Dolphins fire Tony Sparano


Tony Sparano is out as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins have announced a press conference for 4:15 p.m. today, when they will formally announce that Sparano is gone, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports.

Assistant Todd Bowles has been named the Dolphins’ interim head coach.

Sparano’s firing has been expected since early this season, when Miami got off to an 0-7 start. Although the Dolphins started to turn things around in the middle of the year, and there was some sentiment that perhaps Sparano could save his job, any thought that he might stick around went away when the Dolphins got whipped by the Eagles on Sunday.

In four seasons with the Dolphins, Sparano has a 29-33 record.

Sparano is the second NFL head coach to lose his job today, following Todd Haley with the Chiefs, and the third NFL head coach to get fired this season, with Jack Del Rio of the Jaguars preceding Haley and Sparano.

134 responses to “Dolphins fire Tony Sparano

  1. Wow! Sparano is not a bad head coach but that organization is crazy. I hope Pioli hires him for the KC position!

  2. Did not see this coming!

    He was fired last year when Stephen Ross flew to California to talk to Harbaugh.

    I will miss how excited he use to get over those field goals with his sunglasses at night.

  3. Too bad. They appeared to play hard for him. At least he didn’t guarantee Super Bowls and fail miserably like the head coach in New Jersey.

  4. PFTiswhatitis says:
    Dec 12, 2011 3:53 PM
    Wow! Sparano is not a bad head coach but that organization is crazy. I hope Pioli hires him for the KC position!


    I would certainly give him a shot. It isnt like he was handed the keys to a perfectly functioning team. He started with nothing, and was slowly building.

    I would like to see what he can do with another, healthy, organization.

  5. I did not see that coming!

    He was fired last year when Stephen Ross flew to California to talk to Harbaugh.

    I will miss his excitement over field goals with his sunglasses at night.

    Let me know when Ireland is fired also…

  6. He had his team playing hard for him even after the season was a loss. I give the guy a lot of credit. Give him some weapons and see what he can do -without the hollywood types hovering overhead.

  7. I can’t help but think that if Bill Parcells drafted Matt Ryan instead of Jake Long then Sparano would still have a job. Pretty tough to be a good coach when you have the likes of Henne and Moore to work with.

  8. It’s beginning to smell a lot like Nolan. In which case i would gladly keep Sparano. That bum gm is the problem i tell ya. If they give the job to Nolan you are still screwed too because he will push to get McDrunkie in as GM

  9. Are teams trying to set the record for in-season firings? Looks like every team wants to get a jump on somebody. Jeff Fisher?

  10. I expect to see more firings, and soon.

    Every team thinking it may want an elite retired coach next year (Cowher, Gruden, Billick, etc.) that has not already fired its current coach is now already behind the pace of KC, Miami, and Jacksonville.

    It doesn’t seem right to me, but that may be the new reality. These teams want their next coaches to know they’re available now, and not risk there being any doubt about whether the spot is available.

    Seems more likely to me that these three teams end up with Tennessee/Cleveland-type coaches, as opposed to the big celebrity types, but they must figure they improve their odds by opening the door now.

  11. @eagleswoot.

    Actually he caught a rare break in year one by having a mistake free QB and a soft schedule.

    Since then 7-9, 7-9 and 4-9. He was also a solid 9 or 10 games under .500 in September.

    A supposed O Line guru, that portion of the team has seen more changes than a baby after eating a bowl of chile.

    I am not sold on Ireland staying around but Tony had to go.

  12. I never understood why these teams fire coaches in the middle of a season. It helps nothing at all. Why not start to rebuild at the end of the season?

  13. I for one don’t have a big problem with what sounds like Carl Peterson becoming the new football czar in Miami. Seems like a lousy guy, but those Chiefs teams could put up points on offense like they were going out of style and Miami already has a killer defense in place.

  14. I am surprised the Dolphins are firing Tony Sporano now than later on in the season. But then again, I can’t be suprised given the lack of class and professionalism from Stephen Ross last year when he attempted to hire John Harbaugh while keeping Sporano hanging. Dolphins fans, Ross is the reason why you won’t be able to get a great hire like Bill Cowher next season. Great coaches like that wouldn’t put up with the same crap Sporano put up with in Miami.

