Point of No Return: The Draft That Broke a Lifelong Dolphins Fan
I was raised to be a Dolphins fan. When I was barely a teenager, grounded for some stupid thing kids do, friends of mine called my house to let my mom know that Dan Marino was at the park watching his son play football. My mom knew how much this meant to me, and so we sprinted into a two-minute drill, grabbed a West Pines Optimist hat, and headed for the park. I would do anything to meet Dan Marino and my mom would do anything to meet a handsome athlete. I mean come on, Dan Marino and those baby blue eyes…
We arrived at the park and I spotted that handsome man from the parking lot. Dan was throwing rifles with the kids. I walked up and gave him my hat to sign, and he did so as I stood there with unrivaled excitement. Then I went back to being grounded. Did I care? Nope.
Fast forward to 2006, past the Jay Fiedler era, right into the days of Daunte Culpepper. I got home from my high school Grad Night at 8:00 a.m. and knew that the NFL Draft had taken place the night before. I checked the results, and…
This is when the rollercoaster of life as a Dolphins fan became more prevalent to me. I became more aware as time went on; in high school, we’d basically hold lunch room radio shows dishing out piping hot takes, trying to rationalize the draft pick of Jason Allen. It was bad.
On to the 2007 draft, when the Dolphins clearly needed a quarterback. Cam Cameron was hired as the head coach. Outside of Cameron’s position as the offensive coordinator for the LaDanian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers, I had no idea who he was. I figured that since those teams were so much fun, the Dolphins could end up picking up some of that electricity.
Here we are on the day of the draft. We know this draft. We all remember this draft. The moment will live in infamy among fans.
With the 9th pick…of the 2007 draft…the Miami Dolphins select…Ted Ginn Jr., wide receiver, Ohio State University.
This is when the Dolphins’ fan base lost their damn collective minds. This was, in my eyes, the turning point. From a glorious franchise to hot garbage, the change occurred gradually, and at the same time the line appears to be very stark.
Until Cam Cameron got to the podium, I thought it was just a sick joke. “They have to be trolling us, right?”
This isn’t an indictment on Teddy, and this isn’t saying the Dolphins made the wrong choice by passing up on Brady Quinn. Ginn has had the better career, while still not even close to what you would look for from a top 10 pick.
It has been nine years since that draft. That is when I feel the Miami Dolphins became a mess. As struggles turned to dysfunction, the 2007 NFL Draft was when we saw the team tip over a dangerous latency point.
You can disagree with me based on the argument that the Dolphins made the playoffs during the 2008 season, but we all know what that 2007 draft meant to Dolphins fans. Success in spite of that pick should not have been the consolation prize.
The team changed during that draft, doing away with the methodology that made them so successful for so long. The small breadcrumbs that were left over from the team’s glory days had been swept up and discarded.
I am writing this because part of me wants to be the kid who was just excited to have his hat signed by Dan Marino. It isn’t about going back for the success. It isn’t about going back for the wins.
It is about going back for the hope. It is about going back for the respect.
When the Miami Dolphins are on the clock in Chicago, I do not sit here writing an article thinking that they will be able to select the player who helps them rise from their own ashes. No, I sit here writing this in an entirely different state:
As a broken fan.