Archive for November, 2019

#MetLifeTakeover Updates

Saturday, 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

Friday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Sunday, 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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