It has been said that the apple never falls far from the tree, but whoever coined that phrase obviously wasn’t referring to members of a dynastic franchise’s coaching tree who are hired by other, less successful teams.
In December, 1989, the New York Jets tried to convince longtime San Francisco head coach and three time Super Bowl winner Bill Walsh to end his short lived retirement to come and coach for them, and although Walsh had no interest in the job, he recommended, among others, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet, who got his start coaching in the NFL under Walsh in 1980. Coslet went 47-77 in New York, although he did lead the Jets to a playoff berth in 1991 by beating the Dolphins on the road in the season finale, because, as was often the case in those days, Miami couldn’t stop the run. Coslet was fired after four years in New York.
Another man who coached under Walsh with the Niners, Ray Rhodes, was head coach for a total of five seasons with Philadelphia and Green Bay from 1995-99, and managed to win one playoff game during that time, but was just too fiery and intense on the sidelines for his own good. I remember watching him during games, and fearing for his long term health if he continued much longer. Although he ultimately fared slightly better than Coslet, he was still under .500 for his career.
Which brings us, inevitably, to one William Stephen Belichick. In fact, his birthday is today (4-16-52). Happy birthday, coach, and again, thank you for your defensive game plan in the 1991 Super Bowl with the Giants, which helped defeat the Buffalo Bills, so that we, as Dolphin fans, wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of watching Buffalo hoist a Lombardi trophy while Marino was our quarterback. Seven men, Al Groh, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Josh McDaniels, Jim Schwartz, Bill O’Brien and Matt Patricia were hired by other NFL teams before the Dolphins hired Brian Flores, and of those seven men, only one of them (O’Brien) has managed to win so much as a single playoff game.
I’d like to take this time to say that I’m sorry for being so hard you guys last time out. When guys like Gllmiaspr and Blaze453 tell me that I need to tone it down a little bit, I have to take their advice, because they’re the ones who make this site the best place on the planet to go for discussions about the Miami Dolphins, not me. That being said, I’m going make another prediction today that dwarfs every other prognostication I’ve ever made on this site: the Miami Dolphins will advance to at least one Super Bowl before Brian Flores hangs up his headset. I can’t tell you when it will be, only that it will come during either his first or second contract. And, yes — there will be a second contract. I also can’t guarantee a victory, simply because you just never know who you’re going to draw as an opponent in the big game in any given year. But Flores will get them there; I’m sure of it. There is good, there is great, there is excellent and there is ridiculous, and what he was able to with that woefully undermanned, out horse-powered squad a season ago was nothing short of ridiculous. He’s also one of the most brilliant defensive minds in the game, which is why Belichick never gave him the official title of defensive coordinator, because he knew that would only serve to hasten Flores’ departure out of town. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it some more — in the end, it always comes down to defense. The days of the Miami Dolphins and their fans being betrayed by a front office that, on far too many occasions, regarded the defensive side of the ball as almost an afterthought are over, folks.
Flores also possesses the all important sense of when to bond with his players and beat the hell out them. The NFL landscape is littered with the wreckage of coaching careers that were done in by the inability of guys who keenly understood their X’s and O’s, but just didn’t know how to relate to players as men. Flores is too instinctive, too intuitive to allow that to happen to him. He has the three main traits necessary to succeed at the highest level of coaching. I call them the three R’s: ruthlessness, relentlessness and resourcefulness. We saw it in his first year with the Dolphins; even though ownership and management literally set him up to fail so they could accumulate draft capital, he willed his rag tag collection of castoffs to five amazing wins. Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin and Adam Gase all failed to beat Tom Brady in Foxborough, yet Flores accomplished the feat on his first try. If not for a bad call on the road, in the final seconds against the Jets, he’d have swept New York, too. And he did it all despite being the very last coach to fill out his staff. The press can claim all it wants that it’s impossible to replicate the ‘Patriot Way’ anyplace else but New England; Brian Flores is about to prove them wrong.