The Miami Dolphins' search for a new head coach could take an interesting turn following the resignation of Tom Coughlin as the head coach of the New York Giants. Nearing 70-years-old, Coughlin does not intend to end his coaching career, and could give Miami the shot in the arm they need. He would not be a long-term answer at the coaching position, however, so why would Miami be interested?
The Dolphins' tight ends coach and interim head coach is loved by his players. He is loved by the team's ownership. He is just young. He does not have the contacts some of the other candidates for the head coaching position will have, giving them an ability to build a staff that Campbell may not be able to match.
The Dolphins could ask any new head coach they hire to find a place for Campbell on the coaching staff, but would Campbell want to stay with the team if a long-term head coach is in place? Would a new head coach want to take the job and keep Campbell, knowing somewhere in the back of his mind, the Dolphins are just waiting to re-install Campbell as the team's top coach? Probably not.
Unless, you happen to be a head coach nearing 70, who wants to find another job, but you realize you are closer to the end of your career than the beginning. If you intend to coach, say, five more years, having an up-and-coming coaching to mentor could be the perfect way to solidify your coaching tree, and your legacy.
The idea of the Dolphins hiring Coughlin and keeping Campbell, either as the team's offensive coordinator or in an "assistant head coach" type of role is working its way through the fans. It is also starting to show up in the media. Armando Salguero for the Miami Herald writes, "And if Coughlin still has his fastball, I go with Coughlin. As long as he lets Campbell be on his staff -- kind of as the coach in waiting. This will require Campbell to also nail his interview, by the way."
BBC Radio editor and Sports Illustrated contributor Simon Clancy adds:
Dan Campbell is liked by Miami management, loved by players. Tom Coughlin & Campbell as HC & OC would offer Miami strong succession plan.— Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) January 5, 2016
He then added, when discussion about the idea between Phinsider author Matthew Cannata and me started:
If the Dolphins are serious about wanting to keep Campbell, but do not feel he is quite ready to be a full-time head coach, this could be a quick and easy solution to the problem. Coughlin would add credibility to the Dolphins' head coaching position instantly and would be able to build a staff that, if Campbell were to take over whenever Coughlin retires, could provide long-term stability to the franchise.
Coughlin could even bring along his Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who is scheduled to interview for the Giants vacancy, keeping him as the team's offensive coordinator (if Miami does not want to make Campbell the offensive coordinator right away). Then, if McAdoo continues to perform at a level that eventually lands him a head coaching position, Campbell could take over the offensive coordinator position until Coughlin retires. The Giants had the eighth ranked offense in terms of yardage (372.3 yards per game) this year and the sixth ranked offense in terms of points scored (26.3 points per game). McAdoo installing that same offense in Miami could help validate his position as a head coach candidate and give Campbell an opportunity to learn before he is thrust into a position for which he may not be ready.
The Giants defense finished last in the league in yardage (420.3 yards per game allowed) and 30th in points allowed (27.6 points per game), so there would have to be a plan from Coughlin to find a defensive scheme that would improve those stats.
A Coughlin-Campbell pairing could be a perfect solution for the Dolphins, if they want to keep Campbell and are interested in Coughlin. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Executive Vice President Mike Tannenbaum, and the rest of the coaching search committee are in New York City today, interviewing Mike Shanahan and Teryl Austin. Adding Coughlin should not be overly difficult.
If the Dolphins were to hire Coughlin with Campbell staying on as the heir apparent, would you consider that a success for the Miami coaching search?