I don't know what kind of coach Joe Philbin will turn out to be. I don't know if he'll be a success. I don't know if he'll ever get his team to the playoffs or Super Bowl. I do know he wants to be the Dolphins coach. He's excited about the idea. He is eager and sees this as his career's grandest opportunity even, as I write in my column today, following a terrible personal tragedy.
(Please read the column.)
And yet, with all the uncertainty, Philbin is already better than what the Dolphins have gotten in the past in one regard.
He is better than what Miami might have gotten out of Jeff Fisher in one regard.
"I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here," Philbin said in a statement. "I’m looking forward to their support, and I can’t wait to get started.”
It's important that Phibin is so fired up about the idea of taking over the Dolphins because I've covered too many Dolphins coaches who weren't really into the idea. You will remember that in January of 1999, Jimmy Johnson no longer wanted to coach the Dolphins and actually walked away from the Dolphins.
Then owner Wayne Huizenga begged him, convinced him to return to the team for the 1999 season. Johnson was miserable. It was a nightmare. Bad idea.
Fast forward to Nick Saban. He had it good at LSU. He loved it there because he was a hero and a national champion. But Huizenga convinced him to take the Dolphins job -- even after Saban reportedly changed his mind about coming. Huizenga helped him change his mind back again and put him and the family on the plane to South Florida.
It was a mistake that would reveal itself inside of two years.
Fast forward again to Jeff Fisher. You may be upset that Miami didn't land him. I certainly was. But ultimately, for whatever reasons, Fisher didn't want to come to the Dolphins. So the Dolphins are better off not having him. It's better to not hire someone who doesn't really want to come.
I warn you that wanting to be here is not a guarantee or predictor of success. Tony Sparano wanted to be the Dolphins coach more than he wanted to draw breath on some days. That didn't help him the past three years while the Dolphins posted back-to-back-to-back losing seasons.
But do I like the fact Philbin is by all account commited to being the Miami coach? Absolutely.
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