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Sparano among the coaches of the year

I think we can all agree it was improbable and surprising that the Miami Dolphins would follow a 1-15 season with the current 8-5 record that includes a chance to earn a playoff spot and win the AFC East.

That climb from worst to possibly first is almost always accompanied with a Coach of the Year award for the team's leader. And so Tony Sparano deserves to be in the conversation for COY in 2008.

But he's obviously not alone and obviously has not sealed the deal.

The Baltimore Ravens have a coach in John Harbaugh who, like Sparano, is in his rookie season. The Ravens have a better record than the Dolphins and beat the Dolphins this year. If you believe the Ravens had a better team than Miami to begin with, and so that should help Sparano's cause, you should remember the Dolphins beat Baltimore last year.

Worst to first is a goal the Atlanta Falcons have been making a reach for this season as well. After a season that was arguably more disastrous than Miami's -- remember the QB went to jail, the coach went AWOL during the season, and Bill Parcells turned them down before coming to Miami -- the Falcons have recovered very well, thank you.

Mike Smith has his team vying for a playoff spot and still in the hunt for the NFC South title with an 8-5 record.

The folks out in Arizona would argue Ken Whisenhunt deserves consideration after the Cardinals won their first division title since the move from St. Louis. The folks in Tennessee would argue Jeff Fisher has done a pretty good job putting his team in elite status with a 12-1 record with what is essentially their backup quarterback.

Tom Coughlin is likely to get some votes because the Giants have dominated most of this season despite not having Michael Strahan or Osi Umenyiora and juggling the Plaxico Burress controversy.

"I think there are a lot of good coaches out there,"Sparano said. "And I'm not trying to take the easy way out, but how can you argue with what coach Fisher has done down there. How can you argue with what Tom Coughlin has done? What coach Smith has done right now in Atlanta as the new coach ... any of these people. These teams are playing really well right now. There have been doing a lot of good coaching jobs out there."

None of that resonates among Miami players, of course. The Dolphins love their coach and think he deserves the award because he is special. And what makes him so?

"Number one, his passion," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "His passions has been the same from when I met him the night of the Tampa Bay preseason game until now. It hasn't changed, it hasn't wavered. The season is so grueling sometimes you can see it in a coach, the season wearing on him a little. This guy hasn't moved. He hasn't changed one bit."

So who should win the award? And please be fair, Dolphins fans.

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Smith has done a great job and most years WOULD be the winner. But as much as Atl has improved, if we go from 1-15 to the playoffs, that is unprecedented and certainly deserves the award.

Yeah, 1-15 to winning the division is definitely tops in my book. LAST IN THE LEAGUE, 1-15, to winning the division and playoffs. The falcons are probably gonna miss out of the playoffs. Tennessee could deserve it, as the Giants but we have the best story.

Mando, question. How do you spell Coughlin right in the quote from Sparano, but you spelled it wrong in your writing. (Coughlan....)

If the Fins make the playoffs, there is no question... Sparano, If they don't maybe Fisher?

Smith has done a great job and most years WOULD be the winner. But as much as Atl has improved, if we go from 1-15 to the playoffs, that is unprecedented and certainly deserves the award.

I vote for Nick Saban and Cam Cameron! In all seriousness, I agree. I believe his chances rest on whether or not we take the division or not, and rightfully so...

If Miami wins two more games they will be the only team in NFL history to go 1-15, then follow that up with a 10 win season. That in itself deserves the award.

It's a good list. All have their teams playing well. Notice to talk of Mangina? ha ha jets suck as usual!

Finfan2009: I figured I'd maximize my opportunity to get it right at least once.

