Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Tale of Two Teams

December 26, 2010

Is it possible for a football team to divide itself into two separate kinds of teams: one that is disastrous at home yet resilient on the road? Given the Miami Dolphins' bizarre season, the answer is absolutely yes.

Another home game, another loss. Falling to 1-7 at home, the Dolphins disappointed their fans once again at Sun Life Stadium. Nevertheless, Miami is just one game below .500 and could split even after next week's game versus a New England team that has safely secured its playoff seed (and will likely rest their starters).

As a whole, the team is neither horrible nor great but extremely average, and their record shows it.

However, those Dol-Fans that attend the home games week in and week out have a distorted perception of this team. In fact, it could be said that confusion has played into Dol-Fans' psyche as they watch their home team falter in person yet succeed on television in opposing stadiums.

Hence, the tale of two teams.

If we can take something away from this season it's that perception is not reality in Miami. We know that the Dolphins are not as bad as their home record states or as good as their road record claims. In essence, gauging this team's true direction has been the most challenging part of the 2010 NFL season for Dol-Fans.

One thing is known for certain though: a team with a divided identity like the Dolphins is a team that cannot be a playoff contender.

If anything is changed this offseason it should be the definition of what the Miami Dolphins are all about. Whether that definition includes a staunch defense or a high octane offense in it, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the Dolphins know, understand and embrace their identity, and most importantly manifest that identity on the field next season.

In order to strive for a goal, one must define the plan that will lay the path toward achieving that goal. In the case of the Dolphins, part of that plan is to define themselves first.

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