    And whoisgonnasing, firing Leslie Frazier would not be wise for the Minnesota Vikings. They have a rookie quarterback and have been plagued with injuries. Give him another year, but fire Rick Spielman. More importantly, if you fire Frazier now, Vikings fans can kiss any idea of stadium funding goodbye, as the public will see how disorganized this organization truly is.

  15. Why are so many people surprised by this and/or saying Sparano wasn’t that bad? And no, he wasn’t slowly building anything. They’ve gotten progressively worse since his first year as coach, when Pennington carried the team to the playoffs along with a gimmicky offense, despite arguably being more talented now.

  16. The good thing about this is that they may preserve some continuity of the coaching staff if they give Todd Bowles a legitimate shot.

  17. Sparano replied “Listen yous guys…this deal over here, see, it’s a done deal ok? Now, I’m not gonna stand here and tell you I still gotta job. Ok? I don’t. So this thing here is, like, I go get a paper over there, and get after them classified ads. Good buncha ads going on over there. Good buncha ads. ON THREE!”

  18. Fat Tony got capped in Miami. He swims with the dolphins. There’s going to be trouble on the boardwalk tonight.

  19. Just read Carl Peterson will be vp of football operations. Wow, just wow. I really feel bad for Dolphins fans right now. Ever since Wayne sold his majority its been a dumpster fire. It really seems like Ross wants to erase all hope

  20. As a Dolphins fan, he seemed like a decent guy but never HC material. It’s a good change and he’ll catch on somewhere else. Now only if Ireland was gone too…

  21. Lot of the elite coaches without jobs refuse to talk to teams that have head coaches. Coaches fraternity.

  22. Scapegoat…. these NFL Organizations that have an OBVIOUS revolving Head Coach door need to start looking FURTHER UP the executive ladder.

    No way ALL these guys are that inept…. and if they are….. they need to look at WHO IS HIRING THEM… which is STILL exactly my point.

  23. I think you have to look seriously at Steve Spagnaulo and Leslie Frazier also losing their jobs as well.

    Norv Turner is for sure gone, so this is a big year for coaches getting fired. I think there will be one or two more surprises also. Raheem Morris and Jim Caldwell might also be gone. Interesting year.

  24. How bad are things in Kansas City when there are multiple posts here that are actually advocating the Chiefs hiring this guy?

  25. If they are looking for the next Marino and Shula, forget about it. They don’t exist anymore. If Belicek was coaching and Peyton was playing, they’d still be mediocre.

  26. On your way out of Miami, please swing by Tampa and pick up our dead fish Raheem. The tide is moving, take him with you. He is so done. Same press conference every week. “We have some things to work on if we are going to be a better team and we will start working on those thins” When? Thanks

  27. I wish you the best of luck Tony. My fellow Dolphins fans out there have quickly forgotten just how miserable the 2007 season was. Tony and Co. came in and changed the culture, emphasized the details, and put a competitive team on the field the very next year. Expectations were high, but it wasn’t all Tony’s fault that certain players didn’t pan out, the so-called football czar had lost his touch and the GM was a rookie. If anything I will always remember that ass-whopping we handed the Pats (and the look on Bill’s face) and knocking the Jets and Favre out of the Playoffs. Too few good memories since but it could have been worse. Go Dolphins.

  28. Good. This guy is a meathead. Hopefully, the Bears will fire Tice, and both can join Tony Siragusa for a coupla sandwiches and they can talk about how it all went wrong.

  29. It has been a long hangover for Miami following the departure of Don Shula, as well as a revolving door of QBs since Marino. Sparano was in over his head, and it is hard to commit to a coach who loses the first 7 games of a season.

  30. Please hire a competent coach and not some inexpensive line coach, special teams coach or celebrity. Gruden will not mesh with this bunch and does not develop young QB’s, he screams at them.

  31. I think that they are just trying to give internal people a little bit of an audition as well as trying to make sure that the current HCs weren’t poisoning the team anymore than they already had.

    In regards to people talking about Gruden, Cowher, Billick, and Fisher – they can’t be hired right now. Don’t forget the Rooney rule. All of the best minority candidates currently have jobs and I don’t see current teams letting their coordinators interview in a playoff run.

    Should be interesting to see who ends up where.

  32. Ireland: Hey boss, I got a great idea for the new coach!

    Ross: Tell me about him.

    Ireland: Well, he’s defensive minded, has never won a super bowl, gets his teams to the playoffs about 30% of the time, hovers around .500 most of the time, has a great mustache and gives fun interviews.

    Ross: Ummm…..didn’t we just fire that guy?

    Ireland: No silly, I’m talking about Jeff Fisher!

  33. But then again, how bad are things in Miami if Carl Petersen is going to be hired to run the program?

  34. I’m not sure about the other teams, but firing the coach in Jacksonville was about more than just auditioning an interim guy. The culture needed to change in that locker room, and by all accounts it has. The young core of players needed to experience some success, and that wasn’t going to happen under Del Rio.

    Also, Del Rio played favorites with the players. Since his departure, certain guys have been benched while others have gotten more playing time. This is extremely helpful for the organization going forward to know who deserves to stay and who deserves to go.

  35. Bad enough you fire the guy with three weeks left, but even worse Stephen Ross hires Carl Peterson as Vice President of Football Operations (the idiot that ran Kansas City into the ground) to search for the next coach??? Somewhere Joe Robbie is spinning..

  36. He could have kept coaching through the end of the season had he kept losing, but he screwed up and started to actually win a few. Bye Bye Andrew Luck, bye bye job.

  37. When you loose to the Dream Team, there isn’t much dignity left!

    When you spell lose wrong, there isn’t much dignity left!

  38. You fire them now so you can start interviewing the big names now and hire them the day after the season ends. Cowher, Chucky, etc.

  39. Ireland not being fired for one reason: So Ross can order him to draft Robert Griffin. Ross craves splashy high octane offense. Would a high profile GM put up with Ross in the drafting of players? Ireland would.

  40. connecting the dots with the Harbaugh situation… it looks like Ross is using Ireland as his right hand guy… if that really is the case…. it’s gonna be a long decade, cause Ireland’s player selection has been questionable at best…..

  41. Indeed, what happened to constant proclaiming in headlines about this being the best 4-8 team ever? “Best” teams don’t get their coaches fired.

  42. What about Raheem?

    Doesn’t the Rooney Rule work both ways? 3 whites coaches fired and I nominate Raheem Morris as the minority candidate to be fired next.

  43. Was the coach shopping for the groceries or was someone else?? Mother Hubbard’s cubbard’s been bare for quite sometime!

  44. The Dolphins are 4-9, and were a Tebow miracle and a let down in NY away from 6-7. They played hard every week despite a terrible schedule. There defense created turnovers and were playing very strong these past few weeks. Even against the Eagles they had a chance if not for some untimely turnovers themselves. Not to mention the key injuries to there QB and there often injured RB. Dumb move. But hey, stay classy Miami…

  45. I wonder if they’re going to be asked why he was fired so close to Christmas too lol. Dumb reporters

  46. Dear Dolphins, we suck and you suck but you beat us so we suck worse. Could you not let us have 5 freaking minutes under the spotlight this year?

    Sincerely, Coachless in KC!

  47. If the Jets beat the Eagles and Giants(maybe) they would probably lose to the Dolphins. LOL But now….Will the Dolphins just mail-it-in the rest of the way??

  48. I think Sparano’s firing is a direct reaction to Haley’s termination.


    Because I think Miami didn’t want to wait until the end of the season. And felt they might be at a disadvantage compared to the other teams looking for coaches.

    It’s too bad. It’s one thing to fire a coach if he’s squandering talent. It’s another thing to fire a coach that doesn’t have any talent on his team.

    Sadly, it looks like Sparano’s firing is a bit more of the later.

  49. Bottom line is that Sparano should have been fired after week 14. Problem is that it should have happened after week 14, 2010. Jim Harbaugh would be our coach and this season would not have been a total waste. A

  50. Next up to the tee is Chan Gaily in Buffalo. All of those teams are racing to get a head start on Bill Cowher, Eric Mangini and Brian Billick. All three will be head coaches in the NFL next year.

