It’s less than two weeks to Miami Dolphins’ training camp. Everyone’s plotting their return right now, winding up vacations, starting to focus thoughts. I once asked Dave Wannstedt how much he thought of football on his brief time away — if, say, he thought of the New England Patriots.
“Every day,” the former Dolphins coach said in 2004.
Same question to Tony Sparano.
“Yeah, you do,” he said in 2010.
Only Joe Philbin said he didn’t. He wouldn’t. Maybe he should have, of course. But here, now, in the deep recesses of summer when nothing is happening, it’s perhaps the best time to take measure of this, what — obsession? Fixation? Frustration?
Pick your word, though remember coach Adam Gase has only a one-year ride at the end of this timeline. He’s still building. It’s just that the Patriots are the constant measure of success for every team in the AFC, much less the bar of employment for every coach in the AFC East.
Bill Belichick has outlasted coaches in the division, including six Dolphins coaches. No local team has anything like this. The Heat? They’re looking up right now, but Cleveland doesn’t occupy a throne like New England. The Marlins, the Panthers and the Hurricanes football team haven’t won enough lately for rivals of consequence.
Still, if there’s one working question behind Gase’s influence and what a playoff appearance means as another season comes into view, it’s this one about the Patriots. The Dolphins have done their best to side-step it. There’s not much value in…
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