Settling for Less: Why Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano Should Be Fired

Justin BalgobinContributor IDecember 10, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after the game tying touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Dolphins 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Here we are, nearing the end of another mediocre Miami Dolphins season. Playoff hopes are slim, and a number of questions still linger about the future of the team. Fans are questioning the future of the quarterbacks and the future of the coaches. Deja vu?

There were a few people calling for the firing of Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning at midseason, but now just about every Dolphins fan is eager to see him leave. I, for one, can't wait to see him go, but I would like to see someone else going out the door with him: head coach Tony Sparano.

When the fiery Tony Sparano first appeared on our sidelines, it gave us fans the same energy and excitement for our team. This season, however, Sparano's behavior has done nothing but disgust me. Fist pumping, winding up and striking the air in triumph when we kick a field goal. He doesn't just accept mediocrity; he celebrates it. 

When the team is incapable of scoring touchdowns and has to resort to field goals, he should not be sprinting across the sideline in joy!

The only teams averaging less points per game than the Miami Dolphins are the 49ers, Cardinals and Panthers.  There have been times where the team has been pushed backwards by the opposing defense on a drive, forcing Dan Carpenter to come in and kick a long field goal, and Sparano is so excited on the sideline it seems as though he is waiting for a Gatorade bath to cap the drive.

There is also that quarterback situation at hand, which has been handled horribly from the start.

Before Chad Henne played any games in the 2009 season, he was told he'd be given the keys to the castle for the 2010 season. Despite a mediocre 2009 season and a horrible 2010 preseason in which he was outplayed tremendously by both Chad Pennington and Tyler Thigpen, Henne was still given the starting job by Sparano. His inconsistent play throughout the season landed him on the bench, but he quickly regained the starting job after Pennington's injury and resumed his inconsistent production.

Let's recap: you tell a young quarterback who has done nothing to prove himself that he will get the starting job the following season, but an injury to your starting quarterback forces him into action immediately. He isn't spectacular, just mediocre at best. Nonetheless, you keep your word and give him the starting job for the 2010 season, despite him being outplayed by the other quarterbacks on the team. The inconsistent play that he has shown his entire career continues and you bench him, only to have him quickly regain his starting role. I can't be the only one thinking Sparano has no idea what he is doing with this quarterback situation.

Sparano is also incapable of evaluating what needs to be changed on his coaching staff. I am sure a lot of people praised his decision to fire John Bonamego. That was nothing more than Sparano covering his own mistakes, as the meltdown of the special teams was greatly a fault of his. Sparano and Parcells greatly diminished the special teams talent on the roster prior to the season and essentially left Bonamego to sort through the mess. I am sure Jacoby Ford would feel that our special teams isn't any better now than it was with Bonamego at the helm, and I would have to agree.

Unfortunately, we still have Dan Henning, a true coaching problem.

The guy that takes our players and makes them the most boring, uninteresting group of football players in the league. The guy who runs the ball on 3rd-and-17 with his fullback at the opposing team's 40-yard line. The guy who strives for field goals and believes one touchdown per game is overachieving. The guy who forces a finesse back like Ronnie Brown to run the ball up the middle on every play rather than playing to his strengths and allowing him to go to the outside. The guy who seems to be throwing darts at a playbook to pick the next play.
Sparano clearly isn't capable of seeing that Henning is a cancer to this team, and since Sparano isn't sending him packing, I'd like to see both of them headed out.