Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Welcome to "Phinaticism"

Greetings, fellow Dolphins fans and general football lovers, and welcome to my new blog - "Phinaticism."

Let me introduce myself. I am a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, who happens to live in beautiful New England. As someone who has lived here my entire life, I have seen almost every Patriots game since I started actively following the National Football League. Yet, something happened very early in my introduction to the NFL which led me to forsake the hometown team and embrace their bitter rivals. This "something" happened to be Daniel Constantine Marino - or Dan The Man, as I like to call him. My earliest memories of watching games on TV were of this gunslinger confidently leading his team up and down the field with the fiery intensity of a true leader. I was most amazed by his ability to weave his way untouched and unfazed around a collapsing pocket and fire a bullet to his receiver with incredible accuracy. He did all of this, of course, with a gigantic brace attached to his creaky knee. I knew at that young age that this was someone that I wanted to root for, regardless of the fact that he played for the enemy. And so began my fond relationship with the Miami Dolphins.

Unfortunately, just as I was beginning to really understand football and enjoy it as a true passion, Marino's injuries really began to take their toll on the legend, forcing Head Coach Jimmy Johnson to declare him inactive on game day on several occasions. It all fell apart in January 2000 during the playoffs, when Marino and the Dolphins were dismantled by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of 62-7. Dan The Man retired before the 2000 season, and the team has struggled to find an adequate replacement ever since. (By the way, CBS Sportsline recently published a great article making the argument that Marino is the greatest quarterback of all time.)

Others who are in my situation will know that rooting for the rival of the hometown team offers a unique fan perspective. The trash-talking from my friends whenever the Patriots succeed is to be expected. It doesn't help, however, that the greatest accomplishments of my beloved franchise took place before I was even born. The incredible recent run of success and Super Bowl wins by the Pats only adds to my resentment and jealousy of them. That could have been my team! But it is not, and I don't regret it for a second (honestly). Being a Phin-fan in New England has only strengthened my loyalty. People who root for the hometown team can easily become complacent and take their team for granted. They don't have to face much criticism since they are surrounded by people who think as highly of their guys as they themselves do. People like me, on the other hand, have to defend rather than boast about our team. Also, it truly makes me appreciate the weeks when the Miami games are broadcast in my area.

I have chosen to ironically title my blog "Phinaticism." Too often, fans brazenly go about proclaiming themselves to be football geniuses and making bold (and usually ignorant) proclamations about the latest news and happenings concerning their team. My goal is to provide the latest Miami Dolphins news along with balanced and rational analysis. Optimism can be good, but unbridled optimism creates misconceptions and leads to disappointment. Dolphins fans know that these last few years have been difficult, but one thing this rare down stretch should have taught us is that true fans are loyal through the thick and the thin. Heck, even the Patriots were awful for a time before they started making winning Super Bowls seem easy.

I hope you enjoy the blog, and please feel free to leave any comments, questions, and/or ideas for posts.

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