« Matt Moore ready, set to start vs Buffalo | Main | The looming decisions facing the Dolphins »

How enticing is the Dolphins coaching job?

When this season is over there may be no less than seven, and as many as 12 head coach vacancies to fill in the NFL.

Think about this: Every team in the state of Florida might be searching for a new head coach.

And while different teams will use different criteria to fill their vacancies -- the Dolphins want a big-name star while Jacksonville is going to go young and cheaper -- there simply aren't enough good head coach candidates to go around to fill as many as a dozen openings.

That means, on some level and at some point, there will be competition for the top talent.

That also means the scale that usually tips in the organization's favor as it judges candidates might tip more evenly toward candidates who thus get the luxury of judging competing organizations. In other words, sometimes the scarcity of great candidates allows them to put the organizaton on trial as they choose rather than being chosen.

This offseason might offer that kind of climate.

And that means the Dolphins coach-searching organization could be judged against other coach-seeking organizations. So how strong is the case for the Dolphins organization? How attractive is the Miami job? How prepared is Miami to compete for the coach it wants against similar organizations that might be hunting the same coaches?

To weigh this first we have to understand which teams might be seeking coaches. I have a list that is compartmentalized into two divisions -- the almost certainly will have a vacancy division, and the possibly will also have a vacancy division.

The almost certainly will have a vacancy division: Miami, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego.

The might also have a vacancy division: Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Chicago.

Let me say the Dolphins better hope none of the teams in the latter division have a vacancy because all those jobs, except for Minnesota, are better jobs than the one in Miami. Dallas has a more talented roster than Miami and at least you know the structure and whom you're dealing with as a coach. Washington plays in front of a sold-out stadium, the owner is something of a meddler but less than he used to be, and he's still willing to spend tons of money. Philadelphia has a great owner, good personnel people and better talent than Miami. Chicago has hands-off ownership that is willing to spend without over-spending and the talent is better than in Miami.

Those clubs -- all of them -- would be in the market for the kind of coach the Dolphins are searching for if they fire their coaches. They'd be buying their next coach at Tiffany's as surely as the Dolphins are.

Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis would more likely be shopping at K-Mart. San Diego and Indianapolis would probably find themselves somewhere in between.

So let's eliminate the teams in the last paragraph because, let's face it, the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't going to pay the $7-$10 milion per season it would take to get a Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher or Brian Billick.

Let's concentrate on Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago. My take is the Dolphins cannot offer a better job than any of those franchises. Like it or not, all of those franchises are more stable than Miami -- yes, even Washington, which tells you something about Miami's stability.

None of those franchises have the obvious and dysfunctional divide between the football side and business side that the Dolphins currently suffer.

None of those franchises have inexperienced owners and the Dolphins do.

Three out of four of those franchises have stable quarterback situations. None have elite quarterbacks, but Jay Cutler, Tony Romo and Michael Vick are plenty attractive to a big-name coach that wants to compete as quickly as possible. The Dolphins obviously have had the NFL's most unstable quarterback situation the past decade. (The weight of that truth really hit me when I typed that last sentence).

Simply, if I'm an elite coach and the Philly job and the Miami job get offered to me, I go to Philly before Miami. I also go to Dallas, Chicago and even Washington. Washington owner Dan Snyder, by the way, is not considered a great owner. But his major failing -- meddling -- is also something of a blessing. He wants to spend money. He wants to push the envelope on attacking the draft.

He's not a bad owner in that he's interviewing coaches behind his current coach's back. And again, the Redskins enjoy a much better home-field experience than the Dolphins. They sell out. They do not celebrate the other team's quarterback with a special day for his university. And, most importantly, there would be the opportunity for the new coach to pick and choose his own personnel people to work with when he enters the organization.

The Dolphins lose on all those counts to a team with as bad a public perception as the Redskins. Amazing, isn't it?

The Miami job does have advantages and is better than other jobs that are currently out there or might be on several front. Miami is better than Jacksonville. Miami is better than Tampa Bay in that Stephen Ross is willing to spend money while the Glazers are not so inclined. The Miami job is better and more stable than say, Minnesota, because there is no current threat to move the Dolphins.

But when it comes to a comparison with San Diego, Indianapolis, Kansas City and even St. Louis, I'm not absolutely certain one can say the Miami job is way better.

