beat the Redskins 35-17 on the television set.  Oh, and I have a 25-cent bet with Coach T on this one.  Gotta get it done!!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, September 15, 2015)  7:24 P.M.: A couple of days have passed since the Dolphins overcame a 10-0 deficit and beat the pesky Redskins by seven.  Relief!! It did not look good, and have a hundred oranges on my favorite team didn't help relieve any stress.  But, Jarvis Landry was not to be denied and his punt return with about ten minutes remaining in the fourth proved to be the difference.  The fan support was fantastic--Tannehill made mention of it in his postgame comments.  Alex and I could hear the "Let's go Dolphins" chant going on.  There was plenty of aqua and orange in the stadium...and it made a difference.  The Redskins came out running the football and throw short, quick passes.  They dominated the time of possession.  In fact, it wasn't even close.  To think the Dolphins were down by only three points (10-7) at the half was quite amazing as they were outplayed.  I found myself wondering why the Dolphin defensive line was getting pushed around.  Suh really didn't make any impact plays.  Sure, he soaked up two blockers at times, but he didn't collapse the pocket like I thought he would.  I envisioned Wake, Vernon, Suh, and Mitchell bringing serious heat on every play and many stops in the backfield.  No such luck...and that was concerning.
But, like I said, Jarvis wouldn't allow a loss.  He fought, scratched, and clawed his way to victory.  He caught a ball, got knocked back, kept on fighting three defenders, and pushed his way to a ten-yard gain.  Love the fight!  I know this: the Dolphins have a lot to improve upon.  I just thought they'd roll the Skins and it was far too close for comfort.  They have another chance to get a win and some practice at Jacksonville next Sunday.  Can't take the Jags lightly, though, as this is the NFL.  Can be beaten on any given Sunday.  Oh, and I'm afraid the Dolphin defense appeared to be out of shape.  I hope they're getting some running in this week!
One more thing~~  Having Alex back for the game was super awesome!  I love watching the Dolphins with such a great fan and nephew--definitely adds to the excitement.  And, to add to the greatness, Mack was around for the first half of the game.  What a wonderful little boy he is!!


Saturday, September 5, 2015  10:06 PM
Final Cutdown Day.  And, for the first time since 2007, the Miami Dolphins will have a new kicker and a new punter.  It was just announced today that the Dolphins released Caleb Sturgis in favor of Andrew Franks, this comes a few days after Matt Darr officially replaced Brandon Fields.  Were there many surprises today?  Not really.  Yes, Anthony Johnson and Mike "Gilligan" Gillislee were let go, but DL and RB are two positions where the depth is great.  It was nice to see LaMike James and Matt Hazel come up with spots on the team.  But, as previous years have shown, the current roster will be changed before Week One.  I'm very excited about the opener; Dolphins 2015 begins in just eight days!!  Tomorrow marks my final Sunday of killing time.


Friday, September 4, 2015  8:42 AM
Preseason has concluded.  The 1-3 record means very little.  Sure, I'd love to have the 4-0 or 3-1 mark, but what I really want is very difficult decisions for the coaches when it comes to cuts.  And that is the case this season.  As the Dolphin radio guys--Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose--said last night, this is the best team of Dolphins in a long time.  The depth is great and many players that will be cut will be playing for other teams this season.  Matt Hazel at wide receiver?  The receiving corps is extremely good, yet how do you cut a guy like Matt Hazel who has impressed throughout preseason.  Look at the defensive line--there are guys making plays all over that line, yet everyone can't be saved on the practice squad.
As always, following the Dolphins makes for very interesting times.  Can't wait to see how it all plays out!


Saturday, August 29, 2015  9:33 A.M.
WELCOME TO THE NEW JOE ROBBIE STADIUM!!!!  After millions of dollars of renovations, the NEW JOE will be open to the public for the first time this evening as the Miami Dolphins host the Atlanta Falcons in the third and most important preseason game.  The stadium looks completely cool!!!  The aqua seats are incredible...and they moved the seating 24 feet closer to the field!  I am thrilled for all Dolfans who will be able to experience all of this goodness.  They kept the grass and improved the stadium beyond what I thought possible.  Thank you, Stephen Ross!
Since I've written last, the Dolphins have continued to make their way through preseason without many injuries...but one is too many, especially when that one is Louis Delmas (ACL).  Also, the concern of the offensive line--who will start--continues.  What is not an area of concern is Ryan Tannehill and the WR corps--clearly a strength.  From all indications, it appears that this is the year of Ryan Tannehill.  He is in his fourth year and has a splendid cast of receivers.  Plus, Lamar Miller, Damien Williams, and LaMichael James are talented and confident.  I really like what I'm seeing on offense and hope remains that the line will find a way to hold their own.
Yes, the Dolphins are 0-2 in preseason, but their starters have dominated the opposing starters in both games.  Meanwhile, Josh Freeman and McLeod Bethel-Thompson have struggled, throwing interceptions at an alarming rate.  Do I want the Dolphins to win their preseason games? Of course!!  Yet, I know in the end that it's all about the starters, staying healthy, and performing at a higher level when the games really count.
I just ordered my customized throwback jersey--can't wait for that!  And I can't wait for this 50th season--can't beat the anticipation of an NFL season that will see a very talented Dolphins team competing.  If they don't get to the playoffs this year...and with this amount of talent and hope...this organization will need to fire many and go in an entirely new direction.  However, making the playoffs this year is a lock.  Record?  11-5.  FINS UP!!!

UPDATE (Sunday, August 30, 2015)  9:55 P.M.: My gosh, it sounds like the Miami Dolphins are more than ready for the regular season!  They won their first preseason game and did it in their beautiful, new stadium before their largest preseason crowd since 2008.  Very happy!  Tanny sounded like he's spot-on.  Jarvis Landry can't be stopped.  Rishard Matthews won't be denied a spot on this team.  Lamar Miller is a force.  And the offensive line actually earned some kudos.  I believe Dallas Thomas received MVP for the game.  WOW!  And the defensive line?  Sounds like it's a race to the QB!  Wake, Vernon, Mitchell (Earl had an especially strong showing) and, um, a guy named Suh are "A+" status.  That'll be a blast to follow.
Two weeks from today is the opener.  Can't wait.  I know that this Dolphins team will be 1-0.  Will Tanny throw five TD passes like Danny did back in '84 at Washington?  No....he'll throw for six...and run one in.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Thirty-one years ago on this very date was the first time I attended a Miami Dolphins game.  They beat the Vikings 29-7 and Kevin and I were on TV.  I still remember looking down upon the Metrodome's turf and seeing those stunning Dolphin uniforms for the first time.  WOW!!  A priceless memory and a feeling that I can only wish others experience at least once in their lifetimes.
Yesterday in Dolphin camp there was a fight.  Today in Dolphin camp there was an even more intense fight--Jamar Taylor versus Rishard Matthews.  Hey, it's hot in Miami (How's that for the understatement of the day?) and things can boil over quite easily.  It seems that a few fights here and there are a good sign--competition is high and taken very seriously.  And the team, I'm sure, can't wait to play a different team.
In two days, the Dolphins open their preseason schedule at Chicago against the Bears.  And I will be there with Papa Bear Dave P!! I am quite thrilled for this game!!  Some people express their displeasure for preseason games, but I have so many reasons to love them.  I'm excited to see those Dolphin uniforms--always fantastic.  I can't wait to experience a stadium I haven't yet visited.  I love hanging out with DP, one of the biggest, best fans in the country.  I'm curious to see who plays for the Dolphins.  With all of this great depth on the team, it'll be very interesting to see who provides a spark.  Take the wide receiver position for example--guys like Michael Preston, a confident, fun guy, and Matt Hazel, a young guy who refuses to allow his dream to play in the NFL go away, are fighting for any advantage.  Oh, even the kickers seem to be even up.  Will Sturgis do enough to hang onto his job or will Andrew Franks unseat him?
Gosh, I'm lucky.  I get to attend some preseason action with a great buddy and cheer for a team that I believe will go 12-4 and win the AFC East.  This team is loaded and it all seems to be coming together for them!


Monday, August 4, 2015 10:06 P.M.
Camp is on!  What an exciting time of the year!!  Yes, every fan thinks his/her team is on the way to the Super Bowl in early August, but I have every reason to believe that this year is going to be something extra special.  Tanny is in his fourth year and has a very talented receiving corps around him.  The offensive line, though still having its share of question marks, is still better off at this point compared to last year.  The running backs seem to be healthy and confident.  LaMichael James continues to receive rave reviews.  As for the defense, it is healthy and coming together.  The pieces are in place for a top ten finish.
I'm headed to Chicago for the Dolphins' first preseason game next Thursday--very excited! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015  4:19 P.M.
Here we are--a few hours away from the NFL Draft.  This is definitely the least prepared I've ever been for a draft....and it ain't helping that I need to be on the tennis courts for coaching until 6:15.  The excitement hasn't quite set in yet.  Will the Dolphins draft the next biggest star?  Rookie of the Year?  Will they go for a cornerback or the Georgia running back (Gurley)?  I can't wait to find out!
UPDATE (Thursday, April 30, 2015)  10:05 P.M.: ~Davonte Parker is the newest Dolphin.  He got rave reviews from Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock immediately upon being selected as the 14th pick in the first round.  Alex wasn't a fan of drafting a receiver...and I was in agreement with him.  But, it sounds like this kid is a hard worker and a great guy to have in the locker room.  Though the Dolphins seem to be loaded at receiver, this sure pick will only make the position better.  It is time to pick up a solid corner or linebacker.  Also, an offensive lineman is badly needed.  Can't wait for tomorrow's pick!

Saturday, April 25, 2015  7:44 P.M.
Minutes away from going to the gym to watch Alex at prom (S. Pauli).  He'll be sporting his Dolphin jersey the second time around, I think.  Almost as important is the NFL Draft--only five days away.  It's time for the Dolphins to hit it big.  I have no idea who they'll end up taking.  No idea!!  There are all kinds of needs.  This team is going to be so much different than the 2014 team.  With the free agents they've added so far, it's very difficult to say what direction the team might go in.  I can't wait!!  Time to hit the gym for Alex!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015  9:19 P.M.
The NFL schedule was released this evening!  Always a great time to go over each Dolphin opponent week-by-week!  Broke tradition a bit and didn't meet up with Alex to scroll through the season.  He is a busy senior with other things on his mind, so I didn't bother him.  But, it was fun to soak it up alone and see how many of my 11 hopeful items came to fruition.  Only two did.  But, it is an interesting schedule (cliche, cliche, cliche----what one isn't???).  Playing the NY Wets and watching that at 8:30 AM local time will be strange.  A Monday nighter against the Giants in Miami--it occurs on December 14!  The last time there was a home Monday nighter on December 14 was in 1992 against the Raiders (Rick and I were there).  The Dolphins close the season against New England.  Playoffs will hopefully be on the line.  This is the year to knock down some doors.  The Dolphins will be a much different team than last year, but they have Tanny at QB to lead the squad.  Bring on the draft next Thursday and the anticipation will only build!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015  10:26 P.M.
Signed Josh Freeman?????  Is it April 1?  April Fool's??????  Nope.  The Dolphins actually did that and I'm shocked and I can't believe it.  How could I forget him playing for the Vikings on MNF at New York against the Giants?  He was beyond horrible.  He looks dizzy.  Worst signing in a long time for the Dolphins.  I hope I'm completely wrong.  I want to trust in Dolphin management.

Monday, March 9,  10:12 P.M.
Sitting at school watching Oral Roberts vs NDSU in the Summit Conference semi-final game.  I'll be in Sioux Falls tomorrow night to see SDSU take on the winner.  While watching, I've been looking at the Dolphin news on-line.  And how depressing.  Brian Hartline--signing with Cleveland.  Jared Odrick--signing with Jacksonville.  Brandon Fields--will be released tomorrow.  The only good news is that, again, Philip Wheeler will be released.  But, when a team goes 8-8 in back-to-back disappointing seasons, changes are necessary.  New blood.  A new feel.  A new beginning.  Whatever it takes, I guess.  But, I like to win with the guys who've been there.  So, I'll continue to keep an eye on what's going on, and I'm sure there are more disappointments to come.  I can only hope that these changes get back the Dolphins back to where they belong every year--the playoffs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015  9:45 P.M.
Reports have come out today saying that the Dolphins are going to make Ndamukong Suh the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.  Wow.  I don't remember a player ever living up to being the highest paid free agent with Albert Haynesworth being the one of the most memorable.  I like the idea that Suh is young and that he's been able to stay healthy (played in 80 of the 82 games the Lions have played in the past five seasons).  Sure, this move creates excitement now, but time will tell whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.  I trust in Hickey and Philbin and the entire Dolphin front office so, if I had to pick a side, I say it's a great move.  Pick up one of the toughest players in the league and let him help win games!
On another bright note, the Dolphins releasaed Philip Wheeler.  Good riddance!  Overpaid player who made zero game-changing plays.  Time to move on...and hopefully Ellerbe finds the same fate.
Starting to get fired up for football again...there is hope!  And, with the way 2015 has been going for me already, I have to think that the Dolphins are in for something special this season!!

Friday, January 30, 2015  3:52 P.M.
Super Bowl Sunday is two days away and I would much prefer to be playing racquetball or going through old Dolphin Digests than watching a game between two teams I do not like.  I want New England to lose more than I want Seattle to win.  Both teams annoy me.  Yes, part of it with New England and me is that I'm jealous.  It's just like the Pastry fans were from 1970-1999 when it came to the Dolphins.  Thirty years!!  I want to go back to the times when New England was Brady-less.  That time will be coming soon.  And that is great.
I hope Seattle wins by one point on a last second field goal.  This season needs to end and everyone needs to begin talking about the 2015 season.  I can't wait to move on!

Saturday, January 17, 2015  9:38 A.M.
It's hard to think about Dolphin football.  There are all kinds of tweets and comments regarding the Dolphins...and, in my older age, I know it's all speculation and hope and negativity and wondering aloud.  Some people like that...and I do sometimes...but not this time.  Yes, I know it has to do with the way the season ended.  That was sickening.  So, like last year, I need some healing time.  The latest surrounding the Dolphins is all about the stadium renovations.  It looks like they're installing AQUA seats!  Now, that will be cool!!
The conference championships are tomorrow.  My lone hope is that Indianapolis beats New England.  Oh, how sweet that would be!  I can't stand seeing New England having all of the success they have.  And it's nothing against Tom Brady--he's a pretty cool guy.  I'll watch the games tomorrow--maybe at DP's in Sioux Falls--and think back to the 1992-3 season, the last time the Dolphins were in a game of that magnitude.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014  5:04 P.M.
Being a big fan hurts big when a season turns out the way it did.  No playoffs.  Began the season 5-3 and finished 3-5.  And losing to the hated Wets in the Big Joe only adds injury to insult.  Mind-blowing bad.  I've had a bad cold since.  Didn't leave the house on Sunday, not on Monday, and have yet to leave today (my cold is lifting yet it's below zero outside).  Not motivated to do much of anything and that has to stop.  I've got racquetball to play and I'll be able to control my own destiny.  This hurt has to go away and the sooner the better.  It's hard to watch anything NFL-related.  All of the news is bad news.
Making it worse is the Mike Wallace situation.  He was benched in the second half and had Brandon Gibson speak on his behalf in postgame interviews.  That was ugly.  Reading Omar Kelly's tweets is depressing.  He doubts the coach.  The defense was horrid.  Geno Smith earlier had a quarterback rating of zero in a game, however, he had a perfect 158.3 rating in this game.  The Dolphin defense, considered a Top 5 defense entering the season, closed out with giving up loads of yards and points.  Changes have to be made.  The d-line was overpowered.  Cam Wake fizzled out.  Where was Olivier Vernon in the finale? Wheeler took up space all season--didn't cause any fumbles, recover any fumbles, intercept any passes, or knock any passes down.  All he did was miss tackles.  Cortland Finnegan got schooled in the finale.  Was it the bum ankle?  I could go on and on and on. 
It hurts to type this.  I don't want to think about the Dolphins' season for a long time.  Time to move on.  Ugggggghhhhh.

Saturday, December 27, 2014  9:03 P.M.
Tomorrow means the end of the 2014 campaign for my beloved Dolphins.  It all began on Friday, August 8, in Atlanta.  I went over to Alex's house to watch the game downstairs, and I won't forget the brilliant touchdown drive that the Dolphins had on their very first possession of the preseason.  I knew that this team was loaded with talent.  I was hoping that all of that talent would spell a playoff berth for Alex's senior year.  But, it wasn't meant to be.  Narrow losses to Green Bay (if a Dolphin could've only fallen on that fumble at midfield to end it!!), Detroit (the win was there for the taking--and the Dolphins took a physical beating in the process), and to Denver (the defense simply couldn't hold on long enough) have combined to prevent the first Dolphin playoff berth since 2008.  Ouch.  Disappointment.  But, of course, there's always hope for the future.
This past week has been a beautiful one--the exciting win over the Vikings provided a much-needed lift to the spirits.  What a win!!  That game has me pretty pumped up for tomorrow's finale against the hated Wets.  I'd love nothing more than to end the season with a winning record...and combining that with a NYJ loss would make it even sweeter.  I was extremely bummed out last year when the Dolphins fell flat in the last game.  It affected me longer than it should have--I didn't even feel like watching old Dolphin games or trading.  It bothered me to think about the NFL.  I want this year to be different!
With Owner Ross announcing that Coach Philbin will return next season, the Dolphins are not facing the whirlwind like the NYJ.  Rex Ryan is OUT after the game tomorrow.  He has been a huge failure.  By the way, can you imagine if this guy had had any success?  With his arrogance, it would've been sickening.  The good Lord did a wonderful job of keeping him humble and for that I'm completely appreciative.
The Dolphins want to end the season right.  The defense has much to prove.  Once thought of as the strength of this team, nobody can safely say that now.  Teams have scored quite easily as of late and I'm curious as to how things have changed so dramatically.  There is talent on the defense, yet opponents are running with ease at times.  The Wets did that 26 days ago on Monday night.  Will the Dolphins be able to shut that down tomorrow?  Of course.  They'll make Geno Smith beat them with his arm...and it could very well be Geno's final game in green, too.
I predict a spirited offensive output.  The Dolphins will put up at least 31 points.  I'll go with a 31-6 prediction.  There is no excuse tomorrow--Tanny's got the hot hand, the team is loaded at WR, Lamar is running well, the offensive line has a few things figured out, and the defense will rally behind the offense.
Alex and I will chow down on a pizza, drink some Mountain Dew, do plenty of high-fiving, have around 11 shoulder bumps, and throw the football around TT Field after the win.  It should be a great day of watching football with several playoff appearances on the line.  Bring on a Sunday!  FINS UP
UPDATE (Sunday, December 28, 2014)  ?:?? P.M.: ~~didn't write~~didn't get up to school due to bad cold~~

Saturday, December 20, 2014  10:19 A.M.
This is a game that true Dolfans have to have.  Cannot fall to 7-8 against a feisty 6-8 Viking team.  The Vikings have that physical side to them--much like Buffalo and Baltimore--that seems to present a problem for the Dolphins over the last 10 years.  This is a chance to defend home turf and, mathematically anyways, remain in playoff contention.
Keys to the game? Play with a sense of urgency.  We'll be able to tell quite quickly if this is a game where players are going through the motions or doing everything they can to win.  Also, this pretty much falls on the defense.  The Dolphins are 2-0 versus rookie quarterbacks this season and they should be able to take out Teddy Two Gloves Bridgewater (R).  The d-line must produce a lot of pressure and, if that happens, there will be interceptions for the taking.  I don't believe I heard Brent Grimes' name mentioned a single time last week.  He's due for two interceptions tomorrow.  Also, Cortland Finnegan is sucking it up (ankle) and very deserving of a pick in what might be his final NFL season (rumors are saying).  The Dolphin offense will score.  They have too much talent not to put 31 on the board (thus, the prediction of DOLPHINS 31, Minnesota 20).
What would a loss mean?  I believe it means the end of the Coach Joe Philbin coaching era.  He would need to beat the lowly NYJ just to finish at .500.  Not good enough.  Would I agree with that move?  No.  He is deserving of one more year--he couldn't control the many key injuries he had to endure this season.
The Dolphins won a game on December 1 (16-13 over NYJ), but they've gone downhill since (0-2).  I have a cold right now that has to be related to Dolphin-stress.  I don't like when they lose; I don't feel my best.  And I'm hurting right now.  I need this game.
I have a small class of 62 and there are scattered Viking fans.  Saying that I want the Dolphins to win just so they can't pipe up would be stupid and untrue.  I'll say it again: I want this win for the TRUE Dolfans....and, of course, the players and coaches and fans in attendance.   I want this for my health.  I want this so Alex and I can enjoy a successful Sunday in the Cantine living room.  FINS UP!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 21, 2014)  8:27 P.M.: 8-7 feels pretty good.  Had to beat Minnesota and got it done! Proud of these guys for making it work today.  Didn't expect it to be easy and it wasn't!  A wild, record-breaking fourth quarter (most points scored both teams in 4th quarter in Miami Dolphin history (41) and ranks as second highest-scoring quarter of all to the 1986 Dolphins at NYJ second quarter of 42 total points) was something Alex and I never could've expected.  Ryan S was in attendance with us in the Dolphin Living Room and all three of us had many moments to celebrate! In the end, the Dolphins made it work, 37-35 winners in what had to be the most exciting game of the week and perhaps the month of December.
The Vikings had nothing to lose.  They came out loose and made plays.  They came close to taking a 21-7 lead just before halftime, but a call stood that ruled a Viking TE out at the Dolphin one and the Dolphins forced a FG from there.  Teddy Bridgewater played a pretty good game and landed some beautiful throws.  He threw just one interception, a pass that was bobbled by a Viking back and bumped into the air where Derrick Shelby hauled it in.  They brought lots of pressure on Tanny and knocked him around too many times.
Despite a 10-point halftime deficit, the Dolphins came out swinging in the second half.  They forced a three-and-out and then took the ball 80 yards for a touchdown on their first drive of the second half.  The Vikings simply couldn't stop the Dolphin "O" and the Dolphins added another drive of 80 and a longer one of 92.  Another TD drive was capped late in the game by rookie running back Damien Williams, a guy who responded with several key plays.  Hard to believe #34 wasn't drafted--he can run and catch.  Lamar Miller played well--92 yards and a touchdown.  Alex predicted a two touchdown performance from Mike Wallace and #11 responded.  And Tanny?  Well, he set a personal record for most completions and had the second highest passing yardage total of his three-year career (396).  Cam Wake sucked it up late in the game. His pressure had a lot to do with the Viking punt that was blocked by rookie Terrence Fede with just 45 seconds remaining.  The Dolphins used their time out to perfection on the Vikings' last drive and were going to get good field position.  It was a surreal moment as I watched the hike on the punt roll back to the punter.  When Fede blocked the ball into the end zone, it was TOTAL ELATION!!! 
I'm still on a high five hours later!  Feels soooooooooooo good!!
And Owner Ross announced that Coach Philbin will return for a fourth season as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins!!!  What a great day!!!!
Alex and I went to the TT Field and threw some passes in the 33-degree weather.  The field is mostly clear of snow and that was a blast!  I cannot record enough highlights and it is now time to make the winning poster to tape in Alex's locker (#142).  SO MUCH FUN!!!
I love the NFL.  Just wish the Dolphins had made the playoffs.  They were eliminated when Pittsburgh beat KC this afternoon.  Looks like the Dolphins will finish just one game short of that playoff berth.  But, to bring on a Christmas with a BIG FUN DOLPHIN WIN just being completed is a wonderful gift!
Oh, and what will I say to the eighth grade Viking fans tomorrow?  Not much of anything.  Got to show class and humbleness and need to do what I'm paid to do--teach.  Bring on a two-day school week!


Saturday, December 13, 2014  11:06 A.M.
This has been a dismal, down, disappointing week.  I've felt incomplete, worried, and just plain sad.  I do want to note, however, that the GOOD LORD puts something in me when I'm teaching that gives me total immunity from feeling of sadness.  My teaching this past week has to rank up near one of my all-time best performances.  As I've said before, I often do my best teaching AFTER a Dolphin loss.  Anyway, there is a chance that those negative feelings will leave me tomorrow...but it won't be easy in New England tomorrow...
10:02 P.M.--Gameday is less than two hours away and the thought that keeps on running through my mind is "What is really the chance that the Dolphins win tomorrow?"  Gosh, I hope they can do it.  The Dolphins have shocked me before in New England--try 38-13 in 2008.  The Dolphins have beaten New England twice in a row.  Will it be three?  Well, since beating the Pastries in the opener, New England has showed solid improvement.  Gronk is a huge difference-maker.  Brady seems to have more fire than ever.  Blount, a newly-acquired RB, is definitely making a strong impact.  And their defense is somehow much better.  They've won eight of their last nine games since beginning 2-2.  Have the Dolphins improved?  I think so...but not to the same degree as New England.  The Dolphins have put 11 players on season-ending injured reserve this year.  After losing to Baltimore last Sunday, there have been some reports of bickering and frustration and doubting.  Furthermore, starting LBs Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins are likely out of the game.  Geez, with all of this, it's hard to  believe that New England is "only" a seven-point favorite.
What I want to see is a go-for-broke mentality.  The Dolphins are still mathematically alive for the playoffs and will need their best effort of the year to win tomorrow.  I look for Tanny to go deep to Wallace at least twice.  Why not?  Time to try new things and let the chips fall where they may.  OC Bill Lazor hopefully has something different than the same old same old.  A day for taking some chances against a favored home team.
I'm going with a 29-28 Dolphin victory, the same as in 2004 when the Dolphins shocked a much superior Pastry club.  I will not desert.  It's time to dig in as a fan and it'll be a wonderful feeling of wonderfulness if the Dolphins can somehow pull it off.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 14, 2014)  8:32 P.M.: Gosh.  This stinks.  7-7.  Thinking back to a month ago, I was in Miami and the Dolphins were 6-4 and staring a playoff berth right in the face.  Tonight I am left with questions.  Is it the players?  Is it the coaches?  Can this team ever get out of this "habit?" Why can't any luck fall the way of the Dolphins?
The Dolphins came out and threw a 50-yard bomb to Mike Wallace.  NICE!  Then, three plays gained a few yards and it was time for a field goal attempt from 40+ yards.  Kick up...and blocked...and returned for a touchdown.  0-7.  The Dolphins responded with another good drive and this time sailed the football through the uprights. Tanny then overthrew a pass to B Gib and the interception was returned to the Miami six.  Brady turned that into seven.  3-14.  Another field goal made it 6-14.  And then, just before halftime, the Dolphins used all three of their time outs after three successive NE runs.  NE punted and Juice had an awesome return to the NE 33.  11 seconds remained in the half and Tanny went deep to Wallace.  After ruling #11 out of bounds on the catch, it was reviewed and....TOUCHDOWN!!!!!  13-14 at half!!!!!
Now, if Coach Philbin's speech was anything like, "Guys, we are right in this game and we don't need to change much," he must be fired....because everyone knows Billichek was going to change things.  NE came out on the first play of the second half with play-action and Brady hit Gronk for 34.  Two plays later it was 21-13.  Another Tanny pick and it was 24-13.  Then 31-13.  And 38-13.  And finally 41-13.  The Dolphins were beaten down.  Overpowered.  Disappointing.  Depressing.  And now out of the playoffs....okay, not mathematically, but I know better.
Mike Pouncey supposedly told reporters he's sick of losing after the game today.  Well, I am, too.  I wanted this to be a special year with Alex--his senior year, the last year we'll probably be able to watch every single game together.  Rats.  Shucks.  Dog gone.
Yes, we are now one day closer to a better day.  But I'm sick of saying that.  I want it to be now.  7-7.  Sheeeez.
At least Alex and I were able to have fun playing catch on the TT field after the loss.  We threw all kinds of balls on the snow-free field.  Actually, the ground was fantastic--not frozen and not soft.  Would like to play Sean and Ryan sometime soon.
As for now, it's time to go to work.  I guess I can look forward to another week of teaching--I know it'll be a great one as I become a man with a mission.  Time to control my OWN destiny.


Saturday, December 6, 2014  9:35 A.M.
DOLPHINS 29, Baltimore 22.  That's my best prediction for tomorrow's HUGE football game at The BIG Joe!  What will be the difference in the game?  It will be the Dolphins' will to win.  Ryan Tannehill is such a poised leader.  Lamar Miller has something to prove.  Jarvis Landry loves football.  Jelani Jenkins is securing a spot as a team leader.  Brent Grimes want it.  Reshad Jones wants to be all-pro.  Jared Odrick is a man among boys and smart enough to realize what this game means.  Cam Wake is Cam Wake.  And the list of names could go on and on and on.
On top of that, the coaches deserve much credit. They have put the team in this position, a real shot at the playoffs in a conference full of strong teams.
Put the players, the coaches and the great Dolfans together and what you've got is a Week 14 victory on their home field.  This will be the first home game since WE were there watching the Dolphins bruise up Buffalo.  The Dolphins have outscored their last two opponents at home by a 59-9 margin.
Of course, it's not going to be easy.  What most people don't know is how banged up the Dolphins have been this year.  In my opinion, they are second only to this year's New York Giants as far as key injuries.  A starting corner is out (Finnegan). One of the best tight ends in the league (Clay) is either out or very limited.  One of the best tackles in the league (Albert) suffered a season-ending injury three weeks ago against Detroit.  One of the most versatile, talented lineman in the league (Nate Garner) has bee out for two weeks due to illness.  And that's the short list.  And, yet, the Dolphins, as they have historically, press on. They are not looking for excuses; this team seeks wins.  A playoff berth is there for the taking.
Baltimore flies to Miami with a similar 7-5 record.  The loser here will be hard-pressed to play a game in January.  I have every reason to believe this Dolphin team, which is full of high character, will prevail.
They must stop the run.  The crowd must be loud.  Flacco has to be pressured.  If those three things happen, this will be a seven-point win.
I can't imagine how good I WILL feel after the Dolphins pull this one out against the big, bad Ravens.  The Dolphins will be standing at 8-5 with two of their three games remaining being at home.  Ohhhhhhhhhhh, how I want that to happen!!
FINS UP
UPDATE (Sunday, December 7, 2014)  8:54 P.M.: Today was a bummer.  This hurt.  Disappointing.  Knowing how much was on the line makes this one really hurt.  A depressing Sunday night that has me forcing myself to do stuff--like type this.  As much as I want to sit and do nothing, I know I can't do that.  I'd drive myself crazy with worries and "What ifs."  I need to walk the school's halls after this...and try not to think about what happened at The Big Joe today.  As much as this spoils my night and makes me feel rotten, I know that it's the price that a big fan pays.  Last year on this weekend, the Dolphins went into Pittsburgh and won in a most exciting way...and the sky-high feeling I had that night and rest of the week is the total opposite of right now.
Anyway, this is what I take from today's 28-13 loss...
The Dolphins led 10-0, but they failed to put Baltimore in a deep hole when given the chance.  Brandon Gibson dropped a perfect pass on a third and long just past midfield (Dolphins were leading 10-0 and were looking to put a few more on the board.  Also, the Ravens began a drive on their own three...and they took the ball 97 yards to score a TD with 8 seconds left in the half.  Come on, defense!  While Joe Flacco went virtually untouched for most of the game, Tanny was harrassed and did everything he could to avoid a sack.  Dallas Thomas simply ain't getting it done.  He is a turnstile to the maximum degree right now--opponents simply run around him and pound Tanny.  The offensive line is getting dinged as bad as I've ever seen since becoming a fan in 1979.  Thank God that the o-line has many versatile players or it'd be a horrible situation.  I do love the number one draft pick--Ja'waun James--as he is proving all of the doubters wrong.  Many said he was a reach at number one.  Nope.  He's good stuff.  Love his demeanor and his ability.  "Little" penalties killed the Dolphins today.  Three ineligible penalties.  One came on a perfect strike from Tanny to Wallace for 31 yards.  Instead, it became a 2nd and 15 for the Dolphins.  Gosh.  There were three drops today--gotta have zero.  This team isn't good enough to overcome drops and those "little" penalties.  The defense got gashed, especially late in the game.  Still had a chance to tie at 13-21 in the fourth....but couldn't stop Baltimore.  The Ravens seem to be more physical than the Dolphins every year.  Makes me wonder how that gets started and how that can stay with a team for so long.  Phillip Wheeler needs to go.  Don't like his kamikazee style--makes too many stupid decisions.  Need Cortland Finnegan back!  And, perhaps the worst news of the day, a favorite Dolphin of teammates AND fans, Louis Delmas, was carted off with what sounds like a torn ACL.  Crud.
So easy to complain and get down and doubt and want everybody fired...but I'm not going there.  I love these guys.  No, I don't know them on a personal level, but taking the time to get to know these guys through literature and TV gives a guy no option but to love them.  So much character and heart and pride and commitment.  They just need to add a couple of more really good players and this team will be TOUGH!!  Steve Young said the other night that this is a young, up-and-coming team.  If he had a chance to own a team right now, the Dolphins are a team that he'd take.  Good to hear things like that.
Okay, I'm rambling.  Enough.  New England is up next. They are not God's gift to the NFL.  It is a winnable game...and the Dolphins must win out to enter the playoffs.  I'm not conceding anything.  FINS UP!!


Thursday, December 4, 2014  7:53 P.M.
My favorite day of the week, I had 62 eighth graders who listened and worked hard, and the joy of Monday night's Dolphin victory still lingers inside my entire being. All I hit are green lights.  The sunrise is more beautiful.  The wind isn't as harsh.  My new Dolphin coat looks even better.  Food tastes better.  And my favorite team is in serious contention for a playoff berth.  Ohhhhhh, how good our Lord is!!!
Wets fans, please know how much pleasure I took in the Dolphins' win over your team.  Your obnoxious trait follows your now broken coach.  How far he has fallen!  Have you ever wondered why your favorite team stores all of their energy up to try to beat the Dolphins each season?  Have you ever wondered why your players claim a successful season if they've beaten the Dolphins all while finishing 2-14? I don't make this stuff up--it's the truth.  How many of you Wets fans remember their last Super Bowl appearance?  The 60s for God's sake!!  The Wets consistent "patheticness" inspires me not to want to be anything like the team.  No, I don't want the Wets to move locations or totally crumble--gotta keep your lousy franchise right where it is so that the Dolphins can fly up and dominate you inside your billion-dollar stadium that is as bland as the number two pencil currently sitting next to my mouse.
I feel better now.

Monday, December 1, 2014  3:50 P.M.
Well, here we are--in December, the month of IMPORTANT football games.  And my favorite team plays tonight!!!  I am psyched up!!!  My students could see it in me--it's hard to hide the excitement.  On top of it all, I expect an easy one.  Oh, the Dolphins have lost their last five Monday night games, but that ain't no thing.  I got my weight workout done last night so that I could sit and watch the Dolphins throughout the entire night--pregame, game, postgame.  I'll watch it all!  Alex will be at his first basketball practice before heading home and showering.  Then, he'll come over for pizza and the game.  What a Monday night this is going to be!!  Have I felt more confident about a game? NO!!!!!!! Phil Collins:  "I can feel it coming in the air tonight..." And it's going to be a severe butt-kicking.  YUMMY.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 2, 2014)  10:33 P.M.: Just over 24 hours ago, Reshad Jones intercepted the horrendous Geno Smith and sealed the Dolphin victory.  No, it wasn't as easy as I thought, but I did predict the hated Wets to score a measly 13 points--and they came through for me.  A rivalry game cannot be overestimated.  These teams know each other and that made an impact last night.  Also, the Dolphins simply didn't play in the first half with that sense of urgency that is so important.  It was as if some players thought other players would make the plays.  Well, the other players didn't make the plays and the Wets ran wild.  They ran the ball with ease.  And, things didn't look so good after the Dolphins trailed 10-0.
But, as Cam Wake said afterwards, the team drew a line in the dirt and said no more.  They did what they had to do.  They didn't give Geno Smith much of anything and all the arrogant Rex Ryan could do was shake his head.  By the way, if I haven't mentioned it in this journal entry in the past, I never want to be like a Rex Ryan.  If that guy was coaching a winning team, nobody would be more irritating as he would tell everybody how great he is.  He knows it all.  He's never wrong.  Etc., etc. etc.  I once had a friend like that and I left dropped him off.  No more.  Can't tolerate that type of stuff.  So, when I say that it brings me tremendous joy to see Rex Ryan shake his head in sadness after losing last night, I mean it. I can't lie.
Now, one of my favorite plays last night was Cam Wake's sack.  He bull-rushed right over TE Cumberland and pounced Smith for a seven-yard loss.  That knocked the Wets out of FG range.  Loved it--eye of the tiger type stuff.
If it weren't so late, I'd go on and on.  I'll just leave off with these goodies: Alex and I got to watch the Dolphins win their first Monday nighter since he was in seventh grade.  I got to wear the new winter Dolphins coat that I bought in Miami to school.  And, with the win, the Dolphins are currently in the sixth position for the playoffs.  How exciting!
FINS UP and GOD BLESS!


Saturday, November 29, 2014  9:44 PM
Okay, point blank: the Dolphins must win on Monday night at the 2-9 NYJ for a number of reasons.  For one, the Dolphins are a superior team.  They simply have more talented players from top to bottom than the hated Wets.  That alone is enough to say that the Dolphins must win this game.  Second, the Dolphins need this for any playoff chance.  The hated Wets are by far the worst team that the Dolphins will face in their final five games (and they play them twice).  At 6-5, the Dolphins must get to at least ten wins--can't lose to a team who has Geno Smith as the starting quarterback.  Third, the revenge factor is huge.  Though I hate to admit it, the hated Wets played a perfect game in the finale last season and handed the Dolphins a loss that kept them out of the playoffs.  This game is for last year and this year.
Don't give the line about any team can beat any other team on any given day.  It simply can't happen in this case.  No injury excuses.  No lack of execution excuses.  No on the road, in the cold, in a hostile environment excuses.  No, no, no, no.  If the Dolphins don't win on Monday night, they are going nowhere and reshaping the team is necessary yet again.
I can't say it enough--I LOVE THIS DOLPHINS TEAM!  They have heart, desire, smarts, and an excitement about them that makes being a fan a huge blessing.  Rookie Jarvis Landry--he's on his way to the Hall of Fame!  He clearly loves playing and brings a passion that has to inspire teammates.  Ryan Tannehill--handles criticism with the best of them and continues to improve; he proves the hatas wrong on a daily basis.  Jelani Jenkins--what an awesome surprise!  This guy is a playmaker!  And the list goes on...
My prediction for Monday night: DOLPHINS 37, hated Wets 13.  The Dolphins defense will wreak havoc on lil Geno.  Three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown.  I can't wait to take this one in. 
Similar to last year, there is a Dolfan takeover at MetLife.  I want to be a part of this--maybe next year!  Also like last year, the Dolphins open the month of December on the road at the hated Wets.  They pounded them last year, 23-3, and I can't think of a better way to start 2014's version of December!

Saturday, November 22, 2014  9:23 AM
Oh, baby! A huge game at Mile High tomorrow!  At 7-3 Denver.  In the cold.  In a hostile environment.  And Chris Con will be there!  This is a game that will show whether or not the Dolphins have cracked that elite status in the NFL.  If they can somehow beat Denver--and I think they will by a 27-23 score--the Dolphins will have momentum, confidence, and an all-important 7-4 record.  If Tanny can perform on the road as well as he has been in the last five games or so, the chances of a win greatly increase.  Though they are facing Peyton Manning, I have every reason to be confident in the defense.  This "D" can outright ball...and they have depth.
Now, the Broncos are coming off a surprising loss at St. Louis.  The Rams dominated them, 22-7.  Manning couldn't get much done and some key offensive players were banged up.  The Broncos will not be at full strength tomorrow, but they have plenty of talent remaining.  A team with Manning is always going to be tough to beat.  The Dolphins are similarly banged up.  Cortland Finnegan is out.  Charles Clay (knee and hamstring) is likely out.  Plus, there are several other players with nagging injuries.  I suppose it's safe to say that the injuries produce a "push" and it's up to the able players to step up.
The Dolphins were able to make my 44th birthday a wonderful one by beating up Buffalo last Thursday.  They were able to take Friday through Monday off, so they can't complain about not having enough rest.  This Dolphins team will be ready to roll.  I do believe it'll be important to weather the storm.  Manning will come out throwing bullets and the Broncos will put up some points early.  That's just the way the NFL works--frustrated, hungry teams will make things work.  But, how long it lasts will be the question.
I love the Dolphin offense.  So many weapons.  Who can cover Jarvis Landry?  Answer: nobody.  Mike Wallace is always a threat.  Gibby and B-Hart know how to get open.  And you cannot forget about Rishard Matthews.  How about Damian Williams?  He is coming on and pushing Lamar Miller (questionable) for playing time.  And Tanny has a hot hand.
It's a late kick in Denver and I am fired up to see how the Dolphins follow up the big Thursday night win.  No fear.  FINS UP!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 23, 2014)  9:01 P.M.: My favorite team hung tough today.  No, there are no moral victories.  I am disappointed.  But, what I saw today is a team I love.  They went into a hostile environment as seven-point underdogs and battled as hard as they could.  They just happened to face a Hall of Fame QB in Peyton Manning who made play after play.  The Dolphins delivered blows...and Denver answered.  Hey, it was a 39-36 loss against one of the NFL's best teams.  How down can the number one Dolphins fan in the world be?  Well, not as down as some people might think.  I'm not your average fan--it's so easy to cave in and complain and want guys fired and...  But, I know this team is composed of talent and character and I love where this team is headed.  Sure, some guys struggled today--Jimmy Wilson, for example.  Yet, I want him on this team because I know he loves football, wants to win, and will excel before all is said and done.
One thing that concerns me after this game is the issue of injuries.  Cortland Finnegan did not play; neither did Charles Clay.  It appears that Jamar Taylor, the second-year corner, will miss extensive time (arm).  J James, the number one draft pick, went out with an apparent stinger.  There were all kinds of "little" injuries, but guys either returned or the subs stepped up and competed.
Gots to put this one behind.  All Dolfans can feel good again with a win over the hated Wets on Monday Night Football in eighth days.  A win in NY would give the Dolphins a 7-5 record and return the team to playoff contention.  I have hope.  I believe.  I love this team through thick and through thin!  FINS UP!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014  12:43 and 2:43 P.M.
We leave for Fargo today and fly out at 7:00 A.M. tomorrow.  Should be in Miami by 3:00 E.S.T.  And I am very, very excited!  The Dolphins play in two days and this game is HUGE!  Mark has never seen the Dolphins win in Miami (0-3) and I'd love nothing more than to be with him when the Dolphins WIN!  It won't be easy.  Buffalo has the same record as the Dolphins at 5-4 and the Ills have already beaten my favorite team in Week 2 quite soundly.  A Buffalo player was already talking trash about going to South Beach and beating the "heck" out of them.  Throw in obnoxious Buffalo fans and I would get indescribable joy if the Dolphins win this one.
Brandon Albert is out for the season (knee).  So, I'm sure the Dolphins are scrambling a little bit today in order to figure things out.  It won't be easy to move the ball against that fierce d-line of Buffalo.  Quick passes and, yes, an occasional deep ball might have to be the main recipe.  In Bill Lazor I trust.
This has all the makings of a perfect trip--hotel rooms have been found, temps in the 80s, great people, and seven (7) days in beautiful Miami, Florida.  Bring it on, Baby!!!
**I must add this: without the GOOD LORD'S blessings, I don't take a trip like this.  I am extremely grateful and blessed.
UPDATE (Wednesday, November 19, 2014)  10:00 P.M.: Happy birthdays are made even happier when your favorite team wins by a lucky stack of 13 points...and that's exactly what happened to me!  Trivia: Alex (2014) and I (1992) were able to see the Dolphins win by 13 points in our first game in Miami.  In 1992, I saw the Dolphins pummel Oakland, 20-7, in primetime (Monday Night Football).  This year, Alex got to see the Dolphins pound Buffalo, 22-9, in primetime (Thursday Night Football).  In both games, the Dolphin defenses allowed no touchdowns.  Sweet!
The Ogdahls, Alex, and I struggled through the first half.  The Dolphins moved the ball, yet they managed just three points.  Buffalo had six at the intermission.  But, as the Dolphins usually do, they dominated the third quarter and added some fourth quarter points to put the game away.  We had a BLAST!!  Mark got to see his first win in Miami in four attempts, while his son Brady got to see a win in his very first attempt.  The crowd was fired up and Buffalo fans exited Joe Robbie Stadium quietly and quickly.
The Dolphins countered that talented defensive line of Buffalo's by quick, short passes.  Ryan T is leading the NFL in completion percentage since Week 4.  Also, Lamar Miller busted off some nice runs.  After losing Brandon Albert a week ago in Detroit, the Dolphins found a way to get it done on the offensive line.
The pregame introductions were awesome--smoke and music--on this night of aqua out.  This was only the fourth time in the history of the Miami Dolphins that they wore aqua jerseys with aqua pants...and I loved the look.  They are now 3-1 with this uniform combination.  The weather couldn't have been any better. The guys, mainly Alex, talked me into wearing my Dolphin zubaz instead of my khaki shorts.  I'm glad I did.  I wore a Dolphin T-shirt instead of a jersey as I couldn't get the Cam Wake limited jersey that I wanted.
After the game, Ryan Tannehill was the guest of the NFL Network hosts.  There were "Let's go Dolphins" and "Ryan Tannehill" chants.  Following his interview, Ryan walked off the field...but not before giving Alex C a high-five just before hitting the tunnel.
It was a FANTASTIC and PRICELESS night!  We were blessed to be there for that special game, a crucial win over a divisional opponent.  Actually, if the playoffs began today, the Dolphins would be in! 
I cannot wait to return to Miami--PARADISE!!  I'm happy for the many great Dolphin fans everywhere along with the players.  The Dolphins now control their own destiny.  What could be better?


Saturday, November 8, 2014  10:09 A.M.
5-3 DOLPHINS at 6-2 Detroit.  I am still ticked off at Detroit for blowing the game against Buffalo.  Here's hoping tomorrow is a day of paybacks.  I am predicting a Dolphin win of 22-14, but I know it won't be easy in the dome.  Detroit will see the return of MegaTron Calvin Johnson--he has missed several weeks.  There is no doubt the home of the Lions will be filled as this game is getting plenty of attention.  It is billed as two ferocious defenses, and Ryan Tannehill is beginning to get all kinds of attention. Needless to say, I can't wait to watch this.  Winning the last four out of five games gives Dolfans every reason to be confident.  Shut out San Diego?  Really??  Yes, this Dolphin defense is for real.  The defensive line is nasty and deep.  The secondary has as much confidence as any team.  Will Detroit be able to get anything going?
This is not a must-win game--a road game against a non-conference team would have to be deemed the least important game.  Yet, I don't want a loser's mentality.  I would like to think there's no other option, with or without a hurting Lamar Miller (shoulder).  It would be a fun game to win and provide momentum for the Thursday night showdown with Buffalo.
We are just four days away from take-off.  We fly out of Fargo on Wednesday morning and will land in Miami in the early afternoon.  This is as excited as I've ever been for a trip.  Taking a great Dolphins fan named Alex C is a blessing...and the Ogdahls will provide lots of extra fun and laughs!  Beating Buffalo is necessary for the trip to be remembered as successful.
Anyway, the Dolphins will have to weather the storm tomorrow.  They'll have to get some kind of running game going.  They have to protect the ball.  They know what to do--it's just a matter of going out and executing.  There is no other team I'd rather be cheering for!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 9, 2014)  9:27 P.M.: The Dolphins came so close but, in the end, they ended up four points short. It was a bad loss in many ways.  First, the Dolphins dropped to 5-4 and are now 2.5 games behind New England.  Second, Pro Bowl left tackle Brandon Albert sustained a season-ending knee injury.  Third, Cortland Finnegan hurt his ankle pretty badly--not sure of his status, but something tells me he'll be out against Buffalo. 
Oh, the Dolphins had their chances.  Get a couple of first downs with three minutes left and it could've been just about over.  The defense made plenty of good plays on the Lions' final drive, but they couldn't hold on long enough.
Alex sent me a Twitter message with a quote from a Buffalo Ill--"We're going down there to beat the (daylight) out of them..."  Well, beating Buffalo will make it all good again.
This loss prevents that happiness in me that is priceless.  It's a definite downer.  Sure, it wasn't a must-game (Thursday night now IS), but it's the fact that the Dolphins lost two good players...and maybe Misi (back). 
Time to work on trip details.  Can't think about this loss too long.  Just have to remember the great interception by Brent Grimes, the heart the team showed in a hostile environment, and be glad the Dolphins don't have to play Detroit until this year's Super Bowl.


Saturday, November 1, 2014  2:55 P.M.
5-3 San Diego at 4-3 DOLPHINS tomorrow.  A BIG game.  I want this win so badly!  The last time the Chargers beat the Dolphins in Miami was in the playoff thriller known as "The Epic in Miami."  I still think "What if?" whenever I think back to that game.  I wonder how much that game enabled me to grow in my love for the Miami Dolphins.
Anyway, it won't be easy tomorrow at noon.  The Chargers have lost two straight, have had 10 days off to prepare, and they are a solid football team with QB Rivers, TE Gates, and many other notable players.  Injury-wise, there isn't a whole lot to consider.  Dallas Thomas will be replacing D Colledge, so that will be something to watch.  Both teams have their share of nicks and bruises.
I'll say it again--I LOVE this Dolphins team.  I feel like they're the NFL's best kept secret.  I feel like they're ready to explode.  To me, Tanny is oozing with talent.  If a defense stops the Dolphin passing offense, there's the threat of Tanny running (he's had a 30-yard+ carry in each of the last three games).  And, Lamar Miller continues to improve on the breakaway threat that he already is.  So, there's no reason to worry about the other team; if the Dolphins take care of their business, they will beat any opponent.
Mike Wallace showed his displeasure this past week when he described the way the offense played in Jacksonville as $%&#.  I like that.  He's getting paid well and he needs to care and he needs to be used.  Dolfans should be ready for a huge game from him tomorrow.
This is the kind of game the Dolphins have needed in the past and haven't won.  Gotta win at home.  Gotta beat an AFC team.  Gotta beat a strong team that's going somewhere.  Gotta get confident with this win.  Create momentum.
I'm going with a final score of Dolphins 32, San Diego 28.  I can't wait to take in this game.  I guarantee that my mind will be on nothing other than the Dolphins for three hours tomorrow--that's as healthy of an escape as ANYBODY could have.  I recommend it!
If the Dolphins win, nobody in the United States of America will have a better week than The Dolphin Lover!
UPDATE (Sunday, November 2, 2014)  8:28 P.M.: Ain't nobody gonna have a better week than Greg C!!  The Dolphins did it and they did it well--their biggest margin of victory since my second year of teaching (1995).  Alex and I were able to relax and enjoy the entire fourth quarter.  Ohhhhhhhhh, why can't all Sundays be like this one??!!??!!  It was complete and utter domination against a team that everyone on NFL Network had picked to win this morning.  It was a 4-3 team hammering a 5-3 team. Every phase--offense, defense, special teams--went to the Dolphins today and I'm ecstatic.
I wrote to Canada Mike last night and told him the Dolphins are the NFL's best-kept secret.  They are getting no attention...yet they are loaded with talent!  They have a Top 5 defense to go along with an explosive offense that continues to come together.  Tanny is gaining experience and confidence.  He's learning what to do under pressure.  He's buying time.  He's taking off on long runs--he had a 30+ carry in each of the last three games and then added another 22-yarder today.  Lamar Miller is finding his niche.  And the receiving corps is loaded with talent.
Coach Philbin also came through today.  His 93-year old father passed away on Thursday, so he took off for Massachusetts before returning to Miami last night.  Owner Ross gave him the game ball today during an emotional locker room speech.  Too many Dolphin fans are against Coach Philbin.  How stupid!!  He is a great man and a great leader; he belongs in Miami!  And I have to add that OC Bill Lazor is fantastic.  He has come up with plans filled with creativity and smarts.  It's fun to watch how the ball is divided up among all of this talent. 
The 37-0 win today took me back to 1983 when the Dolphins destroyed the Colts in the Orange Bowl by the same score.  The pregame coverage today was excellent--CBS did a musical look back to The Epic on 1-2-82--I loved it!!  Lots of talk about that overtime thriller that still bugs me from time-to-time.  And then to win like they did today?!  AMAZING!!
The Dolphins are 5-3 for the first time since 2003.  The Chargers were shut out for the first time since 1999.  Stats like that could just keep on coming.  But, I have a winning poster to make and stick in Alex's locker.  It shall be the best poster yet! 
I'll stay up to record the shortcut on DirecTV from 12:00-12:30 tonight.  Then it's a great Monday that'll end with our crew officiating a second round playoff game in Hamlin.
Yes, life is terrific.  And, I will never overlook the blessings that the GOOD LORD bestows on me--I am completely grateful!!


Saturday, October 25, 2014  8:23 P.M.
After a terrific trip to Sioux Falls to see Scott and Sara and my significant other, I am now turning my focus to tomorrow's "trap" game--the 3-3 Dolphins at the 1-6 Jaguars.  Last year, the Dolphins went on the road and fell victim to winless Tampa Bay (ninth game of season on November 11).  This year it's the seventh game and this is a must-win game.  This is a game that features a superior Dolphins team attempting to beat Jacksonville, winners for the first time last week by cruising past a previously hot Cleveland club.  To improve to 4-3 with several stiff challenges ahead is vital for playoff chances.
The big news? Dion Jordan returns tomorrow.  Sounds like they'll use him mostly on special teams.  Sounds like Dion is raring to go--wants to prove to his teammates he can play this game called football.
It's exciting to think about this game.  Big-time Dolfans know that this Dolphin team is flying under the radar.  No attention is being given to them.  All week long NFL Network and ESPN refuse to bring up the Dolphins for much more than a 20-second blurb.  I love Ryan Tannehill.  To me, he is getting better and more dangerous as each week passes.  There is no other QB I want.  I love the confidence of Lamar Miller--growing.  The offensive line is coming together.  The defense seems to be more determined to make a statement.  Wake and Vernon on the edges?? Is that even fair?  I love that, too.
My prediction: DOLPHINS 21, Jax 0.  That's right---a shutout.  I'm calling it; you watch it.
UPDATE (Sunday, October 26, 2014)  8:21 P.M.: 4-3!  The Dolphins are 4-3 and have put themselves in great shape after falling to 2-3 on that last-second loss to Green Bay!  Character.  Poise. Intelligence. Grit. Determination.  And positivity.  This version of the Miami Dolphins has all of that and I'm loving it.  Alex and I went nuts this 55-degree, sunny, breezy day in Milbank as both Louis Delmas (81 yards) and Brent Grimes (22 yards) took interceptions back for touchdowns.  Awesome stuff...and I'm trying to remember the last time the Dolphins did this twice in one game.  Was it in 1983 on a Friday night against the hated Wets in the Orange Bowl?  Nope.  It last occured on 12-6-98 in Oakland...and I was there.  Zach Thomas (1 yard) and Robert Jones (14 yards) helped kill the Raiders that day, 27-17.
Anyway, the offense struggled severely in the first half, but they got things rolling in the second half.  Tanny took off on a run over 30 yards for the third straight game--the first time a QB has done that since Michael Vick in 2004.  He also went deep to Wallace for 50 yards on the sideline.  Number Eleven made a brilliant catch on 3rd and 7 and the Dolphins ended up going 95 yards for a game-capping touchdown.
Lamar Miller couldn't get much going in the first half, however, he stuck with it and holes began to open.  D. Colledge really struggled today; he was beaten badly a couple of times and completely whiffed on another play.  He went to the sidelines apparently for bad migraines...but it may have something to do with his play.  Dallas Thomas came in after Nate Garner was hurt and played decently.
But, the defense should get more of the credit for today's win.  Olivier Vernon, mispronounced by one of the announcers, produced pressure all day.  Jamar Taylor had a couple of standout plays.  Randy Starks and Jared Odrick did their usual in the middle.  And Jason Trusnik filled in for an injured Koa Misi (didn't hear Trusnik's name but he played all day).
Just a great road win--the third consecutive road win.  Unfortunately, New England killed Chicago and Buffalo cruised by the Wets.  So, no ground was made today.  As long as the Dolphins keep playing well and winning, they'll control their own destiny.  New England and Buffalo will undoubtedly lose again...and hopefully to the Miami Dolphins.
Alex and I played catch on a windy Kalen DeBoer Field--ran routes.  Knowing there is no school tomorrow (teachers' inservice) makes today extra sweet.  I love this time of the year...even got to see Baby Mack on Friday AND Saturday.  The sweet feeling of success will carry me into November.  The Miami Trip is quickly approaching and I can't be much more excited.  God is GOOD!


Saturday, October 18, 2014  11:52 A.M.
Papa Bear talked a long time ago about going to tomorrow's game at Chicago.  As the game got closer, the Bears failed to impress PB at times--every other week.  Then, with his favorite team at 3-3 and mine at 2-3, we were 50/50 about going.  With gas under $3.00/gallon, that was enticing; it's not that long of a drive.  However, ticket prices were just plain rotten--over $200 for upper deck seats!  YUCK!  Some people are led to believe that I have a lot of money...and I don't...at least not enough to afford a weekend like going to Chicago, paying for a hotel for two nights, paying for gas, and all of the other miscellaneous stuff.  I'm going to Miami in less than a month and that took LOTS of saving!  So, I guess we'll find out tomorrow if I should've gone or not.  To see a Dolphins' win live in person is priceless--I'd take out a small loan for that.  But, to go all the way to Chicago and see a loss would be devastating. 
I do predict a super duper performance by the Dolphins tomorrow.  They'll win be a score of 31-22.  Good, tough defense that forces a few turnovers will be played by the Dolphins, and that will lead directly to points.  Jay Cutler is a good QB, but he's not consistent and he's certainly not Aaron Rodgers.  I see the Dolphins harassing him all day long; they have to be angry after last week.  The weather should be in the 50s or 60s--very comfortable weather in which to play.  Knowshon Moreno was put on IR on Tuesday--not a shocker.  He's been prone to injury and it seems the Dolphins wasted $3 million on his one-year contract.  Brandon Albert (elbow) is banged up but will probably play.  Other than that, the Dolphins are quite healthy for this must-win game.  Falling to 2-4 pretty much means the rest of the year is for some entertainment, but then it'll be all about the 2015 season.  How many years do I have to say that? 
So, come on, Dolphins. Play inspired!  Everyone is picking against you...but not Alex and not me.  Again, 31-22, DOLPHINS!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 19, 2014)  9:11 P.M.: Alex and I are fans of a team flying under the radar...and I wouldn't want it any other way.  This Dolphin team could've come out flat in Chicago's hostile environment.  Why?  Well, they were coming off a last-second, disappointing home loss--a real kick in the gut.  Their record fell to 2-3 with that loss.  And a hot Bears team was next up today.  However, these Dolphins would not be denied and it was a thing of beauty on a 75-degree autumn day in Milbank! It was truly wonderful watching this game with Alex.  We both predicted wins--of course--but we didn't expect the Dolphins to be so dominant.  The final score of 27-14 is not at all indicative of how the Dolphins dominated the game. 
Ryan Tannehill was something like 14-for-15 with two touchdowns in the first half.  He finished 25-of-32 for 277 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs.  He finished with the highest single-game rating of his career.  So happy for him!  Lamar Miller continued his excellent running--love his combo of toughness and speed.  The receivers held onto passes today.  Clay and Wallace caught the two TDs while Miller had a three-yard run for the third TD.  Reshad Jones intercepted crybaby Cutler and returned it 49 yards to set the Dolphins up to take a 14-0 lead.  The total yardage for each team in the first half wasn't even close--the Dolphins did whatever they wanted to.  Tanny had time and spread the ball out to many receivers (Dion Sims had a career high 4 catches for 33 yards).  The Bears received the ball in the second half and drove down the field to make it a 14-7 game.  But, Tanny and the "O" responded.  They faced a 4th-and-1 around the Bear 40-yard line.  Tanny kept the ball and ran inside the Chicago ten.  Lamar Miller took it in for a 21-7 lead and the Dolphins cruised.  Cameron Wake turned in the play of the game--a HAT TRICK on ONE PLAY!  He sacked Cutler, forced a fumble, and recovered the fumble.  Lovely!!!  Caleb Sturgis added a field goal as a result and it was pretty much over.
I did feel that winning today would be worth two wins--they'll beat Jacksonville next weekend.  A loss today would've been disappointing and an angry, desperate Jaguar team wouldn't have been easy against a confidence-hurting team like the Dolphins.
In hindsight, I wish DP and I would've gone to the game.  Yet, money saved is pretty cool.  And I have conferences tomorrow.  Would've been a long night and a longer day.  Just happy to be a Dolphins fan on this awesome winning night.  Time to make the winning poster for Alex and stick it in his locker for the morning!


Friday, October 10, 2014  1:57 P.M.
Baby Mack gets baptized tomorrow, so that is the number one highlight of the weekend!  Taking second place is the 3-2 Packers at 2-2 Dolphins match-up.  The Dolphins appear to be the team not coming of the bye week as the injury report is extensive.  In fact, I'm in disbelief at the number of players who are dinged up.  This is in addition to the very promising Derrick Shelby being suspended a few days ago for being a total dumbhead at a Fort Lauderdale club.  Geez.  Looking at the Packers' injury report makes one think they've had three months off.  So, the Dolphins have plenty of players who will need to step and make plays, not simply participate in the game.   Mike Pouncey might make his return to the team after being out of every game so far this season.  Knowshon Moreno, hurt in Week Two at Buffalo, has been wearing a brace--I'm sure he's questionable.  Reshad Jones should see his first action of the season (suspended). 
I hope it's a hot day in Miami and I hope the players are hungry.  I'm beginning to realize that the NFL really comes down to the team that wants and/or needs to win more badly.  If a team really needs to win and plays like that (full speed, sense of urgency, all-out), they will almost surely win.  The Dolphins' effort at Buffalo wasn't there...and, as a result, they were beaten soundly.
In order to get the win, the Dolphins must be able to run the ball effectively.  Tanny must take care of the football.  The Dolphin special teams has to convert all field goal attempts and make sure no Packer kick returns go past the Green Bay 25.  As for the defense, they obviously need to pressure Aaron Rodgers and forced him into at least two interceptions.  And, because the arm of Rodgers is so feared, it makes sense to say that the Dolphins must stop the run!
Alex, Connor S., and I will be watching this important game for both teams.  Losing to the Packers to land a 2-3 record just ain't gonna cut it for the Dolphins.
My guess: Dolphins 27, Packers 23
UPDATE (Sunday, October 12, 2014)  8:41 P.M.: Week Six is history and I feel sick, disappointed, frustrated, and angry.  That's the price a diehard fan must pay when his teams loses with three seconds remaining in the game.  So many "What ifs?"  And, now, a 2-3 record to show for their efforts.  Lost second straight at home.  Trailed at halftime to Green Bay, 10-3, and had no offense.  Packers stuffed the Dolphins four times inside the Green Bay 5-yard line--and that came after Jonathon Freeney blocked a punt deep in Packer territory.  But, to the Dolphins' credit, they came to play in the second half.  They took three straight drives 80 yards for a touchdown.  And they led 24-17.  But, the Dolphins had to punt with just over 2 minutes remaining.  Aaron Rodgers then showed why he's one of the top QBs to ever play the game.  He was clutch.  Fourth and ten at midfield and facing a heavy rush? No problem for Rodgers.  He stepped up and hit Jordy Nelson for a big gain.  He then faked a spike and gained another 13...and that made for an easy completion on the following play, the play that won the game.
Connor S watched the game with Alex and me and proved to be a fun guy to watch a game with.  If there is any satisfaction I can take from this game, it's that I don't mind the Packers and their fans--good people.  The Dolphins got 'em in Lambeau four years ago in Week 6...and the Packers got us today in Week 6.
Now where do the Dolphins go from here?  Well, they have to regroup and push on.  No moral victories.  No feeling sorry.  No excuses.  Deal with the pain, set it aside and work harder.  There are 11 games to go and there is no conceding. 
Cam Wake and Tanny and Randy and even rookie Jarvis Landry (two great kick returns and scored his first career TD today) have too much heart.  They're leaders.  No quit.  And I'm not giving up on this team.  They have talent and simply need to find their rhythm.  I have faith in my Dolphins.
New England leads the division with four wins, Buffalo has three, the Dolphins have two, and the Wets have one.  It's on to Chicago next week and I have every intention of seeing a big road win.  Cannot go 2-4.  3-3 is what is acceptable.  Watch out, Papa Bear!

Sunday, October 5, 2014  9:14 A.M.
It is Week 5 in the NFL and it is the Dolphins' bye week.  Perfect timing!  The Dolphins are coming off of a feel-good win and have been banged up.  I love the feeling of spending two weeks thinking back to the last game the Dolphins played--a win.  And knowing that this bye week provides time to get healed, time for Reshad Jones to get back into the groove (returning after his four-game suspension), and time to prepare for the powerful Green Bay Packers is, um, delightful.
It's a cool, breezy day outside, but I'll be enjoying the Sunday Ticket inside.  I want to see the AFC East rivals suffer through bitter losses today.  I hope Cincinnati gives New England a royal beatdown tonight.  I hope it gets ugly.  I hope Buffalo's new starter, Kyle Orton, fails miserably.  I hope the Wets' get punched in the face and the gut and lose by 40.  By the end of the day, the Miami Dolphins could be in first place in the AFC East.  It's gameday and I'm fired up!!!!



Monday, September 29, 2014  9:58 P.M.
As if yesterday's win can't help me feel good enough, check this out: (1) the Buffalo Ills have signed the very mediocre Kyle Orton and he'll now start for the struggling and now-benched E.J. Manuel; (2) the New York Wets are dealing with a pathetic Geno Smith and the fans chanting "We want Vick."; and (3) the New England Pastries are now getting bombed in Kansas City, 41-7, and that means all teams in the AFC East will be 2-2!  The Pastries are getting nationally embarrassed and I can't get enough of this game.  Sure, the Chiefs handed the Dolphins a loss last week...but it wasn't nearly as lopsided as tonight's game.  The Chiefs are a good team who caught the Dolphins on a down week.  The bottom line is that the Dolphins are in great shape.  And that makes me happy!

Saturday, September 28, 2014  9:06 A.M.
Gots to win in London today.  This counts as a home game for hated Oakland, not the Dolphins.  My hate for the Raiders remains deep ever since attending a game in Oakland in 1998.  Those fans treated me as if I had rammed a jet into a tower, killed a lot of people, and knocked the tower down.  It wasn't right.  Children are fed this attitude.  It's always a special feeling when I see Oakland lose, and that can happen today. 
I am picking a Dolphin win by a score of 31-17.  Coach Philbin was on the hot seat this past week after not fully endorsing Tannehill as the starter.  That led to some controversy and the media enjoyed that little disruption.  Well, I know that the Dolphins are as unpredictable as any team in the league.  They have talent and the men know that they have to right the ship before it's too late.  I have been wondering how much the current Dolphins enjoy playing football--probably a thing in my own mind.  Today should be telling.  A great chance to pick up a win against a winless team with a rookie quarterback.  Sure, the Dolphins are beat up and need the bye week after this.  But, it's a day for other players to step up and make something of themselves.  Alex and I will be doing our usual all-out cheering.  The season goes by too quickly--there are no off days for fans like us.
UPDATE (Sunday, September 28, 2014)  8:29 P.M.: Finally!  Feels so good!!  All is right with life again!!!  The Miami Dolphins blasted the Oakland Raiders right out of London, and Alex and I loved every second of it.  We loved how Tannehill responded.  I believe his QB rating was 109 for this game--that'll shut plenty of people up for the next two weeks.  The Raiders received the opening kick and came out blazing.  They drove right down the field and rookie Carr threw a short TD pass to some tight end from Bemidji.  After that, the Dolphins rolled off 38 unanswered points.  The momentum in the game changed when the Raiders tried to run up the middle on a 3rd-and-1 play.  Jared Odrick was not havin' it.  The wretched Raider RB got nowhere, the Raiders punted, and the Dolphins took over.  Tanny bought time in the packet.  The offense ran plays I've never seen before.  Lamar Miller went for some big runs and finished with two touchdown runs.  Finnegan returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown.  Brent Grimes had a pick.  Walt Aikens and Jimmy Wilson both had long returns of interceptions.  The Dolphins hadn't any picks coming in, but had three on this glorious Sunday (was around 80 and sunny in Milbank).  Dion Sims made a beautiful catch in the end zone and Wallace had a catch and run that showed passion, toughness, and determination in getting himself a touchdown.
It was simply a great, great day to be a Dolphin and a fan!  I know the team will have a festive time---yes, I said "festive"--on the way home...and then time off follows.  The timing for a bye week couldn't be much better.  The Dolphins need Randy Starks to return (out today), Dion Jordan (suspension is almost over), Reshad Jones (should be ready to roll after suspension), Knowshon Moreno (look out, NFL!!), Mike Pouncey (can't wait to play first game of season), and more.  Chris McCain didn't go today along with others...and the Dolphins still rolled. 
I get to think about this victory for two solid weeks.  It's homecoming week in Milbank and my energy level will feed off of today's win.  There is no getting tired! 
I wish I had a better way with words--I'm just so happy and fired up.  A 2-2 record going into the bye isn't bad and some tough games await.  I trust this team--they'll be ready to play some good football upon their return.  FINS UP!


Saturday, September 20, 2014  10:56 A.M.
Oh, what a weekend!  Short game last night for us officials in Waubay.  A road trip to Brookings to tailgate with Kevin, Scott, and Tim before the SDSU game today.  A Dolphins' victory tomorrow to improve to 2-1 over the Chiefs (entering this game at 0-2).  And a big-time speaker on Monday which means more learning/thinking for me (which I love).  Finally, a four-day week follows!  Wheeeeeeewwwww!!  Could it get any better?  I don't think so.
The Dolphins were beaten last Sunday in all phases of the game.  Even the special teams, a unit that has been among the league's best, was made to look bad.  Now, a chance to defend the home turf and leave with an important victory.  The Chiefs lost in Kansas City on opening day to a so-so Tennessee club.  Last week, the Broncos held on to defeat a game Kansas City team.  No doubt KC will be hungry for their first win--no pro likes to go through that embarrassment of being a winless team...too much pride.  So, I don't believe it will be an easy stroll for the Dolphins tomorrow.  Or will it?  These Dolphins are as unpredictable as any team.  And for that reason, I'm going with a 30-15 Dolphin win. 
No Knowshon Moreno (out at least a month).  Daniel Thomas was signed back earlier in the week; he should have something to prove.  Tanny has been in the news and he and the coaches have been publically sharing the fact that the passing game needs to improve.
I like to think that the Dolphins have such high character guys who are winners and that those traits will help them overachieve and win.  Well, if they don't win tomorrow, perhaps I need to begin thinking that they are just like any other team.  Tomorrow's game is huge: at home against a conference opponent early in the season.  We are still in that tone-setting stage for the season.  A loss would spell a huge headache for the team and their fanbase.  It's imperative to come out with full intensity and make 909 South Main Street a place of happiness.
UPDATE (Sunday, September 21, 2014)  10:26 P.M.: Definitely a downer of a day.  Alex and I lost in Tandem Terror to S & R by a point in our early-kick affair.  The Dolphins never seemed to put anything together in a 19-point loss.  And Amor, my favorite kitty--a black-and-white cat from Uncle Kenny, was hit by a car tonight and probably won't make it to the morning.  So, as good as I was feeling two weeks ago, I feel that bad tonight.
I can't put my finger on what's wrong with the Dolphins.  It's really a whole bunch of little things.  And they just don't have the talent to overcome their many "minor" mistakes.  Getting sacked on 3rd-and-1 at midfield in the fourth quarter.  A perfect pass going off Brandon Gibson's hands.  Giving up a punt return that saw the Chief field the ball at his own one and return it to midfield.  Missed tackles.  Missed throws.  On and on and on. 
It was a hard game to watch.  Frustrating.  And the bad play by the Dolphins was due to the 0-2, injury-plagued Chiefs making plays.  Geez.
Now, it's on to London and the winless Raiders.  Gotta improve to 2-2 heading into the bye week.  I'm thinking about our trip to November and just want the Dolphins hitting on all cylinders by then.  If we witness live what happened today, it's going to be a LARGE waste of money.
Gots to keep the faith.  The Miami Dolphins are my favorite team and I have to believe they'll figure things out.


Saturday, September 13, 2014  10:51 P.M.
On my way home from Kevin's after day-long BBQ Bash (day of FUN and GREAT people!!) and thought I'd stop up here at school to get my computer and FLIP camera...and type this.  I predict a Dolphin road win tomorrow against 1-0 Buffalo.  Sure, there's always a chance of a letdown but, as I stated earlier, this team is composed of leaders and high character players.  If they lose, it'll be because the other team executed better...and that ain't happening tomorrow. 
The glow in my heart has lasted the full week.  Beating New England does that.  Hey, they are the team to beat and the Dolphins showed it can happen convincingly.  I am somewhat concerned about all of the injuries that have popped up throughout the week--Starks, Moreno, Wallace, and more are all fighting off different injuries.  It is my hope that most of those players can go tomorrow, get the win, and then have time to heal before the Kansas City game.
I should conclude by saying I want this win for Alex.  He is one great Dolphins fan and I want him to be happy.  To begin the season 2-0 with both of those games being division wins would be huge. 
So, after a great day of friends and feasting at Kevin's, I get another big day tomorrow.  The Dolphins 24, Buffalo 17.  Alllllllllright, Miami!!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 14, 2014)  8:25 P.M.: The NFL is full of ups and downs.  Last week was UP and this week was DOWN.  The Dolphins won a key division game last week by controlling the second half.  Today the Dolphins lost a key division game by letting things get away from them in the second half.  Last week Knowshon Moreno was one of the leading rushers in the NFL.  This week Knowshon got hurt and will miss 4-8 weeks.  And I could go on.
But, the fact of the matter is that the Dolphins are now 1-1.  Kind of good and kind of bad.  They'll host the 0-2 and dangerous Kansas City Chiefs next week.  It's important to forget about today's 29-10 loss and move on.  The Dolphins have now showed that they are capable of some phenomenal football, and they also have much to improve upon.
Some of my best teaching comes after a Dolphin loss--perhaps I increase the intensity so as to avoid thinking about the loss.  I am expecting a great week of school.  Then comes a trip to an SDSU game followed by another home win for the Dolphins.  I'll be fine. :)


Saturday, September 6, 2013  10:36 A.M.
Is this my favorite time of the year? Perfect weather (75, dry and calm today).  College football pregame. Dolphins open tomorrow.  LOVE IT!  If this isn't my favorite time of the year, I don't know what is.  I thank the good Lord Jesus for such a wonderful time in my life.  How can't people believe in Him and His goodness?  He is REAL, people!
Anyway, to say I'm excited about tomorrow's noon kick in Miami is a huge understatement.  Bringing in hated New England for the opener only adds to the goodness.  The question is this: are the Dolphins ready?  I know that their offense is.  I'm ready for an explosive offense that regularly scores in the 30s.  People who just read that line think I'm nuts.  And I am...but I am also accurate.  Led by Tanny, the Dolphins have too many weapons at the skill positions to be held down.  Given the improved offensive line--FIVE new starters--and this offense has no choice but to move the ball.
The defense is a little bit more of a question mark in my opinion.  The linebacker play makes me nervous.  Philip Wheeler is out tomorrow, so Freeny, Trusnik, or Jenkins will have to fill in and perform well against the best QB in the league, Tom Brady.  I still like the defensive line--might have at least two Pro Bowlers from there.  The secondary will have to avoid injury.  Brent Grimes is solid and I'd like to think Finnigen will step up to the challenge and stay healthy.  How about Wilson, Davis, Taylar, and the rest of the package?  Hmmmmmm.  Time will tell.
It won't be easy tomorrow.  New England is picked as a likely Super Bowl contender by many; meanwhile, the Dolphins have been predicted to finish third in the division by most.  My predicted record for the Dolphins is 11-5 and first place in the AFC East.  I see them making it all the way to the AFC Championship game.  I believe they'll improve dramatically as the season progresses.  Why?  Because their team is composed of leaders and good people.  There was a definite emphasis on picking up players who were captains on their college teams along with men who performed highly in the classroom.  I don't believe there's been such an emphasis on selecting good quality human beings in the Dolphins' franchise (last year's scandal had much to do with this change).  I also love Coach Philbin and all that he represents.
So, here we go.  All of the waiting time---January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and a week in September---has come and gone.  Alex and I will be watching together as we always do.  Live and die Dolphins...and, yes, I know that the good Lord comes first!  BRING IT ON!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 7, 2014)  9:43 P.M.: Praise the good Lord!!!  Despite 98% of the world picking New England to beat the Dolphins today, I went with my 33-20 prediction (because I ALWAYS BELIEVE in my favorite team).  And, I wasn't far off--the Dolphins won, 33-20.  They outscored New England 23-0 in the second half.  The pressure on Brady was incredible!  The Dolphins were already a starting linebacker down at the beginning of the game, and then their two other starters were injured early in the first quarter.  That meant the Dolphins had to go with three back-up LBs for most of the game and, boy, did they ever come through!  Chris McCain got some decent playing time, too, and made the most of it with an early punt block.  It couldn't have been a better start: 7-0 Dolphins about four minutes into the game after Tanny hit Lamar Miller from four yards out!  What a way to begin the 2014 season!!
But, Brady did his thing.  He picked the secondary apart and soon it was a 20-10 New England lead at halftime.  Yet, I knew that the only thing that stopped the Dolphins was themselves.  Three turnovers.  They had moved the ball well, but had little to show for it. 
I went outside at halftime and shared some thoughts with myself.  I knew things could change for New England had done the comeback thing to many opponents.
And it certainly turned!!  Cam Wake went beastmode. The secondary tightened things up.  Tanny kept his poise.  Receivers made plays.  And my player of the game, Knowshon Moreno ran like a big ol' bull who wouldn't be denied.  It was heaven to watch!
Alex and I had the best time on this perfect day!  We yelled, high-fived, jumped, hit....  It was truly one of my favorite games...ranks right up there with Opening Day 1994 when Marino went off.  The Dolphins beat the Pastries that day, 39-35.
Oh, I could type so much, but I have a winning Dolphin poster to stick in Alex's locker.  Time to move on and wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight!


Friday, August 29, 2014  9:16 A.M.
The Dolphins trailed 13-0 in the second half yet managed to rally and win the game, 14-13, last night.  GOOD FOR THE MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!  I'm happy for the small crowd of Dolphin fans that showed up, I'm happy for the Dolphins who did enough to show they are worthy of a spot on the team, and I'm happy for Alex and me.  It's always nice to get a win!  The Dolphins finished the preseason 3-1 for the first time since 2011.  Since 1978, an excellent preseason record has meant a playoff appearance a majority of the time.  Then again, the Detroit Lions went 4-0 in preseason in 2008...and ended the regular season winless.
Anyway, Daniel Thomas.  Did he do enough.  He's got a tendency toward injury.  Is he a game-changer?  His run at Pittsburgh last season stands out to me but not much else.  He was drafted in the second round.  Would the coaches have such a high level of patience with him if he hadn't been drafted so high in the draft?  Another side: has DT been given a fair chance to show his true skills behind a half-decent offensive line?  Not really.
Kicker--Caleb Sturgis.  Keep him?  A fifth-round draft choice last season.  Started off hot...and then cooled off considerably.  Missed some crucial kicks.  A 34-yard field goal attempt from Caleb Sturgis makes me nervous.  His groin injury is a concern.  He attempted a 53-yard FG last night and sailed it left.  Seems to be healthy enough.  But, aren't there other kickers who are more capable and would kick for less moo-lah?  John Potter was doing some good work...and then hurt himself on a 32-yard FG against Dallas.  Wonder what the Dolphins will do.
Damien Williams and Damian Williams.  I like these guys. I hope they make the team because of their desire and big play-making abilities.
Coach Philbin and GM Dennis Hickey have a big job in front of them.  The time to get better is not later, it's now.  The decisions made today and tomorrow in the Dolphins' organization will make a difference in many a Sunday for the next several years.
Love this time of year!

Thursday, August 28, 2014  3:31 P.M.
Best day of the week!  Dolphins' final preseason game tonight versus Rams.  Also is Alex's season opener at Sisseton--he's a senior so I'll be going there to support him.  My Dolphin-viewing will come after I get home.  Don't want to say tonight's Dolphin game is insignificant.  There are players preparing for tonight's game who know that their performances tonight will mean a job or being cut.  Yes, I'd love for the Dolphins to get the win, but it's important that they stay healthy, find out who should have a job and who shouldn't, and gain confidence for the season opener versus New England.
The Rams, a team that lost QB Sam Bradford for the season last Saturday (ACL), comes to town.  It should be a decent test for the Dolphins.  The first cuts were made two days ago (down to 75); there weren't any surprises.  The next cut, coming Saturday, is big cut that will include some "household" names.
The college football season gets going tonight, too.  Can hardly believe that this awesome time of the year has arrived.  I have it sooooooooo good!!  My eighth graders are wonderfully awesome and I remain grateful for everything I have.
Oh, before I go...  Last week it was great to see Knowshon Moreno see his first Dolphin action.  His first run was for 19 yards.  He carried the ball 10 times for over 60 yards--not too shabby.  Still gotta get this kickoff thing figured out.  Love the uniforms!!
GO DOLPHINS---let's get the win tonight without Alex and me!


Saturday, August 23, 2014  9:19 P.M.
Most important preseason game of all happens tonight: Dallas at Dolphins.  Starters will get the most action of any of the four preseason games.  First, I'm bracing against any injuries.  Second, I want to see success.  Chicago got drilled by Seattle last night, 34-6, and DP has to feel awful about that.  I don't want that same feeling.  Tanny just said that this game is very important to the team.  This is an opportunity to play some good football and gain some confidence as opening day approaches.
Alex and I will do the usual tonight--get a Casey's Italian sausage pizza and watch Preseason Live on the Internet.  Can't wait for more action and can't wait to see which young players will step up and make this team.
The Dolphins waived former third round pick Michael Egnew two days ago.  So, no #84 currently resides on the team roster.  This comes after people said he was looking like a new and improved player in mini-camp.  Well, mini-camp often doesn't show the real skills.  Good-bye, Michael. You seemed to be content being inactive on gameday and now you have nowhere to go.  I have an opening on our paint crew.


Monday, August 20, 2014  10:14 A.M.
Teachers' inservice is on and I wanted to get some quick thoughts typed out...
The Dolphins beat Tampa Bay, 20-14.  Overall, the defense played much better.  Is that because they tackled better or because the Buccaneer offense is inept?  Brent Grimes hustled to the goal line on a sure Buccaneer TD and was able to slap the ball out of the hands of Mike Evans.  Evans fumbled out of the end zone.  Instead of a 14-3 deficit, the Dolphins stayed in the game.  LOVE BRENT GRIMES!! Dallas Thomas got manhandled--he looked as weak as he did last year at this time.  I can't see him as a starter, not even close.  The Dolphins' talent on offense is incredible.  They have guys that know how to find the open spot in a secondary, sink down, and make the catch.  I'm saying it right now--the Dolphins will be among the league-leaders in points scored.
The most important practice game comes Saturday iin JRS.  Bring on the Cowboys.  I can't wait for more Dolphin action!


Saturday, August 16, 2014  4:20 P.M.
Tonight the Dolphins play in Tampa Bay.  Second preseason game.  Fired up for this 6:30 kick!  First comes church, then order the Casey's Italian sausage pizza, and finally the game via the Internet in Scott's room.  Cannot wait to watch Tanny lea
d the offense.  He'll have Wallace and Hartline tonight (unlike last week).  Tanny will probably play 2-3 series before losing the helmet.  Knoshown Moreno is a no-go for tonight, so that means Lamar Miller will get more much-needed reps.  What's up with Daniel Thomas?  He's losing ground with his injury battles.  The line is coming together.  Brandon Albert recently gave Dallas Thomas some praise--explosiveness and "will be a great player in this league."  Defensively, the linebackers continue to worry me.  Wheeler and Ellerbe--they seem to be collecting big money without showing that value.  Misi is a big lug who doesn't change games.  Is this Brandon Tripp going to be a player?
Of course, the main concern tonight is a key injury.  Just hope they breeze through this game with a win, confidence soaring, and healthy players.  Another night of entertainment and I can't wait!

Friday, August 8, 2014  10:58 A.M.
I am incredibly excited for tonight's preseason opener at Atlanta!!!!! The game kicks at 6:00 our time and I've got the Preseason Live NFL Package, a cheap subscription of $20 that allows me to watch all preseason games.  Alex, soon to begin his senior year of high school, will be taking in this game with me.
So many great storylines and battles!  Among them...
1.  Is the offensive line going to be improved over last year?
2.  How much improvement will Ryan Tannehill show in his third season?
3.  Which talented wide receiver will get cut? 
4.  Will Lamar Miller continue to prove that he's the number one running back?
5.  How different will this new Bill Lazor offense look?
6.  Will the linebackers start pulling their own weight? (Ellerbe has moved to the outside, while Misi is taking the middle.)
7.  Which young defensive back, Jamar Taylor or Will Davis, will show he's ready for Tom Brady?
8.  There will always be injuries.  Who will be a victim of the first season-ending injury?  (No, this is not negative thinking.  This is a part of football.  Just like football has a kickoff to begin each game, there are injuries that occur in preseason.)
9.  Which rookie will show he's ready for the National Football League?
10.  Will the Dolphins go undefeated like they did in 1972?
I can't wait!!  Last season bummed me out at the end, but I have fully recovered.  Dolphin Fever reigns.


Saturday, May 10, 2014  8:47 P.M.
The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books.  I watched on Thursday night with Alex Cantine and on Friday night with DP, Brenna, and Nate in Sioux Falls.  Good times!  My reaction: I like what the Dolphins did.  If they had pulled in a stud linebacker, I would change my "strong like" to a grade of "love."  I love what the Dolphins did with their first three picks--two offensive linemen sandwiching a Hines Ward-type receiver.  Every analyst seemed high on Jarvis Landry.  He gets open, doesn't drop balls, blocks very well, and is extremely competitive.   Yes!!  When I was playing in a Fargo racquetball tournament two months ago, many Fargo players and Bison fans told me their thoughts on Billy Turner--they loved him and said he's a great guy to have in the locker room.  Fernando told me he's a mauler.  I hope he becomes North Dakota's version of Jim Langer, a graduate of SDSU.  The first pick-Ja'Wuan-is a big dude who seems to be an impressive young man--smart, dependable, big, talented.  Yum!  It strikes me that the Dolphins hit on several small schools: Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Marist (first player ever drafted from that school) and, of course, North Dakota State.  The one linebacker they drafted, Jordan Tripp (Montana), was taken in the fifth round and figures to make the team through excellent special teams play.  Perhaps the Dolphins will pick a player up after some cuts in preseason; there's always a big-name player cut in every position.  A trade is possible at any time.  One thing I do know is this: the Dolphins need improvement at linebacker or they will continue to see some games slip away.


Thursday, May 8, 2014  4:18 P.M.
About to leave school for the day, but I want to be on record for saying this: the Miami football Dolphins should draft a LINEBACKER...and his last name should be Moseley and his college should be Alabama.  I do not want another offensive lineman as I feel like the Dolphins have upgraded that position through free agency.  Their o-line will be improved. A main concern of mine is obviously linebacker--it was an obvious weakness to me.  I got tired of seeing P. Wheeler make mental errors and I got tired of seeing D. Ellerbe run away from contact.
I'll be watching the NFL Draft this evening with Alex at our house on this rainy day (tennis meet cancelled at LQP today due to rain).  We'll eat a Casey's pizza and rejoice once that linebacker is chosen at the 19th spot.  A huge day in the life of the Dolphin franchise!  God bless them!!


Friday, March 28, 2014  7:51 A.M.
Just sitting here and talking with the Gage Sayler about the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill this morning (a day after the Dolphins signed Knowshown Moreno), and Gage proceeds to say, and I quote, "Ryan Tannehill is just another Tim Tebow except they throw with different arms."   Yes, he actually said that.  I know he's tired, but he said it like he meant it.  I shall run him down on March 28, 2015, in his freshmen hall and ask him, "What were you thinking?  What were you on?  You have been proven dumb and wrong.  Good-bye"


10:39 PM Sunday, March 23, 2014

Needless to say, there are things much more important than football...


This is the day that Ramona Kampa, my beloved and favorite aunt, entered the gates of Heaven.  There is no doubt that Ramona, who will be one of the best prayer warriors in God's Kingdom, is greeting the souls of her mama and daddy (as she called them).  She passed away around 8:10 PM as Mom and I were by her side.  Sad, of course, yet a time to rejoice as we know where she longed to be--in the hands of the Lord.
The last time that Ramona was speaking was on Wednesday, March 19.  I was able to tell her that Scott asked about her and she smiled.  Her speech was becoming slurred, yet she looked at me that night and, as clearly as anyone could speak, she said, "Pray for me."
Thursday took a turn for the worse and morphine was necessary.  There was no more talking, just breathing.  Kevin brought Kenny back to Milbank on Friday evening (around 5:00).  I wasn't sure that Ramona would make it until they got back but, boy, did she ever!  Kenny was able to talk to her and reminisce with us.  I took him back to the farm on Saturday morning so that he could tend to his goats.  He seemed to take things in stride--sadness, yes, but mainly happy for her.  He was able to give her a private good-bye.
Mom always said that Ramona's wish was to walk again.  Well, I would think that Heaven is so unbelievably wonderful that walking would be viewed as B-O-R-I-N-G.  Enjoy, Ramona, enjoy, for you deserve it so very much!
Now, I understand that I must use Ramona's example as a tool, an example, an inspiration.  She loved the good Lord!  She never complained to me about her pains...or asked "Why me?"  It always seemed to me that she was content with being the way she was.  I want to be a more prayerful person.  I want to help souls get to Heaven.  Plain and simple is the mission...but difficult.
So, I need you, Ramona, to pray for me. Pray for your family and all of those in most need of God's mercy.  He will surely listen to you.
GBR--God Bless Ramona!

Friday, March 14, 2014  9:45 P.M.
Lots of change happening with my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, these first days of free agency.  Of course, I'm excited about the additions.  Gotta have hope.  The offensive line needed serious, serious help, and they received a monster upgrade with the addition of Branden Albert (KC).  Left tackle is no longer an issue.  Baby Jonathan Martin was traded to San Fran for a conditional pick; I wish him a quick exit from the NFL.  I hope he gets cut.  I don't like people wishing bad for others, but I want him pleasing others by delivering mail or taking orders at Applebee's.  What Martin did to the Dolphins organization was nasty.  Loser.  And that's how I really feel.  Enough about him.  The Dolphins lost Nolan Carroll and Chris Clemmons--bye, guys...I wish you could've made more plays consistently.  Welcome, Cortland Finnegan--I like the nastiness, aggressiveness he brings.  Maybe he'll light a fire under Ellerbe and Wheeler.  The linebackers were WEAK last year and I can't handle that for another year.  The young Earl Mitchell will be wearing #90 on the defensive line.  He'll replace Paul Soliai (Atlanta), a guy I'll miss.  Paul had a big smile, played tough, and showed passion (Hartline's long TD at Arizona two years ago).  The Dolphins did resign Randy Starks.  I'd like to see more consistency out of him.  The Dolphins also added Louis Delmas, a safety from the Detroit Lions.  He likes to attack.  Resigning Brent Grimes was an awesome move.  How can anyone not like Brent?  He's a baller.
Yes, more changes will come, but I like what has been done.  This year's free agency period has been easier on me than last year--losing Reggie Bush hurt.  I'm looking forward to more improvement.


Sunday, February 2, 2014  4:03 P.M.
Super Bowl Sunday.  Seahawks (#1 defense) versus Broncos (#1 offense).  Hmmmmmmm.  Tough match-up.  Broncos are favored by two.  I'm going heavy on the Seattle Seahawks.  I'm due.  Gotta take the defense over the offense.  Winning this would ease the pain of a Dolphin season gone wrong.  It's not that I like the Seahawks, either.  I don't care for the whole 12th Man thing and their coach.  The only thing I like about them is their quarterback, Russel Wilson.  He's cool.
Am I fired up to watch the game?  Um, so-so.  I wish my favorite team was playing today.  Watching the game only reminds me that the Dolphins did not achieve their goals.  It is football and there is nothing else going on.  I enjoyed a great workout at Unity a little while ago.  So, it's a reason to relax and cheer on a team I'm betting for.
I can't wait until a Super Bowl Sunday features the Miami Dolphins.  Alex and I will fight our nerves for two weeks and then reality will set in--our Dolphins have a chance to be champions of the league!!  Bring it.....soon.
Oh, today's prediction?  Seattle 27, Denver 22
UPDATE (Sunay, February 2, 2014)  9:34 P.M.: Seattle did it in dominating style! Because I lost $440 on the coin flip, I upped my final bet of the season...and possibly ever....to $1,725.00 on the Seattle Seahawks.  Well, on the first play from scrimmage, the Seahawks were covering the 2-point spread by making a 2-pointer of their own.  The snap sailed over Peyton Manning's head and the Seahawks never looked back.  I am so very grateful for this win.  It saved me SOOOO much money...and I got to learn a lesson at the same time.  Makes me wonder how many people tonight are going to sleep knowing they lost $2,500 this season....or $10,000.....or the house.....or even more.  I am so lucky!
Now, for that luck to continue, I ask on this Super Bowl night that the Miami Dolphins are in the big game either next season for the 49th Bowl or the season after that--the HUGE 50th Super Bowl!!
((I was hoping for a shutout victory and came close.  Stupid Seahawk #41 let up. First had a pass interference call on him on 3rd and 9...and then gave up the touchdown on the that same drive.  Moron.))


Monday, January 6, 2014  2:24 P.M.
Approximately 30 minutes ago, I received a text from Alex that said "Is Fireland next?"  I wasn't sure what happened, so I immediately went to the Dolphins' official web site for the answer.  I was really hoping it had nothing to do with Coach Philbin...and it didn't.  Mike Sherman, a successful offensive coordinator, was fired.  I don't like it.  Sherman knows what he's doing.  They guys respected him.  He got along well with Coach Philbin, his former English student (yes, that's right--Coach Sherman was Coach Philbin's high school English teacher!).  I feel like Sherman simply didn't have the tools to do anything great.  Look at the offensive line....what was left of it.  Not good!  Tanny is still young and lots of growth remains.  Mike Wallace was in his first year. There was hardly a chance for any chemistry to develop.  I don't like the decision, but it seems like the fans spoke and ownership listened.  As for Jeff Ireland, I don't want him to go.  He hasn't been perfect, but he has made plenty of good decisions.  It's up to the PLAYERS to come through!
Time to head to Unity and work out.  Controlling my own destiny is what  it's all about today and beyond.  Oh, by the way, we didn't have school today due to polar air sweeping across a large portion of the US--coldest temps since '96.  Hope to get back to the grind tomorrow!

Saturday, December 23, 2013  4:29 P.M.
It's all on the line tomorrow--beat the 7-8 Wets in Miami and a playoff berth is likely (Ravens would have to lose at Cincinnati--Bengals are 7-0 at home---OR---the Chargers would have to win---and they host a Kansas City team that will be resting its players).  If somebody had offered me such a great opportunity as this is before the season began, I would've been all over it.  I want an extra weekend of football so very badly.  I want Alex to experience a playoff game.  He remembers the one from 2008 (January of 2009), but he was too young to appreciate it in all of its glory.
The Dolphins are basically healthy.  Daniel Thomas remains a little banged up.  Based on all of the interviews and articles I've read, there is no doubt that the Dolphins really, really want to win this one.  Though they wiped out the Wets on December 1, 23-3, many analysts are picking the Wets to win.  I don't get it.  One bad performance in Buffalo and everyone seems to think that the Dolphins are awful.  I don't see it that way.  I see a 34-10 or 27-10 Dolphins win--can't figure out if they run another one in late in the game or not.
It doesn't get much better as a fan, but it is a tad stressful.  Knowing the Dolphins need to rely on somebody else to help earn that sixth playoff spot does induce some of the nervousness.   I just can't see the Dolphins losing this one, though.  They'll have the home crowd, the motivation and, of course, the better players.  I'm all fired up--just hope to get a decent amount of sleep tonight!  FINS UP!!!!!
7:52 P.M.  I am not filled with the supreme confidence that sometimes overcomes me (see December 27, 2008, entry below from a similar situation).  However, I was confident last week...and look what happened.  It does seem that whenever I get a "cocky confidence" the Dolphins come through with a win.  Maybe I'll have a vision in my sleep tonight, but I know I'll be restless.  We went from a 40-degree, good melting day yesterday (Alex and I lost to Sean and Ryan on a snowy filled with shoveled sidelines, 20-17) to what it is right now--wind gusts up to 40 MPH and temps below zero.  It is my hope that the Dolphins experience a similar change--from last week's yuck to a wonderful show tomorrow.  Brian Hartline was talking to Jesse Agler after practice yesterday and spoke of the team's excitement to be playing at home for a chance to earn a playoff berth.  I know the players care a lot and, win or lose, I can accept their best effort.  It all kicks off 15 hours from now.  Can't wait!!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, December 31, 2013)  10:23 A.M.: If it doesn't hurt, it isn't that important.  Judging by how I feel about the Dolphins' failure to beat the hated Wets and enter the playoffs, I know for certain that I truly love the Miami Dolphins.  It matters more to me than it does to most.  Of course, that can sometimes be good (I enjoyed the first three weeks of December more than anyone on this planet), but it can also be bad (these are some dark, gloomy days).  Sunday's loss was frustrating, disappointing, sickening, painful, and sad.  It was all there for the Dolphins.  The Ravens lost to Cincinnati--that was the only thing that needed to happen besides a Dolphin win.  The Dolphins jumped out to a 7-0 lead...and then they went flat.  Nothing worked.  Geno Smith turned his game completely around from December 1 and played confidently.  They made big plays, while the Dolphins missed them (Tanny overthrew Wallace on a fly pattern that was a guaranteed touchdown and a 14-0 lead).  About the only thing I'm sure of is that Danelle Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler either need to improve or get lost.  They consistently backed away from blockers.  They made very few big plays.  Tackles behind the line of scrimmage?  Didn't happen.  Ellerbe picked Smith on December 1, but that's about the only big play I can remember.  Geez.  Tanny is definitely the man.  t was easy to tell that this loss affected him deeply.  Nobody will work harder and strive to succeed more than Ryan Tannehill this offseason.  If he had an o-line that deserved a "B" grade instead of a "C-," he'd be on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback.  Given the circumstances this year, he did an admirable job.
It's time to get back to school work, keep the mind off of football, and control my own destiny on the racquetball court and other important places.  There's always next year.  Time heals.  I'll be back.  FINS UP!


