Miami... I'm back

Myles Gaskin and Tua Tagovailoa are just some of the reasons this writer is returning to his Dolphins fandom. Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today

March 9, 2018. This was the day my Dolphins fandom died. What happened on this day? The Miami Dolphins traded Jarvis Landry, this writer's favorite player, away to the Cleveland Browns, and this was the day my Dolphins fandom officially died, even though it had been waning since 2016 and even in the years before that after a Wild Card loss to the Steelers. However, nine weeks into the 2020 NFL season, I think it is a good time to announce that I am officially back on the Dolphins wave, shoutout to my father for sending an excessive amount of Tua gifs to get me back into the fold. He has been there, every weekend, telling me about how the Dolphins put up a good game, and after two big wins against the Rams and Cardinals, now is a good time to jump back on. I give him props for sticking with the team this long despite not seeing a Super Bowl victory, but he did have Dan Marino to watch when he was younger.

The way Brian Flores has just trusted the process and built this team since the rebuild started post-Adam Gase has been incredible, and while my watching of the team was dead, I still kept an eye on the team and really enjoyed the way Brian Flores has built a team that can sustain success going forward, and thus far, we have seen it this season.

My fandom has always been smaller than the Mets and Devils for this team since the get-go, but I always enjoyed watching the games every Sunday with my dad and doing a pick'em pool each week in the late 2000s. I also have always loved fantasy football, and have really increased my viewership of football due to that this year. I loved the Dolphins teams that had head coach Tony Sparano, Ronnie Brown, Chad Pennington, Jason Taylor, and Zach Thomas, as they were the team that won the AFC East in 2008. I met Jason Taylor when I was in middle school, and he and his kids were some of the coolest people I have ever met. I stayed during the 1-15 2007 season that had Cleo Lemon and John Beck as starting quarterbacks. I will fondly remember the sequence of events following Greg Camarillo's game-winning catch in overtime against the Ravens to send the team to their lone win in 2007, and Kevin Harlan screaming "MIAMI HAS WON!" as my dad emphatically picked me up in celebration, crossing out the Ravens in the weekly pool and circling Miami and marking it as a win for the week. Good times.

Jason Taylor was one of my favorite players growing up.

I also distinctly remember Nolan Carroll getting tripped by Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi (who had instructed inactive players to form a wall on the sideline for that scenario) in 2010 and how fed up my dad and I were after that altercation, which happened to be one of the last big memories of that era for me. My favorite player after 2010 was probably Brian Hartline, as he made some of the most electric catches ever.

After that era of Dolphins football ended marred in mediocrity, I really liked Jarvis Landry as a player, even buying his jersey. However, when they traded him away, I was hurt in more ways than not, despite not watching the team that much, I was still sad. Jay Ajayi, Devante Parker, and Ryan Tannehill were fun to watch despite the team not being the greatest.

Over the past two years though, I have really respected Brian Flores' work and some of the players that have come into the fold. I still like Parker. Mike Gesicki has quickly become one of my favorite tight ends in the league. Myles Gaskin and Tua Tagovailoa? Incredible. Tua has a bright future, and I am very excited to see him and Brian Flores mesh going forward. A bright young core of receivers complements Parker well, with Gesicki and Preston Williams highlighting the core of the team.

A smaller part of this is just how Hard Rock Stadium looks from the outside and inside. I have never been to the stadium, but have driven by it when I was in Miami and seen it on TV. It is a beautiful stadium that hopefully has found a name that sticks.

I am no longer scared of the people mockingly saying "tHe DoLpHiNs?" when I announce my favorite football team. I was definitely afraid of saying that in high school, and anyone who knew I liked the Dolphins would mock me for it because they were so bad. But now, this is different. Fins Up.