San Diego and St. Louis have quarterbacks. Miami does not. Miami has a better roster than St. Louis but not better than San Diego. Indianapolis has a great general manager in Bill Polian who has constructed Super Bowl teams in Buffalo, Carolina and Indy. Miami does not. Indy also has the first pick in the draft. Miami does not. The Dolphins, however, have a better salary cap situation.

Kansas City also has a quarterback, although Matt Cassel is not elite. Again, Miami does not. The Chiefs coach must tie himself to GM Scott Pioli. I like Scott. He's a bright man. And, like him or not, he helped build the Super Bowl teams in New England. So again, the Chiefs offer a GM whose done Super Bowl-caliber work while Miami does not.

I am not saying the Dolphins cannot compete with the other franchises that have openings or are likely to have openings. I am saying this:

The Dolphins fancy themselves as having an elite job opening. And they truly do offer an opportunity for a top-flight coaching talent that Jacksonville and Tampa Bay and some other teams cannot compete with. The fact Ross is willing to pay handsomely for his coach is testament to that.

But the truth also is the Dolphins job also comes with some warts: There is not franchise quarterback on the roster. The general manager is unproven. The owner is still learning on the job. There is not any significant home field advantage in that the stadium isn't full of passionate fans every home game -- indeed opposing fans often number in large quantities. And there is a divide between football operations and the business side of the franchise.

Yes, the lure of huge money can mask those issues for a big-name coach. But if another club is also offering gobs of cash, those are issues coaches weigh before they make a final decision.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How enticing is the Dolphins coaching job?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Of course there are no passionate fans at home games, we have sucked for 10 years

too long

that puts into perspective..good article Mando..well done


stop gloating spiderman..lol

Billick over Mangini .... ALL DAY LONG!

IMO... Northeast Italians need not apply unless their last name is spelled LOMBARDI


..Well written Armando..I'm sure some will be upset tht you dared to once again say something unfavorable about their beloved Dolphins. But fact is this place is a dumpster fire.

Mike Mayock had an intersting quote last night. He said that todays NFL is a GM's league more then ever. If your head coach and GM cannot be connected at the hip, on the same page...You will have no chance.

Well..We have wonderboy..If this logic is true. And the football minds around the league know this..Which "superstar" Head coach is going to lock step with Wonderboy? I don't see it happening.

yadda....yadda...yadda....Miami still has snow free weather and HOT women.

Score one for Miami!

Don't put Jacksonville on the cheap list. No one knows what the new owner might spend, especially on a head coach.

Go F yourself !!!!

Armando, forget about it, Mangini's on his way!

Good article Armando.

I would have to agree Tom@jax, I used to live there. The old owner, yea you could say he was cheap, most thought he was an ask..but anyway, with the new owner who knowes.

There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to begin

Armando - You don't recall Snyder wooing Shanahan behind Zorn's back?

This coincides with other articles Ive read on ESPN, FOX,ABC etc. Many have the same opinion. Not looking promising, only hope would be if Ross does decide to fire ireland in order to get the coach he wants.

Petersen-Ireland-Mangini, Miami's newest Trifvcktus!

All wrong Mando. If everything is equal, your theory is plausible. However, money talks, BS walks. If Ross is willing to pony up more dough than the other teams, he will get the guy he wants. As the Dolphins do have roster issues and really no QB to speak of, they're going to have to go high on salary to convince one of the big names to come down here. Make no mistake though, NFL coaches are every bit as whorish as the players.

Ross is a big time screwball. If an owner has so much faith in his gm, why hire a football czar(Petersen)?

Why even keep that gm if he's gonna hurt your chances of landing a premium hc? Geesh Ross, sell the team already will ya!

I have a sleeper head coach name. BUTCH DAVIS for head coach!

Butch Davis

Big money, great weather, huge legacy, not as bad as you make it out to be. Historic team, if we could ever get it together again.

The coaching search ended months ago. Now they just have to go through proper protocol before announcing who will be the next coach we send into permanent retirement from being an NFL HC upon their departure from the Miami quicksand.


Money talks, bs walks, that's exactly how we ended up with BP and JJ.

Then after 2-3 seasons they both ended back up in the broadcast booths.

I rather have a hc that's here because he wants to be here, not because we offered the most money. Money alone doesnt buy stability.

