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A to Z Sports
Mike McDaniel made the right call on Dolphins' chase for NFL record
By Craig Smith,
The Miami Dolphins had a day on Sunday. A franchise best day. A day that no team has had since the 1960s.
And for head coach Mike McDaniel, that was enough.
The Dolphins defeated the Denver Broncos by a staggering score of 70-20 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami's home opener. The Dolphins scored touchdowns on ten of 13 full drives (excluding the one-play drive to end the first half), punting once and turning the ball over on downs twice.
The 70 points shattered the Dolphins' record for points in a game from November 24, 1977 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 55-14 win. The 70 points was also the most in the NFL since the Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants 72-41 in 1966.
And McDaniel could have surpassed all of those point totals and reached 73 points, which would have tied the Dolphins with the 1940 Chicago Bears at 73 points for the most in the history of the league.
So, with the Dolphins well within Jason Sanders range with under a minute to go, why didn't he go for the record?
Because he didn't need to. The point was already made. This Miami offense is as good as any team in the history of the NFL. They didn't need another three points to prove what three and a half hours had already clearly shown. It was obvious that, had Tua and the starters stayed on the field and executed their offense for four full quarters on Sunday, they would have cracked that mark.
They didn't need to do it, and they certainly didn't need to do it with a cheap tack-on field goal in the game's waning moments. The point was already long-since proven, and that was Miami's offense is absolutely elite.
McDaniel was asked in his postgame press conference about his decision to kneel instead of kick, and he said he was not interested in chasing an NFL record with a field goal there, citing the age-old lesson of karma.
"I try to think through all of my decisions and hold them with the importance that they do have," McDaniel said. "It felt like chasing points and chasing a record. That's not what we came to the game to do. That doesn't have a bearing on the overall season outcome. I saw it as, ten times out of ten, you concede and kneel down in those situations. There was an attainable record that was cool, but the message that I thought it would send wasn't really in line with how I view things. It's awesome to - I think it was the most points since (1966) or something. I think that's awesome for a regular season record. You can have that, and then suffer the same fate as we had last year. I don't care about that regular season record. It would have been cool, but what we're trying to do, I think I would be talking out of both sides of my mouth if we went and tried to send the field goal team on and squeeze an extra three (points). That's not what I'm really about.
"I will be fine getting second guessed by turning down NFL records. That's fine. I'm very ok with the decision, and I think the team - notably the leaders of the team - supported it. The captains supported it. It's not the way you want to get the record. I would hope that if the shoe is on the other foot, the opponent would feel the same way. That's called karma. I try to keep good karma with the Miami Dolphins."
McDaniel is correct about karma. He's also correct about the lack of importance of a regular season record in the grand scheme of things. They don't print T-shirts and give out rings for scoring the most points in a single NFL game.
They do for Super Bowl championships. Those take a high level of execution, some luck, and perhaps a little bit of good karma. And Mike McDaniel has some of the latter in his pocket now.