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Are the Dolphins close to Saints, Colts? No!

In the aftermath of Super Bowl XLIV, I cannot tell you how many times I've heard this phrase: The Dolphins aren't that far off from winning a Super Bowl. They played both New Orleans and Indianapolis well and should have beaten them. So they're close.

The logic apparently follows that since the Dolphins lost to Indianapolis 27-23 the second week of the season, then lost to New Orleans 46-34 on Oct. 25th, Miami is close to being pretty good because those two teams are obviously championship caliber.

And it's not just fans seeing the Dolphins through this prism.

"I think we're close," Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown said on his Ronnie Brown radio show on 560-WQAM this week. "I think we have a lot of the right pieces to the puzzle. I think we still have a few things we need to tweak and get better at. But as a team, we're pretty close.

"We played both those teams this year and, to our credit, we were in the games and had an opportunity to win both of those games. So that says, as a team, we're close. But there are a few pieces to the puzzle we've got left."

Now, you're not going to like this so if you're not in the mood for an honest dose of reality, simply stop reading now. That way you'll go on about the rest of your day thinking your team is close to being Super Bowl-caliber because it hung tough with the two Super Bowl teams.

The rest of you, read on.

The Dolphins are nowhere near close to the Saints or the Colts.

Some facts:

NFL teams are judged by what they do through an entire season, not by what they do in one game. And during the 2009 regular season, the Colts were 14-2 while the Saints were 13-3. The Dolphins were 7-9. So Indy won twice as many games as Miami while the Saints almost accomplished the feat.

Both the Saints and Colts won their respective divisions and were No. 1 seeds in the playoffs. The Dolphins finished third in the AFC East and didn't make the playoffs

The Dolphins aren't close.

Any logic that suggests one team is comparable to another based on the outcome of one game must be uniform. So anyone saying the Dolphins are close to the Saints because they almost beat the Saints, must then have to keep a straight face as they say the Washington Redskins are close to being as good as the Saints. The Redskins, after all, lost to New Orleans by a 33-30 score on Dec. 6th. And yes, the Saints played everyone in that game and did everything they could to win.

So do you think the Redskins are close to the Saints?

Taking the argument one step further, if you think the Dolphins are close to the Super Bowl champions based on playing them close in one game, you must also believe the Tampa Bay Bucs are better than the champs. Yes, Tampa Bay beat New Orleans 20-17 on Dec. 27th.

And you cannot argue the Saints gave up in that game because Drew Brees completed 32 of 37 passes for 258 yards with 1 TD. He completed 10 more passes against Tampa than he did against Miami. But the Bucs won.

So do you think Tampa Bay fans are foolish enough to believe they're close to being as good or better than New Orleans?

The Dolphins aren't close.

Finally, of course, there's the empirical argument against the Dolphins: The Saints have better players. And more of them. The Colts have better players. And more of them. That cannot be disputed by any right-thinking NFL fan or player.

Tell me ... what player on the Dolphins offense rises to the level of a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning? Let me answer -- none.

What receiver on the Dolphins could start for the Saints or Colts? Let me answer -- none.

What defender on the Dolphins makes as many game-changing plays as either Indy's Dwight Freeney or Who Dat's Darren Sharper? Let me answer -- none.

The Saints had seven Pro Bowl players in 2009. The Colts had seven Pro Bowl players in 2009. The Dolphins had three -- Yeremiah Bell, Dan Carpenter and Jake Long.

Long didn't play because of injury. Bell got on the team because Indy's Antoine Bethea was in the Super Bowl. And Carpenter played because Nate Kaeding injured himself the first day of practice.

So both Super Bowl teams have more than twice as many Pro Bowl players as Miami, even when we all know the reason the Dolphins had three was due to extenuating circumstances.

The Dolphins aren't close.

And it pains me to hear Dolfans saying they are close to the Saints and Colts because it suggests they're not being realistic. Or just don't know what they're talking about.

[I'm off the rest of the week but if anything happens, I'll update you on twitter. So follow me.] 

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