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On Porpoise 1-95 - Massacres ( 8-Sep-1995)
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Last Update:
This is the first official issue of "On Porpoise" for the 1995 season. As such, I should probably be taking this opportunity to talk about all the great moves that the Dolphins have made in the off-season and how they're going to help the Dolphins get better and how the team is ready to take the next step and move to the next level, etc, etc, etc....

Well, forget it.

I've heard so much media hype about the Dolphins, their off-season acquisitions and Don Shula's "last chance for the SuperBowl" that I am ready to grab the next sportswriter I see and turn him over to Gene Atkins for a little "re-education".

I mean, you can't even listen to a newscast about the NFL without hearing some reference to the fact that the Dolphins are "loaded" and that they're trying to "buy a SuperBowl".

I'm sure that we've all heard enough of that garbage, so I'll skip that today and talk about something near and dear to my heart; one of my favorite topics. What I want to talk about today is....


Now I, personally, am very fond of massacres. For some reason, I love to watch massacres. They fill me with a sense of completeness - of happiness - of joy.

And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I wore the camouflaged utility uniform of an officer in the US Marines for 6 years. Because I am not talking about those kind of massacres.

I am talking about football massacres.

You know the ones I mean. The kind of massacre that occurs when your favorite team pulls out all of the stops, plays up to it's potential and beats a hated opponent by the score of - oh, let's say 52-14.

Now that's *my* kind of massacre.

Although, in truth, it could have been even better. It could have been 59-0 and that would have been even more gratifying, to see my beloved Dolphins stomp the stuffing out of the hated Jets.

Because the simple truth is that I want my team to be the best in the world, with no if's, and's, or but's about it. I want to dominate every other team that they play. I want to never have to lose a game.

Now, it's possible that that keeps me from being a genuine fan of the game of football, at least in the sense that genuine fans like close, well played games with a lot of drama and tension on both sides and an outcome that's not decided until the final seconds of the game.

Well, if that's the case, then so be it. Because, in truth, I am not a fan of football - I am a fan of the Miami Dolphins. I don't want my team to play in any close games, I want them to win by a lot of points. And I do mean, a *lot*.

Fortunately, the Dolphins obliged me this past Sunday by clobbering that most hated of all AFC East team, the Jets. It was a great game for me to watch and I loved almost every second of it. The only way it could have been better for me is if the Dolphins had completely shut out the Jets.

But I'll forgive them for allowing the Jets to stay in the game until the end of the second quarter. Because the Dolphins more than made up for that by crushing the life out of the Jets in the second half.

Now, I ask you, what could be better than that?

But massacres are important, not just for my personal satisfaction, but for the team as well. Because it shows that the team may be developing what I call "The Killer Instinct".

"The Killer Instinct" is my term for the desire by a team to go out and bury their opponent. In the past, the Dolphins have not had much of a Killer Instinct. Instead of pummeling an opponent into the dirt and burying them, they have played a more "gentlemanly" brand of football. If they were up by 14 or 21, that was enough. They would stop playing to score point and start playing to just hold on to the win.

But "gentlemanly" football doesn't cut it in the 90's. Last year, the Dolphins were #1 in the league in offensive yardage, but were #3 in scoring - more than 100 points behind the 49ers. And that is one of the reasons why the Dolphins were at home during the SuperBowl instead of on the field at Joe Robbie Stadium.

In fact, the 49ers were the best example of The Killer Instinct in the league last year. After the devastating loss to the Eagles, the 49ers attempted, not just to win, but to completely dominate every team they came across.

And that kind of attitude is what gets teams to the SuperBowl in the 90's.

Miami, unfortunately, has not had that attitude in recent years. Oh, they've wanted to win, but not to dominate. The difference is subtle, but real. Last year, the Bears and Steelers wanted to dominate opposing teams, not just win. And that's why, despite not having as much raw talent, they beat the Dolphins.

The Bills, when they come to town, want to humiliate the Dolphins - and have recently been succeeding. For them, it isn't just about winning, it's about dominating.

The Dolphins, for their part, have not been the kind of team that truly wants to dominate others in recent years. However, this year, there have been signs of a change.

The first one was the dedication of the veterans during the off-season. The Dolphins had tremendous participation by the veterans in the off-season conditioning program. And every veteran showed up on the first day of training camp, despite the fact that it was optional.

The next sign was the Marino to Fryar 50 yard touchdown pass against the Jets at the end of the third quarter of last Sunday's game. Miami was ahead 35-14 at that point and could have coasted to the victory, but chose not to. Marino deliberately went for the score when he could just as easily have played it safe.

This is an example of "The Killer Instinct".

Now, we don't know for sure whether or not the Killer Instinct is permanently embedded in the team. Only the rest of the season will tell us that.

But it is clear to me that the team is off to the right start. And if, as it seems, the Dolphins have developed a serious Killer Instinct, it will be very, very difficult for any team to beat them this year.

Which is, of course, just the way I like it.

And it's no mistake that I like it that way. I like it that way....

... On Porpoise.


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Curt Fennell
DOLFAN in New England