At the end of May, new Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin announced the team would be the focus of 2012's version of HBO's Sports Emmy award winning series Hard Knocks. This ended months of speculation after both the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets declined offers to be featured on the program.
As Will Brinson discusses in his article for CBS Sports, there are some advantages the program offers to the Dolphins. Most notably that it helps introduce a new coach and a team comprised of relative unknowns to a national audience, but in this case, the cons far outweigh the pros.
As is the case with any quarterback taken in the first-round of the draft, eighth overall pick Ryan Tannehill comes to Miami with great expectations. Miami's local media and NFL pundits will already have the Texas A&M product under a microscope as he prepares for his rookie season.
As the quarterback of the future, Tannehill will likely be one of the main players profiled in the series. Welcoming a national audience into the locker room only invites added anticipation and pressure on Tannehill. This may help his market-ability, but it is an unnecessary distraction for the fragile psyche of a first year quarterback.
This season is not only Joe Philbin's first as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, it's his first as an NFL head coach. Prior to joining the Dolphins, he was a member of the Green Bay Packers coaching staff, eventually holding the Offensive Coordinator position from 2007-2011.
Coming in to camp as a first time coach is difficult enough, especially when you are completely new to the franchise. Philbin will have to come in to the Miami locker room, build a rapport with the front-office and his players and apply his schemes to a new team, all while being followed by camera. The head coach position in the NFL is one of the most stressful in sports, and while Philbin's track record demonstrates he certainly qualified, adding a media circus to a first time head coach with a rebuilding team is a recipe from great reality television, not on-field results.
The Miami Dolphins were a 6-10 team last year. Their notable off-season moves include acquiring veteran QB David Garrard, and CB Richard Marshall and the departure of WR Brandon Marshall and safety Yeremiah Bell. The Dolphins didn't drastically improve during the off-season, especially when you consider division rivals New England Patriots (W/L against 2011 season, 0-2), and New York Jets (W/L against 2011 season, 1-1) return similar teams to the ones that placed ahead of Miami in the AFC East last season, and the Buffalo Bills made a splash this off-season signing dominant defensive end Mario Williams.
With Garrard at the helm, if the season goes well for the Dolphins, they will likely be battling Buffalo for third place in the AFC East. If Miami plans on starting Tannehill, they are inevitably going to go through some growing pains and will be lucky to finish third in the division.
By going on the program, they are building up hype they simply cannot deliver on. Nobody knows this better than their nemesis in New York, the Jets. The exposure of Hard Knocks coupled with Rex Ryan set the Jets up for a huge failure after falling short of their Super Bowl aspirations.