We can all agree this has been an awful season for the Miami Dolphins. Even the thoughtful sage and conscience of the team has admitted he's angry at the way the year went. And now the franchise has all sorts of question marks going forward: the coach and general manager who might be gone, two running backs without contracts, no real quarterbacks on the roster, and nothing promising on the horizon.
But before we wade into the bleak, unknowable future, let's look back at the worst moments in a season filled with mediocrity. There are so many choices: nine bad losses, a few ugly wins, some horrible decisions, some horrific off-the-field behavior.
Some honorable mentions might include several poor clock-management debacles, a sad home loss to Cleveland, and a Jets coach intentionally tripping a Dolphins player on punt coverage. Here's the list:
5. Phillip Merling Charged With Hitting His Pregnant Girlfriend
You knew this season was going to have problems when several players got arrested. But no alleged crime was worse than defensive end Phillip Merling's. He was charged with hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the face and cutting her lip. Sheriff Al Lamberti later criticized BSO employees for giving the football player special treatment (an exit out the side door and personal ride home). The charges were dropped, and Merling spent most of the season on the injured reserved list, but the incident set an ominous tone for what turned out to be a very dark season.
4. Kendall Langford Loses a $50,000 Earring
Who wears a 2.5 carat, $50,000 earring to football practice? Kendall Langford does. Or, rather, did. Until he lost his in September. He and several teammates spent an hour or so combing the grass after practice, but to no avail. Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, known to wear quite a bit of bling when he's playing, took up Langford's cause after the tragedy -- he sent him a gift certificate to Claire's, where the lineman can purchase some shiny costume jewelery.
3. Dolphins Misspell Dwyane Wade's Name in Congratulatory Ad
Was the Dolphins franchise jealous of the attention the Heat was getting last summer? No, certainly not. Not even close. And to prove it, Dolphins executives took out a full-page ad in both the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel congratulating the Heat. Unfortunately, they misspelled Dwyane as "Dwayne" in the Broward edition of the advertisement. The ad read, "Thank you for staying Dwayne Wade and welcome to South Florida Chris Bosh & LeBron James." (Luckily, no one reads the Sun-Sentinel in print anymore.)
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2. Getting Pummeled on Monday Night Football
There were plenty of painful losses this season but not many as agonizing -- or embarrassing -- as the ridiculous loss to the division-rival Patriots in front of a national audience. The first half actually looked good. At halftime, the Dolphins were up 7-6. But the Pats won the game 41-14. The second half was like a clinic on what not to do on offense, defense, and especially special teams. (Special Teams Coach John Bonamego was fired a few days later.) And the game was also a turning point: The Patriots went on to dominate the league for the rest of the season, and the Dolphins were all but done for the year.
1. Losing to Detroit to Go 1-7 at Home
There wasn't much to play for either way on the last game of the season. But at least a home game against the lowly Detroit Lions seemed like a nice way to end a dreadful year on the upswing. But yeah, that wasn't what happened. Instead, the Dolphins blew a ten-point lead with less than five minutes to play after not one but two Chad Henne interceptions. The game was a great metaphor for the blown season and gave the Dolphins a 1-7 home record, tying the franchise record set during the 1-15 season four years ago.