Week 17 in the NFL season. We made it! Miami certainly has come a long way in 1 year. Sitting with a record of 10-5, Miami is on the precipice of the playoffs. 1 win, and they are in. A loss by Baltimore OR Cleveland, OR Indianapolis, and they are in. Miami has put themselves in a great position for postseason action.

However, IF Miami were to fall short of the playoffs, this has not been a lost season. I don’t intend to be a doom and gloom kind of guy, I honestly think we will get in and make some noise, but we all know how volatile this fanbase can be at times. One week we’re Super Bowl-bound, and the next, we suck and should fire everybody. Believe me, and I get it. It can be frustrating. We all want this team to succeed. We may have differing opinions on how to make that happen, but we all want what is best for this franchise, the city, and each other at the end of the day.

But the purpose of this article is to show why this season has been a success regardless of Sunday’s outcome in Buffalo. I’m sure there will be points or reasons not touched on here, so please feel free and tell me what has you excited about this team!

First and foremost, I want to bring up the unified vision of Chris Grier and Brian Flores. For so long, Miami has tried this approach of not fully cleaning the house when firing GM’s or coaches. Recall it was Ireland forcing Sparano out. Ireland stays and hires Joe Philbin. Philbin convinces ownership to fire Ireland, and Dennis Hickey takes over as GM keeping Philbin. Hickey gets fired in comes Mike Tannebaum. Philbin gets fired in comes Adam Gase. There was never a total cleaning of both head coach and GM simultaneously. How can a GM and head coach be on the same page when the GM doesn’t get the chance to select his own coach?

Stephen Ross finally understood this needed to happen, and Chris Grier assumed full control and hand-picked Brian Flores to run this team; and these two men have been instrumental to this teams turnaround. Every decision that Chris Grier has made has been with Brian Flores and his scheme in mind. It has truly been a breath of fresh air and certainly a reason to be excited and a key reason this season has been a success.

Player development is another reason this season has been a success. The coaching staff that Brian Flores has assembled has emphasized teaching, which is apparent in how this young roster has progressed. How many times in the past have we seen talented players get drafted by Miami and not pan out here, then go on to have success elsewhere? Or how many free-agent signings do not work out? All too often. And while that isn’t always entirely on the coaching staff, they play a huge part in players’ development. This season alone, think of the improvements we have seen in rookies like Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, Lynn Bowden Jr., and to some extent Noah Igbinoghene. All of these players have improved dramatically from the beginning of the season. The coaches have played a crucial role in developing this young roster, and we can only hope it continues. This is one of the youngest teams in the entire NFL. If this season has shown us anything, this staff put together by Brian Flores can teach, which is the key to a sustainable future.

Another reason this season has been a success has been nothing the Dolphins have done, but rather what the Houston Texans have done. And that is losing a lot of games. As we know, Miami holds the Texans’ first and second-round draft picks this year, and the first-round pick is guaranteed to be no lower than 9th as it sits now its 3rd. What an incredible return on investment. These two picks have the potential to supercharge this rebuild. What a beautiful development this has been.

Sunday has the opportunity for Miami to show the rest of the league that this stage isn’t too big for them. They may be young, but they belong to be in this position. And while we all enjoy looking ahead to the draft and free agency, let us all enjoy what a successful season this has been. It’s been one hell of a season, and it isn’t over yet!