The Miami Dolphins had little to celebrate last year. They surpassed expectations and were still one of the worst teams in the NFL. Given the lowly situation, Dolphin fans have to look for little moments of levity. One example of this was an early-season touchdown that reminded viewers of a popular Nickelodeon show from back in the day.
The Miami Dolphins: still bad, but on purpose
The Dolphins lost a lot of games in 2019. Miami only has three winning seasons in the last 15 years. Last year felt different. This time, being terrible at football was part of the plan. After years of irrelevance and mediocrity, Miami let go of some of their best players, like Ryan Tannehill and Laremy Tunsil, in order to tank for better draft picks, specifically to draft Tua Tagovailoa, according to reports.
From that perspective, the Dolphins got off to a great start. They lost their first seven games, including a 59-10 beatdown courtesy of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
All of the losses were less satisfying for the players tasked with taking the hits. For the fans who would ideally like their squad to display competence on the field. With the prospect of being a good football team years from happening, Miami fans (Dolphans? Dolfans? You get the joke) looked to the world of mid-00’s nostalgia to extract some fun out of a miserable situation.
One notable player who joined the team that offseason was Josh Rosen. Few players have had a stranger two years than this quarterback. After getting drafted 10th overall by the Cardinals in 2018, Rosen played badly in a bad situation (11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 starts).
A small pass makes big waves on the internet
After Cliff Kingsbury was hired as the team’s coach after the season, Arizona gave up on Rosen and drafted Kyler Murray. Miami traded a second and fifth-round pick to acquire Rosen. The deal seemed like a win-win for everyone involved. Arizona got to draft the quarterback they really believed in; Rosen got a fresh start, and Miami got a QB with potential for a low price.
Miami hoped that pairing Rosen with Kenyan Drake, a running back who started the season as arguably the most talented offensive player on the roster, helps Rosen become a cheap starting quarterback or at least another asset to flip for more picks later. (Things didn’t quite work out that way.)
The week 2 matchup between the Dolphins and New England Patriots ended in Miami getting demolished. They lost the game 43-0. The game is mostly remembered for being the one and only game Antonio Brown played for New England. But it also gave the Dolphins an opportunity for gallows humor.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Rosen, who came off the bench to make his debut for the team, completed a five-yard pass to Kenyan Drake. The drive ended in a turnover on downs. A Reddit user noticed the completion because it marked the first time in NFL history that a Drake and a Josh connected for a play.
In case you weren’t a high-volume Nickelodeon watcher 15 years ago, Drake & Josh is also the name of a children’s sitcom that ran from 2004 to 2007. Here is the catchy theme song for those who are unaware or just want to reminisce about being a kid:
People will always strive to get some entertainment out of a bad situation. When you follow one of the worst teams in football, you have to learn to enjoy the little things.
The NFL is going to great lengths to expand its audience
Funnily enough, the relationship between the NFL and Nickelodeon is about to become much more serious. The league announced last month that they’ll work with the network to broadcast a playoff game on the channel this year. Details on the partnership are sparse right now. But the NFL did say the presentation will be tailored to a younger audience.
The deal is the latest example of how the league is attempting to increase popularity going forward. The latest CBA between the owners and players will add another playoff game to the postseason. This will give two more fanbases a reason to believe in their team.
Putting a football game on the same channel as SpongeBob SquarePants may seem incongruous, but that Reddit post shows there is clearly a connection between the two entities already.