It will come to no surprise to football fans of a certain age that Channel 4 had a lot to do with getting people into the game. And Chris Fells is one of those people. Back in 1991, 10 year old Chris came across the televised game of Miami Dolphins against the New England Patriots. The Dolphins were victorious on that occasion with a 20-10 result and for Chris the deal was done. A Dolphins fan he would be.
Fast forward another 26 years and he’s gearing up to watch his beloved Dolphins again as they embark on their fourth trip to London to play. The ledger on wins/losses isn’t in their favour at the moment but Chris is confident as he looks ahead to Sunday’s game.
“In the three previous games we’ve had two losses and one win. Of course I’d love for us to even things up but more importantly I think the team is strong right now, we’ve made some great off season signings so I do believe that we can win this one.”
Fighting talk out to Saints fans already but Chris does believe this is a team to watch and he should know as he has been a dedicated follower for over two and a half decades. However confident he feels though, talk of a Super Bowl win, which hasn’t happened since the sixties is something he doesn’t want to jinx.
“Making the playoffs again would be great and something I do believe we are capable of. Obviously a Super Bowl would be amazing but being realistic, there is a high chance of them making it back this year. We have a strong side; it’s just whether the team can stay healthy.”
Heard that before, so true in American Football that however good your team looks on paper and in pre-season, a few injuries to some starters and a campaign is easily derailed. But that aside, for those new to the game, or haven’t had the chance to see the Dolphins play before, there should be some names to excite and enthral the Wembley crowds come the weekend. Who is Chris looking to stand out in London?
“Well from an offensive perspective then Jarvis Landry is our top man, he has extraordinary ability and skill and certainly will be looking to excite the London crowds. I’d also say that Ryan Tannahill is always worth a watch, he’s broken some top NFL records over the past 4 years and again you can’t do that unless you’ve got some game.
“On defence you have got to love Cameron Wake who is sure to be the one to smash up their offence or Reshad Jones at Safety, who has got to be one if the top 5 in the league, he gets to places you don’t think are possible.”
Chris is very knowledgeable about the game although one thing he has a regret about is having never played the game. As he was growing up there wasn’t anyway within his area for him to play youth football and since then other things in life have meant he’s never really had the opportunity. He also professes that he doesn’t have many friends or family members who follow the game although he has converted a few work colleagues over the years and just to keep things interesting his father in law is a Vikings fan which offers a healthy family debate!
For those that are new to the London series this year, Chris firmly believes you are in for a treat. He himself knows he’s fortunate to have had the chance to see his team three times already (please don’t get upset the fans still waiting for their team to make their London debut!) but that there is so much else to enjoy about the London series too.
“I’ve been to other games, not just the Dolphins ones and it is an incredible experience. I love the atmosphere and it’s so great to see all the different fans that turn up for it. Everybody really goes all out for it. The entertainment is fantastic and everyone is there for the love if the game, so it’s possible to make friends quite easily.
And for Chris that is certainly evident within the Dolphins community in the UK too. They are a well-supported team both in the States and the UK and for that, new fans of NFL should be following them too. As Chris reminds us “they are still the only team to go a full season unbeaten, they have a long history and are a great franchise.”
Convinced? Well if you’re moving towards being a Dolphins fan then I guess you may need to know about the stars that have played for them over the years too. Many people, even if they don’t follow the game of American Football have still heard of the legendary Dan Marino, a man who will always be considered one of the all time NFL as well as Dolphins greats.
“You have to love Dan Marino, he’s a serious brand in his own right, he’s known outside of the sport as a name and he held the record for most yards in a career for a long time. He had this incredible ability to make plays and see plays before they happened, a real legend of the sport.
“My favourite player was Jason Taylor a true icon and really nice guy, he was able to penetrate even the strongest offences. Then you have Bob Griese, another amazing Dolphins QB who took the Dolphins to a perfect season in 1972. Larry Csonka the RB from that same unbeaten season. To be honest though, given the brilliance of the 1972 season, you could name almost anyone from the defence team of that year, a group of guys no-one ever heard of getting a perfect season. Amazing.”
It would be fantastic for another team to recreate the defensive pressure of the ’72 team but for now let’s concentrate on one game at a time. For Chris, Sunday looms as the next opportunity to see his beloved Dolphins and then a plan over the next two years to get to the States to watch them play. But whatever happens, we are fairly sure there will be another twenty six years of following them and beyond as the Miami magic continues to fall upon this fan.