BUFFALO -- Here it is. The opportunity. This is the night.
If you are old enough and remember back long enough to know that Dave Wannstedt did enormous damage to the Miami Dolphins, then tonight is the opportunity for a bit of revenge.
It was Wannstedt who was pushed upon Dolphins fans when Jimmy Johnson convinced Wayne Huizenga to pick his friend Wannstedt to coach the team -- even after Johnson had failed in the assignment.
At first it seemed like a good idea. The Dolphins won the AFC East in 2000 under Wannstedt. And then the slow, steady decline of a franchise ensued. First the records got increasingly worse, then the team stopped making the playoffs. The wasting of talent Johnson drafted -- including Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain -- was underway.
And by the time Wannstedt was ousted (he quit after he was told he'd be fired) at midseason in 2004, the Dolphins were no longer the shining example of an NFL franchise they had been under Don Shula.
All that comes rushing back to me because tonight the Dolphins meet a unit Wannstedt coaches for the first time since 2004. Oh, Wannstedt was with the Bills last year when Reggie Bush went for over 200 rushing yards. But he was not the man in charge of the Bills defense. Now, he's the Bills defensive coordinator.
Did I mention the Bills have the worst defense in the NFL?
They give up more points on average than anyone. Perhaps the fact Wannstedt is still running that old 4-3 with press corners and not much change game-to-game is one reason. I was told by a long-time Buffalo observer the Bills didn't blitz the first four games of the season.
"Vanilla is a good word for it," he told me of the Bills defense.
All I'm saying is this is a purely emotional issue. This is not a football issue. The players on the field tonight have nothing to do with this. This is between Dolphins fans who still remember the start of this century and the man responsible for Miami's decline at that time.
Revenge, you say?
By the way, there's a live blog coming tonight. I'll post the inactives in a few minutes. Hop on board. I'll join the blog at kickoff.