While both occupy very different spheres of public life, the Miami Dolphins and the Republican Party have a lot more in common than people may think.
Following two back-to-back losses against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers, the Dolphins were given a golden opportunity to play spoiler in their highly anticipated Saturday matchup against the Buffalo Bills. And in predictable Miami fashion, they blew it.
After coming from behind to take a 29-21 lead with nearly 12 minutes left in the game, the Dolphins spontaneously combusted. Within two minutes of kicking off to the Bills, the Miami defense allowed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to march his team down the field for a touchdown and successful two-point conversion to tie the game (29-29) with nine minutes left.
Despite plenty of time to kill the clock and score a touchdown to put the game out of Buffalo’s reach, the Miami offense lost its rhythm. Forced to punt, the Dolphins gave the ball back to the Bills, who once again moved down the field with ease. Unable to stop Allen and the Bills’ stellar offense, Miami was forced to helplessly watch as Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass drilled a 25-yard field goal to secure a Bills victory (32-29) and a spot in the postseason.
The defeat marks the third straight loss for Miami.
Different Season, Same Results
I wish I could say I’m surprised by the Dolphins’ late-season downfall. But having been a Fins fan for 13 years, hindsight has shown it doesn’t hurt to expect the worst.
Throughout the Ryan Tannehill era (2012-2018), the Dolphins almost made the playoffs nearly every year, giving their fans false hope that each next season would be the one where things changed for the better. During the 2016 season, for instance, Miami secured a spot in the playoffs under head coach Adam Gase, but ended up losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-12 in the first round.
Similar scenarios also played out under former head coach Brian Flores (2019-2021). Although the Dolphins never made it to the postseason during Flores’ tenure, their 2020 and 2021 teams showed signs of promise heading into the NFL’s final weeks. But once again, Miami fell flat when it mattered most.
As of this year, the Dolphins have failed to reach the postseason since 2016 and failed to win a playoff game since 2000.
Miami Is the GOP in Shoulder Pads
If the Dolphins’ lackluster 21st-century performance sounds familiar, it’s because Miami is essentially an athletic version of the Republican Party.
Much like the Dolphins, the GOP promises the world to its supporters, only to stab them in the back when it really counts. Look no further than Senate Republicans’ recent efforts in helping Democrats pass legislation permitting LGBT activists to weaponize the legal system against Americans who believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Without GOP support, the bill never would have passed.
But as is normally the case with most Republicans, the wishes of the base don’t matter.
At the end of the day, the Dolphins and GOP are mirror images of each other. Year after year, they claim things will be different, only to revert back to the same routines that end in failure. While conservatives and Fins fans would like to believe in their heart of hearts that next time around will be when the status quo finally changes, conventional wisdom says otherwise.
Is There Hope for Miami?
Despite their three-game losing streak, the Dolphins still remain competitive in the playoff hunt. After Week 15, the team currently occupies the final spot in the AFC Wild Card, sporting an 8-6 record. With three winnable games remaining against teams with records at .500 or below (Packers, Patriots, and Jets), Miami can secure its place in the postseason by simply winning out.
Moreover, Tua Tagovailoa has shown prospects of becoming a great, long-term Dolphins quarterback. This season, he’s thrown for more than 3,200 yards, including 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Despite missing three games due to concussion protocol, Tua ranks first with respect to quarterback passer rating (107.8) and touchdown-interception ratio, in addition to several other passing stats.
By far, he’s a much better quarterback than Tannehill.
So, while it’s certainly possible for the Dolphins to make the postseason this year, fans should taper their expectations. Even when the situation seems to be headed in the right direction, the Dolphins will always find a way to screw over their base, just like their Republican analogs in Washington.