Sunday, December 22, 2013  11:30 A.M.
Kickoff is nearing in Buffalo where the Dolphins must win.  The weather is close to 50 with some rain possibly coming and going.  What a break!  So, the golden opportunity is right there in front of them.  Going by the character of this team, they will not be denied.  That is why I'm predicting a 30-16 Dolphin win.  In fact, the latest score that has popped into my mind is a 28-0 blanking of the Ills.  How sweet would that be...especially due to the fact that the fire alarm went off at 3:00 AM in the Dolphins' team hotel this morning!  Ticks me off--that's another reason to hate Buffalo and all it stands for.  Tanny is playing confidently.  Charles Clay is rarely being stopped but, when he is, it is opening up the others--Wallace, Hartline, Matthews.  The o-line has made great strides.  Tyson Clabo is getting some attention for his improvement and Sam Brenner has to be commended for his progress.  Defensively, the Dolphins are banged up in the secondary, but they are finding ways to cover themselves.  The guy who got HUGE attention this past week was Michael Thomas.  After he picked Brady in his first professional game, things exploded for him.  We'll see how he responds in Buffalo.
I love this Dolphins team.  I love watching them with Alex.  The living room is decked out--ALL DOLPHINED UP!!!  Bring the game and bring the fun.  I love my chances of being the happiest guy in America tonight!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 22, 2013)  9:09 P.M.: Amazingly, it has come to my attention in the past week that a few Dolphin fans on opposite coasts read my ramblings each week.  Thanks for the kind words.  I guess if it provides three seconds of entertainment, good for you!
Today's performance was an off day to say the least.  Every team has them.  I'm grateful that the last three weeks weren't like today.  As high as I have been the last three Sunday nights, I'm not proportionally low.  Why?  Well, the Ravens lost and the Chargers won...and those are two things that keep the Dolphins' chances reasonable of making the playoffs.  There will be the usual Tannnehill haters--not Alex and me--and the Ireland hater--not Alex and me--and the Philbin haters--not Alex and me--and the rest of the team--not Alex and me.  This is OUR team.  And a true FIN FAN has to be upbeat as bad as today was.  I'm ready to shake off this loss, have a meaningful Christmas, and return to happiness next Sunday!  Early prediction: DOLPHINS 34, NYJ 10.  Good-bye, goodnight, and a Merry Christmas to all!!

Monday, December 16, 2013  11:53 A.M.
I found this article on CNNSI this morning and it's a keeper:

Miami snapped the schneid against the Pats. A guy some Dolphins don’t know was key.

Last Monday morning, San Francisco practice squad safety Michael Thomas was sleeping in on a victory Monday for the Niners. A day off, other than getting a lift and a workout in at some point during the day. At 10:20 a.m., late for Thomas, he finally paid attention to the vibrating phone and sat up. He’d missed four calls from his agent, Christina Phillips, and a text that said, “WAKE UP! There’s a team that wants you. If you don’t wake up soon they’re going to move on.” Thomas called, and the team was Miami. There was no time to think. Miami was offering a spot on the 53-man roster, the Holy Grail for practice squad players, and seeing that Thomas had spent all 22 game weeks last year and all 14 weeks so far this year on the San Francisco practice squad, he figured he’d better grab an active-roster spot. There was a flight at 2:30 from San Francisco to Miami, and he had to be on it. He made it, not even bothering to close down his Bay Area apartment. “No time,” he said. “I was just like, ‘Holy crap! I gotta go!’ ”

Thomas began to get schooled Tuesday by Dolphins assistant defensive backs coach Blue Adams, but all week he got the sense that the more immediate focus would be on playing special teams against the Patriots Sunday. “I was going to start on the punt-return team, I knew that,” Thomas said Sunday afternoon from the Miami locker room. He took no defensive snaps all week.

The night before the game, Thomas heard about its importance: Miami hadn’t beaten New England in the last seven tries. If the Dolphins wanted to have a good shot at being a wild card team, this game was the big one. So on Sunday, Thomas went in and played his part, running down on two special teams units, making a tackle on one punt play. But by the fourth quarter, corners Nolan Carroll and Brent Grimes were down. Thomas is a safety. He played the position at Stanford and in practice for the Niners. But right now, in the last five minutes, Miami didn’t need a safety. The Dolphins had to have a corner.

“You want your opportunity?” Adams said. “It’s time.”

“I’m not gonna lie,” Thomas said by phone from the locker room Sunday afternoon, when it was over. “I was pretty emotional. I was going out there knowing Tom Brady was coming after me.”

On the first snap of the last New England series, Brady found Thomas. Brady threw to Danny Amendola for 11. On the second snap, he found Thomas. Brady threw to Shane Vereen for two. “I was out there, getting help from [safety] Reshad Jones,” said Thomas. “He’d basically tell me what to do on most plays, like where to go and who to cover.”

Brady got to the Miami 19, with 27 seconds left. First down. The defense broke the huddle and saw the spread New England formation. Jones nodded over to Amendola, split right. “You got no help,” Jones said to Thomas.

No help. A safety playing cornerback in his first NFL game, in his first NFL quarter, against Tom Brady, in single coverage against one of Brady’s favorite targets. Thomas ran with Amendola.

“Then there it was,” Thomas said. “Tom Brady throwing at me.”

The ball was over Thomas’ head, bound for Amendola’s hands. All Thomas could think of was the lesson he’d learned as a defensive back long ago. Play through his hands. As a trailer on the play, Thomas knew to do everything he could to disrupt the ball in Amendola’s hands, and he did. Thomas knocked the ball away. No touchdown. Huge play.

Three plays later. Fourth-and-5 from the 14. Likely the last chance for Brady. This time Thomas would be in the slot, determined not to let a Patriots receiver get behind him with any cushion. Again Brady threw at Thomas, for Austin Collie, with another Dolphin also in coverage. The ball never got to Collie. Thomas jumped and picked it off.

The players he barely knew now were jumping on him, slapping him, celebrating. “Mama, I did it! I did it!” Thomas yelled over and over, but no one could hear him. No one could hear anything, because the stadium was so loud. And after the game, he cried. In Joe Philbin’s post-game press conference, the coach seemed not to remember the name of the hero who broke up one touchdown pass in the end zone and then intercepted another. “We had a player in there that I think got into the building on Tuesday,” Philbin said. That just added to the lore.

“I am overwhelmed,” said Thomas. “It is so much to realize, how my life has changed and how this happened—Tom Brady throwing at me, and I answered the call. The only thing I can say is I am blessed.”

Next time you hear some coach say, “It takes all 53 to win,” think of Michael Thomas. Imagine if he’d slept a couple more hours last Monday. Maybe Miami would be on an eight-game losing streak to New England right now instead of a one-game winning streak.

Saturday, December 14, 2013  10:26 A.M.
Tomorrow is the Dolphins' biggest, most important, most necessary, most intriguing game since Sunday, January 4, 2009, when the Dolphins hosted Baltimore in a Wild Card playoff game.  The 7-6 Dolphins host the division-leading, 10-3 Patriots of New England.  The Pastries have been hit hard by the injury-bug.  They are as banged up as any team.  Not that the Dolphins don't have their share of injuries; Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller, Dimitri Patterson, and R.J. Stafford have all been placed on IR this season (Patterson and Stafford just this past week).  Anyway, this is a golden opportunity to beat up the bully on the block.  A chance to hit 'em square in the the nose and send them into a downward spiral.  Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL last week (an injury I don't wish upon my worst enemy), so we'll see if the Dolphins are able to prevent a breakthrough game from the next Pastry in line.  The Dolphins have a chance to claim their own turf, a field that is amazingly beautiful after the paint job it just received (end zone painted in aqua yesterday).  Joe Robbie Stadium should be full for this game is the Dolphins last of the season versus a team with a winning record.
The Ravens currently hold the sixth tiebreaker spot due to their head-to-head win over the Dolphins.  The Dolphins are in the seventh position, while the Chargers, hot off of their Thursday night win at Denver, are closely following my favorite team.  A Dolphin win tomorrow puts them in an extremely favorable position to make the playoffs....and I want that so very much for this team.  I love these players.  A guy like Cam Wake has never been to the playoffs...and here he is right on the brink.  Tanny has taken lots of heat (not from me) and consistently remains poised and confident...and makes plays.
I am predicting a game that nobody else expects--a low-scoring affair.  DOLPHINS 14, New England 10.
Like I read in a CNNSI article yesterday, if the Dolphins can't beat New England tomorrow, they just as well wait until the B&B Show (Brady/Billichek) has left that team.  I want to see a suffocating defense. I want the Dolphins to go deep on New England as that secondary has been vulnerable to the long ball.  I want to see a special teams unit that is disciplined and makes a game-changing play.  I want to see a win, no matter how beautiful or ugly.  A win tomorrow means Greg Cantine might just have the best week a human being has enjoyed in a long, long time.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 15, 2013)  8:39 P.M.: Could I feel any more joy in my heart? No. Am I able to come close to describing how happy and excited I feel? No.  It is overwhelming.  I wish this feeling for my family and friends and so many others.  Geez.  What can I say?  This team that so many were hating on has only become stronger.  They were doubted.  They were shunned.  They weren't given a chance to make the playoffs.  And, now, here they are...on the doorstep and about ready to bang the door down. 
So much I want to say...but I can't....and it's frustrating....so I'll just start typing at random so that I can remember some of these gameday thoughts...
Michael Thomas--signed off of the 49ers' practice squad on Tuesday.  He knocks away a pass that could've won it for the Pastries and then, two plays later, he intercepts Brady in the beautiful new Dolphins' end zone.  He was then mobbed as Alex and I rejoiced!  He helped fill in for two injured starters, Grimes and Carroll.  The secondary held on just enough to get the win.  Ryan Tannehill--many have said that he simply doesn't have what it takes to be a great starting QB in the NFL...but not the Cantines.  We have always believed he's the FUTURE and he showed why again today with accurate passes and simply being a gamer.  He led the late TD drive that ended with his pass to Marcus Thigpen.  It was the first time Marcus scored a touchdown via the pass.  Cam Wake--he brought 100% every single play.  He played with urgency.  Mike Wallace--he continues to improve and become more and more of a factor.  He could've been bitter by now, a disruption in the locker room...but nope.  He's all in.  Brian Hartline--how many key catches has he had?  He continues to find the crease in the defense and does whatever it takes to win.  Rishard Matthews--plays with confidence and keeps on improving.  His 22-yard reception on 3rd and 10 before halftime kept a drive alive when the Dolphins needed it (trailing 10-0).  His first down eventually set up the Tanny to Wallace 39-yard TD pass just before halftime.  Coach Philbin--keeps his poise on the sideline and makes the tough decisions.  He gambled on 4th and 5 from midfield just before the 2-minute warning.  Tanny hit Clay for 6 yards and a first down.
So, let me see...  I am able to enjoy a day like today with my nephew.  I'm fully prepared for the final five-day week of 2013.  There is snow on the ground and it feels like Christmas.  A 12-day break full of sleeping in and bowl games is coming at us.  I'm in great shape.  My racquetball game is just waiting to explode.  I've been winning money.  Now, when I say it doesn't get much better, it really doesn't get much better!  To celebrate today's victory, I did open the new DOLPHINS authentic helmet I purchased a month ago.  Yes, indeed, the GOOD Lord continues to bless me...and the Miami Dolphins.  It'll be a tough sleep tonight!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013  10:06 P.M.
Just a few notes here to let the world know how very happy I am after the latest Dolphin victory.  The entire week has been a positive experience and I can't wait to teach tomorrow.  Everything goes better after a successful Sunday for the Dolphins.  To think they are in the thick of the playoff race makes these times even more enjoyable.  I'm so proud of the way this team has remained together despite the many haters, the media who poured it on, and the injuries.  Only three days until the BIGGEST game for the Dolphins in quite some time--in come the 10-3 New England Pastries.  I don't like 'em one bit.  A Dolphin win on Sunday would be completely wonderful and would leave me on a high that would be tough to endure...but I'd find a way to deal with it.  Go Dolphins!
My early prediction is this: DOLPHINS 14, Pastries 10.

Saturday, December 7, 2013  11:20 A.M.
I am confident.  I am borderline arrogant.  And it's all about tomorrow's Dolphins at Pittsburgh game.  I know the Dolphins are going to win that game tomorrow.  I know they want it.  Just like they wanted it more than the hated Wets last week, they want it more than Pittsburgh does this week.  It should be fun--the sparkling new whities versus the big, bad blackies.  A wintry mix is expected.  How can't this be something to look forward to?!?!  To know that I'm completely caught up with my schoolwork this early in the weekend with a key AFC match-up tomorrow, I can say that I've got it made.  I'm blessed...and I'm grateful...and the Dolphins win tomorrow will be the cherry on the top.
Random...
Mike Wallace returns to his team of a year ago.  What will the crowd think of that?  How will Wallace perform? Mike Pouncey plays his brother's team, though Maurice won't be there due to an ACL injury.  The Steelers were not the Steelers of old...but they may be getting there.  Their defense has been atrocious at times, but they played Baltimore tough on Thanksgiving.  The team that loses this game is surely out of the playoff race.  Ryan Tannehill is seemingly getting more and more confident.  I love to see him run with the ball.  Charles Clay needs to continue his dominant, underdog ways.  Brian Hartline is Mr. Reliable--so much fun to watch.  John Jerry (concussion) will play tomorrow.  There has to be some chemistry forming on the offensive line now that some of the same players are there each week.  Richie Incognito is missed.  The defense?  Well, they seem to be playing some of their best ball of the season.  Olivier Vernon was just named AFC defensive player of the week.  His 10.5 sack total leads the team.  Dimitri Patterson (groin) might get some playing time tomorow.  What can I say about Brent Grimes?  He has become one of my favorite Dolphins.  All-out effort every game.  Patient.  Mature.  Disciplined.  Love that #21!
How will tomorrow's game go?  The Steelers will score first.  Then, the Dolphins will take over with a solid passing game, decent running, and great overall defense.  The Dolphins will win, 27-19, and I will wonder if life can get any better.  Lots of eighth graders are Steeler fans this year--and they are all great people--and a Dolphin win would result in very little football talk next week.  No, I don't tend to bark in the faces of others when MY team wins.  Say little when you win and even less when you lose--great words to live by.  A Dolphin win tomorrow puts them in good shape for a playoff berth.  Miami Dolphins, you want this game badly and it shows.  Thank you and good luck!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 8, 2013)  9:45 P.M.): On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it almost seemed that DIVINE INTERVENTION saved the day!  The Dolphins took a 34-28 lead with 72 ticks remaining.  It appeared the favored Steelers had no chance to win.  But, after Big Ben completed a pass and several lateral passes that followed, a speedy Steeler broke loose down the sideline.  He got all the way to the Dolphin 13-yard line where, somehow and someway, he stepped out of bounds...and the clock had expired.  BALLGAME!!!  Cue the music, Alex!!!  It was a gift, a scary gift.  But a gift I'll take every single week if it means a Dolphin victory.
In a game where the Dolphins fell behind several times, they could've thrown in the towel many different times.  Yet, they continued to throw punches and now, at 7-6, their playoff hopes are very much alive!  I am so incredibly excited and it's times like these that I find it difficult to express myself.  I often wonder if people who are just married or have just given birth to a child become as happy as I am right now...and I have my doubts.  It's such a pure, simple, devoted joy that that no words can capsule what is truly in my heart.  I am absolutely thrilled to know Alex C reached the level of rapture that he did in the Cantine living room today.  I am completely thrilled for the players and staff--they've been through so much junk this season...but they don't feel pity for themselves.  No, they play harder, run faster, hit harder, think more intensely.  As a fan, that is priceless.
Daniel Thomas--what can I say?  CNNSI had a photo gallery of players who were knocked out for the season; D Thomas had a picture in that gallery.  But, he was out there today on the road, in the cold, in a hostile environment and rushed for a whopping 105 yards, including the longest run of any Dolphin this season.  He was a difference-maker.
Brian Hartline played tip-toe touchdown extraordinaire which resulted in a must-have score.  The defense held on just enough, though an experienced Ben Roethlisberger made it difficult.  Caleb Sturgis hit 2 of 3 field goals.  Brandon Fields did an excellent job as usual.  Jimmy Wilson blocked a punt.  Marlon Moore had a great special teams tackle.  Tanny took off on a 48-yard run.  Too many guys to name....and they all made many Dolfans very, very happy today!
Alex opened his Christmas gift from me after the win--a personalized white Dolphins Cantine #17 jersey.  It is gorgeous.  We went out to the field and played catch on the snow-covered field for about eighth minutes--a tremendous feeling to celebrate the win.  I felt totally energized and the 5-degree temp didn't affect me in the least.  Then, it was back to looking for highlights and texting and looking at game pictures and eating and...
Here I am at school.  A few more things to do before heading home.  Bring on another great week of school!  I have a lot of eighth graders who are Steeler fans this year--they are really good kids.  There won't be any "In your face" talk; my smile will do all the talkin'.
I thank Thee for a truly wonderful day.  As good as this feels, what does Heaven feel like?
***May, June, July go by and I don't think it can get any better....and it has!!!  August, September, October---LOVED IT!.  November, December.... Just keeps on getting better. And I've got the best people to experience it with.  Praise Jesus!


Saturday, November 30, 2013
  4:41 P.M.   (School Internet was down for three days so unable to post this below--typed it on Saturday at 4:41 PM)
As these last few hours of November dwindle away, I am up here at school thinking about the Day of the Dolphins that occurs tomorrow.
  The Dolphins are in New York for a playoff elimination game.  Yes, the hated Wets have played well at home, but these Dolphins are full of fight.  They are there to win the game, and I guarantee everybody that that will happen.  I cannot wait!
I feel like these Dolphins love that feeling of winning.
  The players know that they have a chance to do something special with the addition of a few players.  They know that they’re not long off.
I’m predicting a 32-14 victory—the same score that rookie Dan Marino saw his Dolphins win by in New York.
  It is going to feel so, so sweet!!
UPDATE (Monday, December 2, 2013)  2:08 P.M.): I am so very for the Miami Dolphins, for Alex C., and for me!   Also, 750 Dolfans got tickets together for the second annual "Dolphin Stadium Takeover."  Judging by some pictures and a Youtube video, those Dolphin fans had an absolute blast.  I would've fit right in.
To go on the road and drill a hated rival (also knocking them out of the playoffs) is one of the greatest feelings in the entire world!  23-3...and it wasn't even that close!  I predicted an 18-point win and received a 20-pointer.  NICE!!!  So proud of the way the team came out and took control.  The Dolphin defense embarrassed the home team, shutting them down to lowest of the low numbers.  In fact, Wet starting QB Geno Smith was benched at halftime--the ultimate takeover!
I love Ryan Tannehill.  He has the talent and the poise and all of the intangibles.  I love having him as starting quarterback of my favorite team.  He delivered lots of on-the-money strikes and Clay, Hartline, Wallace, and others took full advantage.  Lamar Miller ran very well; he made the supposed number one defense in the NFL against the run look frail. 
Simply put, it was a thing of beauty.  To make the day even more special, I finally opened my authentic Dolphins 84 jersey that I ordered about two months ago.  I wouldn't allow myself to open it until after the "right" win.  Beating a hated division rival on the road to help remain in the playoff picture is the "right" kind of win.  Oh, the jersey is spectacularly awesome and I look forward to wearing it during many, many big Dolphin wins!
Alex and I followed up the Dolphins' win with a 20-17 victory over Sean and Ryan.  That felt great as we had lost four straight to them.  Yes, things are going my way right now and I'm enjoying every bit of it! Even started school an hour late today due to ice!!
The Miami Dolphins--life would be so blah without them!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013  11:04 A.M.
Thanksgiving Day 2013.  Woke up to gray skies and light flurries.  Took a walk around the park this cold morn.  Toward the end of the loop Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning" song came on the iPod...and that was just as I made my way by the backyard of the former VanOverschelde's.  Back on Thanksgiving weekend of '82, their entire family went down in their plane.  I lost one of my best friends, Robin.  I had an overwhelming nostalgic feeling and, really, it was quite cool.  I remember you, Robin, and I wonder how our friendship would've evolved.  We'd probably be exchanging our thoughts on today's pointspreads if you were still around.  May we meet again.
I'm thankful this wonderful day of gratitude for family, for food, for fun, for my many fantastic friends and for football.  Oh, and the FINS, too.  The simple life of Greg Cantine wins.  I'm going to take it easy, watch a lot of football, hope the Steelers beat the Ravens, eat a lot, nap, go pheasant hunting with the two brothers and Alex, and think of the many Thanksgivings gone by.
Twenty Thanksgivings ago Leon Lett saved the day as the Dolphins were able to complete a miracle-ending by defeating the Cowboys.  A big blizzard in Milbank shut everything down.  It just so happened that Dallas, too, had precipitation.  What a priceless memory for all Dolfans!
Traveling to Dallas in 1999 and again two years ago (2011) with great friends provide good memories, too.  Though the Dolphins lost both games, I learned some things--one was how to put a loss in the rearview mirror and remain a professional fan.  I remember going to Sisseton on Thanksgiving and watching football with all of the guys in the basement.  The men fell asleep (with the exception being me) and the daughters of the homeowner came down and changed the channel to some kids programming.  I was devastated.  That will never happen again---I remain home or go where it's "safe."
Time to go and make my bets....

Saturday November 23, 2013  8:33 P.M.
Red-hot Carolina travels to Miami for a HUGE game tomorrow for the Dolphins.  The Panthers are coming off a lovely win over hated New England on Monday night.  They've won six in a row after a 1-3 start.  Cam Newton is bringing his "A" game.  They've got a nasty defense.  Before beating New England, the Panthers went into San Francisco and didn't allow a touchdown.  Yes, this team is good and tomorrow will be a huge challenge for the Dolphins.  Mike Pouncey has been declared out for the second week in a row, so the Dolphins will again be using their makeshift offensive line.  I know this: the Dolphin coaching staff must have a few tricks up their sleeves to provide a winning change.  Going straight up against Carolina is not a good idea.
Mike Wallace has to go off.  We've been waiting for it all season.  He did some damage in Indy, but that was short-lived.  The running game must be able to muster something.  And no turnovers are a key against a team that has never beaten the Dolphins in four meetings.  The Dolphin linebackers (Ellerbe and Wheeler) have been disappointing.  It sounds like Karlos Dansby is outplaying both of them by quite a bit.  Ouch!  They need to force a turnover or two instead of playing for their certificate of participation award.
Can the Dolphins get it done tomorrow?  You bet!  But, I'm pretty sure I won't be relaxing at any point in the fourth quarter.  That Miami Magic will happen.  Dolphins 26, Pantthers 24.  And if the Dolphins do pull off the upset, you better believe that I'll be the happiest fellow in the greater South Dakota area!  Must believe...through thick and through thin.
Alex will be joining the viewing party as he'll leave Deer Camp early to help cheer on the Dolphins.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 24, 2013)  8:01 P.M.): All the haters have to relax as I'm not as dejected as you might hope.  In fact, I have a happy confidence that something great is going to happen.  It all starts in New York against the hated Wets next Sunday.  It doesn't hurt that the Wets were plastered today, the Pastries are getting waxed 21-0 to Denver at the moment, and the hated Raiders lost in Oakland (sends a bunch of loser Raider fans home with a painful loss and I love that).  I had a very good day wagering-wise and a short week of school awaits.  Yes, indeed, life is good!  And, yes, to tell it like it is, I am disappointed in the Dolphin loss today.  They had Carolina facing a 4th and 10 at their own 20 with just over two minutes to play.  What an opportunity!  But, Cam Newton did his thing and led a nice game-winning drive.
Mike Wallace had a big game--a couple of big catches put the Dolphins in this game.  The defense didn't get gashed on the ground and the pass rush deserves an "A" grade.  I wanted the Dolphins to come out swinging and they did just that...despite all the distractions and missing three starting offensive linemen (Mike Pouncey) and the injuries during the game.  I'm proud of what they did out there today and that is what gives me the confidence for the upcoming run--five games in December!
Mark my words--the Dolphins are going to be fine.  Is your team?  I didn't think so.


Sunday, November 17, 2013  8:23 P.M.
Alllllllllright, Miami!!!  The Dolphins got the win today by holding off a decent San Diego team.  The win was impressive given the Dolphins were without three starting offensive linemen (Pouncey, Incognito, and Martin).  So many players stepped up--Hartline, R Matthews, Sam Brenner, Brandon Fields, Brent Grimes, and on and on and on.  This was a must-win game and, with so many teams losing today that needed to, the Dolphins are right there for a possibly playoff spot.  At 5-5 they are still alive!
I'm impressed with the focus this team had after all they've been through.  Coming off a short week.  The "mess" with Martin and Incognito continues.  The illness of the leader of the o-line Mike Pouncey going down.  And then, with the game on the line and the Dolphins deep in their own territory, Tanny came out passing.  And he made some key connections that kept the clock running and made the Chargers use their time outs.  So proud!
On a side note, I put a large amount of money on the Chargers....and lost it all.  And it doesn't even matter--that's a real test of how much I love these Dolphins!  It was a win-win situation for me!  Now, I've got an entire week to look forward to and the feeling of winning Miami Dolphins propels me to heights not reached by many people!
Another HUGE game awaits the Dolphins--hosting the Panthers will mean a tough, physical game.  A win at home next Sunday is necessary and, oh, will that ever feel great.

Monday, November 11, 2013  2:13 P.M.
HAPPY VETERANS' DAY to all the great men and women who have played a large role in the freedom and peace and that we have in our country!
I am so annoyed with Tom Jackson, Michael Irvin, Chris Berman, and many more of these "angelic" studio hosts who are making judgments involving this Incognito/Martin issue without having all of the facts.  Enough with the drama.  Enough with the blaming.  Enough with the ignorant comments.  I lost a TON of respect for many TV personalities yesterday.  I don't know how I'll handle watching them in the future as they lost all kinds of legitimacy and respect from me.  I know they are paid to give their opinions....but be fair!
Originally, I predicted a 27-22 Dolphin victory tonight.  Well, I changed that on my school whiteboard a few minutes ago to 42-7.  It's gonna be a pounding,  The entire team feels like they are hated, like they've lied.  They'll take it out on the 0-8 Bucs in a nasty way tonight.  Game over.
Alex is coming over to watch the game.  A Casey's pizza will be positioned in front of us.  The music will be ready to be blared.  And we'll await the many great plays that the Dolphins will execute tonight. 
I really wasn't in a foul mood about the networks' handling of the current situation until yesterday morning.  I felt as if I was being yelled at for three hours.  Well, tonight is the night of the Dolphins....and the Cantines....and all of the proud DOLPHIN NATION around this great country.  Put your money--a lot of it--on the Dolphins tonight.  You'll be happy and you can thank me later.
UPDATE (Tuesday, November 12, 2013)  7:29 P.M.): Oh, how wrong I was.  I thought I knew my favorite team better.  I thought they'd come together and get angry and nasty and take it out on the 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Instead, they left the field with a 4-5 record and in shambles.  The Dolphins clearly didn't come to play to begin the game.  Tampa Bay shoved the ball down their throats and opened up a 15-0 lead.  A Rishard Matthews TD just before halftime put the Dolphins back in the game, however.  To the Dolphins' credit, they took a short-lived lead at 19-15 in the third quarter.  But, no-name Buccaneers ran at will through the Dolphins' defense and the deficit sat at 22-19.  A stupid penalty by Phillip Wheeler late in the game really hurt any chances of winning (personal foul as he put his forearm to QB Glennon's head on a 3rd and 15 desperation pass).  Then, Tanny was sacked on consecutive plays to end all hope of a victory.
Where does the team go from here?  I don't know.  It's painful.  This Incognito/Martin issue is hanging over the entire franchise.  It's sickening.  It is taking away from what promised to be a successful season.  It has to affect the players as much as they say it doesn't.  The strength of the defense got carved up.  I couldn't believe that a guy like Bobby Rainy (sp???) could run all over the Dolphins.  The Dolphin linebacking tandem of Ellerbe and Wheeler went around blocks.  Weak.  I was just plain disgusted.  And it's easier not to think about the Dolphins right now.  I plan to head up to Unity, grab a good workout, and begin controlling my own destiny.  I cannot leave my feelings of success up to the Dolphins, yet it's so easy to do when they are winning.
This is part of being a big fan--high risk, high reward.  I do not want to be the average fan--the highs don't get as high and the lows don't get as low.  I typically attempt to keep myself "in the middle" but, when it comes to Miami Dolphins, it's all the way.
Through thick and through thin, I love the Miami Dolphins!  FINS UP!!


Friday, November 8, 2013  2:16 P.M.
There is no school today (inservice) and I continue to get questioned on the Incognito-Martin situation.  Another e-mail just entered my inbox and this was my immediate reply:

I've always wished, hoped, and prayed for more television coverage of the Miami Dolphins.  I've always felt that ESPN, Fox Sports, the NFL Network, and any other network that covers football has slighted the Dolphins.  Well, the current happenings with my favorite team has reminded me of the old adage "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."  DOH!!!!!!

Personally, it has caused me a great deal of stress.  It bugs me.  For some stupid reason, a football team in Florida called the Miami Dolphins affects me mentally, physically and, sad to say, spiritually.  There is no doubt in my mind that the current cold/illness that I just picked up is directly related to this situation.  Stress = headache and cold symptoms for Greg Cantine.  I planned to watch Nick Mears and the Jackrabbits compete in their last home game of the season tomorrow with a couple of pals, but I am now listed as questionable. I'm irritated with everything going right now!!
As for picking sides of this "bullying" situation, I'm not sure what to think.  I don't even want to refer to it as bullying.  You and I both know that locker rooms, especially in football, can be one of the rudest, crudest places on this planet.  Things are said by many who would never ever want their moms to hear.  Did Richie Incognito cross the line? Oh, I suppose.  But I also suppose/assume that this behavior is common.  Does the fact that it's common make it right?  No.  But we, the public, have to consider the environment in which most of this apparent bullying took place.

Simply, I think this is the central issue: one hardcore, aggressive veteran went slightly beyond the "usual" line of giving $h#t to a younger, more sensitive personality...and the fact that the younger, more sensitive personality left the team became an attractive story for the media.  Result: HUGE STORY covered by every network--even on our very own KeloLand News!!  YUCK!!!!!!

I am not making any definitive judgements on either player.  News continues to flow in.  There are too many mistruths to sort through.  The more time that passes, the more that the truth will spill out.  
One of the best articles on this matter just came out yesterday and I think it's a great read by an impartial player who has played with both Richie and Jonathan.  I think it's a MUST-READ for people like you, the super duper Mr. Mears.  It can be found here: http://mmqb.si.com/2013/11/07/richie-incognito-jonathan-martin-dolphins-lydon-murtha/?eref=sihp   I wish everyone who is at least mildly interested in this fiasco should read this article!


