If there was any doubt that Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is bracing — and/or hoping — to be fired, there should now officially be none.
According to Jorge Sedano of 790 The Ticket in Miami, Sparano has put his house up for sale.
It may not be a coincidence that the news comes a day after word broke of the Dolphins’ flirtation with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. In January, Sparano endured the indignity of owner Stephen Ross and G.M. Jeff Ireland pursuing former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh for the job that Sparano still held.
The latest development possibly reflects something more than Sparano getting ready for the inevitable. He’s smart enough to at least wonder whether owner Stephen Ross is maintaining the status quo, at least for now, in order to increase the chances of sliding to the bottom of the league, and in turn to the top of the draft order. If Sparano is fired, he’d get a buyout for the balance of his contract, which was extended as a courtesy/apology/P.R. move after the Harbaugh debacle — and Sparano would get a head start on finding his next job, presumably as an offensive line coach. He could even join a team for the balance of the 2011 season, as a consultant.
Thus, it’d be interesting to know how many times Sparano has overruled assistant coaches this year, deliberately making ill-advised calls that contributed to losses. I have no reason to think this has happened, but if I were investigating whether he’s trying to get fired, that would be an obvious place to start looking for proof.
Regardless, it’s now clear Sparano knows it’s coming. The only remaining questions are whether he’s trying to make it happen and, if so, when it will indeed occur.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m. ET: Sparano said today that he put the house up for sale because he’s an “empty-nester.” Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post reports that the house was “initially” put on the market in January, a week after Sparano received a contract extension from the team — and also roughly two weeks after he was figuratively castrated by an owner who tried to hire Jim Harbaugh.