Little Respect

The arrival of Bill Parcells and his colleagues might have gotten positive reviews around the football world, but apparently few believe a Dolphins turnaround will happen quickly. To discover that, all you have to do is check out the various annual football publications that are now on newsstands.

We have come across six such publications in recent weeks, and they're almost unanimous in their belief that the Dolphins once again will finish last in the AFC East.

Among The Sporting News, Lindy's, Pro Football Weekly, Athlon, Surefire Scouting and Pro Football GamePlan, only Lindy's has the Dolphins somewhere other than fourth in the division.

And it's not like Lindy's is expecting big things from Miami, putting the Dolphins third in the division behind New England and Buffalo.

Not surprisingly, all six publications have New England finishing first, while three have Buffalo second and three have the Jets second.

Given the Dolphins' 1-15 finish last season, it figured that predictions would have them at or near the bottom of the division standings again in 2008, but what does history say?

For that, let's check back to the other teams that finished 1-15 and how they did the next season.

1980 New Orleans Saints: The Saints were 4-12 in 1981, finishing last in the NFC West.

1989 Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys, coached by Jimmy Johnson, improved to 7-9 the next season and finished fourth out of five teams in the NFC East.

1990 New England Patriots: The Pats went to 6-10 in 1991, finishing fourth out of five teams in the AFC East.

1991 Indianapolis Colts: The Colts made a big jump, going 9-7 in 1992 and finishing third out of five teams in the AFC East.

1996 N.Y. Jets: Parcells took over as head coach after the 1-15 debacle and helped the Jets rebound to 9-7 in his first year there. The Jets finished third out of five teams in the AFC East in 1997.

2000 San Diego Chargers: The Chargers improved from the 1-15 to 5-11, but remained last in the AFC West in 2001.

2001 Carolina Panthers: The Panthers made a big jump from 1-15 to 7-9 in 2002, but still finished fourth out of four teams in the new NFC South.

So that's seven teams that have finished 1-15 since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978, and only three that stayed in last place the following season.

Maybe that bodes well for the Dolphins, even if the so-called "experts" don't think so.

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