The Miami Dolphins were beating linebacker Von Miller and the Denver Broncos 33-9, when Dolphins coach Adam Gase opted to call an onside kick. With only about 10 minutes to go and a huge lead, no one saw it coming and the Dolphins recovered the kick.
As far as sportsmanship goes, that’s a massively questionable decision. However, Miller acted like he didn’t care.
“I was ready to go back out there,” Miller said, per Jon Heath of USA Today. “I’m trying to get a sack, a forced fumble. That’s the game. I’m not sitting on the sideline and saying, ‘Man why are you kicking the onside kick? Just give us the ball.’ That’s loser football. If they want to kick an onside kick, let them do it. We have to cover it. We have to get the ball back and we have to play. It’s the pros. If it was little league, yeah we would be upset, but this is the pros.”
Miller’s point is well made. This isn’t Pop Warner football with a bunch of kids playing for the love of the game. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. The goal is to win, and that’s the only goal.
Even so, Miller may have been alone in the way he felt. Other Broncos defenders were furious.
“He’s mad at somebody in this organization,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN. “It looked like he was trying to embarrass us. But I guess that’s what happens; they haven’t won too many games; [this was] a big game for them. Guess he wanted to take it personal and guess he still had some bad blood left over from before.”
“I was pissed,” Denver outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett added.
Gase was formerly the offensive coordinator for the Broncos, before making a stop with the Chicago Bears and ex-Broncos coach John Fox, then turning that into the head coaching job in Miami.
It’s unclear exactly what Harris was talking about, but Gase was with the 2013 Broncos team that rewrote the record books and then lost the Super Bowl, but he left before the 2015 season. That year, the Broncos won Super Bowl 50.