Ryan Tannehill is the most polarizing athlete in Miami sports.
As of early Tuesday evening, it was a 54-46 split in his favor, which is somewhat shocking because it is Dolphins Twitter, where happiness goes to die.
There are some who think Mr. Tannehill is a rich man’s Dan Marino. Many others, like myself, think he’s somewhere between average and above average and even some folks, like Big O, would rather roll with seventh-round rookie Brandon Doughty, the 15th and final quarterback selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
I began to wonder. What if Tannehill was replaced by a proven stud at the game’s most valuable position? Would that really be all it takes to elevate this franchise back among the NFL’s elite?
Good thing there’s Madden 17, the most realistic football simulation on the planet and a MUCH better source for analysis than these godawful preseason games we end up watching out of pure football deprivation.
Madden is also much more useful than absorbing Omar Kelly’s takes from preseason Dolphins practice. Yes, we’re talking about PRESEASON practice.
Sometimes I just watch Tannehill throw passes in practice and think…..what the hell is wrong with him? Accuracy is a major issue.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) August 22, 2016
The Madden 17 Experiment
Note: I’m an avid follower of Jon Bois’ Breaking Madden series. Highly recommend you checking out his “Tannehell” piece.
First, I simulated the season with the Dolphins’ roster as is.
They went 6-10 because of course they did — it’s their destiny to forever live in the 6-to-8 win prison of perpetual mediocrity.
They finished last in the AFC East with Tannehill having the epitome of an average year, passing for 3,289 yards, 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions before missing the final three games due to injury because his interior line is mud, both in real life and in video games.
Then I pondered about Big O’s constant ranting about how Tannehill doesn’t have quarterback instincts, how he lacks the awareness and accuracy needed to be a special passer. That this team is going nowhere until our quarterback possesses these skills.
Well, good thing Madden allows the full editing of its players. Now I could’ve just added Aaron Rodgers and his 96 overall rating for the sake of the experiment but that would be too damn painful, both for Aaron and Dolphins fans even if this isn’t our true reality.
So I maxed out Tannehill’s awareness, accuracy, and throw power to 99, giving him an overall rating of 99, which made him the best quarterback in the Madden universe.
Then I simulated the season with this enhanced version of Tannehill under center, a mutant Tannehill, if you will, or what I like to refer to him as, Tannewill.
Tannewill’s stats exploded as expected — 36 touchdowns, 13 picks, 4,008 yards, and a near 100 QB rating.
However, the team’s results were probably what most would never expect with an elite QB, with the Dolphins finishing with a 7-8-1 record. Despite Tannehill 2.0 this team couldn’t escape from NFL purgatory.
Yes, mutant Tannehill was worth a small potatoes 1.5 wins.
Why? Just maybe it’s because this team has more active holes than Little Bill’s wife in Boogie Nights.
So in essence, Madden 17 has officially cleared Tannehill of holding the Dolphins back, an idea a huge chunk of the fan base has propagated.
Finally, I simulated Miami’s 2016 season with Doughty as the starting quarterback. Not because I thought the outcome would be pleasant but because we sure as hell aren’t ever going to see him become a starting NFL quarterback. We have to know what he’s capable of.
The results: a 1-15 season, more interceptions than touchdowns, and a radio host’s tears.
Come to think about it, this might not be the worst thing considering it’d land them the top overall pick and a fresh face at quarterback gushing with potential in the form of Deshaun Watson or Brad Kaaya. Doughty’s play could provide the tanking this team needs, which I’ve been clamoring for because it’s the quickest road to sustainable success.
Maybe the inferior Brandon Doughty, seventh round pick out of Western Kentucky, really is the most efficient way to return this franchise to greatness.