Thursday, October 31, 2013  7:37 A.M.
Today is a HUGE game for the 3-4 Miami Dolphins.  They will host the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals, a team that can pass the ball with the best of them.  Ohhhhhhhh, man.
The first Dolphins game I ever remember watching took place on a Thursday night in 1979.  It was a nice win over New England in the Orange Bowl, a game in which the Dolphins wore their aqua-marine jerseys.  Two years later they hosted Pittsburgh on a Thursday night and won easily, 30-10.  I can only hope that that magic returns as this Dolphins team is taking heat and has some turmoil about it (Jonathan Martin is AWOL after a "practice joke" at the training facilities and will not play tonight).
5:00 P.M.>>>In just under 2.5 hours, the Dolphins will be playing.  Canadian Mike will be there, a guy who has been so good to Mark and me, and I hope so much that he is able to witness a Dolphin victory.  They need this win so badly.  The stench is building.  It has been over a month since their last win (27-23 over Atlanta).  They've lost two straight to division rivals.  A win tonight would be one of the most beautiful events on this planet in quite some time.  The streak going for the Dolphins is this: they are 5-0 all-time on Halloween.
So, the doors will be shut tonight and Halloween doesn't really exist to Alex and GC.  It's all about the Dolphins and getting this win.
My prediction: Dolphins 13, Cincinnati 10.  Yep, it shall go totally the opposite of what everyone else believes.  God bless them.
UPDATE (Friday, November 1, 2013)  9:03 P.M.): Yep, it went totally the opposite of what everyone else believed.  God forgive them.  Cam Wake went beast mode and sacked Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety to WIN the game in OVERTIME!  It was a thing of beauty!!  Alex remarked that this may have been his favorite Dolphins game ever.  The Dolphins led 17-3, just as they had against New England last Sunday.  But, just like last Sunday, the opponent eventually took the lead.  The Bengals kicked a field goal with just over a minute left in regulation to take a three-point lead.  Then, after the Cincinnati kickoff, Ryan Tannehill was sacked for a seven yard loss.  On second and 17, Tanny hit Rishard Matthews for 16.  HUGE PLAY! B Hart had a toe-tapper on the game-tying drive.  Tanny kept his poise behind a makeshift line (Incognito was knocked out earlier in the game with a neck injury) and calmly led the Dolphins down to the Bengal 27.  In came Caleb Sturgis to tie the game with a 44-yard field goal.  The Dolphins went nowhere on their first overtime drive.  Cincy responded with a decent drive of their own, but they were eventually forced to punt.  Tanny then went deep to Mike Wallace, who drew a 38-yard interference penalty.  However, the drive stalled in Bengal territory and, on fourth and one, the Dolphins punted.  Brandon Fields' exceptional punting skills put the ball inside the Bengal 10.  After struggling to shut down the Bengals on third and long situations all night long, the Dolphins were put in position to stop a third and ten play.  That's when Cam Wake did his thing and ended the game with a safety for only the third time in NFL history.  DELIGHTFUL!!
One of the best calls of my year came as the Bengals were prepared to tie the game at 10.  I told Alex that the Dolphins would intercept and return the ball 102 yards for a touchdown.  Well, back to pass went Dalton, he threw it right, and Brent Grimes picked it.  And he ran and ran and ran over 90 yards for his first-ever touchdown.  And I caught the prediction and play on my FLIP camera!!
So proud of the guys for hanging in there.  So many people were attacking anything and everything about the team.  The Bengals came in as one of the hottest teams in the league.  And the Dolphins got it done!  For a little cherry on the top, the two blankets I had ordered from HSN arrived yesterday.  After the win, I couldn't think of a better time to give Alex his new logo blanket.  Good times!!
I was able to share my delight with my eighth graders--lots of fun.  They love the NFL as a whole and that made today, a Friday, extra special.  A guy has to have several passions in life and this is one I wouldn't trade for anything.  I love those Miami Dolphins!


Saturday, October 26, 2013  1:01 P.M.
What has happened since I last wrote three weeks ago?  Not much to the good side.  The Dolphins had their bye week, a much needed break after suffering a number of key injuries.  The Dolphins returned to action last Sunday without a couple of key players, Cam Wake and Danelle Ellerbe.  Into Miami came lowly Buffalo.  Lowly Buffalo dropped the Dolphins to 3-3, one of the most frustrating losses suffered in recent memory.  I do know this, though: the loss to the Ills might turn out to be the best thing ever for the Dolphins.  Lesson learned: can't take any team lightly.  No more time to dwell on the past...must move forward.....to....
New England.  Tomorrow.  On the road.  There is a chance the Dolphins can get it done.  This, my friends, is a good Dolphins team.  The fact that they beat Indianapolis on the road is proof.  They have the talent to beat anybody.  It won't be easy, though.  New England has taken six straight from my favorite team and they still have Tom Brady.  This will take a game of very few mental errors and forced turnovers.  If the Dolphins don't come up with some turnovers, it's going to be a very tough win.
Losing a fourth straight would be deadly.  Likely no postseason and another year of anguish.
I love these Dolphins.  Nothing will change that.  But it's hard to take the losses.  Furthermore, upon the next victory, I will open my authentic Dolphins jersey that arrived a month ago.  I want it all!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 27, 2013)  7:47 P.M.): Sometimes I wish I could give up on this football stuff.  Very frustrating sometimes.  But that won't happen.  Each week brings renewed hope, a chance for a fresh start.  The Dolphins lost their fourth straight after taking 14-0 and 17-3 leads today.  Things went sour in the second half and it was really tough to watch it (thank God I have Alex and Jenna to help keep my head level)!  The Dolphins suffered a major injury in the loss--Brandon Gibson, who developed great chemistry with Tanny, suffered a knee injury and will be lost for the season.  Fortunately, that was it in the injury department as the Dolphins fell to 3-4.
There is still time, however, to save the season.  There is reason for optimism.  The Dolphins did a lot of good things today.  I saw some creativity in the offense and I saw some strong defensive plays.  It's great having Dimitri Patterson back in the line-up.  I thought Bryant McKinnie handled himself well in his first game as a Dolphin (signed on Tuesday).
The entire team will have to get their minds in the right place quickly because the red-hot Bengals come to town.  They just put up a 49 burger on the hated Wets today as they played tremendous on both offense and defense.
Can the Dolphins win this upcoming game?  You bet...but it'll take their best effort.  Their backs are against the wall and, if I know these players, they'll come out swinging.  The best part of the season is about to happen...and I can't wait!


Saturday, October 5, 2013  2:57 P.M.
Into Miami come the 2-2 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.  Their most impressive win so far has been very impressive--a 30-9 win over a tough Houston Texan team.  All Dolphin fans know that this won't be easy tomorrow, especially after a short work week.  The Ravens have beaten the Dolphins in the Dolphins' last two playoff appearances; both of those games too place in Miami. 
I know very well that the loss on Monday night has nothing to do with tomorrow's game.  Teams in the NFL go up and down from week to week; to me, every week is independent from the next.  It's nice to think about momentum making a difference when things are going well, but six days between games makes for a brand new start, a new opportunity to go up...or go down.
Mike Wallace has been chirping up a little bit lately.  The last time he did that he followed it up with a big-time performance (at Indy).  That might be a good omen.  Unlike last week, Ryan Tannehill hasn't been bothered by an injury.  Cam Wake may or may not play.  Paul Soliai is back.  Most players are healthy--typical Week 5 in the NFL.  There are no excuses.
The offensive line is taking a great deal of heat for giving up a record-setting pace for sacks.  Perhaps Tanny needs to run it more...and protect the ball while doing so...or he needs to feel the pressure earlier.  I see him hanging onto the ball quite long at times.
This is the bottom line: the Dolphins could put themselves into excellent position for the rest of the season with a win.  A loss wouldn't be demoralizing, but it could be a sign of deeper issues.  I want the great Dolphin fans who show up tomorrow to leave just as happily as they did against Atlanta.  I'm going with a 26-20 Dolphin win...and cruising into the bye week will be extra sweet!
UPDATE (Tuesday, October 6, 2013)  8:45 P.M.): Okay.  Reset button.  Hit it.  And take two weeks off.  Before the season began, I would've been happy had anybody told me the Dolphins would be 3-2 headed into the bye week.  And here they are at 3-2 with a chance to get healthy.  Dolphin injuries have been rampant the past three weeks and the bye week is just what Doctor Dolphin has prescribed.  Rest and heal and regroup.
The Dolphins certainly had their chances to beat the Ravens today, but dropped passes and allowing sacks prevented a heavenly 4-1 record.  It is obvious that the offensive line needs some type of change, whether it's personnel or scheme-wise.  Tanny gets very little space in the pocket and time; he has to pull the ball down and take the loss most of the time.
Mike Wallace needs to keep quiet.  He caught a 49-yard pass today, but he dropped some key passes.  If he is able to keep his poise and remain confident, he'll help this team immensely.
Alex, I can tell, is more than a bit concerned.  He has seen two losses in six days.  I don't blame him as losing has been much too common in his days as a Dolphins fan.  He, like all Dolphin fans, needs to keep the chin high.  There is a lot to be excited about.  Buffalo comes to town in exactly 14 days....and it ain't gonna be pretty for the road team.  An all-out, dominating performance will put the Dolphins at 4-2 as they head to New England for Showdown #1.
School helps the healing process.  Thank God I have a job that I love.  I can't wait to get some things done tonight, wake up, and feel better.  FINS UP!!!


Monday, September 30, 2013  5:56 PM
It is Monday night! 3-0 at 3-0 for the first time since 1998.  I'm excited for the Dolphins as they get to be on the Monday Night Football/national stage for the first time since 10-17-11.  I think it's a great opportunity for these young Dolphins to be in a big-time environment like this--it can only help them.  No doubt, they'll face tension like this again.  
I don't feel like this is a must-win football game.  It's a non-conference road game, the least "necessary" game to win.  Sure, I'd love the sky-high feeling of Dolphin victory, but I won't get down in the dumps if it doesn't happen.  Not to make excuses but the Dolphins will likely see four defensive starters inactive.
The key is to take advantage of Mike Wallace.  I really like the thought of him on turf.  If he can get open deep, the talented Ryan Tannehill will find him.  There needs to be enough in the running game to keep the Saints honest.
ESPN just featured Ryan Tannehill.  What a mature young man!  Every word he says captivates me.  He understands what it takes to be successful, including the locker room.  Ray Lewis said that many don't understand that but, the fact that RT does says a great deal about him.  "Ryan Tannehill is a future star in this league," said Trent Dilfer.  I love having RT as our guy!
Tonight I'm predicting a 30-24 Dolphin win.  If the o-line is able to take care of RT, the chance of success rises significantly.  I have a feeling that RT will run given the opportunity and they'll roll him out to buy time.  I'm all on the Dolphins with Alex tonight.  Have to enjoy these nights like crazy!!
UPDATE (Tuesday, October 1, 2013)  12:03 P.M.): Ouch.  The New Orleans Saints are a very good football team and they ran away with last night's game by 21 points, 38-17.  Oh, it was close for a bit, but crucial errors by the Dolphins and soectacular play from the Saints ended all hope.  For example, after the Saints scored on their opening drive and took a 7-0 lead, it was important that they Dolphins respond.  They did.  The Dolphins marched right down the field and eventually faced a third down inside the Saint ten.  With literally one inch needed for a first down, the Dolphins ran wide left and Daniel Thomas lost two yards.  Settling for a field goal against a perfect Drew Brees and a crazy Superdome crowd was not going to get it done.
But, I'm almost over it.  It was a road game....against a non-conference team....early in the season.  It means only a little more than a little bit.  Sure, it would've been nice to see them play well in a nationally televised game.  Sure, a 4-0 record would've felt incredible (first time since Coach Shula in '95).  However, it didn't happen and it's pretty easy to move on knowing the Super Bowl Champion Ravens are coming to town.  Winning the next game is imperative; the bye week follows.
One of my favorite things about today was Coach Hirsch's e-mail to me this morning--nothing like a great sense of humor to vault me forward.  Here it is:
GC:

Good day. I am sorry about the FINS loss last night. I know you had dreams of another undefeated season---but that is so hard to accomplish these days. 1) The level of FB had increased dramatically, 2) The amount of COKE in Miami has decreased steadily since M. Morris left town, and 3) Guys like Don Shula don't grow on tress. 

Today, for you, it's ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE! How will you react? Will you "pull a (unnamed teacher)" (aka: "Read 235 pages in your seat today so I can surf ebay?)  Or, hold that chin high and drive on with the focus of (unnamed teacher) going after his 14th donut? I know you'll choose option #2 sans donuts.

Trust in God, but lock your car.

BH


Monday, September 23, 2013  2:53 P.M.
The bliss continues.  I stayed up until 1:45 in the morning recording the Dolphins' shortcut on the Sunday Ticket.  No worries, though, as a no-school day today (inservice) has made for an excellent day to recover.  I'm continuing to soak up as much of the goodness as I can get my hands on.  Tanny & Co. are getting some quality TV attention today...and it is well-deserved.  Like I've been telling people since the Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill, the "Big 3"--Andrew Luck, Robert Griffith, and Russell Wilson--have received all of the attention.  Tanny is made out to be not quite as talented...and, as a result, doesn't get even close to the attention of the others.  Yet, he's coming through in a BIG way.  His growth is unquestionable.  He's a leader who has his team at 3-0.  I like to think I live a bit like him--I don't want/need the attention, yet I am committed to success and, God-willing, I'll continue to perform at a high level in whatever I put my mind to.  Yes, it is indeed a magnificent Monday.


Saturday, September 22, 2013  11:28 A.M.
For the first time since 2002, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to start their season with a 3-0 record.  Oh, it feels like forever.  I remember those good times and the feelings of sure optimism.  It was like that way in the 1980s also.  The best start that I remember is 11-0 in 1984; now, that was a blast! 
The 1-1 Atlanta Falcons are coming in for the season opener.  It sounds like Joe Robbie Stadium will find many Dolfans in the stands.  The new logo and 2-0 record give this team a new feel, a new hope.  And I know very well that I've got to savor every single one of these days.  And I am.
The Falcons are banged up a bit a receiver and a few other spots.  So are the Dolphins.  Mike Wallace (groin) is questionable.  Paul Soliai and Dimitri Patterson are both out.  Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) hasn't had a "normal" weak of practice.  Atlanta still has Matt Ryan and their receiving corps, hurting or not, will show up and will be tough to defend.
I love what I'm seeing so far out of the Dolphins.  Tanny is definitely better and more confident than last year.  Brian Hartline continues to run crisp, effortless routes.  Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas run hard when they're in the game.  The offensive line is coming together (I love the attitude of Mike Pouncey!).  There is a lot to like about these young Miami Dolphins.
Sometimes I find myself looking at other teams and wondering how the Dolphins could beat them (Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, etc.).  But, I am pretty good at shoving that out of my mind and concentrating on the Dolphins.  I also remember that many things can change.  A team like the Seahawks could sputter out on any given week and end up missing the playoffs.  It's all about making the playoffs first and then the chips will fall where they may.
I'm picking the Dolphins to win tomorrow by a score of 21-17.  It is a 3:05 kick, so I can only imagine how beautiful those Dolphin uniforms will look under the sunny South Florida skies to begin the game...and even more as the sun sets.  Can't wait.  Love it.  Hope everybody else on this planet has something that induces the same level of joy, excitement, and anticipation that I have.  Praise Jesus.
UPDATE (Sunday, September 22, 2013)  9:22 P.M.): Okay, people who are bored enough to read this, carefully read the following words: you need to love the Lord first, your family and friends and even your enemies second, and then you need to find a passion and love for something that supplements life.  Whether it be cars or stamp collecting or taking a run or getting massages or drawing, you will do yourself a lot of good if you can reach a high that makes life even sweeter than it already is.  I know what passion is--the Miami Dolphins.  Today was unreal.  I can't put into words the joy that Alex and I felt upon seeing the rookie Dion Sims catch a one-handed pass in the end zone to put the Dolphins out in front of a tough Falcon team, 27-23, with 38 seconds left.  Then, Jimmy Wilson picked off Matt Ryan to seal the game and our victory jumps were amazing.  Sure happiness!  So proud of a team that was pushed around in the first quarter.  A team that fell behind by 10 points in the first quarter, fought back, and then saw the lead expand to 10 again early in the third quarter.  The Dolphins never game up and, now, for the first time since I've been an eighth grade teacher, the Dolphins find themselves at 3-0!!  So, so, so very happy for the players, the coaches, the many fans who showed up, Mike in Canada, all of the great Dolphin Nation, and especially my nephew Alex.  To see his excitement and joy is priceless.  ALL SMILES!!
Each week after a win, Alex and I get a picture together taken out in our yard.  Today was a windy, warm 81-degree day, but we got it done.  Also, at night, I come up to school--like I am right now--and make a Dolphin poster with pictures from the game along with our picture(s) and put one in Alex's locker.  It helps celebrate the win and gives us a daily reminder of the beauty we experienced on gameday.
Don Jones made a play on a punt that helped turn around the game.  The Dolphins trailed by a 20-13 score and were forced to punt.  Donnie J sprinted down, caught the ball carrier, slammed him WWF style, and forced a fumble that ironman John Denney (Who else knows him???) recovered.  Three plays later Tanny hit Hartline for a 19-yard touchdown.  Tie game!  Tanny also did a splendid job of directing the game-winning drive.  He took them 69 yards and hit guys like Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, and Dion Sims.  Lamar Miller dropped a perfect pass down the sideline in that drive, but Tanny and the Dolphins were able to shake off that missed opportunity and remain focused.
The crowd was large.  They made an obvious difference; Coach Philbin pointed that out in a postgame press conference.  It is SO nice to know that the many Dolfans who showed up were rewarded by seeing a thriller over a tough Falcon team that was one play away from going to the Super Bowl last season.
The Falcons dominated the time of possession throughout the first part of the game.  The Dolphin defense bent and bent and bent...and forced just enough field goal attempts to enable the win (Matt Bryant missed one from 35 yards--his first miss in 16 attempts).  Meanwhile, Caleb Sturgis continues to impress.  What a kicker!  No wonder DC#5 was released so early.  He's got an incredible leg and has yet to miss a FG this season.
Cam Wake was hurt on the first drive and didn't play after that.  Guys like Olivier Vernon and Jason Trusink had to step up...and they did.  The Dolphins are a bit banged up, but they have an extra day to prepare as their next game is next Monday at 3-0 New Orleans.  That ought to be a lot of fun.
Yes, find your passion.  One of mine is the Dolphins....and the joy in my heart is something I wish for all of my family and my good friends.  Geez, I am grateful for nights like these.  Oh, and there's no school to worry about tomorrow (inservice).  I might just set a record for happiness.
P.S.  Don't read this if it makes you sick.  I would think it would.  But the truth is the truth and I have to tell it like it is.  Good-bye.


Sunday, September 15, 2013  10:08 A.M.
I'm able to sit here at home in front of two TVs (ESPN and NFL Network on each tube) in peace and comfort.  I don't have to worry about TV coverage because the Dolphins continue to get no respect.  I understand that and part of me doesn't mind.  Yes, I'd like some more attention/focus put on them, but I also like the "Against the world" mentality.
The Colts beat the 4-3 Dolphins last year; this year is a perfect time for payback.  Win today and take a 2-0 record into the home opener against a Falcon team that is beatable.  The cloudy, rainy, 64-degree weather outside equates to a wonderful day to take in a Dolphins road game against a good 1-0 team.  It will be vital to put Andrew Luck on his back.  The Dolphins came so close to getting to him last year, but he was able to slip away and complete passes.  Now, with this current Dolphins defensive line--speed and power--I love the Dolphins' chances.  I have predicted a 30-17 win.  I feel like the running game will get things going and a forgettable performance last week.  Miller and Thomas need to break some tackles and they both know that.  Last week seemed like any hit meant the play was over.  A win today jumpstarts what is already a solid, improved Dolphins team.  A win today could change the direction of the franchise for the better.  It is Dan Marino's birthday today...what a way to celebrate with a Dolphins win!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 15, 2013)  10:06 P.M.): First and foremost, I have a friend named Ali.  She has many qualities I'm looking for in a girlfriend--attractive, intelligent, young, funny, and a fan of NFL football.  On top of that, I commend her on the class she possesses.  Her favorite team is the Colts.  She gets fired up when her team gets a one-yard touchdown run on any given Sunday.  I love that.  It's called passion.  Well, after her favorite team lost to the Dolphins today, she still took time to text me and offer some kind words.  That's class.  Thank you, Ali.  I must also say that I felt exactly the same way last year after your team beat my favorite team--if my Dolphins are going to lose, it just as well to be to a team like the Colts...and a team that you support.  I love Andrew Luck.  I can see him as an eighth grader in my classroom, raising his hand during class discussion, and picking up a pencil off of the floor for a classmate.  Anyway, thank you, Ali, for your friendship.  May our teams meet in the AFC Championship.  Now wouldn't that be fun?!?!
In regard to the win, I know that what makes me happiest about the 2-0 start is thinking about how these guys must feel.  A couple of years ago a safety from Pittsburgh named Ryan Clark made a public statement that "nobody wants to play for the Dolphins."  Well, some people wanted to and they stuck with my favorite team and now their smiles as they walk off the field with a win gives me pleasure that I can't describe.  Sometimes I think one of the biggest reasons I am a fan is my hope to see the Miami Dolphin organization and all of their great fans happy.  Pretty simple.
A few players that stuck out to me today were the following: Mike Wallace (I have no problems with him being upset about not getting the ball--I was the same way in insignificant city league basketball games from time-to-time--I love his attitude and he came through in a large way today with 9 catches); Brent Grimes (this guy signed as a free agent after tearing his Achilles last year--he plays with no hesitation--all-out effort--his work ethic has to be contagious--his interception in the end zone helped save the day); Lamar Miller (after a week of getting nothing, he came back determined to help his team--he broke tackles and followed his blockers); Caleb Sturgis (he kicked a 54-yard FG just before halftime--but, wait, there's an Indianapolis time out just before the snap--so he tries it again and splits the uprights--great job by the rookie!).  Sure, I could go on and on, but I've got lesson plans to make for the week, papers to correct, and sleep to get before Milbank's homecoming week begins. 
Headed back to Miami for the home opener--life can't get much better for GC!!!!  Praise Jesus always.


Saturday, September 7, 2013  11:04 A.M.
Twenty-five hours from now, the Dolphins' 2013-2014 season will have kicked off.  It's a pick 'em game that is getting very little attention.  And I like that.  The Browns will be fired up as they have a smart, young coach and a roster with some budding stars.    Trent Richardson is not easy to take down.  Their defense shouldn't be the easiest to move on.  The home crowd will be vocal as they support their Browns, losers of eight straight openers.  With all of that considered, however, I love this Dolphins team despite a secondary that isn't at full strength.  There is too much talent on defense and too many up-and-coming stars on offense to leave Cleveland with a loss.  One simple fact is that Ryan Tannehill will be better than last season...and he left off the 2012 season in a good way.  I can't wait to see how the the combination of Miller and Thomas plays out at running back.  The receiving corps has a mix of everything: speed, hands, moves, experience, and overall talent--much improved over last year's crew.
The defense will make things ugly for most offenses.  The BIG BOYS up front--Starks, Soliai, Odrick, Shelby, Wake--will control the line of scrimmage.  Danelle Ellerbe will be free to roam and make plays.  The secondary, with the exception of Rashed Jones, concerns me a bit.  It is vital that the defensive front gets pressure.
Alex and I will watch the game in peace--the fewer distractions, the better.  Music will be ready.  The 2013 media guide will be readily available.  The remote will have new batteries.  The secondary TV (new wire for better reception) will be as good as ever.  All we need for a perfect Sunday is a Miami Dolphin victory.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins 25, Cleveland 17.  1-0!!!

UPDATE (Sunday, September 8, 2013)  9:26 P.M.): 1-0 feels GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Dolphins went into Cleveland and sported their all-white uniforms.  Looking sharp, the offense got better as the day went on.  Tanny had a pretty good day as he hit many different targets, including Hartline for a 34-yard touchdown against a stubborn Browns team.  I don't know if the Brown defense is that tough or if the Dolphins are hurting in their running game.  They gained just 20 yards on the ground and were led by Daniel Thomas (8 carries for 14 yards).  Thankfully, B Hart was up to his old tricks--making great moves to get open and securing the ball--and Brandon Gibson did a nice job of getting open and forgetting about his drop on the first drive of the game.  What really won this game was the defense.  They had three interceptions, two by Dimitri Pattterson and one by Nolan Carroll.  Cam Wake was a man against boys; I really enjoy watching him plow into a would-be blocker and knocking him back as he pummels the QB.  I love the Dolphin defense!
So, what does this mean?  It means a necessary 1-0 start after a solid road win.  If the Dolphins can win in Indy next week, they'll be on top of the world.  They have to enjoy this win.  They are undefeated in their new jerseys and, really, the wins are what it's all about.  I now have five school days to show up with a huge smile and feeling joy within my heart.


Thursday, September 5, 2013, 2013  6:42 P.M.
What a great day to kick off the 2013 NFL season!  The Ravens are visiting the Broncos tonight and I'm fired up.  This is a rematch of last year's fantastic finish in the playoffs where Baltimore stole it at the end.  I'm predicting a win by the Broncos in a close one (they are favored by 7.5 points). 
More importantly, the Dolphins play in Cleveland in three days.  I am confident.  This Dolphin defense is going to be an elite defense that wins ballgames.  Thankfully, the Dolphins "O" will put up points.  I like that combination.  This year is going to be the best one in a long, long time!


Thursday, August 29, 2013  7:38 A.M.
Well, today is the final day of school in August.  Furthermore, it's the final day of preseason for the Miami Dolphins as they host New Orleans at 6:30 tonight.  Plenty of cuts are coming, so tonight's game will  be life or death as far as football careers.  Javorski Lane has already been cut (Evan Rodriguez did impress in the last preseason game).  Will the Dolphins keep Pat Devlin?  Has he shown enough growth?  And how about his recent injuries?  Which running backs will make the team?  Did Jonas Gray do enough or was his fumble against Tampa Bay seen as too costly?  Who are the goners on the offensive line?  Lance Louis, who came over from Chicago, was supposed to be a great addition...but his contract was terminated a few days ago.  The wide receivers...hmmmmmmm.... Tymes? Bumphis? Davis? Jeff Fuller is a no-go.  Big questions marks that might turn into answers after tonight's game.  The defensive line is strong and somebody who could contribute will be released; there simply isn't room.  Linebackers--pretty much set.  The secondary can't be set.  For example, a guy like Kelcie McCray gets burned in Houston for a touchdown--wasn't even remotely close--and sources say he might make the team.  As I've said before, the kicking unit might be the best in the league.
So, there is no school tomorrow (teachers' inservice) and I've got a Dolphins game on the Internet tonight.  College football opens the season with a decent slate of games this evening.  Yes, life is great.  These eighth graders are even impressing me. 
This sounds so cliche, but I am so excited for the September 8 opener.  Why?  Because I know very well that the Miami Dolphins will be victorious.
UPDATE (Saturday, August 31, 2013)  10:45 A.M.): Cutdown day in the NFL.  Rosters need to be trimmed by 5:00 PM EST.  I know that the Dolphins will have to release some really good players; this is as deep as they've been in a long time at several different positions.  So, I'm bracing myself, yet I'm excited to see who made a good enough impression on the coaches to make this 2013-2014 Dolphins team.
I was happy to see the win on Thursday night (24-21 win over the Saints).  Pat Devlin went deep to Marvin McNutt and put the ball exactly where it needed to be for the winning touchdown.  Diondre Presley then made an interception inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line to seal the win.  I especially like the home fans to see wins--there weren't many in the stands, so all of the diehards in attendance deserved to leave the preseason on a successful note. 
Next up is the wonderful month of September, perhaps my favorite of the 12.  In just over 13 hours August will be history; it's been good to me....but I'm ready for BIGGER and BETTER!


Saturday, August 24, 2013  3:51 P.M.
Tonight brings the Dolphins' most important exhibition game.  It is their fourth preseason game and one that they'll play their starters for the most time.  The team gameplans for this game and building chemistry is a necessity.  After the starters sit, Alex and I won't see them until September 8 at Cleveland.  We'll be watching at my house and praying for no injuries.  Dustin Keller is out for the season and that hurts; this young team can't afford another strong leader going down. 
I know that staying healthy is the highest priority.  Winning the game would be nice, but it's important to play well throughout the first half.
There are a lot of battles for roster spots going on.  Also, a position like running back is up in the air.  Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas?  Will unlikely free agent Chad Bumphis make the team?  He definitely needs to shine tonight in the preseason home opener against Tampa Bay.
My prediction for tonight's game: Ryan Tannehill's improvement continues in a 30-17 Dolphin win.  Looking forward to it!

UPDATE (Sunday, August 25, 2013)  9:50 A.M.): Turnovers played the largest role in last night's 17-16 loss.  That was a down, however, it is "just" a preseason game and those two special teams fumbles are easily correctable.  Otherwise, the Dolphins dominated.  The first team offense and first team defense controlled their opponents.  It is obvious that Ryan Tannehill is getting better and better.  Brian Hartline continues to make outstanding catches.  Brandon Gibson knows how to get open over the middle.  And Mike Wallace will be difficult to cover.  The running back position is fine--Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are an excellent one-two punch.  Fullback is undecided.  Evan Rodriguez showed better hands than Javorksie Lane last night, but Lane might be the better blocker.  The offensive line seems capable and will hopefully get by with extra special skilled position play.  As for the defense, it all starts up front.  The Dolphins have the BIG BOYS controlling the offensive line.  Soliai and Odrick and Starks and Wake and the list of big-time players goes on.  Behind them are a core of hungry linebackers.  Even Jonathon Freeney got into the sack act last night.  The secondary could be a top ten unit if the defensive line stays healthy enough to do their thing.   The Miami Dolphins might have the best punter/kicker combo in the league.
One more preseason game on Thursday and the highly-anticipated opener in Cleveland is on the horizon.  What a great time to be alive!


Sunday, August 18, 2013  8:43 A.M.
Not only did the Dolphins lose last night, they likely lost a major part of their team last night when tight end Dustin Keller went down.  He took a helmet to his knee and it looked horrible.  All Dolfans can only hope that he is able to return later in the season...but I know better.  I guess one of the other tight ends will have to progress and produce to come close to filling Keller's potential.
On a positive note, RT#17 and Mike Wallace got something going.  Three passes went Wallace's way for 58 yards and a touchdown.  Beautiful. Jamar Miller was able to show his quickness.  The first team defense showed some good stuff--Brent Grimes had an interception and Cam Wake had a sack. 
All teams will suffer key injuries.  The way they react will differ.  That's the way it's always been.  With the character on this  team, I have no doubt that missing Dustin Keller will hurt, but the team will find a way to be successful.
Only two preseason games remain.  As much as I can't wait for the opener in Cleveland, I can't wait to see the surprises that make this 2013-14 team.
Playoffs.


Saturday, August 17, 2013  12:01 P.M.
The Dolphins play their third preseason game tonight in Houston against the Texans.  After last week's domination over Jacksonville, I love the feeling around the Dolphins.  No major injuries so far and they definitely showed improvement from their initial appearance in the Hall of Fame game.  Many young players appear to have a chance of making this team.  Chad Bumphis (WR), Keenan Davis (WR), Dion Sims (TE), and a host of others are making plays.  Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis already secured a spot when the Dolphins released #5 Dan Carpenter (DC#5) this past Wednesday. 
Alex and I will be watching all of the action at my house on the Internet ($14.99 for all preseason games).  I love watching the guys whose jobs depend on every play.  The development of RT (Ryan Tannehill) makes for great entertainment.  Matt Moore always looks like he's having a blast.  Michael Egnew is apparently making a move.
Saturday night...no school tomorrow...and live Dolphins action makes for a golden summer night!



Monday, July 29, 2013  8:45 P.M.
I can't believe I have not written in three months.  I hate cliches, but time really does fly.  The Dolphins began camp a week ago (along with the Dallas Cowboys due to their participation in the Hall of Fame game).  So far, there is much reason for Dolphin optimism.  QB Ryan Tannehill sounds like he's elevated his role as the leader.  The newcomers are looking good, especially Brent Grimes.  Rookie Dion Jordan is getting himself going (shoulder surgery).  The defense is looking stellar and it has been reported that they are pushing the offense around.  One injury--Armon Binns (ACL)--and he was apparently having a great offseason and camp.  Coach Philbin, now in his second season, has to be better than he was last year.  I love having him as coach--demands respect and runs things efficiently.
Alex and I will be leaving in three days for Canton, Ohio.  Yes, we are quite excited.  We began creating a list of things to take on the trip at the beginning of summer.  Only Dolphins apparel will be worn.  Dolphin games will be viewed on the DVD player.  Dolphin games will be listened to through the radio (iPod).  No stress.  Eat at Red Lobster on the way home after the Dolphins win (tradition).  We will be sporting our newest Dolphins jerseys (Alex--Tannehill; me--Wake).  They are aqua...just like the Dolphins will be sporting at the game on Sunday night, August 4. 
Going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been on my Bucket List.  This is the 50th anniversary of the Hall, so this celebration is expected to be the largest ever.  What a year to have our Dolphins playing in the very first game of the season!
This Dolphins team has me feeling really good.  As I mentioned earlier, be prepared for a touch of arrogance from GC resulting from the Dolphins' success.  Yes, that is childish but, as the great Howard Cosell once said, "Sports are the toy department of life."  And I love my toys.


