Tony Sparano Fired: 5 Replacements to Fill Miami Dolphins' Vacancy

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterDecember 12, 2011

Tony Sparano Fired: 5 Replacements to Fill Miami Dolphins' Vacancy

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    From the files of "nothing shocking" and "saw that coming from miles away," the Miami Dolphins fired head coach Tony Sparano, leaving a vacancy that should go to one of the following hopefuls. 

    ESPN reports the Dolphins have decided to nip the Sparano question in the bud and part ways with the under-fire coach. 

    The writing had been on the wall all season. Coming off a dreadful season, the Dolphins opened up the season losing their first seven games. Now it has to be said that the players, who had previously checked out mentally, were starting to play for their coach. 

    The Dolphins were 4-2 in their last six and looking every bit back in form. The fear from the top had to be that Miami would win out, forcing them to make a hard decision that may not have sat well with fans. 

    The Philadelphia Eagles did them a favor by delivering a rout in Miami on Sunday. That is all it took to make this transition official. 

    Now comes the obvious question of the day: Who do the Dolphins get for head coach? For the time being, assistant head coach Todd Bowles will take over the team on an interim basis. 

    This is a fluid situation. The report states, "owner Stephen Ross plans to hire Carl Peterson, former president of the Kansas City Chiefs, to fill the role of executive vice president of football operations once held by Bill Parcells."

    Current GM Jeff Ireland will stay on "in some capacity." The team is not going to blow up everything, but this is as close as it comes. 

    The Dolphins are going to switch gears completely in the hopes of bringing back the proud name and some quality form to a storied franchise. Here are the likely men to help put that into place. 

5. Mike Martz

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    NBC Sports' Evan Silva tweeted:

    ESPN's Adam Schefter said on NFL Live it's "hard to imagine" Cowher or Fisher going to #Dolphins. Expects Fins to pursue a hot coordinator.

    Now here is a tenuous pick. I am not sure that Martz would be considered a "hot" coordinator, but it's clear he is well thought-of in NFL circles, even if fans question his stubborn ties to his offensive measures. 

    If Miami wants to completely switch gears and become a vertical team that goes for broke through the air, they may want to look at Martz. After seeing what he did with the St. Louis Rams, I hope they look elsewhere. 

4. Todd Bowles

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    Then there is the obvious assumption that this move came to gauge how well Bowles could lead the Miami Dolphins. 

    Consider this a probationary period for the next head coach if Miami swings and misses at much bigger names in head coaching. 

    The Dolphins are playing much better ball in the second half. If Bowles proves he is the reason for such shifts in momentum, you simply can't throw him out with the bath water. 

3. Jeff Fisher

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    One thing the Dolphins could use a great deal of is consistency. Jeff Fisher has proved he can set up camp and stay for a decade or two. 

    He may be down on the Dolphins depth chart, but it seems that Miami is low on Fisher's wish list as well. The Miami Herald reports that Fisher may want the job vacancy that is yet to become available in San Diego. 

    The assumption is that Norv Turner is on the verge of being canned, giving Fisher his near dream job as head coach of the Chargers

2. Jon Gruden

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    Miami Herald writer Barry Jackson believes the Dolphins are keen on signing a star coach to helm the sidelines next. 

    That leaves them looking at Bill Cowher first and then to Jon Gruden. The report cites Gruden is very happy with his job as an ESPN analyst and plans to come back next year. 

    There is word that he would make the jump to a proud franchise rich with tradition. Now comes the question of whether the Dolphins qualify in the eyes of the former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach. 

1. Bill Cowher

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    NFL reporter Jason LaCanfora tweeted this juicy nugget:

    Jeff Ireland says he's looking for "a guy who has been in the trenches." Says it was "difficult day" but he and Ross made decision together.

    You don't get much more battle-tested than Bill Cowher. The impetus would have to be on Cowher being interested. I just don't see him jumping at a team that has holes on offense and power for personnel is sure to rest with Jeff Ireland still.