Fins should try to find “young Don Shula”


Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had it right the first time.  After firing coach Tony Sparano, Ross said that the team wants to find a “young Don Shula.”

Now that a middle-aged Jeff Fisher has picked the Rams over Miami, Ross should go back to doing what he said he wanted to do in the first place.

The trick, of course, is finding a young Don Shula, since no one knew how good Don Shula would be until he became Don Shula.  And that’s where the involvement of an experienced and knowledgeable General Manager becomes critical.

Someone needs to be able to pick through the current crop of up-and-coming coaches and find the guy — presumably, a coordinator — who has the skills to thrive at the next level, where far different skills than drawing up Xs and Os are required.  Current G.M. Jeff Ireland isn’t the guy to do it.  Based on his track record of hiring coaches in Kansas City and the ultimate success (or lack thereof) of his teams, friend/advisor/non-employee Carl Peterson isn’t, either.

Ross needs to spend some of the money he was willing to throw at Fisher on hiring someone to help Ross find that young Don Shula.  (A young Dan Marino wouldn’t hurt, either.)  And Ross needs to resist the knee-jerk temptation to “stick it” to Fisher and the Rams by breaking out even more money in an effort to hire Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy or Les Miles or Chip Kelly or whoever else of the currently uninterested coaches would be on the “A” list right now.

Few coaches sell tickets.  Winning games sells tickets.  And the best way to win games is to find the next Shula or Cowher or Belichick or Dungy or Walsh before he becomes what he eventually will be.

Yes, it’s easier said than done.  But it makes a lot more sense than going all in for the prettiest girl at the ugly stick ball, and having turn you down.

69 responses to “Fins should try to find “young Don Shula”

  1. Don Shula was already a successful head coach with the Colts when the Dolphins hired him. If memory serves correct he made it to the superbowl, twice losing to the Jets and Cowboys. A hire like the Shula hire would be Billick, Gruden, or Fisher.

  2. If Dolphins FO had half a brain among them they would pursue Billick.

    He’s relatively young and has led men to a SB victory. None of the coordinators can say that…

  3. This might be the dumbest post on here ever. They should draft a young Dan Marino while their at it! and a young no-name defense! Goofball!

  4. I have always had respect for Marty S and I hope he gets another chance. Fins fans after what you have been through doesn’t 10-6 or 11-5 with a one and done in the playoffs sound like an upgrade?

  5. It’s official. It’s been in the making for years, but the Miami Dolphins have officially become an irrelevant, pile of ***.

    There’s no positive scenario here. Fisher is average at best, but he didn’t want to go to Miami because of the GM in place who is what, average at best? If Fisher went there it would have been bad and the fact that he didn’t because Ireland is still there is bad.

    Ross needed to blow out Ireland with Sparano and exorcise any remains of the Parcells era so he could start fresh……….like the Raiders and Colts are doing right now. Miami is truly a rudderless, clueless ship……

  6. Chip Kelly would be a good hire IMO. Since I doubt he gets the job, or for that matter anyone else listed, maybe hiring a guy like Spagnuolo and giving him a top O-coordinator would be a good hire. How about Dom Capers? Mike Nolan is already on staff and might be a good hire or hiring Billick and teaming him with Nolan again. The big problem for the Dolphins is that none of the big time hyped coaches are looking to coach and Ross wants hype and a name as much as he wants a coach.

  7. i cant believe how much of a punch line my beloved Dolphins have become. sadly…its looking like its gonna be worse before it gets better…this hurts.

  8. How do you know Jeff Ireland isn’t the guy to make that decision? He’s never had the chance to pick a coach before.

  9. For those that are historically challenged (MF), Don Shula was already successful and stolen by the Dolphins from the Colts!

    His Colts lost SBIII to the Jets………

  10. that being said the Raiders should find a young John Madden and the Bucs should find a young Tony Dungy.

  11. huskersrock1 says: Jan 13, 2012 3:44 PM

    I have always had respect for Marty S and I hope he gets another chance. Fins fans after what you have been through doesn’t 10-6 or 11-5 with a one and done in the playoffs sound like an upgrade?


    Had that in 2008. Doesn’t feel much better than 6-10 and no playoffs, really.

  12. Exactly right, very few coaches sell tickets and that only happens when they a have a winning track record. Winning sell tickets period. I might also add a great quarterback sells tickets and can make a mediocre coach look good.

  13. I say thank God lets keep Todd Bowles but Ireland must stop trying to turn us into the Miami Cowboys im starting to think Ross and Jerry Jones were twins seperated at Birth lol

  14. “Now that a middle-aged Jeff Fisher has picked the Rams over Miami”

    This is false. According to all reports, is was the Dolphins that did not choose Fisher. They could have had him, but did not want to meet his demands. The “reporting” here is going nowhere but downhill

  15. .

