That’s all folks. The plug was finally pulled on the Tony Sparano era today, after an interesting four year stint.
Tony came to town as the somewhat under-qualified puppet of Bill Parcells. Immediately the Dolphins showed life, winning the AFC East under the leadership of Chad “Efficient But Gets Injured a Lot, Like a Hell of a Lot” Pennington. However, the regime will ultimately be judged by the choice of Chad Henne as the quarterback of the future. Chad showed flashes in his time under center, but never assumed the role of the “franchise quarterback” that some had hoped. Two sub-.500 seasons followed. This season Henne hit the turf, but the mediocre football has continued.
The debasing of Tony Sparano happened quickly. Bill Parcells, the puppetmaster, yanked the cord on his “golden parachute” and disappeared. Then, already blowing in the breeze, Tony received another kick to the “Sparanads” when Owner Stephen Ross, GM Jeff Ireland riding shotgun, tried to replace him with Jim Harbaugh before firing him. Sparano had earned the lack of confidence from the top brass. The team had largely thrown in the towel by the end of the 2010 season. In our opinion Ross’ mistake wasn’t trying to replace Tony, it was not going with his gut and relieving Sparano of his duties last winter.
It was clear from the start in 2011 that something was missing with these SoFlo Sea Mammals. The 2010 collapse had continued into this season. Though the Dolphins, aided by a weak part of the schedule, staged a mini-comeback from a winless start, it was too little too late. The pink slip was handed down.
Sparano spent a great bulk of his head coaching career not taking chances. He was notorious for avoiding the jugular, and will always be, at least in our minds, synonymous with the kicking game. Tony is by all accounts a good guy. He played his cards too close to the vest, in a division with a pair of riverboat gamblers. That may have cost him a few games. But ultimately what cost coach Sparano his job is failing at the ultimate task, one that remains for the next person handed the reins of our beloved franchise:
Finding a gunslinger who can recapture the imagination of this city.
–GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose