Brian Flores’ place among Miami Dolphins head coaches

Brian Flores was fired Monday after three seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, coming away with a 24-25 record that included consecutive winning seasons.

Owner Stephen Ross has indicated that Ross’s firing has more to do with problems off the pitch than the team’s performance because Flores has accomplished some good things during his tenure, including bringing the Dolphins back from a disastrous 1-7 start in 2021 to finish 9-8.

So where does Flores stand in terms of the Miami Dolphins’ all-time head coaches and their performances? Here is a man’s ranking of the 10 full-time head coaches the team has had, based on the record (obviously) and whether the coach left the team in better shape than they inherited. .


Year: 1970-95

Regular season results: 257-133-2 (.659)

Playoff appearances: 16 (two Super Bowls)

To analyse: Yeah, like there was another choice. The standard by which any other Dolphins head coach will be measured.


Year: 1996-99

Regular season results: 36-28 (.563)

Playoff appearances: 3

To analyse: A lot of people are too clinging to the fact that Johnson didn’t bring the Dolphins to the Super Bowl, but he made the playoffs three times in four years and left the basis for a championship-caliber defense with guys like Bowens, Taylor, Thomas, Surtain and Madison.


Year: 2019-21

Regular season results: 24-25 (.490)

Playoff appearances: 0

To analyse: Flores inherited a team in rebuild mode and took five wins out of a talented roster in her first year before producing a record winning the following two. There has been some massive coaching here on the defensive end of the ball.


Year: 2008-11

Regular season results: 29-32 (.475)

Playoff appearances: 1

To analyse: The Sparano Dolphins were different in that they were built with tenacity in mind, something that has not been reproduced since then. Sparano also deserves to be commended for bringing the Dolphins down from 1 to 15 the year before he arrived at 11-5, but things turned bad after a few years and ended badly after owner Stephen Ross and the general manager Jeff Ireland traveled to California to try to woo Jim Harbaugh.


Year: 2000-04

Regular season results: 42-31 (.575)

Playoff appearances: 2

To analyse: Although Wannstedt has the second-best winning percentage among the Dolphins’ head coaches, he inherited a very strong base left by Johnson and it would not be out of place to suggest that the Dolphins team did not succeed. Wannstedt also lost points for the end of his term with the disastrous 2004 season.


Year: 2016-18

Regular season results: 23-25 ​​(.479)

Playoff appearances: 1

To analyse: Gase was a very hot coaching candidate when the Dolphins hired him in January 2016 and he certainly lived up to his bill in guiding the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year. But it didn’t take long to realize that this was a perfect storm, as the next two years didn’t go as well. The decision to go to Jay Cutler in 2017 didn’t work out (at all) and Gase didn’t provide excellent visuals by drawing plays on a board during games while the defense was on the pitch.


Year: 2005-06

Regular season results: 15-17 (.469)

Playoff appearances: 0

To analyse: What Saban has done best for the Dolphins is come up with a defensive plan to take full advantage of Jason Taylor’s multiple talents and help him become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Without a doubt, Saban could coach the X’s and O’s, but he has fallen short in terms of player relations. His exit was also far from ideal and he will be forever remembered for that – along with his decision to trade to Daunte Culpepper instead of signing Drew Brees.


Year: 2012-15

Regular season results: 24-28 (.462)

Playoff appearances: 0

To analyse: To be frank, Philbin was an odd hire from the start given he was a name offensive coordinator primarily in Green Bay because it was Mike McCarthy who called the play when he was there. Philbin did not have a very dynamic personality either, and the team too often adopted that personality. It was a big surprise when he started a fourth season in 2015 and then left after a 1-3 start.


Year: 1966-69

Regular season results: 15-39-2 (.278)

Playoff appearances: 0

To analyse: The first coach in Dolphins history was given a very difficult job, leading an expanding franchise, but the reality is the record didn’t improve much between year one and year four.


Year: 2007

Regular season results: 1-15 (.063)

Playoff appearances: 0

To analyse: There was no doubt Cameron would come in last place here, right? It was a failure on every level, and what makes it even more painful is that the Dolphins hired Cameron after he also interviewed Mike Tomlin. The Steelers hired Tomlin after the Dolphins hired Cameron, and Tomlin just set an NFL record having at least a 0.500 record in each of his first 15 seasons.