1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Theseus' Dolphins

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Galant, Feb 1, 2022.

  1. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity

    Apr 22, 2014
    Right, I'm about to get all armchair philosophical. Consider this fair warning! :D

    Sitting here waiting for a new HC to be announced and knowing that after that will come a storm of discussion about coordinators, positions coaches, the sort of offense that will be run etc. etc. its making for a rather strange offseason. Some of you have been fans over decades and have maybe gone through this a lot but this time has, for me, been the hardest to deal with. I think because of all the emotional investment in a horrible tanking season/process leading to a rebuild and having a big part of that now torn down.

    The identity of the Dolphins is going to change again.

    We could go back further but even if we only stretch back one decade we can talk about a Dolphins team that was once Philbin, Ireland, Hickey, Campbell, Grier, Tannenbaum, Gase, Flores and Flores. Tannehill, Pouncey, Clay, Bush, Bess, Hartline, Fasano, Starks, Soliai, Wake, Vernon, Miller, Wallace, Grimes, Ellerbe, Landry, Fede, James, Aikens, Phillips, Parker, Ajayi, Odrick, Satele, Moore, Thomas, Tunsil, Howard, Drake, Grant, Harris, McMillan, Godchaux, Tankersley, Suh, Gesicki, Fitz, Sanders etc....

    So many different personalities, different identities... it's starting to feel like Theseus' Dolphins (to make a philosophical reference). How many parts can you can on the Dolphins before it ceases to be the Dolphins?

    Long gone are the days of Superbowls and high-powered offences, hardnosed football and NFL respect. If that's the Dolphins, it has slowly been replaced, plank by plank, rope by rope, and does anything of the original now remain? On the other hand, this team still carries the name, wears the colours, and is on the register as the one and only Miami Dolphins, even if over these last years that identity has changed to mean mediocrity, or worse.

    All teams changes. Players come and go, coaches too (though ideally not as often as this). Even owners. What is it that makes the Dolphins the Dolphins? What is it that fans attach to?

    Maybe it's not unlike the different military branches and arms and divisions. Proud connections to history and traditions, even if the pieces have changed, the baton got passed down. But then, maybe that's the difference. The military at least tries to maintain standards and ethos so that the spirit of the unit never dies. I've never served in the forces so I don't really know.

    Still, we stand here with another ship filled with holes, under repair again, hoping it will soon sail again with the best of them. But looking around, there's not much left I recognise.

    Is this still the Dolphins? What does that even mean? Can it ever be the Dolphins again?
  2. TheHighExhaulted

    TheHighExhaulted Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    New York
    Irishman, Dol-Fan Dupree and cbrad like this.
  3. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity

    Apr 22, 2014
    Theseus' Ship. It's an idea used in basic philosophy using an image from Greek mythology. The idea is that Theseus' ship took damage during his journey and through wear and tear and over time had to be repaired. Piece by piece it will have been fixed up by replacing parts of the original ship with new pieces. The question is, at what point does it cease to be the original ship, Theseus' ship? Maybe never, maybe the name and captain are what matter. Maybe it's as soon as the first piece is changed and it can be considered a different ship. And so on.

    I'm just reflecting on the fact that once again the Dolphins are in for major changes and this year it's starting not to 'feel' like the Dolphins. Had I just wandered into the NFL this year or last and found the Dolphins in this mess I would have just moved on and walked away. But it's the Dolphins...sort of.
    OwesOwn614, dolphin25 and Irishman like this.
  4. cbrad

    cbrad .

    Dec 21, 2014
    LOL.. hilarious response

    It "feels" the same as before Galant: Captain Ross doesn't know which way to steer the ship.
    Irishman likes this.
  5. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity

    Apr 22, 2014
    Maybe to you. Fair enough. This year feels different to me.
    I'm just reflecting on what it means and feels like to be a fan.
    Irishman likes this.
  6. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito.

    Dec 11, 2007
    It is too early to smoke enough weed to be a part of this conversation
    Puka-head, Irishman and mlb1399 like this.
  7. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2009
    Change is inevitable. Personally, I could care less if it's the same ship or not. We know the answer there- we bought a new ship 3 years ago. What I care about is what we do with that ship while it's sailing at top speed.

    As I've said in other posts, Howard and that defense have a limited shelf life...two or three years from now, they'll be overhauled with younger, faster, etc. The time to win is now. We've tanked for Tua. We've rebuilt through the draft. And this is the season for it all to come together.

    If it doesn't, then maybe it's time to sink the darn ship and start over from scratch. But there's no patching up old parts, not in the NFL. Too much pride for that and too little time.
  8. MikeHoncho

    MikeHoncho -=| Censored |=-

    Nov 13, 2009
    Same crappy scouts are still in place.
  9. The_Dark_Knight

    The_Dark_Knight Defender of the Truth

    Nov 24, 2007
    Rockledge, FL
    I understand exactly what galant is saying. He’s referencing the team’s identity. What is it? Who are we?

    During the 70’s, the Dolphins were a hard nosed defensive team, ran the ball hard and had a finesse to our passing game. Everyone knew when you played the Dolphins, it was going to be a brutal game.

    Then came the 80’s and Marino. With a passing offense the likes that no one had ever seen before, teams knew that if they didn’t have a defense that was going to be able to stop Marino, the Marks Brothers as well as Nat Moore, you needed to have an offense that was going to be able to keep up with the Dolphins. We were a high flying, high scoring team.