Ireland is a complete liability to the organization. The majority of fans despise him (just ask all the empty seats......and Dez Bryant), he's severely damaged the Dolphins credibility by kissing Ross' ass and openly betraying Sparano which will deter any coach worth his salt from coming here (unless they desperately need the money) and from a perception standpoint, Ross won't get credit for a clean start until he removes all of Parcell's stink from the place. Ireland has to go. Nothing he has done personnel-wise comes close to canceling out the negative impact he's created within the fan base. People don't go to the games, what more proof is there?

Right, wrong or indifferent, when people are flying planes over your stadium to voice their opinion about the employee sitting in the most important chair, your franchise is not in good shape.

And whoever thought it was a good idea to honor the QB from the opposing team, they're an effing moron. Dumbest idea ever. End of story.

what a disaster this has become. The Dolphins used to be class all the way around and now...

Hmm, I disagree with so much in that blog. Bill Polish, elite, Uhm, maybe 10a years ago. His drafting sincethe has been an abortion.

And I don't see half of those openings you mentioned opening up for one reason or another. You can't have 12 jobs open up. It doesn't make sense, that's too much turnover and there aren't enough people to film them unless coaches move laterally from one fired position to another vacancy.

A hc needs to bring more than his bank account numbers to a franchise. He needs to bring his heart and soul with him too.

When the Dolphins conclude their season with a January 1 game against the Jets, a message other than “Happy New Year” will be circling above Sun Life Stadium for two hours before kickoff.

According to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, the proprietors of Finsnation.com have purchased a flying billboard, which will read: “Mr. Ross, save our Dolphins. Fire Jeff Ireland.”


I see some fans are running a "FIRE JEFF IRELAND" plane before the Jets game. Awesome idea! I for one would like to start a Jeff chant.


The Jet fans will be confused.

It's gonna be either Billick or Mangina. Not great choices if you ask me, but Id much prefer Billick. Forget about Cowher or Gruden as long as Ireland and his funk is still occupying the building.

..Legacy means nothing. Sorry. But if anything. Coaching in the shadow of a legend is a negative. These coaches will always be compaired to Shula..He is the ever looming presance. For the fans the past is great. It should be celebrated.But for the team on the field. Winning 35 years ago has no affect on creating a competitive team today.

Another interesting angle is how do the percentages go up on landing one of the "big guys" even if Ireland is gone? The business side of the Dolphins is a three-ring circus and every b-list jag off on earth owns a piece of the team because Ross is a nerd and has to buy friends so he can tell himself he's cool. Carl Peterson is still a voice in Ross' ear no matter who takes the job and every single move Ross has made and every time he opens his mouth, he's come across as a buffoon. Oh yeah, and we have no quarterback.

Unless a guy really needs the dough, who would want this job if they have other choices????

No head coach that is considered a top notch coach will come here based on what Ross did to Sparano last year. The Dolphins will have to settle on a retread, or an unknown.

This is the crux of what I've been saying all week. Dolphin fans need a wake up call to reality and just stop with the Cowher/Gruden nonsense. It's a fantasy and nothing more.

The "Fire Ireland" banner that fans have bought to be flown over the stadium will only further hurt the Dolphins chances of landing a top coach. They won't want to be part of such discord when there are much better fans elsewhere.

But, hey, have your fun while those good coaches take a hard look at you clowns and say 'seeya.'

It reminds ms a little of the search for an OC last year. The Browns' OC became our OC...enough said! We won't attract big names or quality coaches this offseason either. Ross-Ireland=0. It's an equation for failure. Cowher doesn't want to work late or get up early. Fisher who? Bilick told the truth and publicly said he has interest. I like that; he was a good coach. Bilick and Ireland will not work so look for a second/third tier coach next year and a lot of miles logged on Ross's G6 all culminating with one of the leagues bottom dwelling teams allowing one of their staff to move into the HC spot in Miami. Yes, that's right folks...we will promote from within. The Phins are now catfish!

Not so convinced that Cowboys and Redskins are such ideal HC destinations!

Funny how quick things can change. Huzienga was someone most football people wanted to work with since he spent whatever was asked, got out of everyone's way, and was loyal to his people. Ross on the other hand has the opposite attractions. It's very hard to change what your public perception is. I think Ross might be very well served to disappear from the public eye as far as the Dolphins go after this hire.