Sunday, April 28, 2013  10:05 P.M.
Draft: over.  Dolphins' grade: A+.  No doubt about it, the Dolphins nailed this draft from start to finish.  They addressed their needs while also adding exceptional talent. For the most part, the "experts" on NFL Network and ESPN praised the Dolphins' aggressive behavior and the selections they made.  As Coach Philbin pointed out, competition in training camp will be fierce.  Will Daniel Thomas make the team?  Will Dan Carpenter return?  Those are major decisions and those are just two of the many.
The most disappointing part of the weekend was the trade of Davone Bess to Cleveland.  I loved Davone--he motivated me.  And, yes, he is extremely talented.  But, such is life in the NFL and the most important thing I want is a winning football team.


Friday, April 26, 2013  3:21 P.M.
Just said "Good-bye" to the last two eighth graders, Ben and Tim, as they headed home for the weekend.  Oh, what a feelin'!  It's in the 60s outside (first time since last fall) and the Dolphins added a future star last evening in the first round.  His name is Dion Jordan and he's from Oregon.  The Dolphins traded up from the 12th spot to the third overall pick (Oakland) and surprised all sorts of Dolphin fans.  After seeing footage of Mr. Jordan, he immediately reminded me of Jason Taylor--tall, athletic, and fast.
Tonight will see a few more additions to the new-look Miami Dolphins.  I'm hoping for a lineman, a shutdown corner, or a physical linebacker.  The plans are to head to Sioux Falls and take in the draft with DP.  Exciting and great times, indeed!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013  9:44 P.M.
Today is the final day of the Miami Dolphins current logo.  The new logo has been leaked and is available, but the "official" unveiling takes place tomorrow on the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft.  The current logo debuted in 1996.  I wasn't a big fan of the change, but it helped that the changes were fairly subtle.  The dolphin was in the same shape and the navy blue highlights grew on me.  The logo that is being released tomorrow is quite a change.  The sunburst remains and a full-length dolphin remains...but it's a big difference.  Again, I didn't like the thought of change.  I wrote a letter to Steven Ross in September and then told him what I thought before the game in Cincinnati in October.  What else could I do?  Well, I struggled with the thought of a new logo and was nervously curious about how it might look.  After I saw it, I was not impressed.  But, a few things have eased me into acceptance.  First, it was announced that the lighter blue--more of an aqua--was making a return.  I love that color!  Second, both Coach Shula and Dan Marino publically spoke in support of the change.  If Shula says "Yes," I say the same!  Third, Armando Salguero (Miami Herald) made the point that the new Dolphins' logo shows the dolphin at its most powerful stage; the current dolphin is actually at its most vulnerable point.  And, finally, I saw the full uniform (which was leaked yesterday) and I like the clean, fresh look.  Tonight I wrote a poem of acceptance, and here it is:

Good-bye, old logo.
You will be missed.
Many good memories

Since 1996.

It’s time for a change-
A new, fresh look.
I disliked it at first
But, finally, it took.

The brand new logo
Makes its debut today.
And the Miami Dolphins
Will look as sharp as they play!


I am so ready for the Hall of Fame game--Sunday, August 4, 2013.  Canton, Ohio.  Alex Cantine and me.  Yeah, Baby!!!!

As for tomorrow's draft, I haven't paid too much attention to the possible choices for the Dolphins.  I feel like they'll move up or down and guessing a number 12 selection is a major waste of time.  I want a dominant lineman and a star in the secondary.  I do know this: it's all-out for the Dolphins.  If they don't get some hits in this draft, more years of anguish will follow.  I am ready for the gamble!



Wednesday, April 17, 2013  12:12 P.M.
To say I'm excited for the release of the 2013 NFL Schedule is an understatement of epic proportions.  I have a confidence and happiness in my heart that I wish others could feel.  The release of an NFL schedule is one of my favorite days of the entire year.  The hope.  The anticipation.  The curiosity.  The answers.  It all occurs in one fabulous April day.  I'm going to list my hopes for the schedule a bit later on today.
8:49 P.M.:
Here are the home opponents for 2013: Buffalo, New England, N.Y. Jets, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina, San Diego
The road opponents for 2013: Buffalo, New England, N.Y. Jets, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis
And these are some of my wants and hopes (in no particular order):
  1.  I want to open the season at home against the hated Jets.
  2.  I want a Thursday night home game in the month of November.
  3.  I want two Monday night games with at least one of the games being at home.
  4.  I want to end the season at home against the woeful Bills.
  5.  I want a home game on either December 22 or 29 (if not both) as I would like to go to Miami over Christmas break.
  6.  If number five doesn't happen, I want a home game on November 28 (Thanksgiving--night game!!) or December 1 so that I can get to Miami for a game.
  7.  I want the Dolphins to play at either Cleveland or Indianapolis on October 13 (Columbus Day weekend) so that I can attend a relatively close road game.
  8.  I want the game at Pittsburgh to be sometime in the first half of the season.
  9.  I want to play New England on the road before playing them at home.
  10.  I want to play Buffalo on the road before playing them at home.
Those are the thoughts/desires that first came to mind.  Of course, I want the 16-0 regular season and the 3-0 postseason.  God bless the Miami Dolphins!


Saturday, March 30, 2013  10:08 P.M.
     Face the facts, GC.  You ARE excited about the new logo.  You can't wait to see the new uniforms and those rich, white helmets aglow on the football field.  After you heard both Dan Marino and Coach Shula support the change, your acceptance was almost instant.  Yes, you would like to return to the same look as 1972, but you're ready and willing to take on this newest look of what should be a largely successful period for the Miami Dolphins.  See the quotes below taken from MiamiDolphins.com:

With all of the buzz surrounding the evolution of the Dolphins logo, a couple of heavyweights from the franchise’s past decided to weigh in on the future look of the team.

Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino revealed that he was in on the development of the logo and clearly likes the forward-thinking direction of the design:

Saw the new @miamidolphins logo. Followed the development stage & now its great to see the finished product. #NewEraNewLook #13Approved

— Dan Marino (@DanMarino) March 27, 2013

Additionally, the winningest coach of all time, Don Shula, wrote about enjoying one of the more traditional aspects of the new design, its colors:

Glad to see the new logo for @miamidolphins has all the same colors from our great 70′s & 80′s teams. A new look for a new era. Go Dolphins!

— Don Shula (@DonShula) March 27, 2013

Another free agent was signed today--Brent Grimes.  Grimes comes from Atlanta after playing there for six seasons.  He tore his Achilles in Week One last season.  The FINS badly need a proven cornerback after losing Sean Smith, and Grimes might just be the answer.  He signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract and said it felt great to be wanted by the Miami Dolphins.  These Dolphins continue to spend money and I love it.  It's do-or-die time.  These signings have to pay dividends or there will be a great deal of misery on Sundays in the fall.
I spent time with Dave and Brenna P. yesterday and today.  Among many things we talked about, one was the fact that the Dolphins will join the Kansas City Chiefs as the only two teams that will have white facemasks.  Dave found that quite funny.  We'll see how those facemasks shine on the turf in New York in next season's Super Bowl!



Thursday, March 28, 2013  2:07 P.M.
     It's Holy Thursday--the day after the Dolphins officially confirmed that the new logo is out there.  Here's what I don't like: the logo.  Here's what I do like: the return to the colors of aqua and orange.  In conclusion, I dislike the new logo, but I know it could've been worse.  I pray to God that the FINS wear their throwback uniforms often.
     From Bleacherreport.com:  The Miami Dolphins confirmed on Wednesday that their official team logo has changed.  Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun Sentinel broke the news. In his report, Perkins cited Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, who stated that someone working for Nike leaked out the logo to the public. Following a stadium renovation press conference, Dee elaborated on the situation:
We had always had a plan to kind of roll [the logo] out over a 30-day period so we’re going to start rolling it out. But the logo is only one part of the announcement. It’s a complete re-branding of the team.   Talk about re-branding: GM Jeff Ireland has had a lot of cap space with which to operate this offseason, and that has allowed Miami to be among the boldest organizations with regard to free agency. High-profile pickups include linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, along with speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace and underrated former St. Louis Ram Brandon Gibson (per ESPN). The team also weakened the AFC East rival New York Jets by picking up tight end Dustin Keller.  Dee continued discussing the logo, alluding to its history and how the team is paying homage to the past by reverting to the true original colors while still providing a revamped, modern look: There’s a lot of history in this in that we went back to colors, the true aqua and the true orange that were part of the first 29 years of the franchise’s history...But the logo design itself and some other things you’ll see respect that tradition in the past but also have an eye on the 21st century Dolphins. Elsewhere at a charity event, defensive end Jared Odrick was also seen wearing a shirt that sported the new logo, according to Perkins. With so many marquee players taking their NFL talents to South Beach and a young franchise QB in the fold in Ryan Tannehill, it seems like a very appropriate time for the Dolphins to change their look. Bright times seem to be on the horizon, and a Dolphins renaissance could very well be on the way thanks to the team's fresh faces and fresh marketing aesthetics driven by Dee and the Miami brass.  Dee confirmed that the logo will officially be revealed on April 25, the first day of the NFL draft.
    
A poll taken today (3-28-13) on the Sun-Sentinel showed that 66% of the voters do not like the new logo.  I am part of that 66%.

Saturday, March 9, 2013  5:03 P.M.
     Free agency is heating up and this is what I'm thinking...
Reggie Bush-I want him to stay.  He's got some very good football left in him, he knows the system, and he's a great "locker room" player.  I'd be very disappointed if he signs with another team, but I'd completely understand.  There has to be another team that sees his talent and wants to pay him much more than the Dolphins can afford.
Jake Long-I am fully expecting him to go.  He's been injury-prone the past two seasons and would cost the Dolphins a lot of money.  I am grateful for his five years of service, but I only want him to return given a substantial pay cut.
Brian Hartline-The FINS just signed him to a five-year deal this past Thursday.  I'm thrilled for Brian as he has put a lot of work into becoming the Dolphins' number one receiver.  The Dolphins gave him a chunk of money, but they certainly didn't overpay him.  He and Tannehill have good chemistry and it's only going to get better.  To me, and this is quite weird, Brian Hartline just looks like a Miami Dolphin with his "skinny" head and his unique running form.
Matt Moore-On the same day that Brian Hartline was signed, the best free agent quarterback and fan of "The Bachelor" signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins.  I LOVE IT!!  Matt is such a gamer when called upon.  I admire his unselfish approach.  Like Reggie Bush, Matt Moore is the kind of player you need in the locker room.
Sean Smith-I'm on the fence when it comes to Sean Smith.  He can be a very good player, but the lack of consistency bugs me.  He has had some Pro Bowl type of games, but there are times when he seems like he's three steps behind.  When it comes to Sean, in Philbin I must trust.  He won't let somebody slip away easily if he's talented enough.  Simply put, it will be interesting to see what the FINS decide to do with Sean Smith.  It sounds like the Chiefs might tempt him with a bundle of money.
     These are some exciting days, days that can provide hope to a team like the Dolphins.  They are just a few players away from having a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl.  They already tagged Randy Starks and more big decisions are to follow.  Tuesday will be a free-for-all.  And I'll say it one last time: keep Reggie!


Saturday, December 29, 2012  10:13 A.M.
     The final Saturday of gearing up for another interesting Dolphins game has arrived.  As always, I cannot believe how quickly the season has gone.  Oh, how I wish I could have at least another week (meaning playoffs) for the Dolphins but, for this season, it ends around 6:25 PM tomorrow.  A final record of 8-8 would be quite sweet.  It will take their best effort on the road in snowy Foxboro against the 11-4 Patriots.  The Pastries need to win for any chance at a first round bye.  The Dolphins need to win for pride, for momentum, to avoid that depressing losing record for a fourth straight season, for themselves, and for their fans.  Coach Philbin has impressed upon the players the importance of this game and, in my opinion, the players have bought into that approach.
     Win or lose, I can't say enough good things about Coach Philbin.  He has shown great leadership.  He has made some tough calls along the way in shaping this team to where it is right now--a team that plays with hunger and a team possessing huge potential.  His demeanor is to be commended.  He has remained poised and consistent throughout the winning and the losing.  To say the least, I am extremely glad to have him as head coach of the Miami Dolphins!
     Coach Philbin, along with Jeff Ireland and others, has many difficult decisions to address this coming offseason.  What to do with Reggie Bush?  Sign him to a big contract to keep him?  Jake Long--pay him the big money despite a lower performance and continuing injuries? Matt Moore--keep him as a competent back-up or allow him to leave in an attempt to start for another team?  And the list goes on....
     I'll leave it at this: I totally trust Coach Philbin and his decisions.  If somebody leaves, I'll assume it's for the best.  If somebody who had a chance to leave stays, I'll know that he definitely needed to remain a Dolphin.  Certainly takes the pressure off of me!
     One thing I need to be aware of is the trap that the word "potential" can present.  After the Dolphins won the AFC East in 2008 with an 11-5 record, I knew that they needed to add a piece here and another piece there and a deeper playoff appearance would become reality.  Well, it didn't go that way.  Not even close.  The Dolphins added some guys, lost some, drafted a few, had a few injuries, and ended with a 7-9 record.  So very disappointing.  Therefore, I'll be carefully "guarded" when thinking about next season.  I'll have great hope and high expectations, no doubt, but I have learned my lesson well.
     Back to tomorrow's game: the Dolphins can win.  It will take their best effort of the season.  They played New England tough just four weeks ago in JRS and the snow could be an "evener."  In order to win, I believe the Dolphins need to throw the ball deep successfully at least three times tomorrow.  New England has a weakness in the secondary and it must be exploited.  It's a given that Tom Brady will hit on a deep pass or two tomorrow, so the Dolphins must match or exceed that.  Lamar Miller, coming off his best professional game as a rookie, might need to play a large role in backing up a red-hot Reggie Bush.  Making the clock wind with the running game while making Brady stand on the sidelines would be double-goodness.  Playing with belief and pride and alacrity might be the biggest factors in this game.  I believe the Dolphins will have all of those factors going for them and a 27-24 win will be theirs.  I can't wait for kickoff! GO MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UPDATE (Monday, December 31, 2012)  2:28 P.M.): Yuck! A rotten way to end a, for the most part, successful season.  A goose egg.  The Dolphins had a chance to score a couple of touchdowns yesterday, but a dropping a beautiful pass (Armon Binns from Ryan Tannehill) in the end zone and fumbling inside the five (handoff problem between Ryan and Reggie) summed up the 2012 season perfectly: a season of missed opportunities.  A shutout loss like yesterday can really deflate a guy.  Yet, on the other hand, it motivates me to become better and control my own destiny.  Soon, I'll take time to write about my thoughts on the season and what I believe needs to be done to make the playoffs.  Right now, it's too early and I don't have the energy.  Time to sit back, relax, and watch some bowl games.

Saturday, December 22, 2012  10:15 A.M.
     Good stuff: the Dolphins are mathematically alive for the playoffs, they play at home tomorrow against a Buffalo team which has lost three of their last four, if the Dolphins win tomorrow (favored by 4 points) and Pittsburgh wins at home against Cincinnati, the Dolphins will remain alive heading into Week 17 and, on top of it all, Christmas vacation has begun!  It doesn't get too much better, although I could do without the snow (was riding the scooter everywhere at this time last year).  A couple of bowl games this afternoon and a Atlanta-Detroit NFL match-up tonight only enhances the weekend.
     The first issue that comes to mind regarding the Buffalo at Miami game is the number of injuries facing the Dolphins.  Thankfully, Brian Hartline has now been upgraded to probable after missing practice (back) this week.  Charles Clay is out for the season (knee).  Daniel Thomas is also done (knee).  D Bess and Koa Misis will be out for a second straight week, while Randy Starks (personal reasons) will miss his first game of the season.  Among other injuries and to top it off, the Dolphins placed kicker Dan Carpenter on the IR so veteran kicker Nate Kaeding, most recently of the Chargers, will replace him for the remainder of the season.  The receiving corps could be Marlon Moore, Rishard Matthews, and Armon Binns (recently picked up off waivers from Cincinnati).  Wow.  On the other hand, Buffalo has three insignificant players with injuries that will prevent them from playing.
     There is so much to play for.  In Coach Philbin's postgame speech following last week's win versus Jacksonville, he talked about the motivation to win tomorrow--playing at home, a chance to finish with a 5-3 home record, playing a division rival and, of course, remaining alive in the playoff chase.  If a Dolphins player can't get fired up for this game, he should NOT be playing for the Miami Dolphins. No way.  I get fired up to teach four classes of eighth graders about possessive pronouns and, unfortuantely, it's not even a game.  I'm willing to be that the Dolphins won't have anybody playing harder than the receiving corps.  Everyone (players and coaches and media) raves about the poise shown by rookie Ryan Tannehill.  Well, tomorrow he'll need to bring that full can and open it up. 
     I still have lingering nightmares about the fiasco in Buffalo.  Tomorrow can provide healing.  I'd even take a 19-14 win--the same score as in the first meeting--with the Dolphins on top this time.  I'll go with that.  My prediction: Miami Dolphins 19, Buffalo 14.  Alex Cantine and Greg Cantine are happier than anyone could possibly be as a result.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 23, 2012)  8:07 P.M.): It was easier than I thought it would be. 24-10, FINS! Alex was unable to make it (in Sisseton-ice-fishing yesterday), but we were able to thoroughly enjoy the game in our own places.  Very proud of this Dolphins team.  They were really banged up and the "replacements" made plays.  I mean, who is Armon Binns? Just a receiver that the Bengals dropped recently and the Dolphins picked up on waivers. This past Monday the Browns dumped Dimitri Patterson and the Dolphins, without Nolan Carroll, picked him up and gave him a crash course.  He played a lot today and did well.  Nate Kaeding, the new kicker, recovered from a blocked field goal earlier in the game to hit his only other field goal attempt and went 3-for-3 on extra points.  Lamar Miller had a fine day; I can't wait to see what he can do after plenty of experience.  There are too many guys to mention.  I didn't even get to Reggie Bush and his three touchdowns or the passing AND running of Ryan Tannehill. The loyal Dolfans who attended this game were treated to a strong performance as the Dolphins capped a 5-3 home record, their best since going 5-3 in 2008.  This is the first time I get to ride high over Christmas knowing that the Dolphins won since that unbelievable year of 2008.  My favorite team earned a second place finish in the division after many had predicted a spot in the basement for them.  Not to be.  Too much character.  Too much talent.  And a great first-year coach to go with it!
     So, it's a win to celebrate!  Christmas break! No stress! Time to relax--no lessons to prepare for tomorrow! A good game in the rain tonight! Yes, life is darn good and I'm taking mental pictures of it repeatedly!!
     Next Sunday will bring a close to the season.  At New England.  A chance to beat a really good team on the road.  What a feeling that would bring to get a win!  With these Dolphins, I like the chances.  Thank you, Miami Dolphins.


Saturday, December 15, 2012  12:20 P.M.
     A day after the heart-breaking news of the deadly shooting in Connecticut, I find myself writing about, in comparison, a meaningless football game in Miami tomorrow.  I feel deeply for all involved.  The pain, the extreme sadness.  I pray for relief, for peace, and for a sense of hope.  Dear Lord, help us all.
     Now, to the football game... The 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars, though losing most game, have been a feisty bunch.  Going back to week one in their season opener at Minnesota, they had the Vikings all but beaten.  But, rookie Viking kicker Blair Walsh booted a 55-yard FG on the last play of regulation to send the game into overtime...and then hit another in overtime for the win.  Also, former Dolphin Chad Henne had a fantastic passing day in Houston against a tough Texan defense.  No game in the NFL is ever safe and, with these Dolphins playing to the level of competition each week, this is no sure bet for the Dolphins.  Oh, the Dolphins are seven-point favorites, but that means absolutely nothing tomorrow.
     Davone Bess and Koa Misi are both out for the FINS, but the Jags are missing many starters, including Maurice Jones-Drew.  I'm sure the stadium will be pretty thin with fans.  Not many people want to go out and support a game that, let's face it, means nothing at all in regard to playoff scenarios.  It's all about next year--finding guys that show a spark.  Maybe Micheal Egnew, Lamar Miller, Marlon Moore, and others will get more than spot-duty.  Hard to say what the coaching staff is thinking.
     I do know this: I want the Miami Dolphins to win very badly and I will be there for every play.  My final score prediction: Dolphins 31, Jaguars 17.  Please.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 16, 2012)  9:45 P.M.): As I continue to give the people of Newton, Connecticut, my thoughts and my prayers, the Dolphins diverted my attention and provided a respite.  I feel so bad for those people most directly affected.  The nation, along with the rest of the world, grieves.  And I give two thumbs up to President Obama and his words since the tragedy.
     As for the football game, the Dolphins defense dominated.  They were twice able to stuff the lowly Jaguars on fourth-and-one inside the Dolphin 20-yard line.  Ryan T. had his best game as a rookie--22 of 28 for 220 yards with 2 touchdown passes, no interceptions, and many fine runs.  Reggie had a 104-yard day.  Rishard Matthews had some nice catches in his first chance with a full game (Bess did not play).  Anthony Fasano made himself available and Tanny found him.  Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby stood out on defense.  To say it was a total team victory is an understatement.  Everyone contributed.
     At 6-8, the Dolphins are mathematically alive.  They must win out and many, many things have to happen to induce the miracle.  Never give up!
     This win has prompted classroom decoration.  Christmas week.  Fired up!  This is a gift and I'm going to run with it...all-out at Unity, in the classroom, and at home.  A Dolphin win gives me immunity from negativity.  There's always an upside and the last time I felt this high was on November 25.  Now BEAT UP Buffalo!


Saturday, December 8, 2012  3:13 P.M.
     On this one-year anniversary of the passing of Sam G, I think about what life is really about.  Sam's impact lives on.  One of my favorite eighth graders ever, his spirit inspires me to do the best job I can while I'm here.  And when it's over, it's over.  Heaven, I hope, awaits.
     Needless to say, the Miami Dolphins are much less important than family and friends and a career and so much more.  But, they are a passion of mine that adds another dimension to life.  So hard to explain in words, so I won't even try.
     Instead, I'll move on to tomorrow's game at San Fran.  A late kick.  A tough opponent.  Not the kind of opponent to get the less-than-effective Dolphin offense healthy again.  But, it is a winnable game.  The Dolphin defense is that good.  Oh, they're not always consistent, but they have the potential to shut down any offense (as proven last week against New England).  It is clearly time for the offense to step up.  I cannot figure out some of their decisions at times.  It still blows my mind that Reggie Bush is not being used like he was last year when he got on a roll.  Reverses, wide pitches, throws downfield.  They included him in those types of plays last year...and they seem to run him up the middle on first down for -2 yards repeatedly this year.  Strange.  How about keeping Cam Wake and Jared Odrick out of the game on New England's time-killing, must-stop fourth quarter drive last week.  Weird.
     Time to move on.
     The 5-7 Dolphin still have a chance to finish above .500 for the first time since 2008.  I'm not giving up on that hope.  A win over the 49ers just might inspire the team on to further greatness.  I'm expecting an ugly defensive game that is low scoring and comes down to the final minutes.  Dolphins 20, 49ers 17.  Just like in Marino's rookie season out in San Fran.  Now that would be weird and strange but, yet, it is a reasonable prediction.  The 49ers are dealing with a QB controversy (Alex Smith versus Colin Kaepernick).  The Niners are going with Kaepernick and he has been on and off.  Must limit his scrambling opportunities.
     I don't decorate my classroom with Christmas decorations until AFTER the Dolphins first win in December.  I don't want to wait another week.  I need this win tomorrow!
UPDATE (Sunday, December 9, 2012)  8:35 P.M.): I am so tired of losing.  It is so discouraging.  So, so, so old.  Another non-winning season.  Excuses and reasons.  Always hope.  And for what?  Wishing it could be different.  These guys deserve it.  Just too many mental errors.  Examples: get first down deep in San Francisco territory and then follow that up with two five-yard false start penalties--can't do that against a great defense; Brandon Fields works his magic and lands a punt inside the SF four...only to have a Dolphin (Freeney) hold onto the ball and step carelessly onto the end zone line resulting in a touchback (led to a San Francisco field goal just before halftime).  Defense played especially tough, but caused no turnovers.  Offense had no spark, no big plays.  Tried to use Reggie a little bit more with mixed results.
     I don't know where the FINS go from here.  They'll keep battling because they're competitors.  They have three games remaining and it begins at home with a game against weak and hapless Jacksonville.  Winning that is like Milbank beating Britton--nice...but what does it really mean at this point?  PRIDE, I guess, is important. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012  10:30 A.M.
     December is on!  Every Dolphin game now doubles in importance.  To become an elite team, you have to beat elite teams in your home stadium.  That is where the Miami Dolphins are right now as the red-hot Patriots are coming to town.  New England leads the division with an 8-3 record and they are looking to clinch the East.  The Dolphins, at 5-6, are still in the hunt.  They get the chance to play the Patriots twice in the final five weeks.  Two FIN WINS over hated New England give the Dolphins a 7-6 record and the Pastries would be at 8-5.  That puts the Patriots in a one-game lead...but the Dolphins would have the tie-breaker; furthermore and more importantly, with two wins over the Patriots, the Dolphins would have to be classified as the red-hot NFL team and would be blasting their way into the playoffs.
     Can the Dolphins win tomorrow?  Of course!  They have been bigger underdogs at home only to escape victorious.  I believe the Patriots are something like eight-point favorites.  Nobody is going to give the FINS much of a chance.  The networks will be all over New England tomorrow.  Expected.  Brady coverage.  Coverage about his touchdown to interception ratio (currently 24 to 3 which is outright impressive).  Coverage on their competent defense.  Coverage on Billichek.
     All of that talk about how New England's going to roll the Dolphins tomorrow will make this win even sweeter.  I'm calling a score of Dolphins 28, New England 25.  A 6-6 record will feel like the best thing ever!
     Keys to victory: (1) Weather the storm--New England will come out guns a' blazing and will score points...but I don't get the feeling that they can maintain that over an entire game in the heat of Joe Robbie Stadium; (2) The ball must feel good in RT's hand so that he gets in a zone and delivers his best Sunday of the year; (3) Pressure Brady--I'd rather lose by over-blitzing rather than sitting back and allowing Brady to pick the perfect place to throw...which results in big gains 95% of the time; (4) Reggie Factor--Reggie Bush MUST step up his game (which hasn't been bad) and be the team leader because of his actions--no fumbles, stay positive, score touchdowns.
     This game will be shown locally in Milbank.  It's a chance for the people around here to see these up-and-coming Dolphins.  Sure, there are a bunch of good college games on TV today, but I still can't wait for Sunday.  12:00.  Patriots at Dolphins.  December football.  It doesn't get much better than this.
UPDATE (Sunday, December 2, 2012)  8:28 P.M.): Horrible day.  Disappointing and more.  Proud of the FINS for hanging tough.  It's just the reality of losing that makes life stink.  It's the thought of knowing that any playoff chances now stand at one percent.  It's the thought that every team Alex and I needed to lose somehow won, with a few of those being in dramatic fashion.  I feel bad for the FINS.  Tannehill was all-out.  He took some big-time hits and never flinched.  Dove for a TD.  The defense was the first one to tame that Patriot offense.  Just couldn't get a necessary hold at the end. 
     I love my job.  Sincerely.  I don't want any other job.  But it hurts knowing that a full, five-day week is up next.  A day like today zaps me of energy and happiness.  It shouldn't be that way, but it is.  If somebody could give me a button that, when pressed, makes all of this misery go away, I would slam it down in a heartbeat.  Instead, it's a night to lick my wounds, hope I don't get sick, and look at the little things I'm thankful for.
     I want the Dolphins to win so badly for Alex.  He has triumphed over many ugly days for many years.  His patience has to be wearing thin.  He has seen one (1) playoff appearance in his days of being a FIN FAN.  By my sophomore year, I had seen 12 (including two Super Bowl appearances).  How does he do it??????


Tuesday, November 27, 2012  9:13 P.M.
     We are running out of days in this heavenly month called November and the feeling that I have is fantastic.  The FINS WON on Sunday and remain in the playoff hunt.  School is going very well and I'm getting into great physical shape.  Oh, I realize it can change in the snap of a finger but, while I can, I need to record these thoughts and look back upon them with gratitude.  Thank you, Jesus!
     I have three more November days to live in 2012 and soon it will be time to host the red-hot New England Patriots.  It's gonna be fun on Sunday at Joe Robbie Stadium.  The FINS will be large underdogs and playing with nothing to lose.  A perfect opportunity to shock the world and become greater than great.  I can't wait!

Friday, November 23, 2012  7:54 P.M.
     Two days from now, the Miami Dolphins will attempt to end a three-game losing skid.  They host the Seattle Seahawks at noon.  Rookie QB versus rookie QB.  Ryan Tannehill, who looked impressive earlier in the season, hasn't been as effective.  Russell Wilson, the Seattle rookie, has been doing very well at home and struggling on the road.  Something has to give on Sunday.  The 4-6 Dolphins are listed as "In the Hunt" when playoff possibilities are listed on the television screen.  Getting back to .500 is key and a home game against a decent team might be just what the doctor ordered.
     My enthusiasm for football has been hurting since my return from the 0-2 trip.  A win on Sunday, however, sends me into December with pep in my step.  I know what it will take: (1) Reggie has to find his groove again, (2) the offensive line needs to assert themselves after two weeks of futility, and (3) the secondary must play better.  Plain and simple.  Play better.  Then win. 
     Losing the game on Sunday would be disastrous.  After gaining the attention of many Dolfans, the ugly loss against Tennessee still lingers.  That needs to be looked at as a freak occurrence. A loss to so-so Seattle would only confirm that these Dolphins are in serious, serious trouble.
     I am writing this early due to the 11-0 Notre Dame at 7-4 USC party at Kevin's tomorrow evening.  I'll be completely relaxed and entertained...and knowing that my FINS will be kicking off in just over 16 hours. 
     Alex will be coming over.  And the Dolphins will win.  27-13.  Defensive domination is the difference.  Gots to have faith.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 25, 2012)  8:00 P.M.): Faith pays off! The game began well, then changed for the worse, then seemed to get better, only to give up a kickoff return for a touchdown with 8:08 remaining and then, on the final play of the game, birthday boy Dan Carpenter was able to celebrate for nailing a 43-yard field goal.  Awesome!! 
     Daniel Thomas ran hard today.  Reggie looked like he did during the first three weeks.  Nolan Carroll shook off his dismal performance in Buffalo.  DC has been struggling this year and he came through today.  Charles Clay stepped up.  The d-line was stout--Marshawn Lynch found very little running room.  Ryan Tannehill looked a lot better today, and that probably had a lot to do with the running game (186 total yards rushing)...and that certainly had much to do with good blocking up front. I can't explain my joy!  The Dolphins remain in the hunt for a playoff berth at 5-6.  With a rookie QB, a new coach, and many other changes from one year ago, I can't ask for much more.  I will have a great week--that's what FIN WINS do for me!! 
    


Sunday, November 18, 2012  8:23 P.M.
     I can only hope that I'm writing lots of positive things about my favorite football team at this time next week.  After the last two losses, I am quite discouraged.  The effort against Tennessee was horrendous.  The play in Buffalo was horrid.  Now, after three straight losses, the Dolphins find themselves at 4-6 and with an extremely thin chance at making the playoffs.  I realize that I predicted a record of 2-14 and this team has already doubled that win total.  But, the early success might be the reason that I am now so frustrated.  The FINS gave me much reason for optimism.  The defense was one of the best in the league.  Rookie Ryan was looking like a good veteran.  The offensive line was getting a push and Reggie was breaking good runs.  Was, was, was, was....but not anymore.  All of those good things seem to have left.
     The DREAM TRIP has been reduced to merely "A Trip I Took."  A trip such as the one Mark and I just returned from is judged by the success of the Dolphins.  Sad but true.  So, what that means at this point is this: another opportunity will come for a "DREAM TRIP" and we'll jump all over it.  I can only hope the FINS don't drop both games in embarrassing fashion.
     This is a time that will test the greatest of fans.  Some will leave.  Not me.  Through thick and through thin, I love my FINS!

