Despite the acquisitions of blue chip players Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby, the 'Fins flopped, and Tony Sparano became the target of everybody's frustration—including owner Stephen Ross, who publicly courted Jim Harbaugh in the offseason.
But Sparano persisted through all of the turmoil and returned as Miami's head coach for the 2011 season.
And after an 0-7 start, Sparano is no longer on hot seat—he is a dead man walking.
It is no longer a matter of if Sparano is fired, it is a matter of when.
Because the Dolphins do not have an appealing interim head coach option on their staff, there's a very good chance Sparano lasts for the duration of the season. However, Stephen Ross might soon reach a breaking point, and oust Sparano during the regular season.
Which game might be Sparano's last? Here's the odds for each.
The Dolphins must travel to the hostile confines of Arrowhead Stadium for this Week 9 match up, and their chances of clinching their first victory look bleak. Even if Miami does, in fact, lose, Tony Sparano will not be fired.
Remember, there's no real interim option around, and the team's schedule softens over the next few weeks.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 25-to-1
The injury-riddled Washington Redskins visit Sun Life Stadium in Week 10. Without Santana Moss and Tim Hightower, the Redskins offense looks particularly anemic, and they failed to score a single point against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.
This match up actually weighs heavily in Miami's favor, and this might be the best chance they have of evading imperfection. Neither John Beck nor Rex Grossman should intimidate the Dolphins' secondary, and Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush should run all over Washington's 21st ranked rushing defense.
A win here would likely secure Sparano's job for the rest of the season.
However, if the Dolphins lose this game, Tony Sparano will likely be fired. Losing to the lowly Redskins at home would infuriate Stephen Ross, and heads would have to roll after such an embarrassment.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 20-to-1
If the Dolphins defeat the Redskins in Week 10, Tony Sparano's job is probably safe for the rest of the season.
If, however, they lose to the Redskins and Tony Sparano is not fired, then he won't be fired after this Week 11 game versus the Buffalo Bills regardless of the outcome.
The Bills are no longer loathsome, and they will be heavy favorites in this match up. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson, should overwhelm Miami's 23rd ranked defense.
Divisional match ups are always unpredictable, but it's difficult to envision the 'Fins defeating a Buffalo team vying for a playoff berth.
Odds Tony Sparano will be fired: 50-to-1
As if the Dolphins haven't been embarrassed enough this season, they must face the star-studded Dallas Cowboys in front of a national audience on Thanksgiving Day.
Nobody will expect Miami to emerge with a victory here. The Cowboys offense, consisting of marquee names like Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, should have a field day on the Dolphins' defense.
Meanwhile, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Jason Hatcher should wreak havoc on Miami's struggling offensive line.
Even though the Dolphins will be huge underdogs here, a blowout might persuade Stephen Ross to fire Sparano. National embarrassment is poor for the team's image and brand, and Ross' patience will be tested.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 12-to-1
If the Dolphins are winless entering Week 13, they better get up for this game versus the Oakland Raiders.
This might be Miami's last chance to capture a victory, and if they fail to do so, there's a decent chance Sparano is fired. If Carson Palmer settles into Oakland's system over the next few weeks, the Dolphins are in trouble. However, if Palmer plays like he did last week, the 'Fins should be able to win this one.
Regardless, the odds of Sparano being fired this late into the season are slim.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 18-to-1
The Dolphins simply cannot matchup with Philly in any aspect of the game.
But, again, it's highly unlikely that Tony Sparano is fired this late into the season. Installing an interim head coach with only three weeks left serves no purpose.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 30-to-1
The Buffalo Bills are currently on pace to win the AFC East title. However, their schedule strengthens greatly over the second half of the season, so it's relatively safe to assume that they will be battling for a Wild Card berth by the time Week 15 rolls around.
Ralph Wilson Stadium will welcome the Dolphins with freezing temperatures and rowdy fans. It will be difficult for Miami to find inspiration for this game, but Tony Sparano won't be fired regardless of the outcome.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 40-to-1
Miami's Week 16 game reflects almost identical circumstances to their Week 15 game in Buffalo.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 50-to-1
The last game of the Miami Dolphins 2011 season will also be the last game of Tony Sparano's tenure.
Sparano's fate was sealed just a few weeks into the season, and he won't be able to salvage his job regardless of what transpires over the second half of the season.
Odds Tony Sparano is fired: 1 to 1