Sympathy for Sparano
How would you like to be Miami Dolphin Head Coach (for now) Tony Sparano? In the span of 4 days his team gets crushed by the Patriots in its final regular season game, Ricky Williams goes on the radio and trashes both him and his coaching abilities - and now his owner Stephen Ross very publicly heads out west, checkbook in hand, to beg Stanford's Jim Harbaugh to take Tony's job.
If Tony is in fact muttering WTF to himself right now you can hardly blame him.
Yes, Sparano's Dolphins underachieved this season. They were supposed to fight it out with the Patriots and Jets for what figured to be two playoff spots coming out of the AFC East. Instead they staggered to a 7-9 finish punctuated by an awful home record of 1-7, which granted is unacceptable in any league, especially the NFL.
Yes with the Williams/Ronnie Brown running back tandem, an absolute beast of a wideout in Brandon Marshall, and a very good young defense, this season should have been the next step up from the solid foundation that Sparano, Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells had built since arriving in south Florida.
Unfortunately they all placed their faith in a mediocre (at best) quarterback named Chad Henne, who's never done much of anything in his football career except tease people with occasional flashes of solid play.
Instead, Henne single-handily torpedoed the Dolphins season to the point where guys like Marshall and Williams went public with their complaints that he well....stunk as a starting QB.
At 7-9 after a couple of encouraging prior seasons, you're not very far from being good, given the tiny gap between elite and also ran in the NFL. Sparano's reputation is that of a solid line coach whose players are known to be mean and tough. That's pretty much what the Dolphins were under Sparano, at least unitl the wheels came off the 2nd half of this season...mainly because they couldn't score enough points to beat good teams.Continued on the next page