It was the turn of the century, in the year 2000, when the Dolphins won the AFC East with an 11-5 record. The team had four Pro Bowl players on defense. And on offense the team did something it hasn't done since.
It outscored the New England Patriots.
Since then for a dozen years New England has scored more points than the Dolphins -- until this year.
But right now, today, the Dolphins are averaging 24.7 points per game. The Patriots, an offensive juggernaut for a dozen years since Tom Brady took over at quarterback, are averaging 19.7 points per game.
And indeed the Dolphins are leading the division in scoring.
It might be a new day in the division.
This statistic speaks to the addition of talent the Dolphins got on offense this year. Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson are helping the passing game.
This statistic speaks to the maturation of talent the Dolphins drafted. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, tight end Charles Clay, and left tackle Jonathan Martin are playing well.
And, yes, the statistical fact speaks to a talent decline in New England. Aaron Hernandez is in jail. Rob Gronkowski hasn't played a snap. Wes Welker is in Denver. And Danny Amendola is injured, as he perpetually seems to be.
Tom Brady doesn't have the supporting talent he's had in the past. (It's like watching the 1996 Dolphins with Dan Marino and only one worthy wide out, O.J. McDuffie, a possession receiver).
But this statistic is also interesting because while the Patriots have played Tampa Bay and the Bills and the Jets -- none of them playoff teams a year ago -- the Dolphins have played two 2012 playoff qualifiers -- Indianapolis and Atlanta -- in two of their first three games.
Now, I recognize this is a small sample size. The season is still very young.
But I suggest the Miami offense has room to grow. The running game, mostly a non-factor so far, can get better. The combination of Tannehill to Wallace is still not quite comfortable for both players. The pass protection has been poor. Tannehill, while very good so far, could help by not holding the ball so long.
There is great room for improvement in Miami.
By the end of the year 24.7 points per game might be the Dolphins' output on a bad day.
All this is good news for the franchise. The truth is fans who grew up watching and expecting great offense every week when Marino was quarterback have been starved for good offense for nearly a dozen years.
Yes, the defense has often been very good.
But the offense has rarely been any good.
The Dolphins have had to win many 20-17 games in which they score only two TDs. It was unexciting.
This year the Dolphins have scored three touchdowns in two of their three games.
Progress. Perhaps a new day.