When a head coach is hired in the NFL, he typically is expected to succeed in three years. The first year is about finding players and installing a scheme. The second season is about building off the players found and utilizing the scheme. The third year is about adding those key missing pieces and executing a mastered scheme.
When you have not won a playoff game since 2000, a three-year turn around might be a bit aggressive. The Dolphins need a major overhaul, and they seem to know it. Owner Stephen Ross said, after relieving former head coach Adam Gase of his duties, “Basically, the decision (to change head coaches) was really made as a looked at it and seeing that today, we’re no further along that when I really bought the team. We’ve been operating under a philosophy that we had a good young roster and it needed maybe free agents and draft choices and we’d be very competitive. To keep operating under that philosophy would be like the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and really expecting a different result...What you want and what I want, is really sustained winning seasons and having an organization that is used to winning, because that’s what people in Miami expect...Basically, the thought is we’re going to look to really build this organization based on our needs and if takes a year or so - two years, three years - we’re going to be there and we’re going to be an organization.”
Ross told the media the Dolphins need to overhaul the system, stop looking for the quick fix to win today, and turn to a longer term outlook where the team will win for years.
That is a hard sell to a head coach, who is looking to ensure he has a job for longer than three years, but could be coming into a team that is looking to not win immediately in order to set up winning for a long time. How does a coach find the stability needed to let a team grow, rather than throw on a few band-aids and hope for some luck?
How does a team convince a coach that they are on the same page and will not hold the building years against him before the winning years arrive?
In the case of the Miami Dolphins and new head coach Brian Flores, it comes in the form of a fully guaranteed, five-year contract. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that is exactly what the Dolphins gave Flores, committing to him for more than just the standard three-year cycle. Brand new head coaches typically see a three- or four-year contract with a team option for another season. Flores is under contract with Miami for five years.
Of course, Miami could fire him before the deal is complete, but they do not have an escape from paying him all the money on the deal, it would seem. That likely means there is very little chance that the team would look to fire him before the end of the deal.
Flores has stability. He has a chance to let the Dolphins grow into a perennial contender. He does not need to throw band-aids at the problem and hope something sticks. He does not need to sacrifice the long-term future of the franchise to win today.
It actually is a little refreshing to know that - at least on paper - the Dolphins are going to do this right. They are going to finally rebuild.