New Season, New Way Of Watching “Together”

September 13th, 2020

We're Going To The Super Bowl!

I know most Dolphins fans have been looking forward this day for two years after knowing last year was going to be less than ideal. The day is finally here and instead of watching together at Slattery’s in a packed bar we are spread out all over the place

watching on couches trying to connect with our fellow Phins fans.

Well, today we are announcing our Dolfans NYC Discord server. All you have to do is Download the app Discord or just go to Discord.com and you can join a live Dolfans NYC chat room. If you haven’t used Discord before, it was originally used as a place to play video games with other people but has blown up in the Covid era as a way for people to keep in touch. Our server has chat rooms for the Dolphins, for general NFL and fantasy talk, as well as a place to argue with each other so we can keep the main rooms free from that. We also will have a “Celebrate” channel where you can turn on your audio when the Dolphins score and we can all sing the fight song together! It should be very cool.

Click this link to get invited into our room, and once you are there, just read the chat rules and click the checkmark saying you’ve read them and you are good to go! Can’t wait to talk to everyone on there.

We also have a few other things going on for game day today.

  1. We have a 50/50 raffle to raise money for the west coast fire relief efforts. Tickets are $5 or 5 tickets for $20. We will draw after the game. We only take PayPal so send the money to dolfansnyc@gmail.com.
  2. We made Dolfans NYC gifs! If you search “DolfansNYC” in the Giphy or Tenor gif searches they should come up. Giphy is Twitter’s search so it works on there and Tenor works on our Discord.
  3. Michelle wants to put together a video of people’s game days experience today. So send a little video or some photos of your setup or celebration to dolfansnyc@gmail.com and she is going to edit them together into something. Sing the fight song when we score!

Okay, that’s it for now. We will hopefully have updates soon on what’s going on with Slattery’s once NYC allows indoor dining at the end of the month, and we plan on doing something for the #MetLifeTakeover, although we are not sure what that looks like yet. Can’t wait to see everyone in person again, but until then, see you on Discord!

Phins up!

2020 Draft Recap

April 26th, 2020
2020 NFL Draft
Look Mom, I’m Famous!

I love the NFL Draft. Dolfans NYC used to do group trips every year when the Draft was in NYC. I went to Dallas a couple of years ago and I was supposed to be in Vegas for the Draft before the coronavirus messed everything up. Even with the virus I still ended up on TV when Tua was picked! But with all that said, I am the last person who should be doing a Draft recap.

I don’t watch a lot of college football, and even if I did I still could never be one of those Draft obsessed fans. I learned years ago that any time I get obsessed about a player they would end up on another team. Even this year I got really into the Tank for Tua thing and started watching Alabama games only to be crushed when he got injured. Ironically him getting hurt was the only way we were able to land him, but the point remains. I try not to pay any attention to the Draft, until it starts.

That being said, I might not be an expert on the Draft, but I do know a lot about the problems the Dolphins have and I think the Dolphins did a great job of addressing them. I had a few disappointments, but nothing I can complain about too much. For example I would love to have seen us keep trading picks back to pick up 2021 selections. But we have a lot of holes and already had nine picks next year so it’s hard to complain. We did end up trading one of our 7th round picks for a 6th rounder next year which I was happy to see.

Before I give you my quick take on the picks I should mention that it’s cool to see an obvious strategy from Grier as he picked a number players who either didn’t live up to their potential or had injuries that caused them to fall. It’s a risky strategy but you can see that the Dolphins are really focusing on 2021. They picked players that they could spend a year molding. I have a feeling our 2021 Draft picks are going to be much more polished day one starter types. The three year plan is really taking shape. Even the trade for running back Matt Breida is a perfect example. He’s a player who did really well with limited touches on a one year contract. If he plays great you can resign him and if not you have a stop gap and can draft his replacement early next year. It was a perfect solution to not being able to get one of the top tier RBs early.

Okay, let’s do this.

Pick #5: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama – I have no interest in any more arguing about what QB the Dolphins should target. Tua has more upside than any other player in the draft and we didn’t even have to give anything to move up. Let’s just pray he works out and the Dolphins their answer at quarterback for a long, long time. What a moment.

Pick #18: OT Austin Jackson, USC – While I loved the Tunsil trade, giving up Minkah Fitzpatrick was hard to swallow, but I thought the Steelers were going to be a lot worse than they were. The 18th pick was a tough one with all the elite OTs gone and my personal pick Jerry Jeudy gone as well (OL is way more of a need but how fun would a Tua/Jeudy combo been?). It seems like a consensus that the Dolphins reached here with Jackson, but we got a very good player that had an off year after donating bone marrow to his sister. My hope is that by 2021 he will be much stronger and ready to protect Tua’s strong side for years to come.

Pick #30: CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn – I don’t know anything about Igbinoghene but people I trust seem to absolutely love him. He was a WR two years ago and was still a shutdown corner. He could improve so much with that one more year under his belt. And for those upset we picked a CB when we have Howard and Jones already, just remember how many injuries we have had in the secondary in the past and how often we are in nickel and dime defenses. Plus a dominant secondary makes up for a questionable pass rush.

Pick #39: OL Robert Hunt, Louisiana-Lafayette – I was saying on Twitter that if the Dolphins drafted nothing but linemen after Tua I would be happy and I am not sure that I was joking. This is how you build a football team. Hunt is a versatile lineman who can play tackle or guard and if he works out he could be protecting Tua’s blind side for years, and if not that versatility gives us a great depth option like Jesse Davis.

Pick #56: DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama – I am very happy to see us drafting linemen on either side of the ball. We have some players I like up front but we were still garbage against the run and hopefully Davis will help with that. Plus being the second player on our team named after the rapper Raekwon is honestly incredible. Wu Tang forever!

Pick #70: S Brandon Jones, Texas – I was hoping we would get a safety earlier but please do yourself a favor and watch some Jones highlights. The man can tackle. Safety is my favorite position on the field and I just love seeing people get crushed by a safety who is running full speed up field. Nothing would make me happier than Jones making me forget that Fitzpatrick was ever on the team. (BTW Reshad Jones is still a free agent and if we resigned him that would give us 3 Jonese in the secondary.)

Pick #111: G Solomon Kindley, Georgia – Keep drafting linemen! Kindley is an absolute beast and the Dolphins must love him because they gave up two picks to get him. He’s apparently a fantastic pass blocker only giving up four sacks in over 900 attempts. He’s also very fast and very mean and will hopefully become a fixture at left guard for the Dolphins.

Pick #154: DL Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina – Strobridge is an athletic run stopping lineman who can play inside or out. He’s also from South Florida which is always cool. He should perfectly compliment the man who was chosen 10 picks after him. He also blocked four kicks in college which could be a great added bonus.

Pick #164: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State – A lot of people are talking about Weaver being the steal of the draft. PFF had him as the 26th player on their draft board and we got him 138 picks later. An undersized pass rusher who can come in on passing downs to spell a player like Strowbridge and just line up and go after the QB. We got one of the best pass rushers in college football in the 5th round (although we did give up a 7th to move up for him) and hopefully he will turn out a lot better than some of our recent DE selections.

Pick #185: LS Blake Ferguson, LSU –  This was the only pick I had a problem. I loved John Denney so much and I was so disappointed to see him go, but he was replaced by a hilarious dude named Taybor who is a big gamer and Tweets constantly. He was so much fun to have on the team, especially because I don’t remember him making any mistakes as a long snapper and I presume on a league minimum salary. Drafting someone, even with a 6th round pick, means you are spending more money and way more resources on a position that can be filled cheaply. I was hoping Taybor would have a chance to compete but I literally got a text in the middle of writing this article telling me he had been cut. Farewell young prince!

Pick #246: WR Malcolm Perry, Navy – If you want to enjoy some highlights watch Perry’s. He played QB, WR and RB in college and does nothing but take footballs to the house. The guy is a scoring machine. 7th round picks don’t usually work out so you might as well draft a guy with a ton of upside. If his game could translate to the NFL he could be so much fun to have as a slot receiver or a third down back…. and just think of the trick plays!

Tua Tagovailoa: Joining Dolphins Is “Dream Come True”

April 23rd, 2020
Tua Tagovailoa Zoom Press Conference
Tua Tagovailoa address Dolphins media in a Zoom press conference. (Yes, I used my son’s iPad.)

When the smokescreen finally cleared on Thursday night, after months of speculation and endless rumors, the Dolphins landed their quarterback of the future.

Flanked by his parents and siblings inside his Alabaster, Ala. home, Tua Tagovailoa slid a black Miami Dolphins cap on his head and a lei around his neck, after officially joining the Dolphins as the No. 5 pick in the NFL Draft.

For Tagovailoa, hearing his name called by the commissioner was “a dream come true” for him and his family. Now that he’s a member of the Dolphins, the next step is building camaraderie with his new teammates and soaking in knowledge from the veterans.

“The most important thing is probably getting everyone’s phone numbers on the team and creating relationships, maybe starting with the quarterbacks,” he said.

“(Ryan Fitzpatrick) has so much knowledge of the game. I think it’s best that I pick (his brain) … question him and learn from him.”

Tagovailoa’s star talent was never in question. In nine games last season, Tagovailoa, the most efficient quarterback in college football history, threw for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions, while completing 71.4 percent of his passes. As a sophomore, the lefty signal-caller finished second in the Heisman Trophy race after tossing for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

But a lengthy injury history, most notably a dislocated right hip he suffered in mid-November, led many to believe the one-time favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick might slide toward the middle of the first round.

In the weeks leading up to the Draft, the former Alabama star was fully cleared by his surgeon and received positive reviews from a hip specialist in Nashville.

Tagovailoa recognized he won’t enter training camp atop the depth chart, but he fully expects to compete for the starting job with the incumbent Fitzpatrick.

“That has to be the mindset,” Tagovailoa said. “Competition is usually always healthy. You not only get better yourself, but you get the entire quarterback room better that way.”

The new franchise quarterback isn’t concerned about changing his jersey from No. 13 – “Dan Marino is the G.O.A.T.” he said – but rather following in the footsteps of the Dolphins legend.

“What I have to do is go out there and earn my respect,” Tagovailoa said. “I’m trying to prove this is the right decision for the organization.”

If the early consensus is any indication, Dolphins fans around the country are ecstatic with the pick. The Dolfans NYC Facebook page was littered with thumbs-up emojis and jubilant GIFs immediately after the announcement. In a poll asking if the team made the right move, the overwhelming majority voted ‘Yes.’

“He’s the best QB in the Draft,” one member said. “Let’s keep the young man healthy and see what he can do!”

2019 #MetLifeTakeover Video

April 3rd, 2020

The 2019 #MetLifeTakeover video is finally here! It took way longer than we wanted it’s been a crazy winter for all of us here at Dolfans NYC and I am just glad we finally got it done and I think you guys will see that it came out great. 2019 was not exactly a great year for the Dolphins, and this game didn’t go super great on the field, but despite our lower than normal numbers, we had one hell of a tailgate and having two full sections of Dolphins fans is still pretty damn impactful. You could easily hear us on  TV yelling from the upper decks.

The video includes interviews with Dolphins alumni Nat Moore, Dolfans NYC regular Shawn Wooden, and Joe Rose plus the Dolphins Jason Jenkin’s who presented us with a framed custom Dolphins jersey celebrating our 10th anniversary of our Jets game takeovers. The video also includes interviews with South Florida South Sentinel Dolphins writers Safid Deen and Omar Kelly and of course a ton of Dolphins fans.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped out, Oscar Collazos for hosting, Curtis from RizeOptix for directing and editing the video, Urban Tailgate for the great food and drink, Solo D for the live performance, Tropic 2.0 & DJ Syck Turtle for the tailgate music and Sailor Jerry for sponsoring the event. Also, a big shout out to Hotels.com for coming out and filming a video about us. And of course big thanks to the Miami Dolphins for all the support including setting up a live taping of The Joe Rose show in the middle of our tailgate.

We also want to thank all of you guys for helping us raise over $10,00 for charity this season. And we need to ask your help again. We are trying to raise money for the 14 members of the Slattery’s staff who have been laid off because of the Coronavirus. So far we have raised enough to give them each $200, but we would like to do more, so if you want to help out, please PayPal us whatever you can to DolfansNYC@gmail.com. We are going to randomly select one of the people who donate to win a prize once the world gets back to normal, but we don’t know what that is yet because we need to be able to get back into Slattery’s to see what we have to give away.

Okay! That’s it. Please take the time to watch the video, we put a lot of work into it. Plus, I have a feeling you guys don’t have anything else to be doing while you are stuck in quarantine! NYC and Florida are two of the hardest hit places so please, please stay safe out there! Phins up!

Finatics: On The Road In NYC

January 7th, 2020

Our #MetLifeTakeover video is taking longer than expected to get finished, so I wanted to get up something to hold you guys over in the meantime. During the Jets game the Dolphins and Hotels.com followed us around and did a little video about us, Slattery’s and the event. It was pretty cool but they only posted it on social media so we wanted an easier to find permanent location for it. We put it on our Vimeo page and I figured I would post it for you guys as well.

It’s a great video and hope you guys will check it out if you haven’t already. We will be back soon with our official #MetLifeTakeover wrap up video!

2019 #MetLifeTakeover Photos And Recap

December 10th, 2019

Wow, this weekend was amazing, well at least it was until that pass interference review… But even with the loss the #MetLifeTakeover event was a huge success. With the Dolphins having some issues on the field we had less fans join us this year, but it turns out 500+ Dolfans is still a huge party!

Not only was it a blast but between the pre-party at Slattery’s on Saturday and the tailgate on Sunday we raised a TON of money for charity. Our raffle for a signed Dan Marino/ Zach Thomas hat ended up raising over $700 for the Dan Marino Foundation and we raised a lot more money throughout the weekend. We also collected three huge boxes of toys for Toys For Tots and the Dolphins came out as part of their Huddle For 100 initiative and set up a table where people could make Christmas cards for troops overseas.

During the live taping of Joe Rose’s Cup of Joe radio show we donated $5000 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation bringing our total giving for the year up to $10,000 and that doesn’t include our food, toy and dental supply drives or the money we raised Saturday night for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge  which takes place in February. During the taping the Dolphins also surprised us with a framed jersey celebrating our 10th anniversary, it was pretty amazing.

We also had a South Florida CBS affiliate come do a live Facebook video from the tailgate which was pretty cool as well. We will have a bunch more video coming soon as the Dolphins did a video about us in collaboration with Hotels.com and we of course have our yearly wrap up video that should be out by the end of the season.

We had a bunch of Dolphins alumni make it to the tailgate. Along with Joe Rose and Nat Moore who are regulars we also had Shawn Wooden, Terry Kirby and Ed Perry. Shawn’s son plays football at Columbia so he comes by Slattery’s enough that he’s part of our crew now. Glad he got to check out the Takeover.

Huge thanks to Solo D, DJ Tropic and DJ Syck Turtle for providing the music for the tailgate and Outsnapped for doing our photobooth. (See the photo booth photos here!) Thanks to Sailor Jerry for providing a bunch of rum as always and Hotels.com for providing a $500 gift card and pregame field passes for the raffle.

And finally, huge thanks to Urban Tailgate for running the catered tailgate again. They make our lives so much easier and we are doing it all again on Sunday! We decided to do a scaled down tailgate for the Giants game. Tailgate tickets are only $45 ($35 for food only) and will feature the same great food, just a few less options and of course all you can drink alcohol. Get your tailgate tickets here! Prices go up to $55 if you wait until game day. We will be in the same spot, bus lot, L4 and feel free to BYO as well. The tailgate won’t have a live DJ, but we will have music and our merch for sale, cornhole set up and a bunch of other stuff and we still have a bunch of the boom sticks we gave away on Sunday left, so come and grab one to bring inside.

So that’s the full wrap up and now it’s time to look at some photos. I didn’t do a great job taking photos and working the event at the same time, but I think you are going to enjoy them anyway! Thanks for coming and hope to see a ton of you guys on Sunday! Phins up!

2019 #MetLifeTakeover

#MetLifeTakeover Updates

November 23rd, 2019

Hey guys, you might have noticed that our site has been screwed up for a couple of weeks. We had a bad malware attack that we have finally fixed, but it took a while. And don’t worry, since everyone pays with PayPal, we don’t collect any of your info that could have been hacked. We are actually going to be migrating to a new server this week so expect some more downtime while that happens. We have created a temporary #MetLifeTakeover website that will exist until the site is up and running again, but if you can see this post, click here to buy your Takeover tickets.

The other big news is that we are no longer doing a Giants catered tailgate. We unfortunately did not have enough interest.  We are still doing a tailgate but it is going to be a BYO situation. If you bought tailgate tickets you will be refunded if you haven’t been already. We are also still providing transportation to the game from our bar Slattery’s and still have bus tickets available for both games at the link above.

Lastly, I thought you guys might enjoy this video I found from our first ever Jets group event. MetLife Stadium didn’t exist yet and there were only 35 of us, so it wasn’t exactly a “Takeover” but it’s a fun look at our humble beginnings!

Albert Wilson Makes Impact Through Philanthropy, Community Service Initiatives

November 22nd, 2019
Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson hosts an annual Youth Skills Camp in his hometown of Fort Pierce, Fla. Image Credit: AWF – ithinkisee12.com

In Week 8, Dolfans NYC raised over $250 through raffles and donated a total of $500 to The Albert Wilson Foundation, which is committed to creating opportunities that will enhance the lives of children in foster care. 

After spending much of his childhood in the South Florida foster care system, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson understands, as well as anyone, the importance of giving back to youth in his community and helping to improve the lives of those less fortunate. 

So whether he’s devoting his time or money through the foundation he founded in 2016, Wilson begins each day by asking himself the same central question. 

“How can I make a foster kid’s day better?” 

That objective entails free, year-round activities for foster children, including youth camps, book drives and holiday giveaways. Wilson, who earned an athletic scholarship to Georgia State, also hopes to open doors for children seeking to continue their education outside of Florida. 

“Growing up in foster care, and (having) the opportunity to go to Georgia State, I feel like that was my opportunity to grow and become a better person,” he said. “I don’t want to limit the people in foster care, so our main goal is to get out-of-state scholarships to foster kids.” 

As an advocate for foster children, the Fort Pierce, Fla. native recognizes he can make a difference through face-to-face conversations with youngsters in need of guidance from someone who, not too long ago, was in their shoes. 

“If it’s just me going over and saying, ‘Hey,’ or if I have to go to a home and talk to the kids, or be that distant role model or that distant big brother for them,” he said, “I just try to (help) any way I can.” 

The stories he hears resonate with the 27-year-old, who’s experienced the same frustration and the same despair. 

Wilson was placed in foster care twice: for several months at age 6, and again from 12 until he aged out of the system at 18. During those years, while his parents were incarcerated, he shuttled between group homes and foster homes, too many to keep track, until finding security with the Bailey family in Port St. Lucie. 

“I love those guys. I met them, maybe a couple of days after the second time I went into the foster care system, when I was in eighth grade,” Wilson said. “I ended up living with them for maybe a year and some change; I want to say (until) my (sophomore) year of high school. They’re a great family. They took in tons of kids and ended up adopting eight.” 

When he speaks to foster parents nowadays, Wilson leans on his ongoing relationship with the Baileys, caring people who “do it the right way,” to provide a guideline of how the foster care system is ideally designed to work. 

