National Football League
HC Mike McDaniel emphasizing Dolphins' 24-year playoff win drought
National Football League

HC Mike McDaniel emphasizing Dolphins' 24-year playoff win drought

Updated Jun. 7, 2024 5:46 p.m. ET

The Miami Dolphins' last playoff victory came on Dec. 30, 2000, in what was a 23-17 overtime win over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at home in the AFC wild-card round. Since that win, Miami has lost its last six playoff games and failed to reach the divisional round.

In the present, the Dolphins have lost in the wild-card round in back-to-back seasons, and head coach Mike McDaniel is making the historic drought known to his players.

"You get what you emphasize. Well, why not find ways to emphasize finishing in everything you do?" McDaniel said at his Thursday media availability when asked about Miami's late-season struggles. "Obsess about it. Why not have, for half the offseason, you're trying to have staff meetings at different times during the day. I had every staff meeting I put at like 7:24 or 3:24 or 5:24 – the number 24. To you guys, it means nothing. That's how many years it's been since the organization has won a playoff game. We are going to hear about that come playoff time. You think? So to me, you do that to empower guys to know what's coming. To understand it, to not run from it.

"Because if you're going to achieve success where people are predicting failure, you're going to have to go above and beyond. That is what every single player has done in their life at one point in time."


Last season, the Dolphins lost three of their last five games, including a Week 18 game at home to the Buffalo Bills, which gave Buffalo its fourth consecutive AFC East division title. Miami then lost on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round in frigid conditions, 26-7.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the Dolphins parted ways after the season. The organization hired former Baltimore Ravens defensive assistant Anthony Weaver to fill the void.

As for Miami's roster, it added center Aaron Brewer, cornerback Kendall Fuller, linebacker Shaquil Barrett, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and safety Jordan Poyer, among others, in free agency. The team also extended wide receiver Jaylen Waddle to a three-year, $84.8 million deal. In the draft, the Dolphins selected Penn State linebacker Chop Robinson with the No. 21 pick. On the other hand, they lost star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and guard Robert Hunt in free agency.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is entering the final season of his rookie contract and coming off a season where he led the NFL with 4,624 passing yards and earned his first Pro Bowl nod. Meanwhile, Waddle and fellow receiver Tyreek Hill posted a combined 191 receptions for 2,813 yards and 17 touchdowns, while running backs Raheem Mostert and rookie De'Von Achane — who played in just 11 games — combined for 1,812 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground.

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As a whole, Miami averaged 265.5 passing yards (first in the NFL), 135.8 rushing yards (sixth), 401.3 total yards (third) and 29.2 points (second) per game in the regular season.

As for that 2000 playoff win, the Dolphins trailed the Colts 14-0 at halftime, with quarterback Jay Fiedler throwing three interceptions in the game. That said, Fiedler helped lead Miami on a game-tying touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, which sent the game to overtime. Running back Lamar Smith was the hero of the game for the Dolphins, rushing for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries, including the game-winning, 17-yard score in overtime.

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