The Miami Dolphins finally drafted a first round quarterback in 2012, and that apparently means anyone else wanting to play the position for Miami is up a swamp without a paddle.
This is the beauty of being drafted so highly, isn’t it? You receive guaranteed money and illogical favoritism. Chad Henne’s grandmother would get the nod if drafted in the first 32. It’s part of NFL constitution: perception is nine tenths of the law.
The problem with this, of course, is that the poor sap that’s already atop the depth chart is suddenly spiraling ink on his clipboard instead of balls down the seam. This is life in pro football, to be sure, but it doesn’t make it right. It’s simply a misguided trend toward youth, in which the generation marked by the letter closest to the alphabet’s end is the default preference. Those are the breaks you might say. Suck it up Gen X-er. But when NFL teams anticipate success based on a limited college sample size, and the inordinate influence of pre-draft hype, they’re setting up for failure. Nobody can fulfill such lofty expectations—not even a quietly confident kid with a hot wife.
The consensus—whoever that might include—is that Matt Moore isn’t the long-term solution in South Beach. This is likely based on his patchy success in Carolina, and that he’s not brash, nor overly imposing. And for what it’s worth, he doesn’t have a long-legged made-for-TV blonde on his arm—with all due respect to Mrs. Moore. Unfortunately, these things seem to make a difference in our celebrity obsessed world. Though clearly they shouldn’t, not in football, and especially not when your recent on-field work is contrary to the prevailing narrative. In other words, Matt Moore is a good player.
Last season, Moore threw 16 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. The Dolphins won six games and lost only three with the 28-year old under center. In case you’re someone who needs a point of reference, that was good enough for the twelfth best QB rating in the NFL—ahead of Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, and everybody’s favorite rising star, Cam Newton.
You know what, I don’t care what Moore does this preseason. His gutsy showing in 2011, and those numbers warrant a shot at starting. But the Fins’ head honchos in Davie are a seemingly tough bunch, and probably need to loosen up with a couple of drinks on the sand. Their priority is ticket sales, and to that end, Tannehill is a obviously stronger headline. But losing football also has a way of finding a spot on the back page, Mr. Ross.
There’s a difference between possibility and reality, and the reality is that Moore deserves better treatment—not a competition. Tannehill is a rookie and not only should earn his stripes, but prove he can actually run an NFL offense. This isn’t high school where the cool kid gets the girl and instant popularity. This is the big leagues, where the only acceptable currency is touchdowns.
It’s time the Dolphins braintrust stop playing PR and started playing football. Give Moore the vote of confidence and let’s see what comes of it. If it doesn’t work out, then fine. But only then is it worth hoping for Marino’s second coming.
JP Pelosi is a journalist and the editor of Why Football Is Cool, a blog about pro football trends, ideas and culture. He started as a sportswriter on his college paper The Mace and Crown at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. JP has since written stories for The Globe and Mail, The Virginian Pilot, Inside Hoops, The Bleacher Report and Technorati’s football blog The Gridiron Grind. You may email JP directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jppelosi16