What is shocking is that I predicted 11-5 record back in August on a fantasy whim born out of frustrations since being a Dolphin fan since 1970.
I said to myself that I was maybe disillusion as several friends even said to me that I was...
GO FINS, you are exceeding the world's expectations and deserve the right to be rooted for...
Taking them one at a time is all we can do
so ALL GREAT THOUGHTS AND JUST WIN BABY!!!
Sparano COACH OF THE YEAR
Pennington LEAGUE MVP
Bell COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Joey DEFENSIVE MVP
Ricky & Ronnie ALL AROUND GREAT INDIVIDUALS
THE DOLPHINS "WORLD CHAMPIONS" Please ;-)

Sparano so far certainly deserves it, but some of those others, particularly Atlanta, Baltimore, Arizona and SF have done an increbidble job under the circumstances also.

BTW before the season I went to Vegas and placed a $100 bet at 30 something to 1 on the Dolphins to win the Superbowl. It doesn't seem so far fetched anymore.

I vote for Cam Cameron because without his leadership from last year we would not be where we are today

Soiled

All of this Coach of the Year and MVP stuff doesn't do anything for me. I just want the team to win games. If Sparano or Pennington or whoever wins some individual award , fine, I guess. But none of it means too much.

Thanks, SoiledBottom.

This bores me...next

Coach of the year?? IT should be someone like Tom Coughlin. It is so difficult to build and maintain excellence with so many moving parts. In New York no less. They came in with high expectations and fulfilled. Don't fall into the Marlins marketing plan scenario- create insanely low expactations so that when the team isn't total crap all the dummies are elated. I like Sparano because he knows he shouldn't be coach of the year. He told me.

If Miami makes the playoffs no doubt Sporano deserves it, plus an emmy for his performance on ESPN with Kenny Mayne a while back with the Sopranos.

There have been some really good coaching jobs this year. Coughlin, Fisher, Harbaugh, Smith, Harbaugh and Sparano have all done great. At the moment its tough to choose one.
Not sure when the award is announced, but after the season would be best. Only then will a true favourite be clear !!

Miami had the worst record and everyone said they were the worst team last year. If that's the case, Sparano has to be COY this year. We've made the biggest turn around.

Who cares..these fins are not looking for anything other than the playoffs and beyond

Parcells made the personnel moves and deserves exec of the year.
Had Pennington not shown up then Henne had won the starting job in camp. If Hennne were the starter I think our offense would have more stats: more yards, tds & ints and probably fewer wins.
The Falcons made a lot of off season moves also.
The Ravens because of injury had to start a division II qb that never even played on TV before. Flacco's stats get most qb's benched and ridiculed but he gives it a MANs effort at least.
I have to go with Harbaugh 1st, Soprano a close 2nd.

Smith has done terrific job. Lets face it, they proved my suspicion correctly, Micheal Vick is a side show Bob running QB, not a leader that quickly reads D's. Atl had superior talent to Miami. So did Ravens, that D, WOW! Harbaugh is honorable mention.

Sparano is the winner taking a bunch of misfits, no names and contending for playoffs. If Fins don't make playoffs then this award goes to either Smith or Harbaugh.

Honestly, its too early to say... has to depend on who makes the playoffs.

Sparano definitely deserves a ton of credit for what he's done... and yes, Atlanta and the Ravens are definitely in the mix.

Places like Arizona and New York, while impressive, didn't single handedly turn their team around the way the other coaches did. So, in short, it depends on who makes the playoffs. If the Falcons, Ravens and Dolphins all make it to the post season, you have to give it to Sparano (based on the 1-15 to 11-5 record from year to year). Ill give a real answer after the last week of the season

GO FINS! 3 more baby!! Just 3 more... run the table boys!

come on; the Ravens had the best record in the NFL the year before they collapsed.

The Dolphins have been bad for a long time; it wasn't a one year fluke. Give it to Sparano.

If Miami runs the table and wins the AFC East, than Sparano should win it hands down!

Fisher(Ten) and Smith (Atl) are toss-ups for 2nd!