By the way, Andy, really enjoyed tour breakdown of the dolphins top picks through this regime and can't agree any more than I do. Although I will defend the Vontae pick. Olb and corner are both equally valuable and Vontae seemed like a good choice. In hindsight I liked Everette brown if Florida state. Should've learned my lesson on FL St pass rushers - see Andre Wadsworth.

I don't see all of these firings happening personally.

Chicago - Not happening; they were playoff bound before injuries to their franchise QB and Matt Forte.

Washington - I just don't think Shanny is going anywhere

Philly - Maybe....but my money says Andy is going to be ok unless they tank the rest of the way. If mgt is smart, they will realize it was them that added too many moving parts in a lock out shortened offseason.

Dallas - Very possible.

Minn - Possible...but even in losing, they have looked better as of late. Might want to stay status quo and see if they can build around Ponder a bit more and see what shakes out next year.

San Diego - Definitely; Norv is outie!

Indy - Definitely....wait, isn't P Manning the real HC there. Jim Caldwell is just a body filling the position.

KC - already happend

Jax - already happend

St. Louis - very possible

Tampa - very possible

In terms of "name" coaches, it looks like Miami will most likely be in competition with SD, Dallas, Indy, KC.

Still stiff competition when you consider there are really only 2 "name" coaches out there who have said they want to coach again (Billick and Fisher)....and 4 teams that will be looking for such.

Armando keeps mentioning that the Dolphins do not have a quarterback that can compare to the other teams but you have to remember that Miami is going to have a high enough draft pick to pick that quarterback and the new coach can pick his guy.

I am amazed at how Fin Fans and the So. Fla media believe they are so inferior to others in the league. This is a great job and incredible chance to revitalize a great franchise.

The Dolphins were the class of the NFL when they had a class front office and class coach. The team of Joe Robbie and Don Shula was tough to beat. Sell the team back to the Robbies, hire a proven GM and good coaches will come knocking.

Look at the current most successful franchises in the league now (Green Bay,SF,NE) and see what they are doing to get and stay where they are now.

For what it's worth, one thing Miami does have over Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC is the actual climate and location next to the beach. Would you rather spend your winters in Miami or Chicago? Of course, that will only matter if the head coaching candidate feels comfortable with the organization and GM. Regardless, I don't believe that the Dolphins will be starved for coaches who want to work in Miami.

The Dolphins are more attractive money wise and location wise but not from a partnership standpoint and DEFINITELY not from a QB to lead a team standpoint either.

Miami's home field advantage is also a JOKE! I went to my first Dolphins home game ever last year the Dolphins-Jets season opener. Miami pulled out all the stops, it was a season opening him game when they were 2-0 and the fans looked like tourist such as myself while the jet fans were loud and proud.

Also what an ugly stadium! How have so many Super Bowls been played there.

I beg to differ with you on one job. Living in the State of Texas, I have a pretty good understanding of the make up of Jerry Jones. There is no way in God's green Earth, that a top tier coach is going to want to work for J.J. He is a demanding control freak who is quick to grasp the limelight when things are going well, and just as quick to provide fake votes of confidence for his coach when things are not going well. He did that for Phillips and is doing that for Garrett. I really don't think Garrett gets fired this year. But if he did, I don't think a top tier coach is going to want to work for Jones. He has managed pi$$ of and get rid of Jimmy Johnson, and Parcells. BTW, there is that youtube video where he states he hired Parcells to shut all the fans up. Is that the kind of owner you want to work for? The Cowboys do have more talent than the Dolphins, but not much more. But they have a huge drawback....Jerry Jones! How many owners in the NFL do you know who have a weekly show instead of the coaches? How many owners get interviewed instead of the coach about an upcoming game or the status of a player? How many owners get interviewed during the draft about players selected? How many owners are actively in the Draft war room of their teams? At least Al Davis had a bit of a clue about professional football. Jerry Jones does not. But he thinks he is a football genius!

The whole "weather and lifestyle" angle really means virtually nothing. For most, the organization they'll be inheriting is a much bigger concern than climate.

Plus, a lot of folks aren't even attracted to Miami at all. One of the worst kept secrets with the Nick Saban deal was that he and his wife absolutely hated South Florida and he regretted taking the job almost from the get-go.

And I'd also remind you that the NFL's best team also plays in its coldest location.

