The once proud franchise falls even further
I was lied to.
The head coach…the general manager…hell, even the owner, were all in on it.
Indirectly and directly, they lied to us all.
And we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because this wasn’t the first time. Now is it likely to be the last.
Close to three years ago, I was on tour for comedy and had a weekend gig in Palm Springs, California with Last Comic’s Standing’s Dat Phan, and Hungarian born Comedian Zoltan Kaszas (Snoop Dogg was also performing at the same venue but he doesn’t really factor into this story much so this is really just me name dropping). Saturday afternoon, I made my way down to the pool area and plopped my alcohol-laden body into the hot tub to try and burn off the remaining drunken fumes emanating from my body, in order to hop on stage and punish my liver again that night.
While sitting in the bubbling water, another gentlemen joined me and immediately struck up a conversation. I could tell from his line of questioning that he was in the entertainment business as well. As it turns out, he was a musician. And not just any musician, but a char- topping, world-famous, musician. The type of musician where you start to type his name into Google and Google finishes the name for you, musician. And as luck would have it, we somehow steered our conversation towards the Miami Dolphins The musician asked if I was a fan, and he gave me a polite laugh when I confirmed that I was. He reached for his phone, dialed a number and handed it over to me.
“Here…he wants to talk to you…”
“Who does?” I asked.
“You’ll see…” the musician said with an all-knowing grin on his face.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hey, is this Sam?”
“Uhhh, yeah? Who is this…?”
It turns out, the musician was pretty good friends with a pretty big name within the Miami Dolphins organization. He figured I would get a kick out of talking to this person, considering my fandom and you know what? He was absolutely right. I did get a kick out of it. The Dolphins official couldn’t have been nicer and more accomodating. He even went as far as to acknowledge that he was aware of my podcast and invited me to crack open a bottle of wine with him the next time I came to a Dolphins home game (provided they won…no victory wine when they lose, obviously…).
And then then it happened…
“I’m telling you Sam, this is the team that is going to get it done for us. You are going to LOVE Coach Flo and Chris Grier. Mr. Ross nailed it this time. We won’t let you down.”
And just like that, The Big Miami Lie was spoken into existence, again. Admittedly, the logical side of my brain knew better than to eat this horsehit with a spoon. But the stupid fan side of my brain (which totally dwarfs the aforementioned logical side) wanted to completely believe every false word that dripped through the phone.
“They did it”, I thought to myself..”They finally fuckin’ did it.” The owner got the right coach and the right General Manager and The Miami Dolphins were saved. And this time…they meant it.
But as I said at the beginning of this…I was lied to. You were too.
Because three years later, the Miami Dolphins are not saved. They are, in fact, once again, in disarray.
The coach that I was supposed to love?
The general manager that had the right “plan”?
The owner that nailed it?
In fact, this owner has a winning percentage of just .460 since he purchased the franchise from Wayne Huizenga in 2008. In those 13 years of ownership he has:
Five head coaches (Sparano, Philbin, Campbell, Gase, Flores)
Four winning seasons
Three first round quarterbacks (Tannehill, Rosen, Tua)
Two playoff appearances
One AFC East title
Zero playoff victories
And if that countdown from hell wasn’t enough, Stephen Ross also attempted to hire Jim Harbaugh while still employing Tony Sparano as Head Coach, celebrated the University of Florida while sharing a stadium with The University of Miami, Created dozens of “celebrity owners” to try and make the franchise seem cool again (free advice, winning is cool…Gloria Estefan is not) and the countless other dumb ass ideas that were tried.
But he isn’t alone. Chris Grier, the aforementioned GM? He has been around this franchise for 20 years in various roles, and doesn’t seem to be particularly good at any of them. Remember Charles Harris? Chris Grier passed on TJ Watt for him. Jonathan Taylor? Nah, Grier thought Noah Igbinoghene was a better investment than the league’s leading rusher. And of course, the biggest doozy of them all…Tua Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Tua’s, but the jury is in on the 2020 QB draft and Chris Grier shit in the pool filter times in that first round with Tua (as well as Austin Jackson and the awful Noah Igbinoghene)
He followed that masterpiece up by trading up in 2021 to get Liam Eichenberg, and seemingly wasted a third round pick on Tight End Hunter Long, despite having budding superstar in Mike Gesicki and a deep and versatile roster of tight ends behind him.
Meanwhile, the running back room continued to be ignored and as a result…there were very little results on the field to show for it.
Coach’s achilles heel
Which brings us to the head coach, or should I say, the former, head coach, Brian Flores. The coaching prodigy that suckled at Bill Belichick’s ample bosom for years, finally unlatched and ventured out on his own. Anointed by Stephen Ross and Chris Grier as the savior of all things Miami Dolphins football, he moved swiftly to rid the team of supposed malcontents and selfish players. The first time head coach carried himself as a bad ass movie hero that could walk on water and not flinch while buildings blew up behind him. Brian Flores wasn’t about to take any shit from some stupid player who made more money than him. Fuck those dicks, he will just get rid of them and win with players who do things his way!
Except, in hindsight…perhaps those dickish players that Flores got rid of weren’t so dickish, afterall. Flores simply didn’t know how to connect with those guys and instead of trying to figure out how, decided to send them packing to other teams for low level draft picks or worse, nothing at all.
Coach also had a difficult time establishing a quality staff. The constant turnover of coordinators and assistant coaches was insane. It suddenly became an SNL sketch this season when, in a stroke of pure absurdity, he actually announced CO-Offensive Coordinators. Excuse me what? This fucker has TWO Offensive Coordinators…and a third guy who is actually calling the plays?!?!? What in the actual fuck, Brian?!?! And here I thought having 15 o-line coaches in three years was gonna be the downfall. No, it turns out your entire offensive coaching staff is the football equivalent of a corporate boardroom filled with 20 dipshits who are all “VP’s of nothing.
Speaking of nothing, perhaps the greatest sin Brian Flores committed in his time with Miami, was never fully endorsing or embracing, Tua Tagovailoa as the franchise QB that his bosses hoped and expected him to be. Coach Flo seemingly went out of his way to NOT go out of his way to support Tua. His non-definitive answers to the press about Tua during the height of the Deshaun Watson hysteria were extremely telling, and damning. This was only exacerbated by his actions with Tua during games, often pulling and/or benching the young QB in favor of limiting veterans that provided no long-term upside. Of course, when you start to put two and two together, along with the strong rumors that Brian Flores never wanted Tua Tagovailoa in Miami, in the first place, you start to understand why Miami was linked to Deshaun Watson for so long.
And these were the guys that were supposed to lead us back to the promised land? A tone deaf owner who is allergic to success in the NFL? A maligned general manager who ignores critical positions of need for years and gambles away top draft picks on project players and reaches? A head coach with questionable decision making skills and even worse people skills? Really? This was the dream team?