Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – In the realm of NFL failures, the Miami Dolphins reached a level never before seen since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger on Sunday.
The Dolphins’ 15 point collapse in the last three minutes of the game was the first of that magnitude in the modern NFL-era.
It fanned the fans’ anger, made most media members believe “suck for luck” is in effect, and may have sealed the fate of head coach Tony Sparano in a game that is one of the worst in the history of the Dolphins.
During an exchange with referees late in the game, Sparano is imploring them to give him a timeout and said that if he doesn’t get “*expletive* timeout, I’m going to get fired.”
Sparano made several inexplicable decisions, one of which was going for a two-point conversion to open the fourth quarter to try and open a 14-0 lead. It was one of many which came back to haunt Sparano, who’s game management is growing weaker by the week.
But the most notable gaffe came on the Broncos’ two-point conversion try at the end of regulation. Everyone in the stadium, watching on CBS4, listening on the radio knew that Tebow would be running the ball to get the two-point conversion.
Everyone knew it…except Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and all of the players on the field.
The Dolphins controlled the game in every facet until late in the fourth quarter. The Fins sacked Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow six times and he was 4-14 for 40 yards until the final two drives. Then the wheels came off and Sparano looks to be the man the bus is going to run over first.
“Of course he’s the head coach and he’s going to take a lot of heat,” receiver Brandon Marshall said. “But trust me, it’s not him. Not just him. It’s all of us.”
Marshall’s words rang true in an embarrassing loss that had more fans at Sun Life Stadium cheering for Tebow than the Fins. This point was especially humiliating to any long-time Dolphins fan.
The Dolphins inexplicably decided to honor the 2009 Florida Gators national championship team in a desperate way to try and sell tickets to anyone who would buy one. The Fins honored the team at halftime; and throughout the game, more fans cheered Tebow and the Broncos than the Dolphins.
“I’m trying to search for answers,” Dolphins running back bust Reggie Bush said, “I just keep coming back to embarrassing.”
What was crystal clear in the victory was that even though the Broncos played about as poorly as any NFL team could for the first 56 minutes; Tebow and the Broncos showed the Dolphins something the Fins have no idea how to do, win.
Immediately after the game, speculation began swirling around the franchise that Sparano may be canned. But, late Sunday night, Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said a source told him it was “unlikely” Sparano would be fired after Sunday’s loss.
The reality is there’s no one to replace Sparano on the Dolphins coaching staff, and no new coach would want to come in and take over the sinking ship that is the Dolphins. So the Fins are essentially stuck with Sparano, at least until he’s had enough and decides to give up himself.
In some ways for the Dolphins, keeping Sparano around through the end of the season could be beneficial to the team. Sparano’s team of losers could continue their current ways and end up winning the suck for luck sweepstakes and draft Andrew Luck first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins are 0-6 and arguably a much worse team than the one that went 1-15 in 2007. Still, the Dolphins are going to have to really try to lose the rest of their games to get Andrew Luck.
Indianapolis was pasted 62-7 on Sunday Night Football and are 0-7 on the season. The difference between Indianapolis and the Dolphins is that the Colts lost NFL MVP Peyton Manning before going into the tank.
The Dolphins have no quarterback and have no hope. Now it’s just a matter of how far the team can fall before wholesale changes are made; or until Stephen Ross gives up and tries to sell the team.