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TOTALLY NOT FAKE NEWS: The Key to Franchise Success

What the Ghost of NFL Future reveals...

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
The man at the center of it all
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

MIAMI, FL – Many a fall Sunday for the citizens of Miami will be spent either in attendance at Hard Rock Stadium, or watching on TV, the Miami Dolphins engage in the existential struggle that is an NFL game. The team, which first suited up in 1966, has a long and illustrious history, punctuated by the (at the time of this writing) only NFL team to post the perfect season, the 1972 Dolphins, whose 17-0 record is still the standard of single season perfection. Other teams helmed by the late, great Don Shula still hold a place of reverence in the Miami lore. However, after the end of the Shula era (1995), the team found itself in the NFL wastelands, condemned to never return to the promised land.

Don Shula, Closeup. Coach of the Miami Dolphins, before the NFL football game against the Baltimore Colts in Miami, Florida, December 16, 1972.
He didn’t need a statue...he WAS a living statue!
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

However, as the Miami Dolphins take the field for their October 13, 2030 tilt, the years of wandering in the NFL desert are a distant memory. The glory days are not only back, but some would argue, these are the greatest days in franchise history. Winners of 2 of the last 5 Super Bowls and coming off a controversial loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2029 AFC Championship game, Miami is gearing up once again for another run, with its rapidly expanding fan base calling for the “Drive for 5” and resurrecting the “One of the Thumb” mantra originally adopted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Loaded with a roster full of talented players just coming into their primes, this team is set to dominate the league. The present and the future are brighter than the bikinis seen on South Beach.

How did the Dolphins get to this point, some might wonder? Well, the Dolphins will actually pay homage to the key to their dynastic aspirations, for the Oct 13th game has been designated as a day to celebrate that player. On that day, they will celebrate the latest entry into their roster of honor: Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil. The one-time Dolphins’ first round pick and recently retired player, who decided that after 14 years of high-level play, his body was done, will return to where his NFL career started.

Some might wonder why the Dolphins would do something like this, given that Tunsil last suited up for Miami in 2018. A good, perennial All-Pro/Pro-Bowl career should be respected, but why the celebration? Perhaps in a bit of trolling, but also in pointing out the obvious, the Miami franchise felt that would be only fitting to honor the key to the success. When Tunsil left the Dolphins, it was part of a short-sighted trade to Houston, who, desperate to offer some semblance of protection for their one-time franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson, sent the Dolphins their 2020 and 2021 first round and 2021 second round draft pick for the left tackle. There were some other players involved, but the main aspect of that trade would be the draft picks.

For Houston, it was a sign that they were playing for 2019, trying to win it all, whereas the 2019 Dolphins, fresh off a disappointing 7-9 season, had cleaned house in the front office, looking for a reset. In the short term, it appeared that Houston had made the right move, at least until they blew that 24-0 lead in Kansas City. From there, the fall of the Houston franchise is still well-chronicled as an abject lesson for teams sacrificing the future for the present.

As for Miami, many now look back on that trade as the start of the rise of the current Dolphins’ run of glory. The 2019 team finished a better-than-expected 5-11, and drafted wisely in the following drafts. In particular, their flurry of draft moves before the 2021 draft, when they parlayed the #3 overall draft pick, obtained from Houston, into 13 picks in the top 3 rounds of the 2021-2023 NFL drafts. The 10-6 near-miss of 2020 seemed to portend future greatness, and the prognosticators did not miss the mark. 2021 marked the first of 8 straight playoff appearances (and counting) for the team.

While the AFC East still kept its crown of NFL primacy, the epicenter shifted from New England to Miami. Miami took special pride in their AFC Divisional round showdown with New England in 2025, when the last Belichick team was felled in a 31-10 beatdown, which saw Belichick retire from the team shortly afterwards. Super Bowl appearances in 2025, 2026 and 2028, with wins in the later two, followed. A ticket to Dolphins game is perhaps the hardest thing to get in Miami these days, even tougher to get into than some of the exclusive nightclubs, back in business after the massive COVID-19 downturn in the early part of the decade.

When told about the Dolphins’ honor, Tunsil, now opening his CBD smoking and mask franchise, was both humored and honored. “Initially, it seemed like a [Easterby] move by my old team, honoring me even though I haven’t played for them in twelve years. However, the more I think about it, the more I get it. I mean, they are acknowledging the truth, that through me, they achieved so much success. You can’t believe the number of Miami fans that come up to me and congratulate me for all I did for the team. Not even [failed Senate candidate] Hershel Walker achieved this, and that trade was the one that got the other Texas team their championships. Besides, Miami is gonna be good for business after that game. It’s a win/win. I already sent them a conceptual design for the honor.”

All Hail the King!!!
https://twitter.com/KingTunsil78

Also that day, the Dolphins plan to acknowledge the contribution of the front office executive who made this possible: former Houston Head Coach and GM Bill O’Brien. Bill O’Brien, now in his 4th season coaching the Texas Longhorns, said that he would not be able to attend the ceremony. In subsequent correspondence, he didn’t seem too happy about the reminders of this deal, but it could also have been the aftermath of a 63-14 loss to the Houston Cougars in Austin. “First off, I gotta coach better. That loss in one me. Second, I am focused on being the best coach of the Texas Longhorns I can be.” When pressed about Miami, BO’B really did not want to talk about it. “Don’t matter Brian! We beat A&M in the Texas Bowl last year!”

“Uh, Coach, my name isn’t Brian.” Our reporter noted.

“Doesn’t matter, Brian! We are building a winner. Once I settle into my dual-hatted role as deputy athletic director, we are going to take the Longhorns to never-before seen heights!!!”

NFL Combine - Day 1
Can’t you just picture him in Burnt Orange and White?
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

When we asked the Miami franchise about this, one unnamed exec just shrugged. “I mean, he was the exec who made our success possible. More than a few of us called him the greatest general manager in team history. No disrespect to our current guy. He is clearly rocking it, but if not for BO’B, we ain’t where we are now. End of story.”

As for the opponent for that game, the Houston team continues to say that they don’t pay much attention to it. More than likely, it is that they have so many other worrying issues. The team will not look upon the 2020s fondly. Mismanaged drafts, unfortunate free agent strategies, and a lack of any playoff success (no playoff appearances in the 2020s) made the Houston team the laughing stock of the NFL. We tried to ask the Pontifex Maximus of Football Operations about the Houston team, but his Eminence Jack Easterby was not taking any correspondence according to his spokesman and team owner Cal McNair. As for the Deshaun Watson situation, we are still under a court-ordered gag rule about that situation, so to avoid another lawsuit, we will honor that one.

So, while Miami looks for a third Super Bowl in a six-year stretch, the Houston Crusaders continue to look to win more games, and less of the Bum Toro awards they seem to annually win from Texas Monthly. [Folks may remember when Texas Monthly came out with the Bum Steer Awards in their annual issue, but after 2023, the Houston team, which was renamed that same year, committed so many gaffs and had so many problems that the editors at Texas Monthly just up and renamed it the Bum Toro Award. This was unfortunate timing, as Toro was fired as the Houston mascot shortly after the 1st Bum Toro awards came out.]

The Houston NFL Team is no stranger to this “honor”
texasmonthly.com

[Editor’s Note: This is part of our future projection series, which no one was really asking for, but we decided to give you, the reader, anyway. Kinda similar to all the Easterby sermon videos and the Building the Texans series the team is giving its fans. Enjoy.]