Did you know? The only team with fewer Sunday Night Football appearances than the Miami Dolphins is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Miami Dolphins have gotten little love from the scheduling committee when it comes to prime time games, and deservedly so. The league and the networks prefer to air games between teams that are contenders and are exciting, and the Dolphins have been neither for a long time.
They get a Monday Night game here and there, sure. And everyone and their mother plays on Thursday Nights. But their list of Sunday Night appearances reads like a barren wasteland.
Sunday Night Football began airing on NBC in 2006, and it quickly became the premier game of the week. After a long reign, Monday Night Football took second fiddle, as everything about the SNF broadcast felt superior; the production, the broadcasters, and the games all felt like the must-see event of the week.
Dolphins fans don’t even really know what it feels like to have their team playing under the brightest of lights. Since 2006, Miami has appeared on SNF a pathetic three times, the least amount of any team other than the Jaguars (2).
How hard to believe is that, by comparison? The team with the most appearances is the Cowboys with 54. Okay, America’s team, that makes sense. The Patriots have 41. The Bears 30, the Redskins/Commanders 19. Even the Lions have 9 SNF games, and the Browns have 5.
Not only do the Miami Dolphins have just three Sunday Night games under their belt, one of them was actually a Thursday Night contest, as it was the inaugural game for the broadcast back in 2006. They actually had a fourth SNF game scheduled for Week 12 in 2009 against the Patriots, but it was flexed in favor of a Vikings/Cardinals matchup.
But perhaps this is all for good reason. The Dolphins are 0-3 in their illustrious history on Sunday Night Football.
They have a chance to change the tide, finally, in 2022. Miami will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a Week 7 match up on October 23rd, and it will be played in front of a national audience on NBC. Expect Dolphins fans to be in full throat.
The Steelers are always a tough match up, but they may be in a transition phase now that long time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has retired, and the Dolphins should look to capitalize if Pittsburgh struggles to start the season. It will be a winnable game for Miami, especially playing at home, but a Mike Tomlin-led team is a team to be feared.
There will also be a familiar face on the opposing sideline. Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has been hired as a defensive assistant by the Steelers, and he will undoubtedly be looking to bring the heat on the quarterback that his rocky relationship with was made so public after his departure.
The Dolphins themselves could be first rate entertainment. There has been an influx of speed to their offense, and their defense should remain as one of the top units in the league, giving them a chance to be one of the must-watch teams this coming season. Don’t look now, but the NFL could end up regretting not giving Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill another prime time game or two.
We will of course have to wait to see how both teams fare in the early going of the season, given Miami’s treacherous schedule over the first four games. But the Scheduling Gods have finally blessed us with an elusive Sunday Night Football appearance, and us Miami Dolphins fans will be forever grateful.