During his stay, he found comfort and support, and more importantly, quickly learned to not blame himself for his circumstances. 

“(It’s important) to let the kids know that it’s not their fault that they’re in foster care,” Wilson said. “A lot of kids feel like it’s something they did wrong or they feel like they got the short end of the stick. I want to be out there and let them know that it’s totally the opposite. It’s not their fault and they definitely have the long end of the stick because someone who didn’t know you the day before had the faith and the love to bring you into their home and try to do their best to raise you.” 

In 10th grade, he moved in with Robert and Sherri Brown, parents of a high school friend, who he later learned were his cousins. By then, his parents were released from prison, but once Sherri completed her certification to become a foster parent, Wilson opted to remain with her, in Port St. Lucie, in order to stay in the same high school.  

Wilson knew returning to Fort Pierce, a city that, at the time, had one of the highest crime rates in the state, could jeopardize his long-held goal of reaching the NFL. As a dual-threat quarterback at Port St. Lucie, he began attracting college scouts at games.  

“Fort Pierce is a low-class neighborhood; everybody was just trying to survive and make ends meet,” he said. “Football was pretty much always my escape from that. Football was that one thing that was consistent to me.” 

Undrafted out of college, the 5-foot-9 speedster impressed at Chiefs rookie camp and earned his first contract. Four years later, he returned to South Florida, this time as a member of the Dolphins, with the platform to help foster children in the same kinds of unstable situations he once faced. 

Looking back, Wilson knows he’s one of the lucky ones, that few find one, much less two families as inviting and nurturing as the Baileys and Browns, without whom he likely never would’ve reached the pros. 

“For me, knowing how it is to be with a family, and just having that family support, it was awesome,” he said. “I’m trying to break the line to where (being in foster care) feels like family and doesn’t feel like you’re in a stranger’s home for years.” 

Wilson, an inspiration to innumerable adolescents, relays a simple message he hopes serves as motivation during challenging times. 

“I try to tell them it’s possible; that I did it, and your dreams can happen,” he said. “(I’m hopeful) I can (convince) them to go down the right path, and grow up and be whatever they want to be.” 

Dolphins’ Jason Sanders: ‘You Have to Accept the Pressure’ of Kicking in NFL

November 20th, 2019
Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders smiles after kicking his first game-winning field goal last season. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Moments after recovering his own onside kick against the Bills, Jason Sanders, typically reserved and even-keeled, emerged with the football from the pile, pumped his fist and sprinted ahead to high-fives and pats on the helmet from his Dolphins teammates.

“You want to bring emotion to the game,” he said. “You want to use that as a momentum change in the game, as well, so if they see your kicker getting pumped, it might be a chain effect where we’re all pumped now.” 

Sanders’ rare display of enthusiasm was certainly understandable. Entering Week 11, NFL teams were successful on just one of the previous 29 onside-kick attempts; the Dolphins had two previous recoveries negated by offside penalties earlier this season. 

Despite running the play countless times in practice, Sanders wasn’t certain it would work in a game situation, considering the ball had to travel a precise distance, and bounce just right, for him to have a chance to seize it. But catching Buffalo off guard worked in his favor. 

“It’s designed to be a surprise kick, so if you get the frontline to take a step backwards, then you’re going to have a good step on it,” he said. “But the ball still has to go 10 yards … say, if I kicked it 13, 14 yards, that might’ve been too far and I might not have been able to get it.” 

Although Miami wasn’t able to capitalize on its next possession, No. 7’s clutch kick was the latest in a young career that’s already distinguished by standout performances. 

Last season, he converted on 18-of-20 field goal attempts (90 percent), the eighth-best percentage in the league and fifth-highest in Dolphins history. In Week 6 against the Bears, he nailed a 47-yarder on the final play of overtime to cap a Dolphins comeback victory. 

After making three kicks longer than 45 yards in a win against the Colts on Nov. 10, Sanders earned his first AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. 

