Yesterday, the news broke that the Miami Dolphins had fired head coach Tony Sparano, and were moving on with interim head coach Todd Bowles for the rest of the season. Everyone knew Sparano would most likely be canned as soon as the season was over. Why did owner Stephen Ross pull the trigger with just three games to go, rather than wait out the year?
I think there were two major reasons this firing happened when it did. The first of those was the number nine. As in, nine losses. As in, going to finish the year below .500 - the third straight time the Dolphins have had a losing season, the first time that has happened for the franchise since 1970. Before the season, Ross told Sparano that his job rested on having a winning team. But a nine in the loss column confirms the team won't even reach .500, let alone be above it.
And, that was the final straw. As soon as it was confirmed that the Dolphins would again be a losing franchise, Ross made the move.
But the actual timing on the day was odd as well. Why allow Sparano to conduct his normal Monday morning press conference, if you are going to fire him a couple of hours later?
That's my second reason for the timing. You can blame this one on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs fired their head coach, Todd Haley yesterday morning. Suddenly, there were two job openings, counting the Jacksonville Jaguars' job after they fired Jack Del Rio two weeks ago. And, the Kansas City job could be a desirable one, giving the traditions and history of that franchise.
The sudden ability of the Chiefs to start searching for their next head coach suddenly made the move on Sparano one that needed to be made. The Dolphins could not wait until the end of the year to have the job opened up. If they wanted to talk to potential coaching candidates (at least the ones not currently employed by NFL teams), the job had to be available.
Ross couldn't give the Chiefs a head start on the search for the next head coach.
I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons as to why the coaching change happened when it did. And, I may have completely missed on the two reasons I think it happened now. But, I think that, logically, yesterday was the day to make the move.
And, now that's it's been done, the Dolphins can truly start looking for a coach, an identity, and a future.