clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dolphins 2010 Perspective X - Time for Change? Do We Really Want It?

New, comments

It's the end of December, and once again, the Dolphins are not in the playoff hunt.  With another year of disappointment, the calls for change have begun, and those calls are coming loud and clear.  The question, as we all know, is where does that change happen.  Do the Dolphins clean house?  Is Dan Henning going to retire?  Is Tony Sparano going to be looking for a coordinator job next season?  Is Jeff Ireland out without the protection of the "consultant" Bill Parcells?  Has Chad Henne telegraphed his way out of the starting job?

All kinds of questions, leading into the 2010 offseason and the 2011 season. 

But, is the grass really greener on the other side?

Personally, I think Henning will be very nicely reminded that he is 68 years old and not Joe Paterno.  He won't be back next year.

Chad Henne is this team's quartreback next year.  There's no way he isn't.  A rookie won't be ready and there's not going to be a veteran worth trying to grab (which brings us back to the Dolphins passing on Drew Brees for the second time, instead signing Daunte Culpepper - great idea, wasn't it?).

Ireland, I think, is a crap shoot.  He could be given a chance to show he can rebound, and do this all on his own.  But, owner Stephen Ross could very easily look to move on, bringing in a new GM.

Which brings us to Sparano.  If he is out, then a new, big name coach could be brought in to serve as both the Head Coach and the GM.  The draw of being able to make all the football decisions could be the lure to land a Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden. 

But, in order to understand what a coaching change would mean to this team, a look at the performances of some of the "great" head coaches over their tenures.

 Coach A - Took over team after 7&9 record year prior:

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 11 5 Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 2 9 7 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 1 Year 3 12 4 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Division Championship
Team 1 Year 4 11 5 Won in Divisional Playoffs and Division Championship; Lost in Super Bowl
Team 1 Year 5 10 6 Won Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 6 11 5 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 7 7 9  ---
Team 1 Year 8 6 10  ---
Team 1 Year 9 9 7  ---
Team 1 Year 10 13 3 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 11 10 5 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 12 6 10  ---
Team 1 Year 13 15 1 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 14 11 5 Won in Wildcard, Divisional Playoffs, Dvisional Championship, and Super Bowl 
Team 1 Year 15 8 8  ---

Coach A turned the team around quickly, and managed to survive a mid career, 3-year slump.  But, only reached the Super Bowl once in his first 13 years, before winning it in year 14.  Over his 15-year head coaching career, he has averaged nearly 10 wins per year, but more importantly, he was given the opportunity to prove himself - with an owner who didn't panic the second his team seemed to falter, allowing the team a chance to right itself and bulid back up.

Coach B - Took over team after 3&13 record year prior.

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 5 11  ---
Team 1 Year 2 11 5 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs 
Team 1 Year 3 11 5 Won in Wildcard Playoffs and Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 4 12 4 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 5 12 4 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 6 13 3 Won in Divisional Playoffs and Divisional Championship; Lost in Super Bowl
Team 1 Year 7 6 10  ---
Team 1 Year 8 10 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs 
Team 1 Year 9 8 8  ---
Team 1 Year 10 9 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs and Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 11 11 5 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs

Coach B suffered through his first year, but managed to turn the team into a winner immediately following that.  Over 11 years, he has averaged 9.8 wins a season, but has yet to win a Super Bowl.

Coach C - Took over Team 1 after a 4&12 season, then moved to Team 2 when they were coming off a 9&7 record.

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 8 8  ---
Team 1 Year 2 8 8  ---
Team 1 Year 3 12 4 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 4 10 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 5 12 4 Won in Divisional Playoffs, Divisonal Championship, and Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 6 7 9  ---
Team 2 Year 7 5 11  ---
Team 2 Year 8 11 5 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 9 4 12  ---
Team 2 Year 10 9 7 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 11 9 7  ---

Coach C has averaged just over 8-1/2 wins per year.  He won the Super Bowl the first year after taking over his second team, after building his first team from a basement dweller to a playoff team.  Following his Super Bowl run, however, his second team has tailed off.

Coach D- Took over Team 1 following a 4&12 season.  His move to Team 2 came after they had an 8&8 year.

