Brees over Culpepper? How about a couple other "What Ifs" in Miami Dolphins history?

EJay

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People keep harping on the reason Marino never saw another SB, was because he did not have a running game to help him, I disagree, Marino was an offense all by himself, putting up 30+ points way more then not and making it way to easy.
Totally agree. While a run game would have been nice in certain late game situations, or to keep a defense guessing, it certainly wasn’t a necessity or close to the largest reason Miami didn’t win a SB era.

The Dolphins achilles heel always was their defense. The offense was surely productive enough to win, despite the lack of a complimentary run game. Proof lies in the fact that MIA reached a Superbowl and a couple other AFC Championship games with merely average at best defenses.

The major problem in all three of those games was surrendering 38, 31, and 29 points. Yes, the offense only scored 16, 14, and 10 points in those same games - which surely wasn’t great. But it kinda doesn’t matter from the standpoint of when any team surrenders an average of 32.67 in games like that, they mostly likely aren’t going to win even when the offense is productive at a more acceptable level.

While turnovers and lack of moving chains surely played a factor, many times during Marino’s career the Dolphins lost the time of possession and ball control battle because their defense couldn’t get off the field. Had the defense been more physical against the run or had linebackers that could cover a screen pass, they would have won more games. They would have won more playoff games, and quite possibly a SB.

Even the 16 points they scored in the 1985 SB would have been enough to win 5 of the total games played. Hell, one of the Patriots 6 trophies was won when they only scored 13 points — just barely over a year ago. If Miami had a legit defense, perhaps they could have done the same in games when the offense wasn’t great. But more times that not, they were busy losing games 51-45 or 44-34.

Lastly, the way the game is played today proves that you don’t have to have a run game to win. Rule changes have made it a more pass heavy league, of course. But still, it’s always been possible to win having a run dominant or pass dominant team. A team just has to have competent defense and special teams to compliment it.

Miami rarely, if ever, had both during the Marino era. If the defense didn’t let them down, special teams did.
 

39wildman

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Totally agree. While a run game would have been nice in certain late game situations, or to keep a defense guessing, it certainly wasn’t a necessity or close to the largest reason Miami didn’t win a SB era.

The Dolphins achilles heel always was their defense. The offense was surely productive enough to win, despite the lack of a complimentary run game. Proof lies in the fact that MIA reached a Superbowl and a couple other AFC Championship games with merely average at best defenses.

The major problem in all three of those games was surrendering 38, 31, and 29 points. Yes, the offense only scored 16, 14, and 10 points in those same games - which surely wasn’t great. But it kinda doesn’t matter from the standpoint of when any team surrenders an average of 32.67 in games like that, they mostly likely aren’t going to win even when the offense is productive at a more acceptable level.

While turnovers and lack of moving chains surely played a factor, many times during Marino’s career the Dolphins lost the time of possession and ball control battle because their defense couldn’t get off the field. Had the defense been more physical against the run or had linebackers that could cover a screen pass, they would have won more games. They would have won more playoff games, and quite possibly a SB.

Even the 16 points they scored in the 1985 SB would have been enough to win 5 of the total games played. Hell, one of the Patriots 6 trophies was won when they only scored 13 points — just barely over a year ago. If Miami had a legit defense, perhaps they could have done the same in games when the offense wasn’t great. But more times that not, they were busy losing games 51-45 or 44-34.

Lastly, the way the game is played today proves that you don’t have to have a run game to win. Rule changes have made it a more pass heavy league, of course. But still, it’s always been possible to win having a run dominant or pass dominant team. A team just has to have competent defense and special teams to compliment it.

Miami rarely, if ever, had both during the Marino era. If the defense didn’t let them down, special teams did.
You still need running game to win in nfl. Williams should of been mvp of SB.
 

Ferretsquig

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The Brees what if is so fascinating given that they passed up on him twice. And both times it was like he was being offered up on a silver platter. He was the obvious choice at the time both in the '01 draft and when he hit free agency.
 

Goin' Deep

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The Brees what if is so fascinating given that they passed up on him twice. And both times it was like he was being offered up on a silver platter. He was the obvious choice at the time both in the '01 draft and when he hit free agency.
He wasn't the obvious choice in free agency. The popular opinion was to go with Culpepper because of the gaudy stats he put up in Minn. Go with bad knee guy or bad shoulder guy. Plenty of people at the time thought go with bad knee guy. Didn't help that our own doctors helped to make the wrong decision.
 

