not a dull boy
- Nov 8, 2013
- Reaction score
- Room #237
http://www.footballbyfootball.com/column/miami-keeping-joe-philbin-is-smartFollowing Sunday's gritty late-game Dolphins victory over the Vikings, Miami owner Stephen Ross announced that Head Coach Joe Philbin would be returning for a fourth season, a decision that should be commended for embracing the wisdom of patience in a complex business and game. The response to the news has been mixed, applauded by the people with the most experience and best perspective (Dolphins player leaders like Ryan Tannehill and Cameron Wake) but panned by some media members for ignoring their own persistent coaching-change cheerleading.
How dare they!
The negative reactions aren't terribly surprising. One of the cornerstone commandments of modern media and the internet is 'thou shalt not ignore outsider wisdom when making complex business or football decisions.' Because nothing prepares you more for cogent administrative and football decision-making in multimillion dollar organizations than a journalism degree or watching football on TV. The School of Imagined Expertise has a huge alumni population.
In all seriousness, all it takes is a perusal of the NFL in 2014 to see that patience has won, and it won in a convincing blowout. Panic and fractional perspective had a terrible year.
If your NFL team has made progress, but now dreams of changing it's middling fortunes, you don't have to look far to find out how to do it. Unfortunately, it takes time. It takes patience. And it takes persistence. These qualities don't play well in the public square. Were conventional wisdom to have had its way, there's no chance Marvin Lewis and Jason Garrett would still be head coaches of the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys respectively. These two were supposedly good (but not great) coaches, and also 'nice guys' like Joe Philbin. But they could never compete with the AFC & NFC powers of the world. Or something.
Now Cincinnati is on the brink of another AFC North title, or at the very least another playoff berth out of a hyper-competitive division. And Dallas has slowly amassed one of the deepest and strongest teams in the NFC field on the heels of dominating the media-darling Colts. Persistence proved prophetic in both of these cases.
And it's not just a 'this year' thing. Tom Coughlin wouldn't have led the NY Giants to two Super Bowl championships if the popular sentiment on his job security were paid any attention by the Maras over the last decade. They didn't. And eventually they won big. And Bill Belichick wouldn't have led one of the most successful organizational stretches in modern football history if conventional wisdom would have had its way.
I was on that 2000 Patriots football team that went 5-11 and then began the 2001 season very unimpressively with an ugly 1-3 start. Bill Belichick was supposedly just a great defensive mind who was over his head as a head coach and talent evaluator. He 'was what he was and would never be anything more.' Or something. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone outside our organization who would have disagreed with that brand of conventional wisdom...some of the worst CW in modern sports history.
...Miami had a similar call to make. But Miami made the difficult (but correct) decision.
Understandably, "you don't know what you don't know" isn't going to be a popular message, but it's the reality that all players learn with absolute clarity inside the game, and have to vigilantly fight to not forget once they leave.
Outside an organization is pretty much the worst seat in the house to determine what needs to be done with it, especially when there are wet towels in the training facility with better perspective and experience. Having all the answers when having only fractions of the information and no experience is a fools game, especially when you don't understand the consequences of a 'sounds right' suggestion.
"Fire the coach!" is only the right answer in situations of absolute certainty. Miami this season (and Cincinnati and Dallas before them) is nowhere near that. The teams that invest in the process with time and sound internal decision-making are the ones that will prevail far more often than not.
For fans of the other teams in the AFC East, it's unfortunate that the Dolphins didn't give into the panicky cluelessness of popular & inexperienced sentiment, the same one that tried to pile dirt on Ryan Tannehill early in the season only to watch him progress into a very good young quarterback by season's end. The idea that switching coaching staffs in that environment after all the progress that's been made is another great example of amateur hour in motion.
The Dolphins are staying the course, looking to build on their mistakes, but not tearing down the structure. That's wise...a real version of NFL wisdom.