Last season when the Miami Dolphins got off to their terrible 1-3 start and Coach Joe Philbin was fired, things were looking as dark as ever. But something happened; the Dolphins got an opportunity to play the Tennessee Titans, also 1-3, under interim HC Dan Campbell.
In that game the Dolphins exploded in front of a home crowd, scoring 38 points while downing the Tennessee Titans by 4 touchdowns, 38-10.
The Dolphins beating the Titans is really nothing new. Since the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee and became the Titans, the Dolphins have beaten them in 7 of the 11 contests they’ve played since 1997. That was the year the Oilers left Houston for good.
These teams actually have a long history. The series goes back to the Dolphins inaugural season of 1966. The Dolphins picked up their 2nd career win in Houston that year. The teams met 24 times between 1966 and 1996 when the Dolphins last went to Houston to play the Oilers. During that span the Dolphins won 12 games…And lost 12 games.
One of the most memorable games in NFL history was played between the Dolphins and Oilers in 1978, when Miami traveled to Houston for a Monday night battle. Any Dolphins fan who saw that game winced watching Oilers running back Earl Campbell trample all over Dolphins Defense for 199 yards, in Houston’s 35-30 win over Miami. Later that year with the playoffs being expanded, allowing two Wild-Card teams in each conference, the Dolphins again met the Oilers in the playoffs. In that Wild-Card game in the Orange Bowl, the Oilers again beat the Dolphins 17-9, knocking them out of that year’s Super Bowl chase.
These teams have played a total of 35 times in their respective histories with many of the games being close. Though the Dolphins hold a 19-16 series lead, 10 of these games have been decided by 3 points or less.
In this last preseason game where most of the rosters are already set, except for a precious few spots, neither team is likely to play many regulars for fear of injury. Also, due to Tennessee coming back to Miami on Oct. 9, this season, I don’t expect either team to pull out their best plays, giving away secrets in a meaningless game.
With this season’s first game at Seattle on Sept 11 just over a week away, the Dolphins and their fans are feeling the excitement of a brand new season. A season of hope, a season of dreams, and just maybe… a Super Bowl team!