Throughout the 1970s and 1980s The Miami Dolphins were South Florida in so many ways. The community was invested in the franchise's every win and loss and players and ownership were active in the community regularly. The Founding ownership of the Robbie family was more interested in putting an enjoyable product on the field that made South Florida feel good about its Dolphins than the bottom line. The Miami Dolphins were one of the few franchises in professional sports that built a national following and stayed loyal to its coaches and players for years. The Franchise was a model of consistency, with three Quarterbacks, one coach and one ownership family over a 24 year period. The Dolphins between 1970 and 1994 won or tied for the AFC Eastern Division title 15 times. Since 1994 the Dolphins have won the division only once.
The Miami Dolphins have been since the purchase of the franchise by Wayne Huzienga in 1994, more or less a complete joke league wide. The Dolphins are a sick joke however, which has been able to perpetuate a fraud on the South Florida sports community because of a combination of the local jockocracy as Howard Cosell once put it that are former Dolphins players who cannot be critical of the franchise and the obsession of South Floridians with NFL Football over any other professional and College Sport. (Including the Miami Hurricanes who have played for 9 National Championships and won 4, since the Dolphins last made the Super Bowl). The Florida Marlins who share Dolphins Stadium with the NFL club have won two World Series since the Dolphins last played in an AFC Championship game. In fact, the Marlins had not played the inaugural game of the franchise the last time the Dolphins played in an AFC title game. To make matters worse, every team that has played continuously since 1995 in the AFC has been to an AFC title game except for the Cincinnati Bengals and yes the Miami Dolphins. Ture, the Dolphins have had only one losing season in the period (last season), but they have been a mediocre franchise, that has sought to put bandaids over problems than to actually rebuild. This is a franchise that was 3rd in merchandise sales nationally in 1996 that decided to change its uniforms, logo and colors to give the team a "meaner" look the following season. Last year, the Dolphins were 14th nationally in merchandise sales. It was a change that Former General Manager Eddie Jones ridiculously touted as one his top three professional accomplishments with Dolphins. This is a franchise that ran off Dolphins Denny, who had been the face of the communities love of the Dolphins with a animal mascot named TD, with no community ties, no history and no business being on the sideline. Huzienga also replaced the original Dolphins wall of fame at Joe Robbie Stadium because it was taking too much space in the stadium which Huzienga wanted to sell for advertising in order to line his coffers even further. Huzienga also took the Joe Robbie Stadium name away and sold the naming rights to Fruit of the Loom for $3 million a year which is less than many players salaries. Why did he do it? Did he need the money? NO. He simply wanted to spite Joe Robbie's name, a man unlike Huzienga who did not take Government and taxpayer handouts to build his stadium. Is it coincidence or just punishment that the Dolphins have been losers ever since Huzienga bought the team and ran the Robbie family out of South Florida?
Rick Speilman made one good personnel move in his years in South Florida. He made a trade to get Ricky Williams, the first game controlling Running Back the Dolphins have had since the mid 1970s. What did the Dolphins do with Williams after back to back 1,400 yard plus rushing seasons? They chased him way, thanks in large measure to a coaching philosophy not fitting of a high school team. This is a franchise that traded a second round draft pick to Philadelphia for a third string QB. The Eagles then sent that pick to San Francisco for some guy named Terrel Owens who I hear is a decent player. The Dolphins also sent a third round pick to the Rams for RB Lamar Gordon, who had started a grand total of 4 NFL games in 3 previous NFL seasons prior to the trade. Gordon was injured in his third game as a Dolphin thanks largely to an offensive line that Pro Football Weekly rated as worst in the league last season.
(Coming soon..........a look at the Dolphins drafts and free agent signings during Huzienga's ownership)