Come to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday!
You just might see history!
If that sales pitch doesn’t hook you in, nothing will this week — unless of course you’re locked into Dolphins season tickets. Or you’re a Patriots fan.
Hopes are not high this week for the Miami Dolphins against the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots, particularly after Miami’s Week 1’s embarrassing loss to the Ravens.
We know what you’re surely thinking:
If Lamar Jackson and Baltimore can ring up the Dolphins for 59 points, what will Tom Brady and New England drop?
But what if — and we know, it’s crazy to even dream — what if the Dolphins shock the world?
If Ryan Fitzpatrick becomes FitzMagic. (It’s happened plenty of times before.)
If Xavien Howard picks off Brady twice. (He did just that in 2017.)
If Brian Flores takes all of the secrets he learned from working with Bill Belichick all those years and uses them against his ex-boss?
If Kenyan Drake performs another (Miami) Miracle?
If the Dolphins beat the Patriots for the sixth time in the teams’ last seven Miami meetings?
Well then, a few of things would happen.
Brady will sulk on the bench. He might even throw things. That will be fun for gif-makers.
The entire tank narrative surrounding the Dolphins will seem silly (at least for a week or so).
And most significantly, it would be the biggest recorded upset in NFL history, according to Lee Sterling, sports handicapper and founder of Paramount Sports.
Bigger even than Broadway Joe Namath stunning the Colts in Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl.
As of Friday morning, the Caesars sports book listed the Dolphins a whopping 18.5-point underdogs. The Wynn was giving Miami 19 points.
It is believed that no underdog of that magnitude has ever won a game outright.
And what makes the line so jarring: The Dolphins are getting a field goal or so as the home team.
So why so little faith in the Dolphins?
“[The Patriots] are the defending Super Bowl champions who looked absolutely dominant” against the Steelers in Week 1, Sterling said. “If you polled [wise guys] who would win the Super Bowl, half the people would say New England, and they’re adding probably the best wide receiver in the league. They’re going against maybe the worst Dolphin team ever. I think it’s worse than the 1-15 team.”
A quick crash course for gambling neophytes: The betting line, set by sports books, is designed to generate an even amount of bets for both teams in a game. So if the Dolphins win, tie or lose by any amount up to 18 points, those that bet on Miami win. And vice versa for those betting on the Patriots.
But to get a true sense of just how massive of an upset the Dolphins could pull off, check the moneyline. The Patriots Thursday were a staggering -3003 on some books, which means a $300 bet on New England to win would net a profit of just $10.
Or to put it in even simpler terms: The betting public thinks the Patriots have a 96.8 percent chance to win Sunday.
Still not impressed?
If the current line holds, this would be the fourth-most lopsided spread of the last decade, and the Dolphins would be the biggest home underdogs this century.
The only bigger spreads since 2009:
▪ When Peyton Manning’s (and Adam Gase’s) 2013 Denver Broncos were an absurd 26 1/2-point favorites over Chad Henne and the winless Jaguars.
▪ When the Peyton Manning-less 2011 Indianapolis Colts got nearly three touchdowns at Gillette Stadium against the Super Bowl-bound Patriots.
▪ When the 2013 Jaguars (yes, them again) were 19 1/2 point underdogs in Seattle against the eventual World Champion Seahawks.
The bad news for Dolphins fans: Each of those three underdogs lost.
The good news: At least two put up a fight. The Colts covered, as did the Jaguars against the Broncos (they got crushed by the Seahawks 45-17).
And while rare, double-digit ‘dogs can win outright. The Jets in Super Bowl III are the most famous example.
But no need to go that far back.
Just last year, the Bills went to Minnesota and not only beat the Vikings, who were 17-point favorites, but stomped them by a score of 27-6.
Two current Dolphins were a part of that game: linebacker Deon Lacey with the Bills and offensive lineman Danny Isidora with the Vikings.
The Bills’ key to success that day?
“Preparation, execution, dedication to the scheme and believing in what you’re doing and believing in each other and it’ll work, always,” Lacey said.
Isidora’s lesson from that game?
“You can’t overlook any team,” he said. “You’ve got to prepare each week the same, because you don’t know what they’re going to bring.”
Flores, as of mid-week, had not used the national disrespect for the Dolphins as motivation. But he might not need to. These players are self-motivated, particularly after last week’s shellacking.
“I grew up being the underdog,” Lacey said. “I never was an outstanding, D-I kind of athlete. I always was good, worked hard at what I did. I out-worked a lot of guys who probably should have been whatever type of guys. But hard work always outlasts talent.”
Added Flores: “It takes all 53 guys on the same page ... and all the coaches working during the week. It starts in practice. It doesn’t just happen on Sunday. It starts in practice, and then you execute in the game and you just string good plays together. You call it an upset – I just call it playing good football.”
Good (and winning) football would not only be a nice change of pace for the paying customers at Hard Rock Sunday.
It would be historic.