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

This is part five, the conclusion of part one-, two-, three-, and four of the five-part series, The Storm That Blew the Miami Dolphins Back to Sea. Part five is the aftermath. The 2021 Miami Dolphins football season was met with a storm. That storm was strong enough to blow the Dolphins back to the sea where Dolphins live. The aftermath of the storm proved to be costly. Despite how costly, the Dolphins knew the pieces had to be picked up, and forward progress was inevitable.

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Miami Dolphins Blown Back to Sea by Storm: Part Five

In the aftermath of the Dolphins final 2021 season game, certain fans began weighing in on reasons for playoff elimination. Some found it easy to overlook football as being a team sport, only concentrating on putting sole blame on Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Fans wanted to call out Dolphins general manager Chris Grier for not drafting Justin Herbert, who was the 2020 rookie of the year and passed for over 5,000 yards with an extended 17-game season. There were also fans that wished the Dolphins had the chance to draft Joe Burrow. Since Burrow went to the Super Bowl, some fans wanted to use Tagovailoa as a scapegoat for the Dolphins’ failures.

However, the Dolphins fanbase became divided over Tagovailoa. A social media war among the fanbase broke out about the quarterback. Tagovailoa’s supporters argued that the Dolphins had the worst offensive line in the NFL blocking for him. Fans also argued that both Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals and Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers were among the top five NFL teams for yards after catches.

Brian Flores Firing Was a Surprise to Fans

The biggest blow to the Dolphins fanbase was the announcement that head coach Brian Flores had been fired. His January 10th firing came as a surprise to many since he had two consecutive winning seasons. But Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wasn’t satisfied that his team was unable to make the playoffs under Flores’ leadership. According to Ross, he didn’t think the Dolphins were able to win consistently at an NFL level with Flores as a head coach.  That reasoning was contributed to an assumption that Flores wasn’t able to have good communication and collaborative effort within the Dolphins organization. Ross refused to comment if any player had problems with Flores when asked by a reporter.

After the firing, reports of heated exchanges between Flores and Tagovailoa made headlines in sports columns. Many pointed out that it was a heated locker room exchange between the two at halftime during the Tennessee Titans game. Another report was that Flores told Tagovailoa he should’ve drafted his former college teammate, Mac Jones. Fans against Tagovailoa used it as a way to support their cause for a new Dolphins quarterback. But that was supposedly a quote taken out of context on a podcast by former NFL executive Michael Lombardi. Lombardi later said he misspoke on the matter.

Reports of Player Frustrated with Tagovailoa Surface

Later in January, reports surfaced about a Dolphins player speaking against Tagovailoa. The report initially came from the Sun-Sentinel’s beat reporter, Omar Kelly. In a published story by Kelly, he said a defensive Dolphins player told him, “He can’t make every throw. He’s only going to take us so far. I’m wasting my career here if that’s what we’re doing.” Fans that criticized Tagovailoa were using the story as a means to support their stance on Tagovailoa. Supporters of Tagovailoa questioned the credibility of the story. Many challenged Kelly to name his source to prove the credibility of it, which he never did.

The division over quarterback controversies wasn’t the only thing that proved to be costly in the aftermath of the storm. On February 1, Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Dolphins and the rest of the NFL teams. In the lawsuit, Flores accused Ross of offering him money to lose games to gain a better draft position. Ross denied the claim. This incident further divided the fanbase as fans were picking sides on who was telling the truth.

Dolphins Hire Mike McDaniel as Head Coach

Eventually, the Dolphins organization began to gain ground in the aftermath of the storm. Mike McDaniel was hired as the new head coach on February 6. Fans have been pleased with McDaniel’s press conferences thus far as he is saying all the right things. He’s fully supportive of Tagovailoa and promises to bond the team together.

When the 2022 season begins, the storm that blew the Miami Dolphins back to sea will be behind them. The team will have a new look. The coaching staff will be new, and the philosophy of the team will be different. The aftermath of the storm brought hard lessons learned. But those lessons only made the team stronger. The Dolphins will return back to land in the AFC East this coming fall.

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