Let’s face it. Tony Sparano’s days as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins are undoubtedly numbered. Despite an 0-7 start to the year and clamoring from Dolphins’ fans for Sparano to be ousted, the Dolphins have stuck with their head coach and their head coach has stayed true to himself. After an 0-7 start, Miami has won back-to-back games over Kansas City and Washington and for that, Sparano deserves a lot of credit. This season has not been kind to the Miami Dolphins or their faithful, but amidst the heartbreaking losses, the loss of their quarterback for the season and all the turmoil that has surrounded their embattled head coach, Sparano continues to have his team prepared every week.
After losing a heartbreaker in the final moments of Week 3 at Cleveland, the ‘Fins rebounded and played a four quarter football game with the San Diego Chargers. After the meltdown that was the 18-15 overtime loss to Denver, the Miami Dolphins took a lead well into the final quarter against the NFC East-leading New York Giants. After Eli Manning led the Giants to a come-from-behind 20-17 victory that pushed Miami to 0-7, Sparano’s team came out and embarrassed the Chiefs in Kansas City 31-3 the following week. The ‘Fins played another solid game on Sunday with a 20-9 win over the Washington Redskins. Despite his inevitable dismissal at the end of the season, Tony Sparano continues to show up and the Miami Dolphins continue to play hard.
During the recent winning streak or even back to the Giants’ loss, there has been signs that things are starting to come together for the Miami Dolphins. Matt Moore, with the exception of his ill-advised interception on Sunday, has been an efficient quarterback over the last four weeks. Reggie Bush seems to have re-invented himself and is playing some of the best football of his career. Brandon Marshall has averaged over 100 yards receiving in the past two weeks and Anthony Fasano has become involved in the offense. On defense, Karlos Dansby has been playing like an All-Pro while Vontae Davis made his return to the lineup felt with an interception on Sunday. Even 37-year-old Jason Taylor had a sack at a critical juncture of Sunday’s win over Washington. The pieces are beginning to fall in line for the Dolphins and for that, Sparano also deserves credit.
I’m not suggesting that Tony Sparano should be retained or that Miami can finish 9-7, somehow sneak into the playoffs and run the table to the Super Bowl. But despite being a dead man walking, Sparano has shown resolve and has been beacon of stability during a season with so much instability for the Miami Dolphins. While Sparano will certainly not return for the 2012 season, his tenure with the Dolphins could have been much worse. The Dolphins melted down in December of 2009 and 2010 as the team missed the playoffs. This season got off to a terrible 0-7 start; Sparano only had one winning season in his previous three years and barring a miracle, will not have one this year. But there was the 2008 season in which Sparano inherited a team that had won just one football game and led them to an 11-5 record and an AFC East Championship. It is highly uncertain whether Tony Sparano will ever get another head coaching job or even land a position as team’s offensive line coach, but one thing that is certain is that Sparano can look himself in the mirror at night, preferably without those dark sunglasses on, and know that he stayed true to himself and for that, Tony Sparano deserves a lot of credit.