Sunday, January 8, 2017

NFL16: It Was a Good Season

The Miami Dolphins lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs today, 30-12, and that ended my favorite team's 2016 season. It was a good season. 

The Dolphins and I are about the same age. They've played 51 seasons, and I've been around for 49 of them. There are probably more loyal or avid Dolphins fans in the world, but, whatever, I've been a pretty big fan (these pictures are from my family's utility room) for pretty much the whole time they've been around. And I'm here to tell you that this was a good Dolphins season.

Miami won 10 games this season. That's a lot, I've come to learn. It really is. From the time I was 2 until I was 17, the Dolphins won at least 10 games in a season all but three times, and that was amazing. I was thankful while that was going on, but, in retrospect, I should've been even more thankful. It has happened only nine times since. There was even one season where they won only one game the whole season. So winning 10 or more times in the same season is quite good. 

I didn't get to watch all 10 of the wins this season, but I did get to pay attention to all but one of those wins while they were going on, at least for part of the time they were going on. It's really fun to win, so that's nine definitively fun experiences this season. And Dolphin wins always have an afterglow effect on me for at least three or four days following. So that's somewhere in the range of 30 to 50 days since August in which my mood and general outlook on life were lifted by a Miami victory. That's a lot. That's a good season right there.

Additionally, the Dolphins made the playoffs. Again, that's a great and not terribly common thing to have happen. Miami has failed to make the playoffs more often than it hasn't in our history together. This was only the 23rd time the Dolphins have ever made the playoffs. It feels like that number should be higher, but that's because they've had three five-year strings where they never missed the playoffs:

-- NFL70-NFL74 (my ages 2 through 6),
-- NFL81-NFL85 (my ages 13 through 17) and
-- NFL97-NFL01 (my ages 29 through 33).

Fortunate strings like that will start to trick a human into thinking he or she deserves fortunate things happening to him or her. It's a treat to get to go to the playoffs, and I'm thankful to have gotten to experience it again. You better bet that's a good season.

Now, of course, it would've been fun to win a game in the playoffs. Of course, it would've. That's happened only 12 times, where the Dolphins both advanced to the playoffs and actually won a game once they got there. It's really, really rare. The last time it happened was Dec. 30, 2000, and that took pretty much the greatest individual effort by any football player in any game ever.

Also, today wasn't even a particularly heartbreaking one-and-done loss (like the NFL74 "Sea of Hands" loss at Oakland, the NFL82 Kellen Winslow loss to the Chargers or the NFL83 Steve Largent loss at Seattle). The NFL17 Dolphins aren't as good as the NFL17 Steelers, and this game was in Pittsburgh, and we were missing our starting quarterback and a bunch of guys on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield. I mean, really, I'm not even sad that they lost, and it feels great to not be sad. I would've preferred that they won, but I would've preferred that they lost today to Pittsburgh today than potentially next week at the New England Patriots (who are allowed to cheat to win). And you might think that makes me a loser. That's fine. Go ahead; believe that if you want. Who cares? I'm 48 years old, and I know that this is nothing to be sad about, and I'm thrilled that it turns out I'm actually not sad. 

So, in conclusion, I just want to say, hooray for football! It was a good Dolphins season, and now I'll be rooting for the Texans (they play the Patriots next week); the Chiefs (for Go Heath); the Steelers (I've got a lot of friends who are Pittsburgh fans, and I think they actually could really beat the Patriots in New England, even with the Patriots getting to cheat in all sorts of ways); the Seahawks (for my favorite former college-basketball player, George Fant); the Giants (for beating New England); the Cowboys (my sister's a fan), and the Packers (they're adorable, and Matthew and I once went to Lambeau Field).