Fired Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano gained same validation today without even being on the sideline. His former team rallied in the second half and shut the New York Jets out of the playoffs this year by beating them 19-17. It was a nice showing for the Dolphins for a couple of reasons. First, it showed that the Dolphins may have found a quarterback in Matt Moore to guide them into the future. Second, it was a nice exit game for perennial Pro Bowler Jason Taylor who put on his shoulder pads for the last time.
I want to say a note about Jason Taylor who I think played the game for 15 years the right way. He was in your face, a tremendous pass rusher, and high energy for the Dolphins defense that looked to him and fed off of him as he played his way through a career worthy of the Hall of Fame. He is also a high caliber person off the field and will be missed on the field but will end up in TV before too long.
The Dolphins were proof of how the Player’s Strike really hurt certain teams by not allowing a full offseason to help teams work out some kinks, but also to evaluate rookies and free agents and gain depth on the roster going into the season. The Dolphins were one of the teams whose first five games were really an extended pre-season. Carolina was another.
It didn’t help that Coach Sparano started with one foot in a hole as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross openly shopped Sparano’s position in a totally classless move that weakened the coaches standing.
In a show of how well he was liked though, the Dolphins fought for sixty minutes for every game this year and after game seven, Moore, filling in for injured starter Chad Henne, and the offense clicked and the Dolphins began to play well on both sides of the ball and it showed as they went 6-3 to finish the year after losing in overtime to the Broncos and in a nail biter to the New York Giants. They should have won both of those and if they had sealed the deal they would have finished at 8-8.
I think the Dolphins Head Coaching job would be a good one to take. They have a good quarterback who has his confidence back, Reggie Bush showed he can handle the load, they have a good placekicker, and they have a pretty solid defense-not too mention three very good receivers in Marshall, Hartline, and Bess. All told, that is a nice mix to start with and with a nice draft position and free agency, a new staff could come in and compete for a wild card right away.