The Miami Dolphins have no margin for error.
AccuScore gives them a 4.2 percent chance to make the playoffs, the slimmest percentage in the AFC next to the Cleveland Browns at three-tenths of a percent and the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers at nil.
The Dolphins must win all their remaining games and get some additional help from other teams. They certainly need to beat the New York Jets on Sunday at the Meadowlands.
But Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made plans that will impinge on their practice routine. Ross made reservations for the Dolphins to see the Broadway play "Lombardi" on Friday night. To do so, they'll travel early and practice at the New York Giants' indoor facility on Friday and hold their walkthrough there Saturday rather than at their Davie, Fla., headquarters.
The Dolphins have been sheepish about their Playbill plans. Coach Tony Sparano skirted the issue Wednesday and claimed the Dolphins were abandoning their routine to shake things up.
"Getting my team down there and getting ready to go," Sparano replied when asked about the unusual itinerary. "No different than California or any of the other times I've taken the team out there early. I want to get them down there and get them ready to go."
I thought New Jersey was in the same time zone as Florida.
Sparano later added: "We're going to put everything that we possibly can into winning this football game, and if that means we got to leave a couple hours early to do that, it’s no big deal. As I said to the team the other night, 'What else do you have planned? Something better?' "
Sparano's comments sound disingenuous. If the Dolphins are doing anything well this year, it's playing on the road. They are 5-1 away from Sun Life Stadium. The coaching staff and players should be plenty satisfied with their travel routine.
But the Dolphins' bonding exercise was revealed by Giants co-owner John Mara, who caught heat in New York for letting one of the Jets' rivals use the facility. Mara felt compelled to explain why he was extending such a courtesy to the Dolphins.
Mara said he ran into Ross at the "Lombardi" premiere Oct. 21. That's when Ross first broached the idea of the Dolphins coming in as a group. Mara replied "Good luck selling that to your vice president of football operations."
Bill Parcells was Miami's vice president of football operations at the time. News of Parcells cleaning out his office surfaced a day before the premiere.