David Moulton: Will Ryan Tannehill show us enough Friday night to make us believe?

DAVID MOULTON
David Moulton

David Moulton

— I am not a big fan of preseason football. For years I've been saying the only thing that counts in these games are the injuries. But sometimes as a fan these games can mean a lot.

It can happen in one play.

I grew up a New York Giants fan. A franchise that has a proud history. Except as I was entering high school, I hadn't seen any of it. Because from the year before I was born until my 16th birthday, the Giants had one winning season. One.

It was a stretch similar to what the Dolphins are going through now -- A proud franchise with a great history that has not won a playoff game since the final days Bill Clinton was president.

I would watch Giants games every Sunday with my grandfather, and he knew what it was like when they were winners. Even more so he remembered what it was like when they had Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Charlie Connerly and Y.A. Tittle. I knew guys past their prime like Norm Snead and Craig Morton, and guys who never had a prime, like Jerry Golsteyn, Randy Dean and Joe Pisarcik.

There are Dolphins fans midway through college who don't remember Dan Marino. For many years, they watched with parents and grandparents who can recall fondly what it was like with Hall of Famers Bob Griese and No. 13. All they know now, however, are over a dozens quarterbacks, including those past their prime like Daunte Culpepper and Trent Green, to those who never had one like Cleo Lemon, Sage Rosenfels and Chad Henne.

Then one day I was watching a Giants preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Giants had drafted a QB in the first round named Phil Simms. No one had ever heard of him. The Steelers were the defending Super Bowl champs and back then, the starters played a lot longer in the preseason than they do now. So when Simms entered the game for the first time in the second quarter I figured he'd get crushed. I mean he's playing for the lowly Giants against the Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh. Five Hall of Famers on that defense.

On his first snap as a pro, Simms dropped back, stepped up into the pocket to avoid the rush from the outside and just before Mean Joe Greene drilled him, threw a bullet pass deep to his right to a wide receiver who had settled between the corner, the safety and the sideline.

I turned to my grandfather and said, "I've never seen our QB do that before."

One play.

One play I had seen the Bradshaws, Staubachs, Grieses and Stablers of the world make. So I knew what greatness looked like. Now I knew it could happen in our uniform, too.

The next five years were filled with ups and downs for Simms and my Giants, but it didn't matter. He was my guy because I knew he could do it.

One play.

That's what a Dolphins fan, young and old, is looking for from Ryan Tannehill on Friday night vs. Tampa Bay.

One play where he shows the skills of a first-round pick. One play where, more importantly, he shows something that none of the guys since you-know-who have had.

It's preseason football. Only the injuries count.

But sometimes one play can make you a believer.

David Moulton is a freelance writer who co-hosts "Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon," weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m. on WWCN/AM 770 ESPN. His column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features