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 9 7  ---
Team 1 Year 2 9 7 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 3 9 7 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 4 11 5 Won in Wildcard Playoffs and Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 5 13 3 Won in Divisional Playoffs, Divisional Championship, and Super Bowl
Team 1 Year 6 13 3 Won in Divisional Playoffs and Divisional Championship; Lost in Super Bowl
Team 1 Year 7 11 5 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 8 9 7 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 9 6 10  ---
Team 2 Year 10 9 7  ---
Team 2 Year 11 7 9  ---
Team 2 Year 12 10 6 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 13 9 7 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 14 13 3 Won in Divisional Playoffs and Divisional Championship; Lost in Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 15 9 7 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 16 10 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 17 4 12  ---

When he reached the Super Bowl with Team 2 in Year 14, Coach D became just the 5th coach to reach a Super Bowl with two different teams.  No coach has ever won the Super Bowl with two different teams.

Coach E - Took over Team 1 following a 6&10 season; Took over Team 2 following 8&8 season.

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 6 10  ---
Team 1 Year 2 7 9  ---
Team 1 Year 3 7 9  ---
Team 1 Year 4 11 5 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 5 5 11  ---
4 Year Gap Between Head Coaching Jobs
Team 2 Year 6 5 11  ---
Team 2 Year 7 11 5 Won in Divisional Playoffs, Divisional Championship, and Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 8 9 7  ---
Team 2 Year 9 14 2 Won in Divisional Playoffs, Divisional Championship, and Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 10 14 2 Won in Divisional Playoffs, Divisional Championship, and Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 11 10 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 12 12 4 Won in Wildcard Playoffs and Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 2 Year 13 16 0 Won in Divisional Playoffs and Divisional Championship; Lost in Super Bowl
Team 2 Year 14 11 5  -----
Team 2 Year 15 10 6 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs

Coach E had a miserable first head coaching job, being replaced after one winning season in five tries (coincidentally, that winning season was an 11&5 record - just like Tony Sparano).  After getting a second chance as a head coach, Coach E flourished, leading his team to four Super Bowls, winning three.

 Coach F - Team 1 had a 7&9 record the year before Coach F took over; Team 2 was 6&10 the year before his arrival.

Team Year Win Loss Playoff Results
Team 1 Year 1 6 10  ---
Team 1 Year 2 10 6 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 1 Year 3 8 8  ---
Team 1 Year 4 11 5 Won in Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 1 Year 5 10 6 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 1 Year 6 9 7 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 7 10 6 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs
Team 2 Year 8 12 4 Won in Wildcard Playoffs and Divisional Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Championship
Team 2 Year 9 12 4 Won in Wildcard Playoffs; Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 10 14 2 Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 11 12 4 Won in Wildcard, Divisional Playoffs, Dvisional Championship, and Super Bowl 
Team 2 Year 12 13 3 Lost in Divisional Playoffs
Team 2 Year 13 12 4 Lost in Wildcard Playoffs

Although he has averaged 10.7 wins per year, Coach F has only one the Super Bowl once, 11 years into his career. 

As can be seen from the above 6 coaches, a Super Bowl run is not an automatic, and it is not an early career accomplishment.  Two of the coaches did it in their 5th year, one in his 7th (9th and 10th), one in his11th, on in his 14th, and one is still trying to do it.  Giving Tony Sparano just three years before searching for a new coach will, most likely, just set the team back even more.  At some point, the insanity must stop, and a coach has to be left in place long enough for him, and the team, to develop.  The constant changing is not going to improve the team.

Also,  as was previously stated, but can't be overstated, no coach has ever won the Super Bowl with two different teams.

Finally, what is to say a "big name" coach will take the job?  Everyone seems to think Bill Cowher is the choice if Tony Sparano is fired.  But, is there a guarantee that Cowher will agree to the job?  If Cowher doesn't want the job, then what?  Lose Sparano (and, Mike Nolan would probably be gone as well), for another coach getting his first chance as an NFL head coach?  Why risk that?

I agree, something needs to change.  But, I am beginning to think, more and more, that it's not Sparano. The rush to fire a coach after three years, only to fire his replacement after three years, does not make football sense, and probably hurts a team...this team...more than we realize.

Oh, and the coaches are Coach A - Bill Cowher, Coach B - Andy Reid, Coach C - Jon Gruden, Coach D - Mike Holmgren, Coach E - Bill Belichik (pretty easy one to recognize), and Coach F - Tony Dungy.