“I’ve been looking for a game like this this season, where it’s kind of, maybe a breakthrough to get things rolling, start getting on a little streak, maybe,” Sanders told MiamiDolphins.com. “I’m coming off, I’d like to say, a good year, so I’m trying to keep everything possible, the same. I know it’s worked and it helped me out [Week 10].” 

A 7th-round pick (229th overall) by Miami in 2018, the New Mexico alum seized the starting job after winning a training camp battle with fellow rookie Greg Joseph. Sanders learned early to block out all outside distractions and proved he wouldn’t get overwhelmed by any situation. 

“If you focus on yourself and focus on one kick at a time, you’re going to try to find good results,” he said. “You can’t worry about the competition or what’s happening outside of the ball coming off your foot.” 

A high-school soccer star, Sanders had his sights set on a career in the MLS, but decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Andrew, the starting kicker on the football team. 

“My freshman teacher, who was also the (football) coach, liked how my brother was kicking, so he wanted me to go out there and try it,” said Sanders, who became the full-time kicker and punter as a junior. “All I did was play soccer growing up, and I thought that was going to be my route.” 

Sanders, in fact, expected to revert to soccer in college, but turned his full attention to the gridiron after earning a football scholarship offer from New Mexico, one of five schools to recruit him. 

The NFL may have seemed like a longshot early on, as Sanders didn’t attempt a single field goal as a backup in his first season, and connected on just 3-of-7 attempts as a sophomore. 

“My freshman year, I was only hitting kickoffs and I wanted to hit field goals, so that next year, I was focusing on trying to be the field goal kicker,” he said. “I think that kind of helped me, being in the present.” 

The following season, Sanders was nearly flawless, making 12-of-13 field goals, including 6-of-6 from 40 yards or more. As a senior, he hit 10-of-15, but nailed two game-winners from over 50 yards. 

Former Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi saw potential in Sanders, who demonstrated his strong leg on long-distance field-goals, as well as booting the ball downfield on kickoffs; over his last two seasons at New Mexico, only 22 of his 132 kickoffs were returned. 

“I think I had a good mindset going my whole four years of college,” Sanders said. “I wasn’t thinking ahead, I wasn’t thinking about the future (in the NFL). I was focusing on what was happening now.” 

The second-year special-teamer hasn’t had as many chances to impress in 2019; his 13 field goal attempts and 14 extra-point tries are tied for 26th and 29th in the league, respectively.

But Sanders stays ready, no matter if he’s asked to split the uprights from 50 yards out, or give his team an extra possession with an onside kick.

“I’m just focusing on kicking a good ball,” he said. “No matter (the situation), you have to do your job and accept the pressure when you’re a kicker in the NFL.”

Dolphins Announce Play Football Week 11 Award Winners

November 17th, 2019

As part of Play Football, a program designed to celebrate youth football in South Florida, for each home game, the Dolphins identify the high school coach, high school player, youth player and team mom of the week.

In tribute to Don Shula’s 50th season with the organization, the high school coach of the week award honors individuals with long-standing tenures in the coaching community.

Each award recipient is presented with a plaque during an on-field ceremony,  receives tickets to a Dolphins home game, and earns acknowledgement in the game program and through the Dolphins’ social media platforms. The team of the week will also stand on the field during the national anthem.

The program concludes at the Dolphins-Eagles game on Dec. 1, during which the Dolphins will honor yearly award winners in each category, with the exception of the team of the year.

Week 11 Award Winners

  • High School Coach of the Week: Brian Dodds from Park Vista Community High School
  • High School Player of the Week: Gabe Taylor from Gulliver Preparatory School
  • Youth Player of the Week: Joe Dailey from Jupiter Mustangs of Jupiter Mustangs Pop Warner
  • Mom of the Week: Lakeria Phillips from the Pahokee Panthers 6U of Treasure Coast Pop Warner
  • Teams of the Week: Somerset Academy Silver Palms and Hialeah Gardens High School

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