|A perfect audience: '72 Dolphins will try to give '07 Dolphins a boost|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 13 December 2007 12:45|
The 1972 Dolphins plan to attend the game as part of their 35-year reunion this weekend. Given the miserable state of their former team, they might want to wear bags over their heads.
``Nah,'' '72 running back Mercury Morris said with a laugh. ``We're going to be wearing our Dolphins jerseys. I'm hoping they have the understanding to give us throwback jerseys, as opposed to dressing us up as the Dolphins of today.
``I really hope these guys can get it together and win this game, so they don't go down in the annals for something they'll never be able to shake.''
Three chances remain for the Dolphins to avoid becoming the NFL's first 0-16 team. Their best shot might be against the Ravens (4-9), who have lost a franchise-record seven consecutive games while being outscored 214-116.
That's a brief slump compared with the Dolphins' ordeal. Their losing streak dates back 16 games - the equivalent of a full season - and more than a year to the most recent win on Dec. 10, 2006.
Besides attending the game, the 1972 Dolphins planned a golf outing and dinner this weekend, giving them plenty of time to discuss how their former team became the league's worst.
``It puts a damper on some of the festivities,'' '72 quarterback Bob Griese said. ``You can't be all excited about the Dolphins. You feel for the players. It's tough to come back and celebrate when everybody is going through such a tough time.''
The 2007 Dolphins risk surpassing the 1976 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14) for the worst record in NFL history, and they're well aware they're flirting with infamy.
``I can't even turn on TV without seeing it,'' linebacker Joey Porter said. ``We're running out of time. We've only got three more tries at this. Each week, we've got to get more desperate.''
Alas, they seem to be getting worse. Six of the first 11 losses were by three points apiece, but the past two defeats have been blowouts - 40-13 against the New York Jets, and 38-17 last week at Buffalo.
Lately the Dolphins seem to bring out the best in the opposition.
``You don't want to be the one team that loses to them,'' Ravens receiver Derrick Mason said.
Rookie Miami quarterback John Beck was benched after only eight snaps against the Bills, and Cleo Lemon will try to improve on an 0-5 career record as a starter Sunday.
Baltimore has been plagued by quarterback issues, too. Kyle Boller was benched during last week's 44-20 loss to Indianapolis, but he'll remain in the starting lineup for the fifth week in a row.
``A change at quarterback, no matter what the circumstances, is the most traumatic thing that a team has to deal with,'' Baltimore coach Brian Billick said.
While the Dolphins' meltdown could earn them a place in the record book, the Ravens may be the more disappointing team. They went 13-3 last year and in the offseason added Willis McGahee, one of their few bright spots this year with 1,093 yards rushing and 229 receiving.
``When I pictured the Ravens, I pictured the 13-3 team and thought we were going to come back and be even better,'' McGahee said. ``But it didn't go as planned. You have to fight through it. You have to stick together and have faith in your teammates. You can't abandon them right now.''
The Dolphins say the same thing.
``Anybody going through anything like this, all we have is each other,'' Porter said. ``We've become real close.''
With another loss, the Dolphins would tie the NFL record for most consecutive losses to start a season. The record was set by the 1976 Bucs and tied by New Orleans in 1980.
And the odds would be long on them breaking the losing streak next week, when Miami plays at unbeaten New England.
For a couple of reasons, the 1972 Dolphins will be rooting hard for their former team in that game. Several perfect-season players visited practice this week, and 2007 guard Rex Hadnot said he appreciated the moral support.
``That's the undefeated team,'' he said. ``We have something in this organization that no other organization has. With those guys coming around with the reunion this weekend, that should add some extra fire to this team, trying to keep us from becoming the only franchise to (go 0-16). I think it will provide some spark.''
``I wasn't here in '72,'' he said. ``I wasn't even born in '72. To sit there and be in awe - I ain't got time for all that. It's great that they're here, but my focus is on trying to get us our first victory.''
That's how far the franchise has fallen: While 35 years ago the Dolphins were on their way to 17-0, today 1-13 is the goal.