Following a resounding defeat at the hands of their AFC East rivals, New England, and the conclusion of their second successive 7-9 season, the Miami Dolphins have explored the possibility of a change in leadership within the franchise.
The incumbent head coach, Tony Sparano, has come under increasing pressure following a season which faltered due to a 1-7 home record, which included losses to the lowly Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.
While it first appeared that Sparano’s job was safe despite missing out on the playoffs, Miami ended the season with three consecutive losses and a new head coach became more likely with each defeat.
Now, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is seriously considering replacing Sparano.
This decision may be warranted. Sparano might have lost the locker room. Sparano might have lost the fans. He might have taken the Dolphins as far as he can. However, there is no excuse for the way that Sparano is currently being treated.
As of today, Tony Sparano is the Miami Dolphins head coach. Despite this, Stephen Ross feels that it is acceptable to publicly explore other opportunities and speak to potential candidates who can replace Sparano.
It is common knowledge that Ross has reached out to Stanford’s Jim Harbaurgh. It is also believed that Ross has approached Bill Cowher to gauge his interest in the job.
Sparano, despite being head coach, is now a very public backup plan, and that is not right.
This classless treatment of Coach Sparano is completely unwarranted and unfair. It seems like the entire organization has forgotten what Sparano has done for the Dolphins, in the process ignoring pride and personal feelings.
Football is a business, but Ross has begun touting a good, honest, respectable man’s job to other people. Whatever job you are in, there is no excuse for this.
During his spell in Miami, Sparano has always conducted himself respectfully. He is humble and grateful for the opportunity which came his way and he has given his all to the organization.
He is a good, honest human being and has never dragged the Dolphins name through the mud. He has never secretly videotaped opposing teams before games, he has never flipped off an opposing fan, he does not post videos of himself and his wife’s feet on the Internet and he doesn’t engage in trash-talking.
Sparano has been a credit to the Dolphins organization since his appointment, and he has done much more for Miami than some (fans and owner alike) currently seem to realise.
As Chad Pennington said in his press conference earlier this week, Miami has a 25-23 record in the three years under Sparano. In the three years before this, Miami was 16-32.
In addition to this, it was Sparano who led Miami on their lone trip to the playoffs in the past nine years, just a year after the Dolphins went 1-15.
Sparano has helped turn this team around and he has taken Miami a long way during his tenure. Of course, two consecutive losing seasons are hard to take, but if we remember the season under Cam Cameron and the talent (or lack of) on the field, then you cannot fail to understand how vital Sparano has been to Miami.
It might be the right time for Miami to part ways with Sparano, but this is not the right way to do business. Especially when the result could be the firing of a man who has done so much for the Miami Dolphins in such a short time.
He is a good man and a good coach. Perhaps he has taken Miami as far as he can, but sometimes that is the nature of football. It should not take anything away from what he has achieved in South Florida.
If Stephen Ross plans on firing him, then go ahead and do it. But Ross needs to be a man about it; he cannot treat this man with the disrespect that he is currently showing.
No man should have his job wildly touted to others while he is still in his position. That is just outright classless.
Sparano deserves better from the Dolphins, and fans should all wish him good luck for the future.