Thursday, November 8, 2012  9:32 P.M.
     The DREAM TRIP is locked and loaded.  Mark and I will meet in Fargo tomorrow evening and enjoy a visit to Ruby Tuesday's with Fernando.  We'll stay the night at his house and be on our way to Miami.  We hope to touch down in Miami around 2:34 local time, heading straight to South Beach after arrival.  We've got half of a day to get settle in and then it's GAMEDAY!!  The Dolphins host the Jake Locker-led Tennessee Titans.  The FINS will be favored, no doubt, but they must come out and play good ball.  If my prediction of 31-17 is correct, Mark and I will leave Joe Robbie Stadium happily for the first time in three tries.
     I am so very blessed to be able to travel and support a team I love so much.  I am thankful, thankful, thankful.  My students are in good hands with substitute teacher Ms. Jurgens.  I really do have it made.
     Mark and I will fly to Buffalo on Thursday morning.  I really, really, really want the Dolphins to beat up Buffalo.  That would make my decade!!  I'll go on record right now as saying the Dolphins will pull off a dramatic win in Buffalo by a score of 20-17. 
     I CANNOT WAIT!!!


Saturday, November 3, 2012  2:15 P.M.
     One day away from a possible 5-3 record for the Miami Dolphins.  Does that ever sound GREAT! The Dolphins face another surprise team, the 4-3 Indianapolis Colts.  The Colts have rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and they have already two more games than they did all of last season.  Reggie Wayne is playing some of the best ball in his career right now. The city of Indianapolis is, of course, extremely excited about their team, so Lucas Oil will be quite loud tomorrow.
     Ryan Tannehill is questionable for the game after taking the big hit last week.  Of course, FIN FANS want him to play...but we also saw capable back-up Matt Moore step in last week and the FINS never missed a beat.  As long as the Dolphin "D" does its thing, this team will not be denied.  Whoever plays at quarterback will be primed for a win.
     The FINS won three in a row last year.  That is where they stand right now.  When is the last time they won four consecutive games? They did it twice in 2008 (four in a row, dropped a game, then won five in a row).  So, needless to say, this is pretty exciting territory for the Dolphins and their fans!
     As I think more and more about it, it seems like a no-brainer that the FINS will beat the Colts tomorrow.  How can Reggie Bush be stopped?  How can a rookie named Luck do anything well consistently against the aggressive, talented Dolphin defense?  How can the Dolphins allow themselves to drop this game when they have set themselves up perfectly after a 1-3 start?
     One week from now--and almost to the minute--Mark Ogdahl and I will be touching down in Miami, Florida.  We'll be in a city where a solid 5-3 team plays their home games.  We'll be remembering tomorrow's 23-16 victory over Indy, a team the FINS haven't beaten since September 15, 2002 (21-13 at Indianapolis).  The time has come.  Alex and I cannot wait.  Life is dang good.
UPDATE (Sunday, November 4, 2012)  9:48 P.M.): Well, it didn't turn out so well today.  The Dolphins, who entered the game with the best defense on third down, allowed the Colts to convert on third down on 12 of 18 occasions.  The FINS had allowed a very low percentage rate of third down conversions allowed (25%), but that all changed today.  I wish I could put my finger on it.  Was rookie Andrew Luck just that good?  Was the Dolphin secondary just a step behind for some reason?  Was there not enough pass rush?  Not sure.  But I do know that my beloved Miami Dolphins fell to 4-4 with the 23-20 loss.  Oh, they battled, but it simply wasn't enough against Luck.
     Was I devastated?  No.  Just really disappointed.  I thought this was a game that the Dolphins should win with some amount of ease (only basing it on the past few weeks--the Dolphins destroyed the Wets a week ago while the Wets destroyed the Colts two weeks ago).  As crazy as the NFL is, was, and ever shall be, I should know better than to become as confident as I was.
     So now, it's onto Miami.  Mark and I will arrive in Miami, Florida, at 2:34 this Saturday (November 10).  We'll acclimated ourselves to the city for the rest of the day, and then it's GAMEDAY!  The FINS host a Tennessee team that is coming off a 51-20 home loss to the Chicago Bears.  This should be a relatively easy Dolphin win...but I've fallen into that trap before.  At 4-4, there is no longer any room for error.  It's got to be ALL-OUT from here on out.


Friday, November 2, 2012  10:07 P.M.
     A small sample of some of the Dolphins/Colts articles on the web lately:
Andrew Luck vs. Ryan Tannehill will be classic TV
by Gregg Rosenthal
Rare matchup
We're a little surprised this Sunday's Miami Dolphins-Indianapolis Colts game isn't getting more attention. Perhaps it's because of Ryan Tannehill's knee injury, but all indications are that he will play. He took the majority of first-team reps in practice all week and it would be a shocker if he didn't play. The Dolphins and Colts are among the league's two most surprising teams in the league at 4-3. The No. 6 spot for the AFC is wide open and the winner of this game will have a leg up. People don't understand how rare a matchup like this truly is. This is the first time in NFL history two top 10 rookie quarterbacks have met up with winning records. It's only the sixth matchup of top 10 rookie quarterbacks, period. Perhaps this game isn't getting the attention it deserves because people haven't watched these two rookie quarterbacks much yet. They haven't been on national TV. They have been on Game Rewind and I don't think the country has caught up yet to how terrific both players have been.

Surprising things about Tannehill 
1. He's great at the little things. He changes plays at the line of scrimmage. He tries to quick snap the opposing defense at the right time. He can run the two-minute drill very effectively. There were some jokes about Tannehill in HBO's "Hard Knocks" after he didn't know the NFL divisions, but he plays like a very sharp quarterback. The game doesn't seem too fast for him. 3. There were some jokes about Tannehill in HBO's "Hard Knocks" after he didn't know the NFL divisions, but he plays like a very sharp quarterback. The game doesn't seem too fast for him.  2. He stands so tall in the pocket. There was criticism before the draft that Tannehill would take a while to get comfortable at the NFL level. Instead, he handles pressure beautifully. He ignores it. 3. He avoids mistakes. Tannehill didn't throw an interception in October. This is a remarkable feat because Tannehill is very willing to make tough throws with his big arm. He goes to secondary receivers. In any other season, Tannehill would be a huge story for his superlative play. Luck and RG3 have outshined him, but they haven't outplayed him by much, if at all.

Surprising things about Luck
1. I knew Andrew Luck unofficially had the same combine 40 time as Cam Newton, but I still didn't expect him to be so effective as a runner. Luck might already be the best quarterback in the NFL at knowing when to run. He doesn't run much, but almost all of his runs go for crucial first downs. 2. I didn't know how fun Luck would be to watch. He's an escape artist when avoiding sacks and he's very aggressive as a thrower. (Like Tannehill.) That aggression is going to lead to interceptions, but Luck shows a lot of confidence in a rather suspect receiver group after Reggie Wayne. Luck had a reputation as a somewhat unflashy prospect, but the guy drops in as many "wow" throws as anyone in the game. This is a vertical offense that asks a lot of Luck. Luck is a rookie quarterback raising the level of the players around him. That's rare. 3. It's early, but I'm convinced Luck is playing at a higher level than at least half of the starting quarterbacks in the league already. This isn't supposed to happen with rookies.

Miami's defense and offensive line are playing at a very high level. They are a better team overall than the Colts, so Luck will have to be at his very best to get a win at home Sunday. We will enjoy the show, because a rookie matchup like this doesn't come around too often.

Thursday, November 1, 2012  9:55 P.M.
     My favorite day of the week!  Next Thursday it gets really exciting--I'll be ready to head to Miami and Buffalo with Markus on our DREAM TRIP!!! For now, I resort to keeping up with the Dolphins through TV and web sites.  I will say this: currently, everyone seems to be high on the Dolphins.  Mike & Mike in the morning spoke today on how the Dolphins would make the playoffs.  Web sites are breaking down how the Dolphins have become successful in a short amount of time.  The CBS Power Rankings had the Dolphins at number 31 early in the season--now the FINS are in the number 10 spot.  Respect, respect, respect all over the place!  A dream is coming true!!
     I give credit to the hunger in these men.  Without a drive to win, it doesn't matter who the coach is.  Then again, Coach Philbin has done an amazing job.  He was criticized for some of the decisions he made.  Now he looks like a genius.  He was compared to Bill Walsh the other day.  Really?!?!?!?  I HOPE TO GOD THAT HE'S THE NEXT BILL WALSH!
     The FINS have a great chance to improve to 5-3.  Bring on Sunday--I can't wait!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012  10:00 A.M.

     The Dolphins are 3-3 and were tied for first place in the AFC East until New England defeated the NYJ in overtime last week.  That put the Pastries at 4-3.  So, tomorrow is a golden opportunity to get some revenge on a team the FINS dominated in Week 3 (and lost to in OT) and to keep pace with the current division leader.  The Dolphins play the New York Wets are on the road for a noon kick, and I cannot wait.  Oh, how great this would feel!
     The FINS are coming off two straight wins (at Cincinnati, ST. LOUIS) and their bye week.  They should be as hungry and fresh as they are going to be for the rest of the season.  The Wets have lost D. Revis and S. Holmes for the season, both of whom played at Joe Robbie Stadium earlier this season.  Right now, the game is a pick 'em, but I really like the chances for the Miami Dolphins.  This is the first BIG game in a long time and it can't  be set up any better.  To make for more intrigue, there has been some talking going on.  The arrogant Rex Ryan has been barking about this and that all week.  A few Wet players have made comments.  And the Dolphins have responded.  There will be no love shown on the field tomorrow.
     The Dolphins would've won had Dan Carpenter made on of two field goal attempts that he missed the first time around.  He ain't gonna let that happen again.  Ryan Tannehill is drawing rave reviews (NFL Network's Kurt Warner claims he's the best rookie QB so far).  He's got Brian Hartline playing well and the ever-reliable Davone Bess continues to get open.  Reggie needs to stay healthy and big plays will be made on offense.  The defense is downright nasty.  They are getting better and better.  A rookie that stands out to me is Olivier Vernon.  He is a play-maker who plays with passion.  The secondary is solid...and Sean Smith is leading this group.  Vontae who???
     I believe everything will come together in a 26-13 Dolphin win tomorrow.  It can't get much better.  Indeed, this is a wonderful time to be a FIN FAN.
UPDATE (Sunday, October 28, 2012)  10:24 P.M.): WOW!!!! These Miami Dolphins are surprising the heck out of me!!!!  They are worthy of four exclamation marks at the end of every single sentence!!!!  They dominated their way to a third straight victory with a 30-9 pounding on the road against the hated Wets.  It wasn't even that close.  The FINS were able to convert a surprise onside kick after they kicked a field goal to go up 3-0.  The awesome FINS blocked a punt and return it zero yards for a touchdown (blocker: Jimmy Wilson; returner: Olivier Vernon).  That was done by a second-year player and a rookie respectively.  Olivier Vernon later blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt just before halftime.  Sean Smith brought his usual blanket coverage.  Randy Starks dominated the L.O.S. Cam Wake brought the speed and intensity and added to his stats.  Reggie Bush picked up some tough yardage.  Matt Moore, a fan of The Bachelorette, replaced RT early in the first quarter and got the FINS in the end zone.  He was fantastic.  Jabbar Gafney played his first game as a Dolphin and came up with a long gain.  Hey, it all worked.  IT WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE DAYS IN MY LIFE...and it might get even better if the hated baseball season can end tonight.  I praise the good Lord Jesus for days and nights like this.  So happy for the Dolfan Nation!  PRIDE!!!!  Now, it's on to Indy.  Another win is likely with the way this passionate football team is playing!

Saturday, October 13, 2012  10:39 A.M.
     Two of my luckiest numbers above (13 & 39) might prove to be a good omen...although I don't think good omens, luck, or anything else is needed for a FIN WIN tomorrow except for-----THE MIAMI DOLPHIN DEFENSE!!! It is the number one defense against the run and, unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, its pass defense is improving quickly.  Reshad Jones? Becoming a star.  Sean Smith? Taking over.  And there's a lot of youth behind them.
     These Dolphins are so much fun to follow.  Coach Philbin--can't say enough about him.  He made the tough decisions early on, and now those decisions are beginning to make perfect sense.  Cut Chad Johnson.  Thank God--didn't need the drama.  Start Tannehill.  Thank God--becoming one of the most talked about rookies in a positive way.  Assemble the coaching staff.  Thank God--guys like defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is forcing the Dolphin Nation to ask "Mike who?" in reference to last year's "D" coordinator, Mike Nolan.
     The Dolphins host a team which has won two games in a row, the St. Louis Rams.  The opening kick is at 12:00 and the gloves will be on.  I am expecting a physical, dirty, knockout game between teams led by new coaches.  Jeff Fischer, as you might remember, passed on the Dolphins' coaching opening last spring in favor of the St. Louis position.  Coach Philbin is much too classy to say anything, but you know he has to feel a little extra motivation to win because of that.  Of course he wants to show that he was the right
selection.
     I can't wait for tomorrow's game.  A chance to go 3-3 and be right in the middle of the playoff chase.  I'll remind everyone that I had predicted a 2-14 season for the Dolphins.  Oh, how good it feels to be wrong!!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, October 14, 2012)  9:24 P.M.): The two lucky numbers proved to be a WINNING omen!!  On a day when two of the best defensive players ever to suit up for the Miami Dolphins, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, were inducted into the Dolphins Ring of Honor, the Dolphin defense stepped up.  They allowed just a single Ram touchdown that came in the fourth quarter.  A field goal attempt of 66 yards that would've tied the game at the end sailed wide left and the Dolphins can now claim a .500 record.  The best part? Now I get to enjoy this beautiful win for 14 days as the Dolphins head into their bye week.  All four AFC East teams are 3-3 as the hated Pastries lost today, while the Wets and Ills both picked up wins.  One play that stands out to me was Reggie Bush's run.  You could tell the desire he had to win when he tried to hurdle a defender, flipped head over heels, and stuck the ball out for a possible first down as best he could.  He didn't get the first down, but it's passion like that that motivates others to push a little harder.  Another key play that brought Alex and I to our feet was the fake punt late in the fourth quarter.  The FINS snapped the ball to Chris Clemmons and he was able to pick up a huge first down.  Yes, it's days like these that are priceless.  I am so fortunate to be a FIN FAN!!  I can't wait for the next game at the New York Wets for a little payback, but I'll be soaking up this one for many days to come!

Monday, October 8, 2012  8:45 P.M.
     Made it home from a successful Cincinnati trip 2.5 hours ago!  Feels great to be home with a FIN WIN under my belt!!  'Twas a mighty fine time with Scott and Gaard made even better with the Dolphins' second win of the season.  The FINS have improved to 2-3 after an outstanding defensive effort.  The 17-13 victory was not a thing of beauty, but I enjoyed it.  It's especially cool to see the Dolphins lined up in victory formation and I got to see that yesterday.  Our view was from the end zone--$95 for each ticket.  Most of the action seemed to be going away from us, but feeling the sun upon the face, watching Randy Starks and Reshad Jones get interceptions, and witnessing touchdown runs by Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush was priceless.  I even got to tell Dolphins owner Steven Ross to keep the old Dolphins logo as he walked onto the gamefield.  He took the time to stop, listen to everything I had to say, smile, wait for a man who was walking with him to throw up a Dolphins pin to me, and then go and watch the Dolphins win. 
     I'm sure that everybody has his or her own way to enjoy life to the max.  Well, I've got my way and, man, is it ever awesome!!  Going to Dolphins games and checking out a new city and all the food places it has to offer is a favorite pastime of mine.  I am so blessed.  I thank the good, good Lord!


Thursday, October 4, 2012  3:35 P.M.
     The air temperature in Milbank, South Dakota, took a big dive last night.  The autumn wind has arrived.  If this doesn't feel like football weather, nothing will.  I LOVE IT!!  Scott C., Gaard R., and I are taking off for Cincinnati, Ohio, tomorrow evening at 6:41 (flying out of Sioux Falls).  We'll (hopefully) arrive in Cincinnati at 11:19 PM.  A day of watching college football on Saturday will be enjoyable.  And then, it will soon be time for the MAIN EVENT--the 1-3 Miami Dolphins at the 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals.  Yes, Andy Dalton and AJ Green are the hot items in the NFL these days, but this Miami team will come to play.  Coach Philbin leads my favorite team.  No nonsense.  Young.  Inexperienced.  And hungry for a win.  I just saw that the Dolphins are now 3-point underdogs.  That is called respect.  As each passing day goes by, I feel better and better.  I am going there to see a FIN WIN, not a loss.  A 2-3 record keeps the Dolphins' hopes alive.  It's a business trip.
     I have predicted a 26-20 FIN WIN.  It will probably be my only trip to Cincinnati, so it's quite exciting.  Friends, football, and a FIN WIN---don't get no better, folks.

Saturday, September 29, 2012  11:31 A.M.
     Writing early as CR and I will be attending the SDSU game this evening at 6:00.  An absolutely beautiful September Saturday it is!  The leaves are changing colors, the sun is out, and a temp of 84 is likely.  As nice as today is, tomorrow can be even better if the 1-2 Dolphins can go on the road and defeat the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals.  It's a late kick in the desert and a perfect opportunity to gain some confidence and build momentum for the Cincinnati game.  Granted, winning on the road against a non-conference team isn't a must, but at 1-2, the FINS can ill afford to drop another game early in the season.
     I have been highly successful in keeping last Sunday's loss to the hated Wets out of my mind.  Thoughts crept in...and I kicked 'em out.  Devastating.  Horrible.  And a win tomorrow is the cure.
     It sounds like Reggie Bush will play (bruised knee).  His leadership is needed along with his big-time play-making skills. Though the Cards are six-point favorites, I could see the Dolphins winning.  They are clearly the more desperate team, and their good character has to count for something.  Plain and simple, these Dolphins are in a corner and they will bite.  Dolphins 24, Cardinals 17.  I'm such a homer.
UPDATE (Sunday, September 29, 2012)  8:23 P.M.): The FINS had this game won.  Lost in overtime.  I have a sore throat.  Very busy week ahead--bad time to be sick...but a week-long cold is almost a guarantee.  Life stinks at the moment.  Proud of the way the FINS played--just didn't make plays at the end.  Brian Hartline set a franchise record with receiving yards.  Cam Wake had a personal best four sacks.  And there were other great feats such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for over 400 yards as a rookie.  But, in the end, it hurts.  1-3.  Next up: at Cincinnati.  At this point, I'd settle for feeling good--no more cold.  Please let the week fly by....


Saturday, September 22, 2012 4:17 P.M.
     Pivotal game number three occurs in Joe Robbie Stadium tomorrow and it ain't gonna get much better than this.  Coming off of a confidence-boosting triumph over Oakland, this is the time to jump all over the hated Wets.  Pittsburgh bullied New York all over the field last week, and this week it shall be the Dolphins' turn.  I realize that the Wets attempt to give their best efforts of the year when they play the mighty FINS, so I'm expecting a three-point win for the Dolphins, 24-21.
     Of course, one of the main ingredients in this likely win is to remain healthy.  Also, I see the running of Reggie as key.  As he goes, so goes this Dolphin team.  Perhaps no other player on the team has the confidence of the great Reggie at this point in the season.
     The media continues to give the Wets all of the attention.  Pregame coverage will feature Tebow, Sanchez, Coach Ryan, the defense, their injuries, their history...and, oh, they will mention that they are playing in Miami against the Dolphins.
     Improving to 2-1 in this young season by getting this win against a division foe won't come easy. But it's right there.  Alex and I will be living and dying on every play once again and I'm ready to enjoy another blessed Sunday afternoon with him!
     (Good omen?  We officiated a Dolphin win last night in White, SD.)
UPDATE (Sunday, September 23, 2012)  9:08 P.M.): Part of being a BIG fan is that losses like today HURT.  The FINS had a chance in OT, but Dan Carpenter's makeable field goal attempt sailed wide left.  The hated Wets drove down the field and cashed it in.  Poor Mike--by the time you get back to Canada the healing will have begun.
     I have no choice but to be proud of these Dolphins despite the heart-breaking loss.  They play with passion.  They care.  They are a true team--no bickering.  They have lots of youth and they're responding in many ways like veterans.  This past week Mark and I took big steps in our DREAM TRIP planning.  We'll be gone for a week enjoying this emerging team.  I can't wait!  For now, it's time to make sure Reggie's okay (he left at halftime today) and it's time to start thinking about the undefeated Cardinals.  Huge game on the road.  A chance to even that record at 2-2.


Saturday, September 15, 2012  9:54 A.M.
     Game two for the Miami Dolphins takes place tomorrow at noon.  The ugly Raiders are in Miami and they bring with them a sizeable defensive front.  Ryan Tannehill will have to contend with them as they will surely try to knock down passes.  The Dolphins have made it a habit of beginning the season 0-2, and they have the opportunity to avoid that in their home opener.  It's simple: everyone on the team needs to play better than they did last week.  If they do that, it should be a close game and it should give the FINS a chance in the fourth quarter.  What's something I hope to see?  I hope to see at least two interceptions from the defense.  Gaining some confidence through some success back there will go a long way for this team.  Sean Smith, it is your time.  Take over.  No mercy.
     As for my prediction on this game, I have to believe the Dolphins can pull this one off.  21-17.  Dolphins.  1-1.  Oh, how sweet that sounds!
UPDATE (Monday, September 17, 2012)  9:58 P.M.): 1-1. Oh YES!!!!!  Reggie Bush rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns as he led the beatdown on the rotten Raiders.  Raider fans, you left OUR stadium embarrassed and with your heads down.  Don't come back.  Last year you were defeated in Joe Robbie Stadium by a score of 34-14.  Well, this year it got worse.  This FIN WIN puts lots of hope back into the minds of great Dolfans everywhere.  This team is a tight-knit group, young, and hungry.  They have all the ingredients of dominating the league in years to come.  I love 'em! Reservations have been made for Cincinnati and Markus Ogdahlus and I are currently planning the November DREAM TRIP to Miami and Buffalo for two games.  As for this week, I'll keep that winning feeling with me wherever I go. Thank you, Miami Dolphins!!! Oh, and thanks to you Canadian Mike, for sending the FREE club seat tickets AND the free parking pass.  I almost shed a tear as I opened your envelope today!


Saturday, September 8, 2012  7:35 P.M.
     Tomorrow is Mr. Dahl's birthday. Miami Dolphins fan Mrs. Maass also celebrates her birthday on the Dolphins' season opener in Houston.  Many have predicted that Houston will be going to the Super Bowl this season, so that is part of the reason they are 11.5-point favorites tomorrow.  Another reason might be the fact that the Dolphins (0-4 in preseason) are starting a rookie quarterback in Week One for the first time ever in franchise history.  Griese did not start the first game of his rookie season.  Neither did Marino.  But Tannehill will be doing exactly that.
     I had a vision three nights ago that Houston won this game 27-10, but I'm not a firm believer in those types of things.  I hope I'm wrong as it is time for the Dolphins to beat the Texans for the first time ever (0-7 all-time).
     The two main keys: (1) Give Ryan T. some time and (2) Get off of the field on third down.  Obviously, those two things would help any team be successful, but it is essential that the Dolphins are near-perfect in those two areas.  Performing "decently" or "adequately" still means a 20-point loss to a confident, talented Texan team.
     Alex and I will be watching the game in HD at our house, the second straight year we've taken in the opener at our house (New England in 2011).  Another chapter is about to begin and it will lots of fun to see this young FIN team improve.  I hope they are ready to go in early October for our trip to Cincinnati--all cylinders by then!!
     GO FINS!!!
UPDATE (Sunday, September 9, 2012)  9:28 P.M.): 0-1. Turnovers were a killer.  The Dolphins led 3-0 with 6.5 minutes left before halftime.  But, at halftime, the score was Houston 24, FINS 3.  OUCH!!!  Ryan T. had passes deflected all day and that led to two of his interceptions.  The first INT he threw in the game occurred when Legedu Naanee stopped his slant route early.  Daniel Thomas added a fumble and the Texans took full advantage of all of those turnovers.  I had predicted a final score of 27-10, so this is kind of what I expected.  I was pleasantly surprised, though, with many aspects of the effort today.  Ryan remained poised.  There was no quit in him.  Reggie was as elusive as any running back can be.  D Bess and B Hartline came up with some awesome catches.  The defense wasn't quite as soft as it was in the preseason.  And the special teams was special--Marcus Thigpen took a punt return 72 yards for a TD, Brandon Fields was brilliant, and DC hit his only attempt.  I look for progress next week at home.  This week certainly provides hope for a better record than 2-14 (Alex predicted a 10-6 finish).

Sunday, September 2, 2012  9:22 A.M.
     One of my favorite months has begun.  Fresh school days, perfect weather, and Dolphins football.  Love it!  Some Dolphin winning, however, would greatly enhance this blessed time of the year.  The FINS had a winless preseason.  They looked weak.  And they worry me.  What is Coach Philbin & Co. to do?  Are all players giving it their all?  I am not sure and that's maybe what bugs me the most.  I sense some content behavior even with the losing.
     A week from now I will not be up here.  I'll be watching pregame coverage and hoping the Dolphins can shock the world against a team predicted by many to end up in the Super Bowl, the Houston Texans.  The FINS have never beaten them (0-7), so what a gift this would be.
     With the cuts, there were many players sent packing and many more changes will be made in the days ahead.  This team is in need of an overhaul and a personality change.  Yes, it's exciting....but it stinks that there is no guarantee that all of this change will induce some winning.


Sunday, August 26, 2012  8:40 P.M.
     Vontae Davis is gone. Traded today.  To Indianapolis for a second-round pick and another one late in the 2013 draft.  Clearly, the FINS are building for the future. They want to go in the youth movement direction.  I can't doubt the decision to deal Vontae--he has never blossomed into the player a number one pick should become.  "Hard Knocks" exposed the fact that he lacks physical condition and the commitment and sacrifice it takes to reach the fullest potential.  Though he's a likeable guy, Vontae seemed to spend too much of his time on Twitter.
     Will there be other trades involving the Dolphins?  Likely.  I hope it's not Reggie Bush for, in my mind, he is the best player on the team.  This will be an extremely interesting seven days.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  10:59 P.M.
     Geez.  I'm not sure what to think right now.  The Dolphins fell to Atlanta last night, 23-6, and apparently things were as ugly as the score would indicate.  Drops.  Lost of them.  By all of the receivers...except the reliable Davone Bess.  Running backs? Not a factor.  There hasn't been a run worth remembering in three games.  Tannehill?  How can he look or feel good when the dropsies happen all night?  The defense? Weak.  Especially the back-ups.  Just a forgettable night.
     I was officiating a high school football game in Wilmot, so I missed the ugliness.  But, I will watch it for myself tomorrow.  Alex watched the game via my Internet subscription.  I give him credit for staying with the FINS on a Friday night when nothing is going right.  He is the REAL DEAL when it comes to supporting the FINS.
     The final preseason game takes place on Wednesday night at Dallas.  Can they possibly leave off with some good feelings?  There must be a sense of urgency.
     Right now, I believe the Houston Texans are favored by 7.5 in the opener.  That seems to be a huge bargain at the moment.  If these FINS don't fix a lot of areas, that game could get downright ugly...even uglier than last night.
     Yes, I am worried about this team.


Sunday, August 19, 2012  8:59 A.M.
     The Dolphins have fallen to 0-2 in the preseason.  That's not such a big deal.  What is a big deal, however, is the way they are losing.  On Friday night, the FINS traveled to Carolina and saw Cam Newton & Co. pick them apart.  It was 17-0 after the first quarter--looked like high school kids playing against middle schoolers and that's not an exaggeration.  It was ugly.  The run defense, something I thought would be a strength, gave up chunks of yards.  Panther rushers were able to do the same thing Buccaneer runners did--get around the outside.  Furthermore, the FIN secondary seemed to be a step behind most of the night.  Is it a matter of needing more time together?  I don't know, but I do feel a sense of urgency for this team.
     Rookie Ryan Tannehill got his first start.  It was an okay performance.  He had issues with getting the ball tipped at the line of scrimmage, and most of his passes were short check-offs.  He had a full week of listening to "Tannehill should be the starter" because of his strong performance against Tampa Bay's second-stringers.  He showed on Friday night that he has a long way to go.  Matt Moore did little to unseat the likely starter by going 5 of 15 for a few yards.  Pat Devlin showed the most; he moved the ball with ease and showed he's got some of Moore's "gamer" attitude. 
     The running game did nothing for the second straight game.  There seems to be no emphasis on running the football, so I suppose I shouldn't be too critical...yet.  It seems the offensive line isn't close to being set.  Rookie Jonathon Martin is struggling at right tackle; he's being overpowered.  Few holes are being opened and the QBs don't have time like the opponents are getting.  There's a lot of talent in the receiving corps, but it's difficult to tell whether or not anybody in this group is worthy of a starting role on Sundays.  They can make plays against back-ups, but how about against, say, D. Revis of the New York Wets.  Yikes.
     Positives? I continue to love the entertainment value.  This team, like all of the past Dolphin teams, gets me fired up for gametime.  The storylines are extremely interesting.  "Hard Knocks" only adds to the enjoyment.  Their third episode is this Tuesday, the first day of school.  I can't wait for that, and bring on Atlanta next Friday night.


Sunday, August 12, 2012  9:42 P.M.
     Sure, I wanted the win and it didn't work out. I'm over the loss as I know the Colts used to go 0-4 in the preseason on a regular basis and then they'd go to the Super Bowl...and even win it.  But I still like wins.
     I was pretty impressed with Ryan Tannehill on Friday night.  He stands tall and poised in the pocket--induces no memories of John Beck.  He had a couple of beautiful touch passes and displayed a rocket arm when needed.  Reggie Bush looks to be his normal self.  The o-line needs improvement with holding blocks.  DC#5 missed two 50+ field goals.  Brandon Fields showed why he deserved the big contract he just received.  The defense needs to tackle better, especially the first-stringers.  The linebackers seemed to be two steps behind everything.  And the secondary made Dave Orlovsky look like the next coming of John Elway.  Come on!!
     On the other hand, I've seen a Dolphins team win the first preseason game in impressive fashion and then go out and lay an egg in the second.  Obviously, I'd prefer steps ahead, not backward, and a continuance of no injuries.
     I was watching TV with Alex last night when the words "BREAKING NEWS" appeared at the bottom of the screen on NFL Network.  Aloud, I said, "What could that be?" A second later the scroll began...  "Chad Johnson was arrested last night in Davie, FL."  Really?!?!?!?!?!!  He gets an opportunity to establish himself on the team he had always dreamed of playing for.  He had an opportunity to prove last season was a fluke when he basically did nothing for New England.  And then he head-butts his wife.  Unbelievably stupid and senseless.  Cut him, please.  No excuses.  I don't care who you are or how good you are, if you beat your wife in any imaginable way (physically or mentally), you need to go.  Good-bye, Chad.  Sorry that you couldn't control yourself---guys like you are not needed.
     Looking forward to the next preseason game on Friday night at Carolina...
UPDATE (Sunday, August 12, 2012)  10:15 P.M.): Got back from taking Kenny back to farm and Mom told me to call Alex before turning on the TV and getting on the internet.  I listened and called him.  He then informed me around an hour ago that Chad Johnson has been cut.  Good riddance.  Gone.  Move forward.  He had Patriot blood in him anyway.  All this episode proves is that a FIN FAN should never buy a jersey too soon.  Think of the many people who spent a cool $100 on an 85 Johnson jersey and are left with one memory--a drop of a third down pass from Matt Moore that would've given the Dolphins a first down in their first preseason game.

Friday, August 10, 2012  5:06 P.M.
     Preseason opener tonight!!!  In just under an hour and a half, the Miami Dolphins open their 2012 preseason schedule at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Before I go and farther, I want a win; I want that winning feeling.  With three solid quarterbacks, I feel good about tonight.
     I purchased a preseason internet package for $19.  Every preseason game can now be watched, including tonight's opener.  Alex is coming over, we'll have a Pizza Hut pizza, and we'll cheer for our FINS together.  It's a perfect night weather-wise, but it's not a problem to be inside watching live Dolphin action.
     We're looking forward to seeing the back-ups the most.  That begins with rookie Ryan Tannehill.  Also, guys like Lamar Miller and Jeff Fuller and Chris Hogan and...  The media makes everyone seem great, but now we finally get to see something for ourselves.
     Hard Knocks premiered this past Tuesday.  OH. MY. GOSH.  Talk about entertaining!!!  There will be four more shows and I cannot wait.  It's television heaven!!!  It brings out the personalities and I love this team even more.
     This is a wonderful time of the year--full of hope.  A year of ups and downs lies ahead and tonight it begins with a 6:30 kick.  Thank God, the Dolphins are back!


