As documented as the New England Patriots’ undefeated season has been, the storyline on the Miami Dolphins chasing football futility has followed closely behind. Unfortunately, behind is where the Dolphins ended up following their first thirteen games this season, a start (and middle and nearly end) that has to be frustrating to a group of professional football players and those in the organization.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a local Pop Warner team whose superstar quarterback ran out of eligibility because of age and is going through a tough period because the talent of that age group is down in that particular area. This team was assembled by a management team of people considered highly skilled in their respective fields - be they coaches, scouts, strength and conditioning experts or the general manager (and his heretofore unmentioned advisors). Dealing with this adversity can’t be easy. I can tell you from personal experience a 1-13 league record may start at the beginning of the conference season and finish on the final game - just like a 15-3 conference record does - but the former seems a whole lot longer than the latter (which whizzes by).
Everyone involved, you hope, is constantly looking for answers, ways to climb out of the hole the team’s in (the old line “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the length, the depth and how long you’re in it” certainly applies), but human nature and the (negative type of) personal pride of some of the key participants can take a stressful situation for all and make it even more miserable. Fingers are pointed (a coach once told me, “When you point a finger at someone, there are three more pointing right back at you,” a line I’ve never forgotten), excuses are made, reasons are given, yet the losing continues. It’s a true test of character for all involved.
The only way out is to pull together and work your way out - as a team. So, congratulations to the Dolphins on their first win of the season (they play New England next, so the streak may come to a screeching halt). The winless ‘76 Tampa Bay Bucs record is safe for another year (by the way, that franchise rebounded nicely even though it took a little longer than those involved anticipated).
After I heard of the ‘Fins success, I told a friend of mine, “Their gorilla was more energetic than others” and he asked what I meant. I repeated a line I’d heard:
“Success is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired; you stop when the gorilla is tired.”