Ferretsquig

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He wasn't the obvious choice in free agency. The popular opinion was to go with Culpepper because of the gaudy stats he put up in Minn. Go with bad knee guy or bad shoulder guy. Plenty of people at the time thought go with bad knee guy. Didn't help that our own doctors helped to make the wrong decision.
Brees was clearly the better QB of the two. I don't think there was much hesitation even on the Dolphins' part until the doctors got in the way.
 

Bopkin02

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I never understood why Shula stuck by Olivadotti. I never understood why Shula or the front office never went after Arnsparger in 1992. I never could figure out why Olivadotti had that long of a tenure with the Phins. He sucked. He couldn't scheme against the K-gun and I remember Thurman Thomas running wild.
The story I heard that Olivadotti and Shula were prayer partners every morning. Shula was an extremely religious guy, he almost became a priest, but opted for football instead.
In the 90s, Olivadotti and Shula went to mass or prayer together every morning and formed a bond. Shula was a very loyal guy, and it probably would have been against his code to fire Olivadotti to replace him with Arnspargar, because Shula was so tight with T.O.
That's the best i can do to answer that question. It is also an issue that aggravated the players back then too. I saw a couple of times players who played for Olivadotti criticizing his scheming.
 

Viggen

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Not to go all sick, but what if Pittsburgh drafts Dan Marino in 83, Shula muddles thru the 80s and is replaced in 89 by Jimmy Johnson?
 

Adam Strange

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That’s not true. While that’s certainly been the case from 2006 on, if you compare both players careers prior to 2006, Culpepper was clearly the more successful and more accomplished QB.
Yep— Brees prior to New Orleans was not viewed the same way he is now. Curious how he’d be viewed had he come to Miami instead.
 

Ferretsquig

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That’s not true. While that’s certainly been the case from 2006 on, if you compare both players careers prior to 2006, Culpepper was clearly the more successful and more accomplished QB.
I don't question that Culpepper was the more accomplished player. He had some amazing seasons with Moss.

However I still don't think there was ever any question who the better QB was amongst the coaching staff or fans who looked a little beyond the box score. Culpepper had the mobility (at least pre injury) and arm over Brees but not much else. The only real question was whether Brees would fully recover. If the medical staff had said yes he would have been a Phin.
 

lbmclean_nocal

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If you really boil it down Brees vs Culpepper was just a **** choice. The Saints got lucky and our Franchise was always just desperate for quick fixes. The real narrative is that no vision and crappy drafting just led to desperation. Unfortunately a year ago actual perspective led to the narrative that we were tanking.
 

EJay

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I don't question that Culpepper was the more accomplished player. He had some amazing seasons with Moss.

However I still don't think there was ever any question who the better QB was amongst the coaching staff or fans who looked a little beyond the box score. Culpepper had the mobility (at least pre injury) and arm over Brees but not much else. The only real question was whether Brees would fully recover. If the medical staff had said yes he would have been a Phin.
I agree that the Dolphins preferred Brees for their system. That's been confirmed by Nick Saban. But I believe it's a big stretch to say there was no question who the better QB was. You're speaking from a POV that now has the gift of hindsight.

Back in 2006, I'm quite certain there was a lot more division and variance of opinion across the league and fans. Brees had merely been an ok QB during his 5 year stint in SD. He never came close to the type of production he now produces on a yearly basis. He also underachieved in several of the marquee games the Chargers had. That's part of the reason SD drafted Philip Rivers in the first place.

Meanwhile, Culpepper posted several mega seasons that Brees hadn't yet come close to touching. If it hadn't been for the knee injury that threatened his mobility and dual threat capability, he surely would have been the more coveted QB by a majority of teams back then.
 

fishbanger

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Brees over Jamar Fletcher.
what if Czonka, Kick and Warfield don't sign with world football league. Thats way up there.
What if marino had a top 10 defense.
What if Shula kept coaching till marino retired. Should have stayed with marino.
what if we drafted Matt Ryan and not hired bill Parcells (don't know how to build a team).
 
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