To Change Dolphins’ Narrative, Mike McDaniel Needs a Big Win

The Dolphins are 10-4, but have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.
Mike McDaniel has an interesting relationship with the media.
Rich Storry/Getty

Praised for being a different breed of NFL head coach thanks to his tight pants, sharp sneakers and witty speaking style, Mike McDaniel has been somewhat of a media darling since taking over the Miami Dolphins prior to last season. He’s also been somewhat of a success as the Dolphins were able to finish last season at 9-8 and qualify for the playoffs despite being without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for much of the year as he battled concussions. This season has yet to be completed, but it’s already guaranteed to be an even better one as the Dolphins are 10-4 with three games left to play.

However, there’s a growing narrative around Miami regarding the Dolphins’ ability to win against elite competition in the NFL — or lack thereof. Of the Dolphins’ 10 victories this season, none have come against a team with a winning record and only one has come against a team that is .500. Combined, those 10 teams have a 45-95 record (a .321 winning percentage) and it’s very likely none will make the playoffs, according to The Miami Herald.

On the other hand, three of Miami’s four losses have been to teams with winning records (Bills, Eagles, Chiefs) with their fourth loss coming at the hands of the 5-9 Titans. Losing to top-tier teams is nothing new for the Dolphins as Miami had the same issue last season. Dating back to last year, the last time Miami beat a playoff team was when the Dolphins beat Buffalo by two points in Week 3..

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With the 10-4 Cowboys on tap this weekend on Christmas Eve, the Dolphins will have a chance to change the narrative surrounding the team by getting a win. If the Dolphins slip up on Sunday in Miami, they’ll have another shot at a contender in Week 17 when travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens before heading home for the regular-season finale against the Bills, another contender.

Asked about the perception that his team can’t beat “other contenders,” McDaniel said he was only focused on beating the Cowboys and that he’d instructed his players to have that same focus. He also gave them instructions about what to do if the “narrative” about the team was brought up.

“I instructed the players that anything other than concerning yourself with the next opponent, which for us is the Dallas Cowboys, any other narrative that has to do with good teams, or playoff seeds, or the next three games, all that stuff, I gave them the clearance to tell all members of the media, to, with all due respect, F off. With all due respect,” McDaniel said. “Because all we’re focused on is the Dallas Cowboys, and they definitely deserve our attention. So as we clean up our game from the previous, we’ll be thinking about that and the narratives will be what they be.”

And those narratives aren’t going to change until the Dolphins beat an above-.500 team like the Cowboys, Ravens or Bills.

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