Mike McDaniel is going to extremes over the Dolphins' 24-year playoff win drought


The Miami Dolphins have made it to the NFL playoffs in each of head coach Mike McDaniel’s first two seasons. But the team also lost both times, which is a starting point for McDaniel’s offseason motivation tactics for his staff and players.

It’s been 24 years since the Dolphins last won a playoff game. One way McDaniel is reminding the team of that is to schedule meetings at the :24 mark of a particular hour. Thus, the staff isn’t meeting at 5:30; it’s meeting at 5:24. And so forth.

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In McDaniel’s view, Dolphins players and coaches are going to be hearing plenty of the number 24, especially as the postseason approaches. So they might as well get used to it now.

“For half the offseason, you’re trying to have staff meetings at different times during the day, and every staff meeting, I’d put like 7:24 or 3:24 or 5:24. The number 24,” McDaniel told reporters on Thursday, the final day of minicamp.

“That’s how many years it’s been since the organization has won a playoff game,” he added. “We are going to hear about that come playoff time. You think?”

Cornerback Cam Smith currently wears jersey No. 24 for the Dolphins. Don’t be surprised if there’s news of him being singled out by McDaniel and the coaches at any point during the upcoming season.

The last playoff game the Dolphins won was a 23–17 wild-card round victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2000. Jay Fielder was Miami’s quarterback and threw three interceptions. But Lamar Smith rushed for 209 yards and two scores. Dave Wannstedt was the coach. On the other side were Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison. So yes, it’s been a while.

Last season, Miami lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round, 26–7. The previous year, the Dolphins were defeated by the Buffalo Bills, 34–31, also in the wild-card round. But McDaniel isn’t letting a loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions or losing by only three points be a consolation.

An early playoff defeat was especially painful after the Dolphins began last season looking like arguably the best teams in the AFC. They scored 70 points on the Denver Broncos and won five of their first six games. But Miami lost their final two games (and three of their last five), including a 56–19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Thus, McDaniel has made finishing strong a theme for the 2024-25 Dolphins.

No word if the coach intends to install the intro or countdown clock from the TV series “24” throughout the Dolphins’ training complex.





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