The Miami Dolphins are 9-5 on the season and in position to earn a playoff spot, but it seems like they are constantly forgotten when it comes to national coverage of the league. Rarely do the Dolphins seem to come up when analysts outside Miami talk about the top teams, players, and coaches. Often, highlights of Dolphins this year have been the opponents’ plays, despite Miami winning the game. It has been frustrating for Dolphins fans - even if the players and coaches say they do not notice.
At least one national media member has noticed something special happening in South Florida. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen listed his top five Coach of the Year candidates on Friday, looking at how each man has done through the first 14 games of the season. Included on the list is Adam Gase, the Dolphins’ head coach.
“The first-year coach has shown he is more than just a so-called quarterback whisperer,” Mortensen writes. “The 37-year-old Gase has instilled discipline and grit into the Dolphins, who are gunning for a playoff spot at 9-5. They will presumably have to play at Buffalo and at home against New England without injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill.”
Gase, and the entire Miami coaching staff, has done a great job this year. They have a team most people predicted would have six wins, at the most, playing meaningful football late in December and in control of their own path to the playoffs. They have adjusted their systems to fit the strengths of the team. They have absorbed multiple Pro Bowlers landing on injured reserve and a multitude of other injuries and still have the team moving forward. They have changed the culture of a team that appeared to be headed toward another mediocre year.
What makes a Coach of the Year? Exceeding expectations? Overcoming the past? Changing the future of a franchise? Dealing with injuries and adjusting systems? Adam Gase has done all of those. He should not only be a candidate for Coach of the Year, but he could very easily be THE Coach of the Year.
If the national media will follow Mortensen’s lead and actually pay attention to the Dolphins.