Purgatory – a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.
In other words, Purgatory is the worst prison you can imagine. But it’s hotter, the guards wont protect you, and you aren’t given a release date to go “Home”. If you aren’t good at visualizing words, watch a few seasons of HBO’s acclaimed series OZ. Purgatory is a lot like OZ. (200 deaths in 56 episodes, if that isn’t Hell I don’t know what is!)
As the child of a devout Catholic family, for the last 25 years I was taught the strict guidelines of Catholicism: Always follow the rules of the Bible, never commit one of the seven deadly sins, and fear purgatory, because it’s scary as hell.
Much like in the Roman Catholic Bible, the football Bible has its heroes and villains, conflicts, and set of rules that must be followed in order to get to the promise land. The rule followers (other than one) flourish, while the takers of the forbidden fruit falter; An almost systematic theory as old as time.
The Dolphins of Miami were unfortunately eaters of the forbidden fruit. In an attempt to take down the evil Bill Belichick of Foxboro, ruler of the AFC, Miami forgot one golden rule: One man can not take down an army. In the war of the East (2015 A.D.) Miami was once again defeated, heavily wounded, and left helplessly stranded at the bottom of the division they so mercifully tried to rule. As the war comes to an end in the 17th week, from the ashes of the offseason some will rise, staying in the place they call home, training rigorously to fight another day. Others will pack up and move on, whether it be for more gold, the urge to win, or the sheer disappointment with the direction the Miami Dolphins have gone.
If Miami wants to fix what ran awry throughout 2015 they must repent of their sins and be followers of the ways of the football bible. If they cannot, they will once again be stuck in the purgatory of the national football league.
1. The Deadly Sin of Greed
Miami biggest sin of 2015 was greed. Instead of fixing their barren run defense (121 yards per game) by resigning key player and building thought the draft to fix their obvious holes, The Miami Dolphins went after the biggest free-agent possible: Ndamukong Suh.
How much did Miami really think one man could impact a faltering system?
Well the impact hasn’t been positive, as the Miami Dolphins have dropped from 24th overall in run defense (2014) to 29th this season. At 114 million, which makes Suh the highest paid defensive player in all of the land, Miami could have used the money Suh commanded to keep key contributors on Miami’s 2014 defense plus could have added veterans to help balance out injuries the Dolphins had suffered throughout the season. Just because he was the biggest, didn’t mean it would make us the baddest.
2. Not firing a losing coach before the season started.
Firing a losing coach should be a given. Philbin and staff should have been long gone before the 1-3 start of 2015. Bullygate, 3 non-winning seasons, and a subpar offense from an offensive minded coach, just weren’t enough grounds for termination in 2014, in Stephen Ross’ eyes. If Ross believed the Dolphins we’re going to be a winning team in 2015, a “winning coach” should have been first on Miami’s offseason moves.
3. Not protecting the Quarterback.
If Tannehill had a theme song in Miami, it would most certainly be the famous Queen song “Under Pressure”. The Dolphins QB has been sacked a whooping 177 times in 62 starts (38 sacks this season; 5th most in the NFL) and poor guard play has been a huge contributor to these awful statistics. Regardless of your thoughts on Tannehill and his large $96 million contract, doesn’t it seem logical to try and protect the 10th highest paid quarterback in the league? Miami’s decision to pass on Evan Mathis, and pick up veteran receiver Greg Jennings should sting that much more for the Dolphins due to the inconsistencies of Jennings, and the injuries the offensive line has experienced this season.
Timothy 2:5: An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
If the Miami Dolphins continue to disobey the rules of the football bible, and cannot stop committing fatal sins. They, along with their faithful fans will be doomed once more to another year of purgatory.