Let’s ignore for a minute what Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ trip to visit Jim Harbaugh says about the team’s organization. (Not to mention Ross’ subsequent befuddling explanation of it all.)
Instead, we want to ask: Can Dolphins coach Tony Sparano still succeed after his two-year extension?
Sparano is 25-23 in three seasons as head coach. His biggest obstacle may be repairing his working relationship with his superiors, especially G.M. Jeff Ireland. If that is taken care of, Sparano doesn’t have to look far for inspiration that this awkward setup could still work.
Back in 1983, Parcells was recovering from finishing 3-12-1 in his first season as Giants coach. He was seen as a possible short-term hire, and his G.M. George Young went out looking to replace him. Young had his heart set on University of Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger, but he “botched the deal” according to an old New York Magazine.
Parcells, of course, went on to have a little success in New York. He later reflected that nearly getting canned helped convince him to do things “his way.”
We have a feeling the Big Tuna has mentioned this little bit of history to his proteges Sparano and Ireland sometime during the last week.