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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — One joke is deserving of a chuckle, a quick laugh.
It seems that someone attempted to insert a little sports comedic relief in a new movie, and it poked fun at the Miami Dolphins’ struggles in recent years.
We’ve been here before, considering Hootie & the Blowfish pointed out that “the Dolphins make me cry,” in their ’90s hit “Only Wanna Be With You.”
But a second mocking of the Dolphins in the science fiction movie “The Tomorrow War” was just cheap and comes off personal.
At least that is how I took “The Tomorrow War” digs at South Florida’s beloved but troubled NFL franchise, which has spent life after Dan Marino lost in a sports wilderness.
I get it, the Dolphins have been mediocre for much of two decades. But are we going to pretend that the Dolphins haven’t had eight winning seasons since 2000?
Sure, the Dolphins have only participated in four postseasons — 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2016 — during those two decades. But our football team’s struggles aren’t worth being the one franchise called out for not winning a Super Bowl in a movie plenty of folks watched during the Fourth of July weekend.
This is one of those scenarios where we can make fun of our buddy, poking fun at his insecurities, his struggles. But the minute some stranger chimes in things get uncomfortable.
That’s why the script writers for “The Tomorrow War” picked on the wrong NFL franchise, a proud and accomplished franchise with a strong and loyal fan base, which happens to have fallen on some hard times because of poor leadership, a lack of vision and a string of mediocre quarterbacks (this is a big one) over the past two decades.
The first dig was harmless. Maybe even curiosity seeing as how the main character harmlessly asks, “So, do the Miami Dolphins ever win the Super Bowl?” during the movie, which is centered on the ability to travel through time.
The backdrop of the first time-travel scene was Miami, so maybe there was regional interest.
If we’re being honest, we’re all curious if this franchise can finally get its act together during the Tua Tagovailoa era. It took Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls seven seasons to get to the mountain top.
Asking if the Dolphins ever get it together is harmless.
But later in the movie the main character’s father, played J.K. Simmons, asks Chris Pratt’s character, “So, how was the future? The Miami Dolphins still suck?” upon his return to the present.
Flag on the play!
That mocking crossed a line and sounds personal.
Then, the fact that the movie’s soundtrack actually has a instrumental called “Miami Dolphins Still Suck” seems to prove it is personal.
Maybe it was a Jets or Bills fan in the writer’s room taking a cheap shot. But what have either of those franchise won in the same time span?
And right until the past two years, which featured the Bills producing 10 and 13 win seasons, those two AFC East rivals have trailed the Dolphins for wins since 2010.
The Dolphins, who own a 80-96 record since 2010, aren’t even the worst franchise in its division in recent history.
That shame belongs to the Jets, which produced a 70-106 record during that 11-year stretch.
And its the Cleveland Browns that own the worst record since 2010, sitting at 53-122-1.
Insert the Browns into “The Tomorrow War” sports references and the joke has more accuracy to it.
But as it stands, saying that the Dolphins, a tradition-rich franchise that still possesses one of the NFL’s biggest followings, sucks just comes off petty.
The Dolphins have a storied history of winning that goes back to when people used Encyclopedias. But if we are just going on recent history, highlighting the ineptitude of past few eras, it is reasonable to criticize Miami’s struggles.
Nobody in their 20s has ever seen the Dolphins win anything but the AFC East in 2008, the year Tom Brady was hurt.
All they have are stories of yesteryear, glory that comes with Geritol and an annual champagne celebration when every team finally has a loss.
But for the sake of accuracy, it should be pointed out that the Dolphins are not a bottom-five franchise when it comes to wins and losses the past decade.
So hold your head up high Dolphins fans.
You’re officially mediocre, just like this “Independence Day” knock off of a movie. You actually don’t suck.