The Storm That Blew the Miami Dolphins Back to Sea: Part One

Storm That Blew the Miami Dolphins Back

It was almost 7:30 p.m. The passing clouds above Gillette Stadium brought with them a calm temperature of 79 degrees and subtle 13 mph winds. Over 65,000 fans in the stadium had just watched the New England Patriots lose to the underdog Miami Dolphins. The 17-16 Miami victory came on the first game of the season on September 12, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The final moments of the game came when the New England Patriots were driving, only for running back Damien Harris to fumble. Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard quickly recovered the fumble, giving the Dolphins enough time to run the clock down on the first game of the 2021 season for a win.  The celebration for this game was the calm before the storm that blew the Miami Dolphins back to sea.

Miami Dolphins Blown Back to Sea by Storm: Part One

Mostly, Miami Dolphins fans were happy.  The Dolphins were in first place with a 1-0 start. They were the only team to win week one in the AFC East. The season looked promising. Division rival Buffalo Bills were scheduled for week two.  The Bills had just lost their season opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers and appeared beatable to the Dolphins. Because of results from Week 1, Dolphins fans expected revenge against the Bills for the final game of the 2020 season.  The week leading into week two was a week of joy and happiness. The victory calmed the nerves of Dolphins fans everywhere.  Yet, during the off-season, a state of peace and happiness after Week 1 seemed near impossible.

Dolphins Weathered Off-Season Storms

The Miami Dolphins and their fanbase weathered costly summer storms prior to the 2021 season.  The fanbase became divided over a quarterback controversy.  Miami Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa was drafted fifth overall in the 2020 NFL draft.  He was a superstar in college.  He won the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, a CFP National Championship, a CFP National Championship MVP, and holds the record for being the most efficient quarterback in college history with a 199.4 efficiency rating. Fans split over the draft pick. Tagovailoa sustained a fractured and dislocated hip in his final college game, ending his college career.

Many fans were concerned that Tagovailoa would not be able to return to his college form.  Because he had a subpar rookie season, some fans wanted to prove they were correct.  Tagovailoa only threw for 1,814 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games in 2020. But other fans of Tagovailoa advocated his subpar season was due to that injury.  When Justin Herbert won NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, the fanbase became more divided.  Herbert was drafted sixth overall in the 2020 draft, just one pick after Tagovailoa was selected.  As a rookie, Herbert threw for 4,336 yards with 31 touchdowns, a rookie record.  Many Dolphins fans believed General Manager Chris Grier made the wrong draft pick.

There was even a push for a quarterback trade.  After Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson trade rumors began to circulate, some fans wanted Watson.  Despite sexual assault allegations against Watson, some fans were still adamant for a Watson trade. “Tuanons” was the new term for Tagovailoa fans. “Tua haters” was the new term for fans wanting anyone else but Tagovailoa as the Dolphins quarterback.

Tua Tagovailoa Had a Good Pre-season

There were other controversies besides Tagovailoa.  One involved all-start cornerback Xavier Howard.  Unless Howard’s contract was reworked, he wanted to be traded. Eventually he got his contract re-worked to be the highest paid cornerback in the 2021 season; one week later, the Dolphins played their first pre-season game. Tagovailoa played in two of the three pre-season games. Tua played well enough in those games to temporarily silence some of his doubters. He completed 24 out of 34 passing attempts with 282 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Winning the last two pre-season games and the 2021 season opener gave Miami Dolphins fans hope for a winning season.  The defense looked great.  Tagovailoa appeared to be recovered from his hip injury.  Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was a pleasant surprise. But in the midst of the calm, fans did not consider the storm clouds on the horizon.  Off-season warning signs were there.  However, the coming storm was going to bring one of the most scandalous and controversial seasons ever in Miami Dolphins franchise history.  Fans were celebrating during week one.  But the joy the fans experienced was only because it was the calm before the storm.  Little did fans know that the calm was about to give way to a monster storm that blew the Miami Dolphins back to sea.

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