There are a lot of rumors and reports out there relative to the Dolphins coach situation. Allow me to tell you what is true and what is, well, not exactly true for the sake of not calling things lies or misrepresentations or outright errorneous reports:
1. CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that intermediaries for the Dolphins have contacted people close to Bill Cowher about Cowher becoming Miami's coach. FICTION.
The Dolphins have declined comment publicly but I am told by two sources at the highest level of the organization that this is "Not true" and that the Dolphins "will not reach out to anybody" as long as Tony Sparano remains coach. The truth is this is a sensative subject for the Dolphins, and especially owner Stephen Ross, because he reached out to Jim Harbaugh last January while Sparano was coach. He was ripped mercilessly and, I dare say, appropriately, for the no-no and he has the scars to prove it. Ross is concerned he and the Dolphins would begin to get a reputation as a team that goes behind a coach's back if it happens again. So he is making sure it doesn't happen again through the team, him, or any intermediaries of which there is only really one -- Carl Peterson. (Dan Marino sitting next to Cowher on the CBS set and suggesting he should be the next Dolphins coach does not constitute the Dolphins reaching out to Cowher through intermediaries.) Marino is not a Ross representative. He didn't even want the Dolphins to mention it was his birthday during the season-opener at home against New England and threatened to boycott the game if they did. So Marino is not carrying anyone's water. The Dolphins also know Cowher would be offended by that kind of approach --- behind the current coach's back. It would be exactly the wrong way to do this. And while the Dolphins have not been brilliant in the way they conduct themselves lately, even they admit this would be dumb.
2. Cowher is of high interest to the Dolphins because he's a superstar coach who is available. FACT.
Duh. There was a report that made it seem like the Dolphins having interest in Cowher was news. It's news like saying daylight has interest in the sun is news. The Dolphins indeed view Cowher as a target, and probably their top target, in what will be a certain search that begins once Sparano is gone. But Cowher won't be the only target. Jeff Fisher and Jon Gruden will also be targets and don't rule out any "star" caliber coach that might get the axe after this season.
3. Cowher, as Miami's likely top choice, is also Miami's likely next head coach. FICTION.
Firstly, that's impossible to predict. Secondly, there is the thorny issue of what other jobs are available after the season. The truth is Miami would not be first on Cowher's list of places and franchises he'd like to coach if he had his druthers. It simply isn't. Not his kind of town. Not his kind of approach as a franchise. Just not him. He's a blue collar guy. People that know Cowher tell me he'd rather be the coach someplace like say, Chicago or the Giants or perhaps even Houston or Philadelphia or Kansas City. All things being equal, he'd probably rather go to any of those places than Miami. Of course, all things are not equal. The Fins will have a vacancy. We don't know about any of those other places. This, by the way, also refutes the idea the Dolphins are already touching base with him. He is going to wait to see what is available to him before jumping back in, assuming he jumps at all. Now is not yet the right time to be flirting with anyone..
4. The Dolphins will keep Sparano through the end of the year and begin this big search in January. FICTION, but with an asteriks.
Sparano keeps his job until the end of the season is if he starts winning, so that is the caveat. If he continues winless, he continues to put himself at weekly risk of being fired. I've been told that barring a total embarrassing collapse, Sparano will likely remain coach the next two games at the New York Giants and Kansas City. But if the Dolphins are 0-8 after KC, I think that is the week Sparano will be most at risk because the Dolphins return home for a Nov. 13 game against Washington that starts a five-week span in which Miami plays at home four times. The Dolphins will want to do something for their home fans by then and, fair or not, a coaching change is about the only thing that can be done in-season.
5. The Dolphins are keeping Sparano on now because they are officially in "Suck for Luck" mode. FICTION.
To call the Dolphins an organization is almost a contradiction in terms. This football team cannot organize the proper personnel to put on the field for a two-point conversion AFTER A TIMEOUT and some of you think there's an organized and so-far perfectly successful movement to continue losing? Sparano is the coach because so far he hasn't lost total respect in the locker room and there really isn't anyone better to replace him. Period.
6. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the former head coach of the San Francisco 49'ers is the most logical choice to replace Sparano on an interim basis. FICTION.
Have you seen the Dolphins play defense so far this season? That unit is so far part of the problem. So what about Mike Nolan's work suggests he deserves a promotion? The truth is no one on staff likely deserves the promotion. But the Dolphins would also look at assistant head coach/secondary coach Todd Bowles and quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell as candidates on an interim basis. Bowles has the Bill Parcells stamp of being a future head coach. That is one reason he was interviewed for the head coach job in both Kansas City and Detroit. Dorrell was the head coach at UCLA from 2003-07 before joining the Dolphins in 2008. So he has head coach experience, although not in the NFL. They Dolphins will consider both very strongly. And while the team will never say this, naming either of these men would mark the first time in franchise history the Dolphins would have a black head coach. It would be a historical milestone.