Yes, the NFL Did the Miami Dolphins Dirty With Their Schedule — But So What?

The NFL made the 2024 Miami Dolphins schedule about as challenging as possible. But it absolutely is no excuse for the team falling short of its goals.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins in 2024 will go a stretch of 47 days with just one home game.

Those late-summer, blast-furnace afternoon home games that sap the will of their visitors from up north? They don’t have any.

They’ve got two cross-continental flights, including the longest non-international road trip in football.

And they close the season with six games against teams that either made the playoffs a year ago or very well might have, had their Hall of Fame quarterback not snapped his heel on the first possession of the season.

So, yeah, the league did the Dolphins absolutely no favors with their 2024 schedule. But we’d suggest that they swallow any rightful frustration with the NFL.

Why?

Because losers complain about circumstances. Champions overcome them.

Challenging Miami Dolphins Schedule Is No Excuse

Based on the DNA of this Mike McDaniel-led franchise, we expect their reaction (at least in public) to sound a lot like what Alec Ingold said after Miami’s regular-season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills four months back:

“Feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help anything.”

And they’d be absolutely correct.

Indeed, the Dolphins got absolutely no breaks this year. And yet, anything less than both making the playoffs and advancing deep in them in 2024 should still be viewed as a failure.

They have a team loaded with stars, including the latest addition Odell Beckham Jr., who spoke with reporters hours before the schedule’s official release Wednesday.

“I want to win a Super Bowl,” Beckham told reporters Wednesday. “I still dare to be great. There is a reason that I’m still doing this, still playing.”

For the Dolphins to make the Super Bowl, they presumably need a high seed. Getting one in the loaded AFC was always going to be a challenge. The path is more challenging than last year — and they couldn’t get it done then.

Due to a scheduling quirk, the Dolphins have nine true road games in 2024 after having just seven a year ago. But that’s just the start of it. The New York Jets should be better with Aaron Rodgers healthy. And there’s no way the New England Patriots can be any worse.

So the division will be improved. And the non-divisional slate is no picnic either. Six of the 11 teams have betting win totals of 8.5 or more.

The Dolphins will travel the second-most miles (25,869) of any franchise. The league could have cut down on the team’s carbon footprint had it scheduled the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams in consecutive weeks (which apparently was Miami’s preference). Instead, they’ll fly to Seattle in Week 3 and L.A. in Week 10.

What’s more, the NFL somehow managed to front-load the Dolphins’ home schedule (three of their first four are at Hard Rock Stadium) without giving them the benefit of playing during the hottest part of the day.

Two of those three home games (vs. Buffalo and Tennessee) are under the lights. In all, the Dolphins have five prime-time games, tying the most in franchise history.

So, the weird distribution of home games, coupled with a Week 6 bye, means the Dolphins will have just one home game over the stretch of nearly seven weeks.

The Dolphins probably need to win a lot of those road games. Because the closing stretch is brutal:

  • At Green Bay on Thanksgiving night
  • Home against the Jets in Week 14
  • At the Houston Texans in Week 15
  • Home against the San Francisco 49ers three days before Christmas
  • At the Cleveland Browns (in prime time) on Dec. 29
  • And then at the Jets to close out the season

Each one of those could be a de facto playoff game.

It’s about as challenging a closing stretch as it gets.

To that, we say: Boohoo. Go win them.

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