I love my Dolphins and what coach sporano has done, but lets look at what we have here. Coach Jeff Fisher deserves this. His starting QB went down in the first week. They have a rookie running back and Kerry Collins who passed his prime a long time ago. and yet this team already clinched the division where every team last year finished at or above .500 so my vote would go to Coach Fisher

At this point, the mentioned coaches tie, but the tie-breaker goes to Sparano for excitement/entertainment value (Wildcat).

30 year mortgage rates at 4.875% now

I am pleased with what has happened so far with the dolphins but unless Sparano takes this team to the playoffs he does not get my nod for coach of the year. As far as I am concerned the Atlanta Falcons had less to work with in preseason and have a more solid team right now. The Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons and their Front office gets my vote. We had the first pick of the draft and 2 second round picks for goodness sake. Atlanta was standing on one leg since Vick got the boot.

Good job Sparano, ive really only question 2 things this season, one is when we used to not go for it on fourth and a toe nail, and the other was publicaly Chastizing a kicker that had been solid for the last 5 weeks. He went on to miss his next field goal..
Other than that youve done a great job, the team has swagger this year, because they buy into your philosophy.

Mando,
No disrespect intended. I'm not advertising on your site.
Rates are plummeting and someone has to keep your readers up to date on the other things going on in the world.
Anyone calls you'll get your end.

They all had a team. Cameron and Saban left nothing. Zero, zilch, nada. There wasn't a team. Even if they beat Baltimore last year. I believe that Baltimore mailed it in that game, because they didn't want to see a team with Miami's history have that most ignoble of records, 0-16) Unlike NE who would of beat us 57-3 last year for 20 straight games so they could laugh at something. NE sucks because they have no class and Bellicheck is a proven cheating a ss. And their injured starting QB is a lady. Lady Brady.
So if Sparano takes these guys and they win just 2 more games he deserves the recognition and a raise. Of course, the Tuna and Ireland deserve a lot of credit but Sparano is a great motivational and tactical coach.
By the way, free agents we couldn't dream of landing over the past couple of seasons will start looking our way this year. You can bet on it.
Go Phins

I don't think I'm being bias when I say this but I think if the Phins get to the playoffs there is no question he should be coach of the year. All people have done since the beginning of the season was dog and trash talk about the Phins saying how minimal the talent is. If the talent is so minimal as they say, it takes a great coach to maximize that talent. Guys come off the practice squad and step up. JT is gone Zach is gone. The only player considered a super star is Porter and everyone wrote him off saying he was washed up. The only coach that could come close is Smith in ATL.

Everyone call Master!

No coach has gotten more from less than Tony Sparano.

Are you kidding me?!?!?! WTF??!?! Everyone else is just filler!! No one even comes close to the job Sparano has done this year!!! 1-15 to 8-5 and TIED for firs tin the division. Forget about winning the division jsut the fact that he has them tie for the division definately gives him the award hands down! Just give to him now!

If the Dolphins break the turnaround record and especially if they win the division, it'd be pretty disappointing if Coach Sparano didn't get it. If they falter, it's a toss-up.

One overtime play away from being the very first 0-16 season last year? Fights on the team plane, players openly berrating the head coach. The 'phins were a total trainwreck.

Now 8-5 and likely to win the first division title in almost 10 years? Tony Sparano gets my nod, hands down.

from 1-15 to the playoffs (maybe) is enough to get my vote for COY. but if sparano doesnt get it then smith in ATL should.

Phinfan2009 - Dude, do you really want everyone telling you everytime you spell something incorrectly or say something stupid, which I'm sure happens? Give me a break - these guys are typing at a computer just like us, and spell check doesn't know the proper spelling of someone's last name.

IMO you should comment on content, not punctuation, spelling, or grammer. This isn't an english class blog.

Mando - bravo for your response!

It all depends if the Phins make the playoffs or not because the Ravens are going to. If the dolphins make the playoffs, Sparano will win it. If they don't, Harbaugh will. Look at it this way, if the Lions make the playoffs next year wouldn't there coach win the award?

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