Dolphins fans lobby to get Peyton Manning

MIAMI — Long-suffering Miami Dolphins fans have spoken very publicly for the second time in two months. And this time they want quarterback Peyton Manning to join their team so badly they’ve bought a billboard to send that message.

The billboard reads: “Manning to Miami” in prominent letters and it features a picture of the Indianapolis Colts quarterback in a Miami Dolphins uniform, poised to throw a pass.

The billboard is located near the junction of I-95 and I-595 in Fort Lauderdale. It advertises the website, where fans can sign a petition to urge the veteran quarterback to join the Miami Dolphins. The site says the signatures will be “presented to the Miami Dolphins and representatives of Peyton Manning.”

The Dolphins, arguably the NFL’s best franchise in the 1970s, have a fan base hungry for success. Miami hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since the 1984 season, and has only made one playoff appearance in the last decade.

The Dolphins have been desperately searching for a franchise quarterback ever since legendary quarterback Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. Management has said its No. 1 offseason goal is finding such a quarterback, but it’s a slim free-agent market. And fans will be very unhappy if the Dolphins open training camp with incumbent quarterback Matt Moore as the starter.

Heck, fans are already salty.

This is the second time this year a group of Dolphins fans have urged action. On Jan. 1, shortly before kickoff of the regular-season finale against the New York Jets, a group of fans bought a banner that flew over Sun Life Stadium urging owner Stephen Ross to fire general manager Jeff Ireland. It read: “Mr. Ross: Save Our Dolphins. Fire Ireland.”

Of course, that didn’t work out too well. Ireland is still with the Dolphins, and seems to have more power than ever.