Sunday, July 1, 2012  11:52 A.M.
     This summer is flying by.  Making LOTS of money painting (a personal record in June for one month's earnings)...so I'm ready for things to slow down.  And that's exactly what will be happening in July.  Good timing!  The Dolphins announced their training camp schedule today.  Camp opens on Friday, July 27, in Davie, Florida.  This will mark the 20th season of training camp in Davie, a place a love to visit.
     In the meantime, there is much to think about in the upcoming season. "Hard Knocks" and the signing of Chad OchoCinco Johnson have been the biggest recent announcements.  I can't wait for the adventure to begin.
     Individual game tickets went on sale last Friday and Mark Ogdahl was able to get our tickets for the Week 10, November 11 game versus Tennessee.  Our next objective is to see whether we can follow our FINS up to Buffalo and watch them kick the heck out of the Ills on a Thursday night.  This dream trip is slowly coming together.
     I'm realizing that as I get older, I'm appreciating the build-up/anticipation of each season more and more.  I know that some people lose interest or passion as age increases---NOT me.  I can't wait for that first preseason action.  The storyline of the QB situation will play out.  Coach Philbin will grow as much as anybody can in his first year at the helm.  Will this defense continue to be one of the better ones in the league?  So much to think about and enjoy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012  11:35 A.M.
     The Miami Dolphins have agreed to be featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks."  And I love it.  More FIN coverage is always a plus, so this comes as a wonderful summer Christmas gift!  There was a time when I wouldn't have wanted this to happen but, with so much "newness," why not show this soon-to-be Super Bowl champion in its infancy?  Alex will record the episodes and I will convert them to DVD.  Nice.
     The FINS have signed most of their draft choices.  A deal with QB Tannehill should be coming soon.
     The Sun-Sentinel is now requiring a subscription, so I'm just about finished with that site.
     So far, summer is blowing by.  That is both good and bad: (1) I always want to hold on to summer as long as possible and (2) it means the football season will soon be here.  I can't wait.  A fresh start beginning with new coach Joe Philbin.  Bring it!


Thursday, May 3, 2012  9:03 P.M.
     The draft began one week ago.  And one week later, things are looking pretty good in Dolphin-land...
Taken from an article in yesterday's Sun-Sentinel written by Omar Kelly--and this has to give all FIN FANS hope:

Miami Dolphins General Manager is usually calm, collected and reserved.  He naturally guards his words, and is very conservative when it comes to praising people, and players. But there was something different about Ireland during the 2012 NFL draft. There was an air of confidence.

That confidence stems from what the Dolphins were able to collect in the first four-rounds of the 2012 NFL draft, where the Dolphins managed to land three of the draft’s top 50 players in quarterback Ryan Tannehill, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and tailback Lamar Miller.

And the other two players selected in the first two days – pass rusher Olivier Vernon and tight end Michael Egnew – weren’t just players rated very high on Miami’s draft board. They also fit perfectly into what the Dolphins needed.

“I’ve never been in a draft where we got so much value,” Ireland said in an interview.


Friday, April 27, 2012  12:03 P.M.
     Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is OUR GUY!!  First round.  Joins Bob Griese and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks ever drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins.  And we all know what those two did for our beloved franchise.  Seems like a really good guy.  Mature.  Poised.  Confident.  Ready.
     I cannot wait to find out the direction the Dolphins take this evening in rounds two and three.  42, 72, and 73--those are the upcoming picks for the Dolphins.  I plan to be watching this goodness with you, DP, in Sioux Falls.  Be there.


Thursday, April 26, 2012  2:18 P.M.
     Thank God for the NFL Draft tonight!!  A gift of hope...and stress relief.  Makes life good!  Alex is coming over after his out-of-town tennis meet to join in the excitement.  The experts' opinions vary.  Some say the draft of Ryan Tannehill is a must, while others say the first round is much too early to take him.  Mike Sherman, new offensive coordinator who coached Tannehill in college, will have a little something to say about this decision.  I have to trust in him and the entire front office. 
     I put a poster in Alex's locker on Monday night.  This is basically what it said:

My top three wishes as to whom I want the Dolphins to pick (in order):
(
1) Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M) (2) Riley Reiff (T, Iowa) (3) Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)

My guess as to whom will actually be chosen (in order):
(
1) Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina)—reason: I’m usually wrong…or don’t get my way with pick #1
(
2) Ryan Tannehill—reason: many people are high on him; so much talk about him that this regime would be fired immediately if Tannehill is named a starter in Week One elsewhere
(
3) Riley Reiff—reason: the better the o-line, the better QB play they’ll get; this guy sounds solid
(
4) Michael Floyd—reason: BMarsh is gone; this guy is huge and I don’t want Buffalo to grab him

Note: If the FINS draft Tannehill, I will be ecstatic because I know that Mike Sherman knows he’s a player who will succeed in the NFL. If they don’t draft Tannehill, it won’t bother me a bit as I know there was a reason. It should be noted that I do want Mr. Tannehill to be our guy!

Dream scenario if Tannehill isn’t taken: get Riley Reiff and then take Brandon Weeden (QB, Oklahoma State) in the second round. Perfect scenario!! Another dream scenario would be to trade down a few notches, pick up one of my top three wishes, and then steal somebody who slips into the second round at pick number 42 (which could be better than the 42nd pick due to the trade)

Bottom line: I can’t wait for this draft. Huge, huge, huge. Many possibilities. We had lots of lousy Sundays last season and this draft can make up for lost happiness in 2011-12.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  8:26 P.M.
     The 2012 NFL schedule was released 2.5 hours ago and the tradition of Alex and me going through the line-up week-by-week continues.  First, he easily won his singles and doubles (JP) matches over Benson here in Milbank.  Then, we headed to his house for the exciting news, always a favorite day of the year.  I was hoping for a home opener in Week 1 against the hated Wets.  Well, that didn't happen, but they do host them in Week 3.  Also, I was hoping for a bye week closer to the middle of the season...and that happened (Week 7).  As for my Dolphin trips, there is a good chance both of my out-of-town FIN games will work.  They get to play in Cincinnati (Gaard Rops & maybe Scott Cantine) on Columbus Day weekend, and then they host Tennessee (Mark Ogdahl) on Veterans' Day weekend.  SWEEEEEEEEET!!!  I can't believe how well it all worked out with the schedule, but now it's time to start thinking DRAFT.  Next Thursday.  Tannehill? Floyd?  Reiff?  Richardson?  Many possibilities and I can't wait to soak it all in.  Life = GREAT!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012  11:46 P.M.
     Reading the article below that came out yesterday makes me think this: STUPID MEDIA...

Turns out zoos include Dolphins now
By FOX News writer adam schein   
Updated March 20, 2012 6:31 PM ET

Welcome to hell, Dolphins fans.

The Miami Dolphins are a totally inept, mismanaged outfit with no hope of turning it around. The Dolphins are toxic. Nobody qualified wants to take their talent to South Beach. And the roots of the problem are entrenched.

Think about the embarrassments. Jim Harbaugh passed. Bill Cowher laughed. Peyton Manning felt bad for Dan Marino, took a meeting, and never thought twice about joining this once proud franchise. Jeff Fisher got rightly scared. Bill Parcells quit.

General manager Jeff Ireland is the George Costanza of the NFL. Despite countless missteps, he somehow is bullet proof. Like George, Ireland couldn’t get fired if he tied the 1973 Super Bowl trophy to the back of his car and drove it around the parking lot. Ireland and former coach Tony Sparano should’ve been a package deal, dismissed at the same time.

The Raiders are laughing. So are the Bengals. The Miami Dolphins are the most clueless organization in the NFL. No other team comes close.

You don't have to wait for our annual organization rankings this summer. The Dolphins have an overmatched general manager in Ireland. The Dolphins have a jock-sniffing owner in Stephen Ross who solely cares about name value and has absolutely no idea how to run a franchise. He doesn’t think rationally. The moves aren’t sane. Stephen Ross would be thrown out of your fantasy league.

The Dolphins don't have a blueprint. They don't have a concept on how to win. They are going nowhere, and fast. You have to be a masochist to watch them. It is a rudderless ship that will have a Titanic-like finish again.

Where would you like me to start?

How about the last 48 hours?

Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. Peyton is the ultimate perfectionist. Do you think he wanted to play for an owner who is more interested in J-Lo on the sidelines than finding the right general manager and football staff.

Matt Flynn visited Miami. He was coached by new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in Green Bay. Flynn opted to smartly choose the Seattle Seahawks. Doesn’t that tell you something? He respected the fact that Seattle didn’t hand him the job, wanting him to compete with Tarvaris Jackson. He respected the fact that Seattle actually asked him to throw. Pete Carroll put on his recruiting charm and made him feel comfortable. And Seahawks general manager John Schneider made him feel at home by walking across the street with 20 employees, sealing the deal with a beer. Flynn was the guy for Miami. He knew the system. He oozes leadership. Miami couldn’t get its act together on a contract, though they wanted him badly. Seattle was the right choice, and that speaks volumes.

Alex Smith had his feelings hurt when San Fran flirted with Manning. He talked to the Dolphins. But why would he ever be foolish and commit career suicide when he could swallow his pride, keep his head up, and stay with a legit Super Bowl favorite in San Fran?

Instead, as first reported by our Jay Glazer, the Dolphins sign David Garrard. I like Garrard. But he told me on the SiriusXM Blitz two weeks ago that he’s not 100 percent healthy yet and he didn’t play last year.

So the Dolphins can’t get Manning, Flynn or Smith. After being a legit leader in the “Suck for Luck” derby this fall, with true hopes of finally getting the next Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins have a Matt Moore vs. Dave Garrard quarterback competition! Good seats still available.

It’s Matt freaking Moore and David Garrard competing for the quarterback gig!!??!! This isn't Montana vs. Young here.

And this just means there’s a chance the Dolphins will overreact and pluck Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill with the 8th overall pick to reunite him with new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, his college coach. There’s no way Tannehill is the 8th best player in the draft. So will the Dolphins trade up and waste picks? What if some other team foolishly takes him and they have to overreact again! Have they thought this far? It’s tough to have faith when your current top quarterbacks are Matt Moore and David Garrard.

I don’t think anyone in Miami thought that’s what the depth chart would read just three weeks ago, and that’s a problem.

Most teams have a plan A, B, and C. The Miami Dolphins are seemingly taking stabs in the dark – and failing.

I’m still scared that Stephen Ross will force his football people to trade for Tim Tebow. He’s not a fit in the system, but he will sell tickets and jerseys. You know what else will fill seats? A winner.

They can’t get the quarterback right. They can’t get the coach right, either.

The Miami Dolphins were the bridesmaids again this winter for a perfect head coach when Jeff Fisher eschewed the Miami offer to coach the Rams. Imagine I'd I told you 15 years ago that the Rams gig, with St. Louis fresh off of a hapless campaign, was a vastly superior job to Miami. Owner/jock sniffer Ross insisted that general manager Jeff Ireland maintain control. Ireland is regarded as a punch-line in league circles. What has Jeff Ireland done in Miami to keep his job? What did Ireland do to separate himself from Tony Sparano? Sparano was a better head coach than Ireland was at his job of picking the players. Fisher ran to St. Louis and hired Les Snead as his general manager. And as we documented in this space last week, the Rams have had a fantastic offseason. This was one year removed from the Jim Harbaugh fiasco, where Ross tried to hire his fellow Michigan alum while he still employed Tony Sparano! He then paid Sparano to pacify him but created a losing "dead coach walking" atmosphere in the locker room that predictably doomed the Dolphins start. Only Stephen Ross could neuter his own head coach. Sparano got fired midseason and Miami hired Joe Philbin this winter. Philbin has never been a head coach in the NFL.

Read that paragraph again. It’s a comedy show. If it was pitched to a network, it would get thrown out for not being believable. This is not how you run a franchise. Now think about the Packers or the Patriots. Think about the Giants or the Steelers. Analyze how the Ravens or the Eagles do business.

How does a Dolphin fan cope right now?

Matt Moore told me on Friday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he thinks he can lead the Dolphins. Sadly, we might find out. Because that was Ireland and Ross’ plan all along, right?

Welcome to hell. Stay awhile. Stay as long as Stephen Ross owns the team.



Monday, March 19, 2012  10:01 P.M.
     CR sent me a link to an article today that included thoughts from Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark.  Some of the article:

Steelers S Ryan Clark congratulated Flynn on his deal with Seattle then did some more tweeting over the weekend when asked why no one is going to Miami:

"No one! To believe I almost went there but it was easy decision not to. ... It's my honest opinion. Not a good guy making decisions ... Done w talk of the Dolphins. Good luck to their team. Their are some good men working hard to win games ON the field. ... After having so much interaction w Phins fans today I am even more excited that I was blessed to stay in Pittsburgh. God knew better than me"

Clark also said he turned down more money from the Dolphins to remain in Pittsburgh. His Twitter reference to "not a good guy" seems to be a veiled shot at Ireland, who was criticized for his flirtation with Harbaugh while Sparano twisted in the wind and was also the target of bad publicity two years ago when he asked WR Dez Bryant during a pre-draft interview if his mother had been a prostitute.

  My thoughts?  Clark's head better be on a swivel when the FINS battle Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  Unintelligent comment.   One more thought I have from today: why isn't anyone giving Matt Moore respect???  In my opinion, he's a quality QB who can lead the FINS to the Super Bowl if he's given time to throw. Yes, he's that good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012  8:41 P.M.
     Matt Flynn, the highly touted QB of the Green Bay Packers, recently flew to Miami to talk about a possible contract with the Dolphins.  Today he made his decision--he's a Seattle Seahawk.  And I'm totally fine with that.  I saw it this way: if he really was that good (he had one great performance against the Detroit Lions late in the season in cold Green Bay), Coach Philbin would've done whatever it took to sign him.  Instead, the search goes on.  Alex Smith (49ers) was flown in today.  Maybe he's the next QB to take the FINS to the Super Bowl.


Thursday, March 15, 2012  9:57 P.M.
     Two days have passed since the most eventful date of my year each year--March 13.  For whatever reason, 3-13 is always newsworthy in the life of Greg Cantine.  If it ain't the retirement of Dan Marino or the funeral of a former student, it's something else.  This year on March 13 the big news was that the Dolphins sent B Marsh #19 to the Bears for two third round draft picks.  After two years, the Dolphins got exactly what they expected when they traded for Brandon.  He came from Denver and he brought his share of issues.  His MVP Pro Bowl performance can now be forgotten.  Sure, I'm thankful for his contributions over the past two years, but he did drop an awful lot of passes on third down that would've moved the chains.  I always felt like the coaching staff was on pins and needles with him. 
     I'm certainly not heartbroken over the trade.  I wish him well.  But, I want those third round choices to blossom into Hall of Famers!
     Surprisingly, the Dolphins re-signed Paul Solai today.  I didn't think they stood a chance.  Would've been tough to lose talent like that in the middle of the d-line.  There will be more signings and losses.  This is a busy time.  I have to trust Coach Philbin and Mr. Ireland.  They want a winner as much as I do.

Friday, February 24, 2012  3:51 P.M.
     Well, the FINS are 1-0 in the month of February.  This morning there was a coin flip to determine whether the Dolphins or Carolina Panthers got the 8th pick in this year's NFL Draft.  Both teams had the same records (6-10) and the same strength of schedule.  So, the flip was necessary and the Panthers will draft in the 9th position.  The one and only time that the Dolphins picked a player in the eighth overall spot was back when they selected Hall of Famer Larry Csonka.  Great news...and that makes this Friday even better!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012  3:54 P.M.
     Two things I CAN'T wait for: (1) the carrying of the Lombardi Trophy through the gauntlet of Dolphin players on its way to the stage where it will be presented to the owner of the Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins and (2) the DisneyWorld commercial where the Dolphins' starting QB gets to exclaim, "I'm going to DisneyWorld," with fireworks and confetti in the background.  That day will come.  My dreams will come true.

Sunday, February 5, 2012  2:57 P.M.
     Super Bowl Sunday.  Let's go Giants.  I don't want to see any more New England fans and I want a stop to Pastry players becomes TV analysts.  I hope the New York Giants help me out just like they did when they knocked the wanna-be-undefeated Pastries from the unbeaten ranks in the Super Bowl.  Today I've changed my mind and I'm predicting a Giant win by a score of 30-10.  That's a serious prediction.
     Super Bowl Sunday always has me thinking back to the Dolphins' last two Super Bowl appearances: 1982 and 1984.  I was in sixth and eighth grades.  I remember the excitement of my team being on stage for the entire world to see.  I remember the hope that the early leads meant something...and I remember the hurt when both games ended.  It makes me wonder how I'd feel at this point in my life.  Would I have that "little kid" excitement?  Would it measure up to my expectations?
     One thing I do know is that the Miami Dolphins now have great people to lead them to the very next Super Bowl.  It's not that they didn't have those kinds of people before--they did--I'm just saying that they do right now, too.  Coach Philbin brings great hope and it's been said that he's been able to hire four of the five people he really wanted on staff.  Brandon Marshall is coming off of his MVP Pro Bowl performance and seems excited to return.  The QB situation will continue to make news; I love Henne and believe he can lead this team to the Super Bowl if he's given time in the pocket.  I also appreciate everything Matt Moore did for this team and wouldn't mind seeing him lead this team, either.
     Much more to say...so little time...time to go to Unity and train for my own championships...


Saturday, January 21, 2012  6:04 P.M.
     A day after sources said the Dolphins were set to hired Joe Philbin as their new coach, it was officially confirmed today by owner Steven Ross and GM Jeff Ireland.  Coach Joe is the man!  He comes from Green Bay where he served as the offensive coordinator.  His Packer offenses were consistently among the league leaders.
     I'd say that my favorite quote is this one: Former Packers Executive Andrew Brandt:  “Worked five years with Joe Philbin. Calm, cerebral, humble and a skilled offensive mind. His style will resonate with players.” 
     Quotes like that one make me feel pretty comfortable.  Hey, Jimmy Johnson was a big name...a guarantee to lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory...and we all know how that turned out.  Coach Philbin certainly doesn't have the big name, but that doesn't bother me a bit.  It takes good players...and good luck.  If things fall in the right place, this is the decision that will propel the FINS to heights not seen since the mid-80s.
     Everything I'm hearing about this new employee is good, and now I can't wait to follow his moves.  Will he retain coach Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator?  Who will serve as the OC?  Lost of decisions to be made!  Bring on the draft!
     As for Jeff Fischer, I didn't like the fact that he had to take so long to make his decision between the Rams and Dolphins.  I want a coach that jumps at the job when offered leaving no doubt about where he wants to be.  I wish the Rams well...but may the FINS begin winning Super Bowls again.

Monday, January 2, 2012  2:39 P.M.
     A day after the Dolphins took out the hated Wets, the entire New York Wet organization is in disarray.  And I found the following article very much to my liking:

Miami knocks Jets out of playoff race, 19-17

MIAMI (AP) --The New York Jets will sit out the playoffs, and that's guaranteed.

The Jets failed to fulfill coach Rex Ryan's pledge to win a Super Bowl title, with Sunday's 19-17 loss at Miami eliminating them from the chase for an AFC wild-card berth.

Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, the last coming with the Jets threatening to take a late lead. They gave up six third-down conversions during the Dolphins' 21-play, 94-yard drive for their only touchdown.

The Jets (8-8) came into the game needing a win along with losses by three other teams to reach the playoffs. Instead, they finished the season with three consecutive defeats, a big step backward for a team that reached the AFC championship game each of the past two years.

Ryan said he didn't regret his guarantee, even if the Jets fell way short.

"I'm always going to chase the Super Bowl," Ryan said. "I know I get criticized for it beyond belief, but if you don't, then you're probably a loser, OK? I'm not a loser."

Soap opera fodder for the offseason came out of the Jets' final drive, when receiver and captain Santonio Holmes was benched. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson said teammates were unhappy with Holmes' effort, demeanor and body language.

"It's tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves in that manner," Tomlinson said. "You've got to lead by example, and you've got to play your tail off until the last play."

Holmes was held without a catch for the first time in his 88-game career.

NFL active sacks leader Jason Taylor , playing his final game, harried Sanchez into an interception and was carried off the field after the game.

It was a rare moment of celebration for the Dolphins (6-10), who completed their third consecutive losing season, their longest such stretch since the 1960s. They fired coach Tony Sparano on Dec. 12 and have begun the search for a successor.

"Obviously we wanted more Ws," quarterback Matt Moore said. "It's a time to learn from, and there were a lot of mistakes to go back and correct. But there are a lot of positive things as well. It's hard not to feel good after a win, especially against the Jets."

Another small consolation: Miami tied the NFL record for most wins after a 0-7 start.

The Jets again were victims of their own mistakes, with each interception leading to a field goal. They've given up 126 points off turnovers this year, the most in the league.

Sanchez's final misfire came at the Miami 10 with 3 minutes left and the Jets trailing 16-10. Reserve linebacker Marvin Mitchell stepped in front of intended receiver Shonn Greene and rumbled 55 yards to set up a field goal.

The 305-pound Starks came away with two interceptions.

"The interceptions obviously were backbreakers," Ryan said.

Taylor, who said Wednesday he would retire at the end of his 15th NFL season, sent the crowd into pandemonium when he scooped up a fumble and scored with 2 1/2 minutes left. However, a replay review negated the turnover, with the officials determining the ball carrier was down before the fumble.

The Jets then scored with 1:15 to go on Sanchez's 10-yard pass to Patrick Turner , but Miami's Brandon Marshall recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win. Taylor played tailback in the Dolphins' victory formation as Moore twice took a knee to run out the clock.

"It was a good way to end this thing - to beat your No. 1 rivals in your home stadium in your last game," Taylor said during an emotional postgame news conference. "I can't complain. I'm very, very happy and blessed to be where I am."

The Dolphins took the lead for good in the fourth quarter with a drive that took 12 minutes and 29 seconds. Moore threw completions to convert all six third downs during the sequence, including on the final play when he hit Charles Clay with a 1-yard touchdown pass.

The drive set franchise records for the number of plays and time of possession.


Sunday, January 1, 2012  9:37 P.M.
     WHAT A WONDERFUL BEGINNING TO A BRAND NEW YEAR!!! On the day when the sure-bet Hall of Famer Jason Taylor retired, he ended on a winning note by beating a hated division rival.  JT had a great impact on today's 19-17 victory--he pressured Sanchez repeatedly, made tackles, and forced an interception.  In what will go down as my favorite Dolphins play ever that did not count, he picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.  It was ruled a TD on the field and those moments will be etched in my mind forever.  The chills I felt are rarely experienced.  The FIN FANS who were there went crazy.  It was complete pandemonium--a magical moment.  To see the Dolphins monkey pile JT in the end zone almost brought tears of joy.
    Jason Taylor.  The utmost professional.  A great human being.  So grateful and passionate.  For 13 Dolphin seasons he brought the heat and only wanted to win.  I will be purchasing my 99 jersey before too much longer...and I dream of being in Canton, Ohio, on the day of his Hall of Fame induction.
     The win today puts that winning feeling in my heart. Yes, I want more--another game or two.  But, I also know that it's time to move on, to make some tough decisions, to get this franchise where it used to be.  It was actually sad to see Alex leave the house for the final time of the season--he's been an outstanding fan.  Most guys his age would become disinterested.  They'd find a million other things to do.  Not Alex.  We shared many high-fives and loud songs throughout the season.  Great memories!!  I want him to experience that same great feeling that I had in the early to mid 80s...and I think this team is close.
     I'll write more later on my opinion on the coaching decision and the personnel.  For now, I'm loving this win that was full of pride, effort, fun, and JT!
     Oh, and here's another article I read after the game that I thoroughly enjoyed:

Miami Dolphins ride rivalry to an emotional victory
Knocking New York Jets out of playoffs just as sweet as honoring Jason Taylor
Mike Berardino Sun Sentinel Columnist   9:14 p.m. EST, January 1, 2012
MIAMI GARDENS
For a supposedly meaningless game, this one sure had plenty of Dolphins subplots.  No wonder Sean Smith, their young cornerback, said it felt "like a movie" at times during Sunday's 19-17 win over the Jets.  There was the Jason Taylor story line.  The Dolphins wanted to send their all-time greatest defensive player out on a winning note, and the final score certainly made that postgame ride on his teammates' shoulders that much more memorable.  There was the Todd Bowles story line.  Yes, the Dolphins' interim coach is an extreme longshot to be the long-term successor to Tony Sparano, but the players certainly made their case by going 2-1 on his behalf, all against division foes.  Then there was the rivalry angle.
"Just End Their Season," read a sign one fan held aloft.  The first letters of each word were scrawled a little larger, spelling out J-E-T-S.  "No Playoffs For Rex Ryan," read another sign at Sun Life Stadium.  Even if they had pulled this one out, the Jets needed a lot of help to reach the postseason for a third straight season under their blustery coach.  They didn't get the Titans' loss in Houston they needed to keep hope alive.  They did get the Bengals' loss to the Ravens and the Broncos' loss to the Chiefs they needed.  However, before any of those games went final, the Dolphins did their part to extinguish the hopes of their fiercest rival.  They even had Santonio Holmes huffing his way out of the Jets' offensive huddle in frustration by the end.
"Definitely a great feeling, bro," Dolphins defensive lineman Tony McDaniel said. "That was our motivation coming into the game, to knock our division rivals out of the playoffs. We got the deal done and kicked their butts, and we're excited about that."  Bowles had opened the week by laying out that very challenge for his battered team: Ground the Jets.  "They're playing us to make the playoffs," Bowles had said, via McDaniel. "It's all over ESPN. We need to go out there and kick their butts and finish the year with a win."
For a few hours Sunday, that 0-7 start that torpedoed this Dolphins season didn't sting anymore.

Saturday, December 31, 2011  9:32 P.M.
     My final prediction of 2011 is this: DOLPHINS 13, NYJ 10.  The season finale is tomorrow and I have mixed feelings.  Last year, I felt like the season couldn't end soon enough--the losing streak killed me.  But, despite the current 5-10 record, the spotty success has kept me wanting more.  Needless to say, if the Dolphins can manage to win tomorrow without Jake Long and Reggie Bush, I will wish for another game to look forward to.
     The Dolphins are favored by three.  The Wets need the win to have any chance at entering the playoffs.  When the Dolphins traveled to New York earlier this season (October 17), they were dominated by a 24-6 score.  QB Mark Sanchez is taking lots of heat and has just plain been stinkin' things up lately.  I think it's vital for the Dolphins to get in his face, get an early interception, and make a bad Sanchez season even worse.
     It is our beloved Jason Taylor's final game.  He has announced his retirement and tomorrow will be a sad day for true FIN fans who understand what he's meant to this franchise.  He's had a seven-sack year--not bad for the 37-year old.  I'd love to see four Taylor sacks and one of his patented INT returns for a TD to close out a stellar career.
     I found Dave Hyde's article (below) quite blunt...and I can't disagree too much:

Wasted Dolphins' season finally ends against Jets
Lots of the same questions after Jets' game ends starting with where does Miami find a QB
Dave Hyde
Sun Sentinel Columnist
8:17 p.m. EST, December 31, 2011
What a waste. That sums up the Dolphins season that ends today. Waste of good time. Waste of moderate talent. Waste of money, emotions, careers, Sundays and, once again, so many words.
This season was constructed around discovering if Chad Henne was the quarterback that coach Tony Sparano didn't think he was.
And the answer came in on Henne about the time he got hurt. And Matt Moore excelled in reserve. And Sparano got fired. And so here we are — again.
Wasn't last off-season's big story how the Dolphins needed a quarterback?  Isn't that the story for most of the past decade?
It explains, in good part, why the Dolphins' coaching job ranks behind possible openings at San Diego (with quarterback Philip Rivers), St. Louis (Sam Bradford) and Indianapolis (Peyton Manning and/ or Andrew Luck) despite being the only traditionally marquee franchise with an opening.  That's what people say to talk nice about the Dolphins, anyway. They're a marquee franchise.
They don't say there's no quarterback to build on, a defense that's topped out at good-not-great, a general manager who no one quite knows what to make of and a dwindling season-ticket base thanks to years of pain.  Brian Billick seems to be the hot name, if he can be described that way. And he's fine. He's smart. He's experienced. He sounds great on TV. But any coach worth his talent wants two things:
1. To know the plan at quarterback. That will firm up some today when the Dolphins could end up anywhere from seventh to 10th in the 2012 NFL Draft. Is that the best way? Or is it trading for Manning or Green Bay Packers' backup Matt Flynn?
2. Lots of Dolphins owner Steve Ross' money.
Everyone can see this franchise isn't at the point where a coach matters too much. The general manager has to find some stars.  Jake Long is one. Cameron Wake. Reggie Bush was a great pick-up. You want to say Brandon Marshall is elite but can't stop seeing his dropped five touchdowns in the first five games.  This year even exposed some holes no one expected to see considering how relatively healthy this team was.  Take the defense. That's considered the strength of the team. But it's not a young defense and looks to have hit its ceiling.  It faced an elite offense in New England last week and gave up five scores in five second-half possessions.  Some teams make worse defenses work. Green Bay and New England have the 31st- and 32nd-ranked defenses but the Packers are the top seed in the NFC and the Patriots entire Sunday with a shot at the top seed in the AFC.  They also have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Which leads us to the default question with the Dolphins again.
Still, the dirty little secret about this team is it's been too little about the draft and too much about free agency and trades. Teams rarely big win this way. This year showed why again.  Oh, it's charming to say these Dolphins showed "resiliency" and "character" in recent weeks. But is that really true? Where was that when it mattered?  Karlos Dansby reported to the abbreviated training camp 23 pounds overweight by his own admission.  Vontae Davis and Sean Smith were the lone players suffering leg cramps in the first game, a tip-off that they were (a) not drinking enough water (b) not in shape (c) being run all over the field by New England, or (d) all of the above.  At 0-7, Davis then was suspended because he wasn't preparing properly to play Kansas City. He turned it around. He went on his best stretch of play as a pro. Hopefully, his alarm clock went off.
But there was a cost to all these mistakes of evaluation and character. This season sunk.  It mercifully ends today. The outcome against the Jets won't even matter by the time the players leave the field.
What a disappointment this year was. A waste, really.


Sunday, December 25, 2011  11:45 A.M.
     Christmas Day!  No snow and I'm loving it!  Making it an even more exciting, precious day is the fact that NFL Network will be delivering a one-hour show on "The Longest Game."  Yes, it's the 40th anniversary of the game that lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds--the young Dolphins at the favored, more experienced Kansas City Chiefs.  On this date 40 years ago, the two teams battled on and on and on before, finally, Garo Yepremian ended it.  The Miami Dolphins had one their first playoff game ever and the city of Miami welcomed them back at the Miami airport in the early hours of December 26, 1971.  For the first time in 40 years, some long-lost TV and game footage will be shown and I'm super excited!!
     Yesterday was going to be one of those days to remember...until the second half came.  The Dolphins roared to a 17-0 halftime lead in New England as everything that could go right did go right.  The offense moved.  The special teams performed impressively.  And the defense stopped New England's potent offense in every which way.  But, as well as things went in the first half, it went that badly in half number two.  The Pastries got a few breaks--some delivered by the Dolphins and a couple delivered by the officials--and took full advantage in their 27-24 win over the FINS.  Disappointing.  This, I guess, is what teams do who just don't have "it" yet.  The Dolphins need to change in the mental aspect of the game--Jimmy Cefalo mentioned this, too.  Once these FINS get down or feel a momentum change, they haven't been able to turn that back in their favor.
     It's nice to know that one more week remains and, oh, what a treat it could be.  The hated Wets are up next in Joe Robbie Stadium and to knock off 8-7 NY and prevent them from entering the playoffs would be an almost-perfect way to end the season.  I cannot wait until next Sunday!

Friday, December 23, 2011  8:08 P.M.
     On the eve of Christmas Eve...and the Dolphins play tomorrow.  They're at the hated Pastries, a team looking to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Oh, what a gift it would be to knock them off in their home stadium for Christmas.  I remember too well the Monday Night Football opener.  A 6:00 kick-off was followed by an aerial assault that had the Dolphins holding their own hamstrings.  Embarrassing.
     The FINS will need a spirited effort.  The defensive line MUST pressure Brady--they didn't do that on September 11.  Turnovers must be created.  And believing a win is possible is HUGE!!  Why not?  If Kansas City can beat Green Bay, then these Dolphins have ever