Does Tony Sparano Deserve Another Season as Miami Dolphins Head Coach?

Scott AltmanCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins leads his team against the Dallas Cowboys during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Just a few weeks ago, Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was a dead man walking. 

His team was 0-7, any lingering optimism about Chad Henne was squashed, the defense looked absolutely anemic, and yet another rebuilding period appeared imminent. 

But today, talk of Sparano retaining his job is rampant. 

The 'Fins have prevailed victorious in four of their last five games, Matt Moore is playing out of his mind, Reggie Bush has been reborn and the defense has morphed into a staunch unit. 

Sparano undoubtedly deserves copious credit for Miami's resurgence, but does he really deserve another season as the Dolphins head coach?

Miami's players seem to think so.

“He needs to stay, man,” linebacker Karlos Dansby told Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. “I’m going to push for him. We just started slow. We have a great coach. He knows what it takes now to put us in a position to win ball games. It just takes time, man. Rome wasn’t built in one day. Can’t turn your back on him right now. Can’t do it. Got to let him stay.”

Jason Taylor echoed Dansby's sentiments, "Our whole attitude has changed,” he said. “It was never a situation where guys were not believing in what Tony was saying. … This team is a lot looser now and not playing uptight, not preparing uptight and that shows on Sunday.”


Remember when Ricky Williams bashed Sparano last season? Remember when NFL players voted Sparano the second coach they would least like to play for?

Suddenly, all of this animosity has dissipated. 

According to linebacker Kevin Burnett, "[He] put the fun in it for us. He gave us the team."

Meanwhile, Cam Wake said, "On the fun meter, I think we're at the top of the league."

Clearly, Sparano has flipped his philosophy 180 degrees. The historically old-school, no-nonsense coach has evolved. 

It's quite reminiscent of Tom Coughlin's "go soft" approach during the 2008 season—the same year he led the New York Giants to a Super Bowl. 

See, a soft head coach can't become a strict one, but a strict head coach can become a soft one. 

Think about it. 

You would love if your historically strict, stern boss suddenly loosened up, but you probably wouldn't be receptive to a friendlier, care-free boss who suddenly became draconian. 

Sparano's change in mentality has generated ringing endorsements from the leaders of the Dolphins locker room. The players clearly want him back, but is it the right move?

After all, Miami has earned wins against a slew of lowly teams including the Chiefs, Redskins, Bills and the sporadic Raiders. And they blew inexcusable leads to the Broncos and Giants a few weeks ago.

Also, let's not be so quick to forget that the Dolphins failed to win a home game for an entire calendar year, still haven't developed a quarterback of the future and have consistently struggled with the same array of issues for multiple seasons (red zone futility, inability to stop tight ends, porous special teams). All under Tony Sparano. 

Still, it's far too early to dictate Sparano's future. 

His fate hinges entirely on Miami's success over the remainder of this season. 

However, if the 'Fins keep winning, Sparano's dysfunctional relationship with the Dolphins and the city of Miami might continue for another year.