    To Galant’s point…who are we now? Since the retirement of Shula followed by Marino, the Dolphins don’t have an identity. When you say the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Chicago Bears or the Kansas City Chiefs etc, you know WHO and WHAT they are! Their identity has changed very little over the decades.

    With the Dolphins organization in such disarray at the top, Miami has failed to create an identity…we’re nothing more than a team that’s been limping along since the early 2000’s, like a kid trying new things and hoping they work.

    Until we discover who and what we are…and build on THAT, we’re going to be stuck in mediocrity.
  10. plc001

    plc001 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    I always thought identity was what a team does best, the ravens for a while were tough defence and run the ball. Patriots, bore your opponent while making zero mistakes then capitalize on your opponents mistakes. Identity is whatever it is you do well compared to others. Having no identity means we don't do anything particularly well. Miami has sucked for a long time, so people say we've got no identity. Likely due to a string of unsuccessful coaches who are fired before they see their system (identity) installed.

    Flores was closest since shula and probably why things are feeling a bit more hopeless this time. I got to admit, as a fan, whose made it my mission not to buy into anything miami does to quickly, this one sucks.
    Hooligan likes this.
  11. Irishman

    Irishman Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2017
    High Point, NC
  12. Irishman

    Irishman Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2017
    High Point, NC
    We do have an image.
    It is confusion.
    Don't laugh!
    It made for one hell of a good defense last year - LOL
  13. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets Club Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Slightly left of center
    No it's not
    Irishman likes this.
  14. Deus ex dolphin

    Deus ex dolphin Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2007
    This morning was a simpler time, a more innocent time.

    Now we see lawsuits and charges of the owner wanting games to be thrown. The Dolphin ship may be abandoned and a new crew will take over. That might be the best thing that could happen.
    Irishman likes this.
  15. jdallen1222

    jdallen1222 Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2013
    Plantation, Fl
    I am not familiar with philosophy but I understand the concept as “grandfather’s axe”.
  16. Phin McCool

    Phin McCool Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2017
    United Kingdom
    I always use the Ship of Theseus analogy for bands that have long since been established but, over the years, various band members leave for whatever reason and you're just left with say, the original guitarist and drummer with A.N Others, touring and recording under the original name. When does that band stop being that band? Queen are a prime example but there have been many more down the years. UFO toured with just Phil Mogg on vocals backed by a band of A.N Others, Sweet are still touring with just Andy Scott and a bunch of sessions. Is Deep Purple really Deep Purple without Blackmore, Lord and Paice?

    I think it's easier to apply the analogy to bands than it is to sports teams and franchises. With bands, the chemistry between the original members, musically and image wise, is mainly what brought success in the first place and carried the success on. That's the formula you initially buy into. With sports teams, you kind of expect there to be periods of plenty, followed by periods of famine with personnel changes aplenty. It's a more situationally volatile environment. You need that change over periods of time, you need to freshen things up, you need to bring in new players, managers, coaches, bringing new ideas into the fold, new ways of working etc. Sport is, by its nature, forever evolving and any sports club or franchise must evolve with it or get left behind. There was a TV advert for Volvo in the 80's showing a Volvo driving through the desert and, instead of the clichéd cattle skeletons laying amongst the cacti, there were skeletons of old, rusted cars. The strap line was 'The car that does not evolve, is the car that does not survive'. I've carried that mantra with me ever since, as I believe that it applies to everything in life. It can easily be argued that the Dolphins, as an organisation, sadly haven't evolved at all since Shula and Marino went.

    Great OP though. Provided much more thought-provoking discussion than the usual Tua in - Tua out stuff.
  17. OwesOwn614

    OwesOwn614 Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2020
    Great question, Galant. I only learned about Theseus' Ship after watching WandaVision last year and you posit a great real world situation to which the philosophical question applies.

    Personally, I think it's different for everybody. I can't tell you when it's no longer Theseus' Dolphins, but I can suggest beyond all doubt, that it's changed before or at the point that you're no longer a fan. And for that reason, it's going to fall on every fan to determine at which point he/she no longer feels connected to this team. Some said they were going to jump off when/if we had traded for DeShaun Watson. At that point, it's no longer Theseus' Dolphins for them. It's something else with a different identity.

    During the season, I posted that I would put my fandom at arm's length, meaning that I'd still root for good things but instead of watching the games every Sunday as I currently do, I'd be just as comfortable checking Gametracker during games or looking at box scores after them. That's how I got information for the first 45 years of my life; doing it again would be nothing to me. I'd never root against the franchise; I'd simply find it harder to justify rooting for it.

    But the ship is still the same for as long as it holds a particular identity in my mind and my connection goes back to 1971. I'm proud living and dying any given Sunday with my team, especially because I've done it so often. At the point that I'm no longer proud to say I'm a fan, it's no longer Theseus' Dolphins. I'm not there yet.

    FTR: This question lands particularly close to me because I had to consider it when I fell out of love with my favorite NCAA football team (which will remain nameless) about 23 years ago. I'm lucky that I'm still able to watch and enjoy college football without a favorite team. Not sure I could do that with the NFL after 50+ years of hating most teams.
    Galant likes this.
  18. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    All it takes is the right head coach.dont ya think?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2022
    Irishman likes this.

Share This Page