Different December doldrums

Wednesday is the first day of December, which usually is a time when we wonder whether this will be the year the Dolphins finish strong. But this season is totally different. This season, it doesn't matter.

It's awfully strange for those who root for, follow or cover the Dolphins. So much has been made of their December doldrums of recent years, but at least they always had something to play for in December.

Now, with all due respects to veterans like Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas who will give their all no matter what, the Dolphins merely are playing out the string.

Dolphins fans are finding out what fans of the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals have experienced for years.

It's really not much fun, is it?

The Dolphins haven't been to the Super Bowl since the 1984 season, that's true, but they's always been competitive.

This year will mark their first losing season since 1988. That had been the longest current streak in the NFL.

And even though the Dolphins didn't make the playoffs either of the previous two seasons, they were in the race until the end.

So was this season an aberration, one of the strange years when everything that can go wrong actually does, or is it the beginning of a slide where the Dolphins become the Bengals and Cardinals for a few years themselves?

Maybe those last five games will provide some sort of answer or indication as to what kind of immediate future the Dolphins have. And that, in itself, is more than reason enough to hope for a strong finish.

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