I hope Miami lands a top guy, but I wouldn;t bank on Miami itself being much (if any) of the attraction.

Cowher will not work as long as Ireland is here. And seriously, would you rather coach the Cowboys over the Dolphins. Jerry Jones watches every little microcosim of this team. You can't breathe around this guy.

AndyNJ -

"How have so many Super Bowls been played there?"

January/February weather; nothing more, nothing less.

I 100% agree with your comment though. The homefield adavantage is a Joke. I went to my first Dolphin home game in '96....even with Dan the Man, attendance was a joke. I was shocked!

The only worse HFA I've ever seen was in San Diego. I lived there in '94 when they went to the SB and attended most of the home games that year, including the divisional playoff game against the Dolphins.....place felt absolutely empty, even in a playoff game.

Miami took the wrong approach trying to sell tickets. J. Lo, Marc Anthony, Fergie and Pit Bull are not what fans care to see. They are the side show and a spectacle Ross created because Mike Dee told him thats what the Red Sox do with giving premium seats to Ben Affleck, Stephen King and others but that's because Boston wins why it's cool for fans to see that care about that sort of thing.

Miami needs to create their very own identity whether they become an air it out West Coast offense, or a ground and pound and play D team but they need to overall have the vision to stick to that and see it through so they can win games and be successful. All the top teams have an identity in what they do.

"Yesterday's Gone," you are right. Unfortunately, this owner seems hell bent on getting a retread big name. Armando seems to think none will want to come here based on the situation. My argument is that if Ross floats enough cash, "the situation" becomes secondary and he could get any coach he wants. My two cents...Chud. Keep as much of the rest of the staff intact as you can (especially Nolan) and hire Rob Chudzinski. Offensive minded guy, local hero, young, enthusiastic, handles QBs well.

The Packers have one big advantage over other teams- no "owner"!

Let me put it this way Armando:

With Ross at the helm and potentially Peterson and Ireland still in control, I see no hope for this franchise.

The Dolphins will screw this up and follow it up with a bad Draft and we will remain utterly adrift.

I think, after 40 years, I might be done. I'll probably never watch football again because I don't care about anything like I care about the Dolphins.

But I have ZERO FAITH in the ownership and leadership of the club.


I agree with your thoughts on the job openings. Only ones I might disagree with are Minnesota (I think Frazier is coming back. I think the owner came out and said that. I think they've had too much turmoil as is) and I'm probably 50/50 on Philly and Dallas. I think those two could go either way. Washington is a darkhorse but I think if they are in position to draft a QB, Synder will want to give Shanahan at least one more year.

Jon @11:36,

This is Ross' new toy that he spent billions to get. He's like Jerry Jones, he craves the limelight. Unfortunately for us fans, he's going to be front & center. What other reason would you bring in Z-list celebs as part owners.


This is one pessimistic post. As other have said before, you throw money at big name coaches, Cowher not withstanding, they will show up.

Cowher - no way, no how in my opinion. He wants a situation like Dallas or maybe even San Diego. A team with QBs and good players that can't get it right and over the hump. Probably sticks to the booth.

Gruden - Who I want! But doubt we get him. Money talks but so does a coaches ego considering it may take a few years to develop a young QB or having to work with Matt Moore. Same with him I see Dallas, Philly or he sticks to the booth.

Fisher - His agent says he is willing to listen to anyone which is good it shows he has a desire to do what he loves and thats coaching. A strong possibility if he thinks Miami is headed in the right direction with it's current pieces.

Billick - for whatever reason hasn't been a hot candidate since he has been out of coaching. That might tell you how he is viewed overall by people in NFL circles. But he has had past success working with a GM and also with Mike Nolan who he won a Super Bowl with so at least the D stays on course.

Les Miles - He's 58 and a college coach. I don't see him having interest in dealing with the ego-maniacs in the NFL when he is King in Baton Rouge!

Any OC or DC would listen but Ross wants a a guy who will energize us sad saps and Ireland said a guy who has been in the trenches which if you read between those lines says RETREAD COACH.

Yeah, I don't think St. Louis, minny, or Tampa fire their coaches. Those guys have done enough to keep their jobs and even if Tampa or the rams have had awful years, those guys deserve a Mulligan and won't be in line to attract top coaches anyway.

1 2 3 4 5 6 »

The comments to this entry are closed.