    Mercury Morris ……..if only for his press conferences with Rex Ryan.

    What ? Like that’s not pay per view material?


  16. It all starts at the top…Long as you guys have an incompetent owner your whole team will suffer..Not trying to diss the Phins but as soon as he pulled that mess with Harbaugh he made himself look desperate and inorganized…

  17. My God the Dolphins have had terrible luck with Coaches and Quarterbacks. If decades of mediocrity are what follow one of the most successful Coach/QB combinations ever (Shula and Marino) then God help you Patriots Fans…. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  18. Ross is a JOKE!!!!

    I’d like Mike Shula, Zimmer, Daboll, Nolan, Bowels, or Chud. However… knowing the 3 stooges this will get interesting.

  19. Every prospective head coach saw the way Ross bumbled his way through the last couple of years with Sparano. Nobody wants to be made a fool like that and nobody wants to work for a guy that doesn’t inspire confidence and stability.

  20. Winston Moss, Greg Roman, and Mike McCoy are the only “youngery” offensive guys that come to mind that could improve the Dolphins. Roman has been with Harbaugh for a while and seen how it is done at a high level, same with Moss. I would give those 2 guys a shot. McCoy needs more seasoning.

    Fins fans do not want a HC like Nolan, great DC, but no HC.

  21. Chris Kouffman

    Hearing the mystery interview on Saturday is Dave Toub for a second interview, which IMO makes him the front runner for the Miami HC job.

  22. shula was still a young man when the dolphins hired him. 40?

    he was about 33 when the colts hired him and he went 71-23-4 as colts coach. he lost 1 sb as colts coach, to the jets. after that the colts went 8-6 in 69 and he was pretty much tuned out. other then the 68 sb trip, they lost an nfl championship to the browns and a western conference playoff to gb. in the 67 season, they went 11-2-1 and finished 1/2 game behind the rams for a division title.

    there is no way of knowing that some young coach u hire will become shula-eque. u are practically assured the hire will not be shula-esque. with owner and advisor like ross and peterson, the chances are infinitesimal that the hire will ever approach shula-esque-ness.

    u wont find a young coach out there with 6 years approx hc experience and such a record.

    but gruden is 95-81 and is only 48.

  23. What the Dolphins need most, and will not get is a new owner, Ross is a joke, an embarrassment to the league, he needs to spend more time trying to get a coach, and less time trying to raise money for politicians. Bill p.s. been 5 weeks after Tony was giving his pink slip, at the rate we are going we may not have a coach by training camp. I think we have a cancer at the front office.

  24. 1) Get rid of Ireland already; 2) Hire Paul Warfield as GM. He’s a Dolphin (& Browns for that matter) legend, very intelligent and has been interested in becoming a GM for years; 3) either bring in a young sharp offensive coordinator to be the coach or else take a chance on Chip Kelly (assuming that Ross can outbid Phil Knight…not!)

    Last but not least….I know you may not be as old as some of us, Mike, but please pull out an NFL history book and pick up the fact that Shula took the Colts to the NFL Championship in ’64 and the Super Bowl in ’69 (and yes lost both!) before coming to the Fish in ’70. And yes, his replacement in Baltimore, Don McCafferty won it all the very next year. So even Shula, especially after the beating the Cowboys gave the Fish in ’71, was deemed to be a failure…even after he “became Shula”!

  25. LOL at this blog.. “Nobody knew how good Don Shula was” ….um Don Shula was pretty good with The Colts, before he was a dolphin.

    What they need is another Joe Gibs…Pete Carmichael Jr is he.

  26. stevemo says:
    Jan 13, 2012 3:50 PM
    Listing Cowher and Dungy with Shula, Belichick, and Walsh?

    Good god.

    Awesome post…I was laughing at the thought of putting Cowher and Dungy (a nice guy) with the likes of Walsh, Shula and Belichick.

    I wouldn’t even put Belichick there yet.

  27. I can’t believe I’m actually thinking this, but Hue Jackson would be the perfect fit in Miami. Hue certainly has the offensive pedigree, and Miami already has what the Raiders sorely lacked — a solid DC.

    I think Hue’s personality would work well in Miami, too, so long as he’s learned to keep his emotions in check during press conferences and has set aside any great ambitions to wield front office power.

  28. Jeff Fisher goes to the playoffs 6 times in 15 years and loses in the super bowl. Brian Billick goes 4 times in 9 years, has only one losing, has a super bowl ring and does not get an interview? This makes no sense.

