Eagles could go from losers to Super Bowl champs in one year, but what about Miami?

How far are the Miami Dolphins from winning a Super Bowl?

It seems a ridiculous question coming off a 6-10 season, but there is a history of losing teams making the jump to NFL champion in the space of just one year.

New England did it in 2001. The Patriots were 5-11 the previous season and there was

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld, second from bottom, is followed by running back LeGarrette Blount, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and quarterback Nick Foles, as they arrive for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia is scheduled to face the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

nothing much to recommend them except that they never got shut out. Miami suffered that indignity twice in 2017, and it very nearly happened a third time.

The 1999 St. Louis Rams won a Super Bowl after going 4-12 the previous season and sticking Dick Vermeil with the worst record of his 15-year NFL coaching career.

San Francisco won it all in 1981, just one year removed from a 6-10 clunker that was similar in some ways to what the Dolphins are going through. Bill Walsh, for instance, was in his second year as an NFL head coach and he had no more luck igniting his creative offensive ideas with Steve DeBerg at quarterback than Adam Gase did with Jay Cutler.

So what happened to transform those losers into Super Bowl champs so quickly? Obviously there was improvement throughout the rosters, but the most glaring similarity was a significant upgrade at quarterback.

Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Joe Montana all were first trusted to handle full-time starting roles in those breakthrough seasons. They got their teams through some tight spots and continued to do so for years thereafter.

So about those Dolphins. Can’t see Ryan Tannehill or even some first-round draft pick suddenly giving Gase all that he needs at quarterback. It’s not impossible, though.

The Philadelphia Eagles were 7-9 a year ago and it’s not impossible that they might become Super Bowl champs on Sunday, even with a supposed downgrade at quarterback.

[Mullen promises national title for Gators but doesn’t say when]

[Who knew Hoffman was bound for Hall of Fame when Marlins traded him?]

[Nothing left for LeBron to do but give player-coaching a try]

Just look at all the Super Bowl stars who got stiffed on National Signing Day

Lots of celebration and plenty of disappointment as the smoke clears on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Not everybody gets to go to a national championship contender or a Power Five conference or even a Division I school. Heck, the overwhelming majority of supposed high school stars don’t get a college scholarship at all.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts against the New England Patriots during the first quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA – Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots is one of many small-school graduates who will start in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Butler played his college ball at West Alabama. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Therefore, if you or someone important to you got shut out on a favorite destination and pushed down the ladder to a low-profile choice, here is a bit of encouragement about what still can happen.

In Sunday’s Super Bowl, there will be as many starters from Valdosta State (Atlanta offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder) as there are from Florida State (Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman).

There will be as many players on the two rosters from Rutgers as there are from Alabama, with five each.

Notre Dame gets no one in the starting lineups, but West Alabama gets one very famous name (New England cornerback Malcolm Butler, a former Super Bowl MVP).

Monmouth has as many starters (New England wide receiver Chris Hogan) as Oklahoma (Atlanta guard Chris Chester).

Southeastern Louisiana (Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford) and Kent State (New England wide receiver Julian Edelman) are represented in the two starting lineups. Ohio State and USC are not.

[Big Three didn’t surpass 8-win streak with Heat very often]

[A little candy to treat Dolphin fans sick of Patriots in Super Bowl]

[Wondering if Dolphins’ No. 22 draft slot is haunted]

Football careers, in other words, aren’t made in one day, even if it happens to be National Signing Day.

Great opportunity will be given to kids who sign with the big schools, sure, and a stronger dose of overall competition and coaching.

Just think, however, of Joe Flacco (Delaware) and Deion Branch (Jones County Junior College first and Louisville as a transfer) and Kurt Warner (Northern Iowa) and Doug Williams (Grambling) and Richard Dent (Tennessee State) and Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech) and, most of all, Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State).

All were Super Bowl MVP’s.

All took whatever minor opportunities they were afforded and made it work in a major way, whether anyone was watching or not.