Florida’s NFL teams in sad state
They say the NFL is the most popular game in America.
Apparently, it’s pretty cool.
Sure would be nice to have pro football in Florida.
What they are playing now in Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa can’t be pro football.
It’s not even a good knock-off.
Our state is defying the odds: Three teams, three bumbling franchises.
The collective record of the Dolphins, Jags and Bucs: 13-32.
If you want proof that there are too many teams in the NFL, this is it. What a scam the league has going here — and at these ticket prices.
The seasons of the Dolphins, Jags and Bucs come to merciful ends on Sunday, although they could stop today and nobody would notice.
If 8-7 Miami doesn’t beat the New York Jets at home, then the best any of the trio will do is .500.
I had to go on an archaeological dig to discover the last time one of them made the playoffs. That occurred in the year 2008, when a young black man became president, Michael Phelps morphed into an Olympic goldfish and the Dolphins lost as a wild card.
Time can get away from us. Do you realize that has been the only time the Dolphins have appeared in the postseason since 2001?
They’ve made one playoff appearance in the last 13 years. Let that roll around in your brain for a while. And this: The last time Miami played in a Super Bowl was 30 years ago, Dan Marino’s second season. They haven’t won one since 1973.
The Dolphins were Florida’s First Pro Football Family, carrying the state banner until expansion delivered Tampa and Jacksonville. But they’re still living off the glory days of Don Shula. They haven’t been able to reinvent themselves in the Internet age like, say, the Pittsburgh Steelers, another traditional 70s power.
Today the Dolphins still look on the road to nowhere.
Their latest owner, Steve Ross, just gave their latest coach, Joe Philbin, another year, seemingly on a whim, to break a cycle of mediocrity. Despite talent upgrades, the Dolphins blew it thanks to another puzzling late-season collapse. Dol-fans shrug.
The Bucs did the state proud in 2002, the league’s Charlie Brown winning the Super Bowl. They reached the playoffs twice since then, lastly in 2007, before scuffling along.
They were anticipating a revival when they hired another new coach. All Lovie Smith has presided over is a shocking flashback to the bad old days at 2-13.
Smith likely will get a pass despite incriminating evidence. Smith pushed to sign quarterback Josh McCown, a career backup who played like a backup when he wasn’t injured. So could they chose a saint (Marcus Mariota) or a sinner (Jameis Winston) in the draft?
The Bucs have lost seven games by a TD or less, but hey, winning close games is life in the NFL. And in vintage slapstick performances, they also trailed the Falcons 56-0 and the Ravens 38-0.
The 3-12 Jags have what the Bucs do not: A quarterback you can build around, presumably. We’re all rooting for former UCF star Blake Bortles, but his era will be short and coach Gus Bradley will be gone if he remains turnover-prone.
Mostly, we hope Blake survives without being fitted for a body cast. The Jaguars rank dead last in points and desperately need playmakers.
A mid-90s expansion darling under Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville later had a few good years with Jack Del Rio until bottoming out. Now their best features are the swimming pools inside the stadium.
Maybe one day the Jags, Bucs and Dolphins will get their heads above water, showing us why the NFL is so cool.