Friday, December 16, 2016

Matt Moore: Clutch Since Day One

    I am more bummed out about Ryan Tannehill's injury than anyone other than David Appollos.  But persist we must.  Win, we must.  It's Jets week.  So I want to send a bit of sunshine into the lives of Dolphins nation by recalling an early experience as a Bruins fan.
    I moved to LA to pursue my PhD in 2000.  I was learning to be a college football fan since my undergraduate school was a basketball and academics kind of place.  In 2002, the Bruins caught two injuries at Cal, and were ready to trot out a scrawny freshman from Van Nuys that none of us had ever heard about.  Surprisingly, the coaching staff came out throwing, and the Bruins stomped on the Cardinal in glorious fashion.  Here was the third stringer, putting the stupid tree to rest.  Nothing is more pleasing than collapsed smugness, and Stanford's pathetic fan base, populating a bar in Westwood that day, looked suddenly crumpled sad and wrinkled in their khaki and gingham costumes.
    Matt Moore stomped them.  He was cocky, bright, swaggering- in short, the sort of guy you play your tail off for because, quite simply, you like him.
    So let's send the Jets into oblivion once again.  Brandon Marshall can cry about holding calls, ___- here I was going to call out another of their players, but I can't remember any... Oh well.
    Fins Up.  And let's rally around the kid from Van Nuys.  He's got moxie and he'll leave it all on the field.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How 2002 Wrecked the Dolphins (and what this team can do about it)

     In the next three games, the Dolphins will face Jacksonville, Houston, and Tennessee to determine our post-season fate.  We won't, of course:  we'll be on the road in two cold weather stadiums with drunken, hostile, obnoxious fan bases and frozen, crappy surfaces.  We'll then be at home against the seemingly perennial world champions. But I thought it worth a tease, since in 2002 this almost came true.
     But for the economics of three then fragile clubs, the Dolphins would have been the crown jewel of the AFC South.  The Colts would have remained in the AFC EAST.  Manning and Brady might have fought for division titles, while the Dolphins feasted on a hapless and backward division, coasting to 12-4 records and first round byes.
     The Patriots, Bills, and Jets wanted to keep Miami, as the Dolphins were argued to be the principal rival of each of the three clubs, and therefore crucial to their revenue models.  For reasons we may never know, the Dolphins accepted membership in a nasty, frozen division that was about to get tough, and the Colts got a free pass to the playoffs. And that was that.
     A franchise that struggles in cold weather games inherited three games a season in New Jersey, Canada, and Foxboro, while the Colts migrate south to Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee three times a year.  The NFL is a business, and the Dolphins paved the way for realignment and expansion by taking one for the team- er, league.  But the franchise has suffered for it, make no mistake.
      As we wrap up this season playing three games with our bitter foes, it is worth knowing where this all came from: dollar bills.  
      That said, the division is what it is.  You have to win your neighborhood if you want to win the league.  There is no better time to start than right now. But tell me you wouldn't rather be playing Bortles than Brady.

Jay Lopez

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nfl Officiating - Part 2

Went to the archives after reading Carl's story about the quality of the officiating in Miami Dolphins games this season.

On the face of it, the calls even out at 104 - 103.

Dolphins opponents were assessed 755 penalty yards, opposed to 981 penalty yards against the Dolphins. Not a big difference over 13 games.

However, there are disparities.

At San Diego, Terry McAulay's crew called 11 penalties for 81 yards on the Dolphins and 4 on the Chargers for 29 yards. What's more, The Chargers got seven 1st downs to the Dolphins one. 

And we come to Jerome Boger and his crew's horrendous calls last week against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cards were assessed 54 yards on 7 penalties. The Dolphins? Fourteen penalties for 118 yards. That windfall gave the Cards five 1st downs to the Dolphins one.

To add insult to injury, Ajayi fell on a fumble near the Cards goal line, clearly recovered it and was down by contact. The officials swallowed their whistles until the Cards wrestled the ball away in the pile.

This week at the Jets, it's Pat Morelli.

On a side note, do officials try to balance out penalties? In the Rams game, the Dolphins were charged with the first seven penalties of the game. Then, the Rams got hit with the next seven of the next eight penalties to even both teams out at eight penalties.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What Is With The Officiating In The NFL?

This was truly another crazy Dolphins game.

Two teams combining for 5 turnovers and that was only in the first quarter.

Rain and rain and rain didn't help.

Field goal hits the upright and bounces out.

Another hits the crossbar and bounces in.

A blocked extra point turns into 2 crucial points going in the other direction.

Ryan Tannehill, who played well again, may be lost for not only the rest of this season but well into 2017.

Matt Moore steps in and after handing off for 2 series, hits a big pass to set up the win in the closing seconds.

What was Gase thinking by trying to squeeze in an extra play before kicking the game winning FG? That was about as stupid a move as I have ever seen.

It almost back fired, except for one glorious second left on the clock.

Despite all that excitement and the roller coaster of emotions, I am left wondering if the league actually influences their officials to do whatever they can to keep as many teams alive for the playoffs even if they screw one team out of a win and their rightful place in the playoffs.

We had 14 penalties called against us vs. only 7 against the Cardinals. 

Now I know the refs aren't concerned about evening the penalties out but how many ticky tack calls will you call against one team that bails out the losing team and extends their drives vs. ignoring a direct hit below the knee that ends a QB's season.

The Cardinals are in deep shit right now. A win would've kept their playoff hopes very much alive.

This loss turns a lot of next week's Arizona TV channels from Cardinal football to something more interesting to the Arizona TV market.

Golf, basketball, horse racing, bowling, hockey, figure skating, basket weaving, you name it.

With ratings down, the NFL needs as many TV markets in the playoff hunt as possible.

With a loss, Miami would still be in the hunt.

I just gotta wonder. There were way too many calls going against us including James getting called for holding when he pancaked a LB early in the game.

It seemed so glaring, so obvious, that something is up.

It's now officially Jets Week II and we got Matt Moore under center. 

I can only imagine how screwed we will be without even our "star" QB in the playoff hunt.

Would the NFL rather have Matt Moore or Joe Flacco or Ben Roethlisberger or Denver's Trevor Siemian or Titan's Marcus Mariota leading their teams into the playoffs.

Granted, one Cinderella is good for ratings but Matt Moore's foot won't fit that slipper.

Gonna be interesting.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone 
Dolfan since 12/25/1971