  29. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Captain Obvious! By day, an confused and old billionaire, at night Stephen Ross takes to the street pointing out facts such as “Young good coaches are good!” and “Food goes in mouth!” Thank you Captain Obvious! You’ve saved us from using our minds for another day.

  30. Does Don Shula have a grandson who wants to coach? That would be your young Shula.

    Why not hire Bill Parcells? Wait, that didn’t work out that good.

  31. Thank God I live outside Philly….with all the bull crap around the Iggles and Andy Blow Hard their not even looking at the mess down there when talking about the NFL. I’ve been a Fins Fan since 72 and getting a little tired of them being cut up, sliced up and in my grocers freezer by new years every year. I may have to cut off my leg to get rid of the ink on my leg..what a joke this once proud franchise has become.

  32. It’s a nice thought but we’re talking about an idiot owner and a power-hungry GM. One wouldn’t know NFL talent if it boxed his giant ears, and the other will look for subservience over talent. A bad situation in Miami that keeps getting worse.

  33. In related news the Raiders should find a “young John Madden” and the Tampa Bay Should find a “young Tony Dungy”

  34. You want a name: what about Saints OC Pete Carmichael. Young guy who was the acting head coach on the sidelines when payton got his knee blown out and had to be in the booth. Surprised we havent heard his name thrown out there as much.

  35. The young Don Shula is “Steve Sarkisian” from UW – problem is it would take a pile of money to pry him away from Washington.

  36. To go after a coach who has won a Super Bowl somewhere else is foolish and futile. Of the 48 head coaches who have coached in a Super Bowl, 28 have won, 9 have coached another team after winning, 2 got the succeeding team to the Super Bowl, and NONE have won with a follow up team.

    Lombardi won in Green Bay, coached the Redkins but died, so he gets a pass as does Mike Shanahan who won in Denver and is coaching the Redkins now. Nobody short of Jesus Christ could win under Daniel Snyder’s ownership.

    George Seifert won in San Francisco and was a dud with Carolina as was the cases of Mike Ditka, who won with the Bears but flopped in New Orleans; Tom Flores, who won with the Raiders but flopped in Seattle; Dicke Vermeil, who came out of retirement to win with the Rams after losing with Philadelphia only to flop in Kansas City; and Jimmy “THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS” Johnson who was given the titles he won in Dallas thanks to the Minnesota PIGEONS giving up a slew of picks for a washed-up Herschel Walker only to screw Miami over. I was one of many who pushed for Shula to be replaced with Johnson. I apologize for that now!

    The two who got to a Super Bowl with another team were Mike Holmgren, who won in Green Bay but lost in Seattle, and Bill Parcells, who won with the Giants but lost to Holmgren’s Packers when he was with New England. Neither Holmgren nor Parcells stayed around long enough after that to make another run.

    I’m tempted to say let Todd Bowles keep the job. They went 2-1 and were competitive in the one loss to New England.

  37. Just a few things about some of these coaching candidates:

    Jeff Fisher: Mediocrity overall in his years with the Oilers/Titans, but those six winning seasons were all stronger winning seasons than we’ve seen out of Miami since the early 90s. I was thinking maybe the year out of the league would have given him a fresh perspective on things and possibly have him see a new, fresh way to go about things, but then I saw that he’s trying to get a staff together of people he worked with in Tennessee, so never mind. Enjoy that, St. Louis.

    Jon Gruden: I feel sorry for whoever eventually lures him out of the booth and onto their sideline. He coached 5 years in Oakland where all he did was buy a lot of old, end of their tenure veterans. That’s not how you build a team. And he won nothing in Oakland. Then he goes to Tampa Bay, wins the Super Bowl with the team that Tony Dungy built, and then spends the next several seasons dismantling the Bucs and turning them into what we see of them today. So no thanks to Gruden.

    Bill Cowher: He can build a team. And he can build a team to compete for a looooonnnnngggg time. That being said, I have two problems. One, the current Steelers team is still mostly the team Cowher built, and they do seem to be regressing, so can Cowher build a team for the long run the way the game has already changed from how it was when he was still coaching a few short years ago? And two, it took him a loooooooonnnnnnggg time to finally win that elusive Super Bowl. So, maybe he should stay retired.

    Brian Billick: He will not get an interview from Miami. Article from Miami Herald explains why.

    Personally, I want Miami to hire Winston Moss. I am not against Dave Toub either, he intrigues me. But most importantly, in my opinion, if Ross wants to hire a “young Don Shula”, then why not have Shula in the room to help with the interview process? He is more affiliated with the Dolphins organization than Carl Peterson, and he’s obviously a hell of a lot smarter too. I think that would be the smartest move to make for the rest of this coach search.

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