    For those commenters wishing for Jason Garrett and Andy Reid to go. No chance. Both will get another year. And both will work out for the better with their teams. With a full offseason, along with a real def coordinator, the Eagles will soar again in 2012. They are both right for those teams and suffered most from the strike. They will fix the problems. Especially Garrett. His problem is Tony Romo & Dez Bryant. Romo is not a leader. Nor is he Garretts answer at the critical QB position. Bryant is dumb as dog poop. And he doesn’t know the playbook. Garrett is young and like a son to JJ. Heck, he even looks like JJ. He’ll fix this and become a great young coach IMO. I like his demeanor a lot.

  51. The problem with the Dolphins starts at the top. Dolphins need a major overhaul. They need to get real football people in there. Start by getting rid of Ireland and bring in a Ron Wolf type. I remember how it was in Green Bay before Ron Wolf and how Wolf changed the whole culture.

  52. Please continue opening up coaching positions. I am all in favor of anything that increases the odds I won’t have to suffer through Gruden as an announcer yet again next season.

  53. It seems like Ross has been intending to fire Sporano for most of the season but when the team started playing well it interfered with his plans. Fire him now and even if the team finishes the year on a strong note, the coach is already gone. No muss. No Fuss.

  54. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Dec 12, 2011 5:01 PM

    Bottom line is that Sparano should have been fired after week 14. Problem is that it should have happened after week 14, 2010. Jim Harbaugh would be our coach and this season would not have been a total waste. A


    That’s rich. Harbaugh took $3 million less to coach in San Francisco… Did it occur to you that maybe Harbaugh though Ross was a D-bag not withstanding what he did to Sparano? Or maybe Ireland is completely over his head? Or how about San Francisco had more talent overall to build around? Baalke is in the running for exec of the year, and many many 49ers fans hated that hiring. He has put a lot of great pieces in place already. Ireland has ripped Miami apart. I’m pretty sure Harbaugh wasn’t going to Miami no matter when Sparano was fired.

  55. I hope they hire Bill Cowher ,he could have team on top in 3 years.This team plays the 3-4 and has good runningbacks ,it’s all ready for him to take over.


    My wife will be happy. Now I can remove the shoe polish off my rear windshield that reads: FIRE TONY SPARANO!

  57. Brian Billick would be the perfect hire for Miami. He never had a real QB in Baltimore and could join Miami which doesn’t have a QB.

    In all seriousness, I thought that Billick got a bum rap from the media after his release in Bmore. He was an outstanding organizer and motivator. He was a very good head coach and deserves a shot somewhere else, but he has said so himself, that it has got to be the right position. He doesn’t need the $, he’s doing fine as a color commentator. So its got to be the right fit.

  58. caseyanthonymunoz says:
    Dec 12, 2011 3:56 PM
    Too bad. They appeared to play hard for him. At least he didn’t guarantee Super Bowls and fail miserably like the head coach in New Jersey.

    Miami appeared to play hard not to become the Cleveland of their division. They will remain bottom dwellers for a few more years.

  59. I maybe the only one on here who thinks Todd Bowles has a chance at keeping this job but its true. He would provide the continuity that Ross wants and provided they can get a real QB this offense could be pretty decent with a full off season.

    Of course I could be dreaming and maybe the only one who noticed, that by promoting Crennal and Bowles both the Chiefs and Dolphins will have fulfilled the Rooney Rule going into 2012.

  60. To those asking why they fired Sparano now, it’s simple. Jacksonville is looking for a coach, KC is now looking for a coach, and there will be a few more coaching vacancies in a few weeks. The Dolphins are simply getting a head start on the coaching search. It can’t hurt. It’s better than trying to hire a coach when you already have one in place (ala Harbaugh).

  61. Sporano had that team competing every game and he did not have a constant at the QB. His team was in most every game but certainly played hard. He earned the right to return next year regardless of the won-loss record. Miami’s loss will be another teams gain as this guy is going to have a strong career with someone else.

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