Every day (well, every weekday), we’ll bring you a Hurricanes top five list at lunchtime. It’s something to look forward to.
Mondays: Answers to Top 5 Questions from Friday
Tuesdays: Top 5 ACC Teams
Wednesdays: Unique Top 5 List
Thursdays: Unique Top 5 List
Fridays: Top 5 Questions for Upcoming Game
I’m fully aware that this is a Hurricanes blog, but by honoring a certain hated rival, the Dolphins made this a subject to be discussed on a Hurricanes blog. Don’t blame me. Blame the Dolphins.
Just because a team makes it difficult to be a fan, doesn’t mean anybody should actually stop being a fan. You’re a fan of the team, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a fan of the organization behind the team. My current feelings don’t have as much to do with the on-field product as they do with the organization and some of the decisions it’s made. I know somebody is going to take this article the wrong way. Oh well.
Following are the top 5 ways the Miami Dolphins make it hard to be a fan. I’ll go over the on-field stuff first.
5. The On-Field Struggles. This one’s obvious. I can’t remember what it feels like to root for a Dolphins team that I expect to compete for a playoff berth, much less a division title. The 2008 season came out of nowhere, and appears to have been an aberration. Teams go through down years, but the blatant lack of progress in building a consistently competitive team has been discouraging to say the least. I’m not one to argue Miami should have drafted Matt Ryan instead of Jake Long in 2008. Long has been one of the league’s best in his young career, and evaluating quarterbacks is one of the toughest parts of the game. But when you invest so much in your offensive line you have to pick up the short yardage and establish a consistent running game. Nonetheless, rooting for a bad team is nothing new in American sports. In fact, some of the most devoted fans root for a bad team. On-field struggles are no reason to stop being a fan, but it certainly doesn’t help keep the fan base interested.
4. No Hurricane Skill Players. This one’s selfish, and it’s actually more to do with the many misses in drafts through the years than with a lack of Hurricanes on the roster. But when some of the best skill position players in the NFL are playing in your
backyard home stadium and you’ve missed on so many draft picks in the past, there’s something wrong. I know that front offices cannot run the club worried about giving the fans a player they want to see adorn the jersey. And I realize that every NFL team scouts every major college program, so being in close proximity to the University of Miami doesn’t necessarily give the Dolphins a leg up in that respect. So this is more about the manner in which the Dolphins have conducted their drafts. Hey, I had to tie it into the Canes somehow, right?
3. Night Club in the Stadium. The night club itself is not the problem; it’s that the organization even conceived that it would be a good idea. I don’t care how successful it’s been, and I don’t even know if it’s still around. I don’t care, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to find out because it’s beside the point. The problem is that the idea was even pursued in the first place. I’m not going to argue that football games are about only football these days. They’re not. They’ve become events and organizations must promote the ‘fan experience’ and turn to various gimmicks to win fans. I also get that South Florida sports teams in particular must compete with South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Grove and countless other attractions that define Miami and South Florida, and that by including a nightclub it’s indicative of the ‘Miami scene’. But this organization has drawn some of the focus away from the football team and placed it elsewhere. Which brings us to…
2. The Orange Carpet. Celebrity part-owners are nothing new, and nothing against any of the celebrity part-owners the Dolphins have brought in. But when did the focus turn from football to celebrity? I know football players these days venture into celebrity status; that’s fine. But the focus of the organization seems to have shifted from the on-field product to announcing that Jennifer Lopez or Fergy is in the building. I have no problem with celebrities promoting the team or performing at halftime; that happens in other organizations, too. But when you make such a spectacle out of it by introducing an ‘orange carpet’, that can be perceived as drawing the focus away from football.
1. The Miami Dolphins Will Honor the Florida Gators. This one needs no elaboration, but I will anyway. There are plenty of Gators fans in Palm Beach County, sure. They’re in Broward County, too. There are even Gators fans in Miami-Dade County. But there’s no better way to alienate the South Florida fan base in a year you’re giving fans no reason to care about your team than to honor a team from Gainesville. As Greg Cote wrote in a Miami Herald article in August, “The Dolphins are a Miami team. This is Miami.”
Jacory Harris chimed in on the subject via Twitter on Tuesday: ”I bet that they’re not honoring the University of Miami in Gainesville. I’m just saying!”