Miami Dolphins: Joe Philbin Era Starts This Sunday

Everett KellyContributor IIISeptember 4, 2012

After succeeding as an assistant coach for almost 30 years, Joe Philbin finally received his chance to be a head coach when the Dolphins hired him from Green Bay.
After succeeding as an assistant coach for almost 30 years, Joe Philbin finally received his chance to be a head coach when the Dolphins hired him from Green Bay.J. Meric/Getty Images

For the Miami Dolphins a new era starts off in Houston this Sunday.

Joe Philbin started his coaching career in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Tulane. Almost 30 years later he finally has received his chance to show what he can do as head coach. Philbin and the Dolphins had some help drawing attention to themselves this preseason as they were showcased on HBO in "Hard Knocks".

While the Dolphins provided some drama with Chad Johnson's arrest and dismissal (something fellow vets Reggie Bush and Karlos Dansby tried to prevent), Philbin and his coaching staff did a wonderful job dealing with negatives. Philbin showed himself to be a master at attention to detail, while providing a strict, yet very fair foundation to build on.

In one scene, Philbin lays the law down to RB Daniel Thomas about his tardiness to the weight room. In yet another, he sits down with Johnson, before his arrest and subsequent release and speaks to him about the proper way to represent the organization in a press conference, one which Johnson repeatedly used the "F" word. All in all, I came across very impressed with Philbin, and on the surface, I expect him to be successful.

For many seasons in Miami, Dolphins fans were used to stability and success. Starting with their first season after the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 through the 1995 season, Head Coach Don Shula was the face of the organization. Starting with Jimmy Johnson in 1996, the franchise has slowly fallen from one of the marquis franchises into obscurity.

Including interim coaches, Joe Philbin is the 8th head coach since 1996. In Shula's 26 seasons at the helm, the Dolphins had just two losing seasons.

Since his retirement, they have had six, all of which have come since 2004.

Miami Dolphins - Since 1970              


Head Coaches  1

Win pct          .659 

Losing seasons     2  

Postseason app.  16

Postseason wins        17>>

>>Includes back-to-back Super Bowls (VI and VII)



Coaches           8<<      

Win pct         .500

Losing seasons            6

Postseason app.    6

Postseason wins    3                     

>>Includes Joe Philbin

Since Shula, only Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt finished with winning records while the organization has won just three postseason games.

From 1998-2000 the Dolphins were able to string together three straight seasons of Wild Card victories; however, their status as a serious Super Bowl contender was painfully stomped on in each Divisional round appearance, where Miami was outscored 127-10 in those three games.

After defeating the Colts in OT in the Wild Card round in 2000, Miami has played in three postseason games, failing to score a TD in each game while being outscored 74-12.

Philbin brings an impressive resume with him to Miami after leading an explosive attack while offense coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

Starting with 2007 (Philbin's first year as OC) the Packers offense scored on 39.5 percent of their drives (TD or FG), good enough for fourth in the NFL over that span. Philbin and the Pack were especially efficient in 2011, finishing second to only the New Orleans Saints (51.4)  scoring on 48.1 percent of their drives.

Green Bay Packers offense with Joe Philbin as OC - NFL ranks in Points Scored

2011 1st

2010 10th

2009 3rd

2008 5th

2007 4th


Time will tell if Joe Philbin is the answer the Dolphins have been searching for since Don Shula and become the next great Dolphins head coach, or just another link in an endless chain of coaches that have struggled to consistently succeed. However, judging from Philbin's approach, rapport with players, his attention to detail and the success he had in Green Bay, the future looks bright in Miami.