Chat room now open…
The allure of Monday Night Football is a shadow of what it used to be, but it’s still cool to be spotlighted on a national stage.
The game used to be the Number One gem of ABC’s weekly television programming. Now it’s on cable.
The announcers were famous professionals who even non-sports fans knew, like Howard Cosell, O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath, Frank Gifford, etc. Now it’s some guy named Sean McDonough. Even hardcore sports addicts never heard of the guy.
The broadcast used to feature a football game. Now it features 2 hours of pregame, a long country-western song that viewers mute, and a 3-hour postgame. It’s called oversell.
This particular game is the Dolphins’ third prime time game in a row, and second road prime time game in three weeks. The reason I point that out is that fans tend to be more wild and frenzied for night games. and we can expect Panther fans tonight to show no mercy while Jay Cutler tries to speak to his offensive line. Audibles will be difficult. Hearing the signals will be tough. (Even though the Dolphins have snapped the ball on “One” for virtually every single play this year. Way to mix it up, Adam Gase.)
The Dolphins have a chance to show what they’re truly made of. If they’re an average team, they should get killed tonight. But if they put things together on both sides of the ball, they could surprise people. Cutler played well last week and got us 24 points, but the defense was atrocious and couldn’t stop anything Oakland threw our way. The week before, it was the offense who took the night off and decided to put up 0 points at Baltimore. Can these two units EVER play well on the same game? Or will it perpetually be one or the other?
The Dolphins didn’t even play Sunday, and yet we saw why they still have have a chance to succeed. As I’ve predicted, Buffalo and the Jets have quickly come back down to earth after fooling others into thinking they were good teams. Denver is done, with absolutely no offense (and their defense was atrocious against Tom Brady’s 5-yard passes all night long. Patriots prove time and time again how you do NOT need to mix it up on offense. Ever. If a play works, stick with it. Over and over and over and over again, until the D stops you.) Pittsburgh will easily win their division, as usual, but no one else in the North is going to the playoffs. Both Jacksonville and Tennessee were handed free wins by stupid coaches, and they’ll be back to .500 or worse very soon.
In the middle off all that parity sits the Dolphins, with a nice, even 4-4 record. 5-4 tonight would set them just above all the others. 4-5 shows us how much we still have to grow. Larsen and McDonald are back, but as they arrive, other Dolphins leave hurt. Or other Dolphins get traded to Philadelphia and not replaced. As I mentioned in a comment, TJ McDonald is being praised as a savior before he’s even played a single down. People base this on his promising pre-season. But you know what? Jakeem Grant had a promising pre-season. Byron Maxwell had a promising pre-season. Mike Pouncey had a promising pre-season. Raekwon McMillan had a…well, he had a one-play pre-season because his brilliant coach thought it would be wise to throw him out on special teams so he could run into his own teammate.