The Miami Dolphins went for it on 4th down ten times last season. That may sound like a respectable number, but it was good for 28th in the NFL.
A look at the specific situations reveals that eight of those attempts were absolutely necessary, during desperation time. The ninth attempt? A 4th and 1 against Detroit, the week we had been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Which leaves us with one glorious attempt, in the 3rd quarter against Green Bay. Again, another 4th and 1 (if we needed more than 36″ on 4th down, Tony kicked it 100% of the time). Of course “The Mad Fistpumper” followed this bold move by refusing to attempt the game winning Hail Mary at the end of regulation, apparently out of fear that Charles Woodson would intercept it, emerge from a ten player pileup, then scamper 104 yards for the winning score.
No coach in the NFL allowed more drives to stall than Tony. Dan Carpenter led the NFL with eight attempts from 50+. Carpenter also led the league with 18 attempts from 40-49 yards. He completed the triple play by leading the league with 41 tries overall (the most attempts by a team in five seasons). Over forty times we reached enemy territory and folded without a six-pointer.
In our opinion Sparano hasn’t earned his place on the hot seat (we think it’s still plenty hot, despite the extension) simply by losing. He’s also become the poster boy for not playing to win.
Perhaps the recent staff overhaul will include a bigger set of cojones for Tony?
GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose