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Greatest Head Coaches in Miami Dolphin History

As I began to research the greatest head coaches of the Miami Dolphins history, I learned a lot about the guys who manned our sidelines.  These days, NFL head coaches are paid millions of dollars per year. Their job is to develop tactics and coordinate a game plan with the rest of the staff.

A good coach will take his team to the playoffs, win division titles, league championship games, and ultimately the Super Bowl.  Right now the longest tenured coaches in the game are Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburg Steelers), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), and Bill Belichick (New England Patriots).  It’s no coincidence that this group has been the to playoffs multiple times and won a few Super Bowl titles.

The Miami Dolphins have an illustrious history of winning.  They have had some great names roaming the sidelines so let’s take a look at the entire list.

All Past Head Coaches of the Miami Dolphin Football Team

  • George Wilson 1966- 1969
  • Don Shula 1970- 1995
  • Jimmy Johnson 1996- 1999
  • Dave Wannstedt 2000-2004
  • Jim Bates 2004
  • Nick Saban 2005- 2006
  • Cam Cameron 2007
  • Tony Sparano 2008- 2011
  • Joe Philbin 2012- 2015
  • Dan Campbell 2015
  • Adam Gase 2016- present

George Wilson was the head coach from 1966- 1969. He was the first head coach to lead an American Football League franchise.

Don Shula, was one of the most influential and historical figures of the Miami Dolphins. He led the team to 2 Super Bowl Championships in 1972 and 1973, 5 AFC Championships and 11 AFC East Division Championships. Overall he’s made six Super Bowl appearances as a head coach, second most all-time behind Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

Jimmy Johnson was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 1996-1999. The team didn’t achieve the success that Johnson had when he was with the Cowboys, but they still did alright.  After leaving coaching he appeared in a couple of movies, television commercials, owns a restaurant in Florida, and is a weekly contribution to CBS’s Sunday pregame show.

Dave Wannstedt was the head coach from 2000-2004 and helped lead the team to the AFC East Division Championship in 2000.

Jim Bates was the coach in 2004 but had a short-lived career with the team. Nick Saban was the head coach from 2005-2006 before moving on to Alabama.  There is no doubt he was made to be a college coach as he might be the best ever there, but wasn’t successful in the pros.

Cam Cameron was the head coach in 2007, but after leading the team to the worst record in team history, he was quickly let go.

Bill Parcels brought one of his disciples, Tony Sparano in from 2008-2011. He helped the team win the AFC East Division Championship in 2008. It was one of the greatest year of the team.

Todd Bowles took over for Sparano after he was fired in 2011, but then Joe Philbin was hired to coach the team from 2012- 2015. His career ended by the fan’s disdain for his poor management skills.  Dan Campell finished the season off when Philbin was let go.

Now it’s up to Adam Gase to turn this team around.  He led the Dolphins to the playoffs last year, so he’s on the right track.  Here’s to hoping they can take the next step in 2017 and actually win one in the postseason.

Breaking Down the Miami Dolphins 2017 Opponents

Miami Dolphins, commonly referred as the Dolphins, has been in the NFL since 1970. The Dolphins are a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) East Division. The headquarters of the Dolphins is Davie, Florida. The team typically plays their home games at Hard Rock Stadium, Florida. The Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowls in the consecutive years of 1973 and 1974.

The 2016 season has ended. The list of opponents the Miami Dolphins will play for the 2017 NFL season is out. There is a lot that goes into who plays who, but the league really tries to make sure every team will play at least one game in every stadium once every eight years.  Therefore, this year the AFC East will face off against the AFC West and the NFC South. That makes up eight of their games, plus you have the six they play against their own division.

Each team plays sixteen games each season. With 14 of them already accounted for in the last paragraph that leaves us with two remaining.  Those are scheduled against teams in the same conference, but the division they don’t play every team in.  Instead, they match up last year’s place in the standings, so the 2nd place in the AFC East will play the 2nd place team in the AFC North and AFC South.  That is how we come up with the list of opponents for next season already.

List of Miami 2017 opponents

Home Games
Division Rivals

  • New York Jets
  • Buffalo Bills
  • New England Patriots

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • New Orleans Saints (played in London)

AFC West

  • Oakland Raiders
  • Denver Broncos

AFC South
• Tennessee Titans

Away Games
AFC West

  • San Diego Chargers
  • Kansas City Chiefs

AFC East Rivals

  •  New England Patriots
  • New York Jets 
  • Buffalo Bills

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens

NFC South

  •  Carolina Panthers
  •  Atlanta Falcons

Predictions on the Team’s 2017 Season

The 2016 season saw the Miami Dolphins finishing second in AFC East Division. Last season, it was evident to me that the Dolphins need to improve on defense. I think there are mixed reactions regarding the performance of the Dolphins in 2017. I however think the Dolphins will have a great season in 2017.

In 2016, the Dolphins defeated the Bills and Jets. Believe me, if the Dolphins can take one point from the Patriots and four from the Jets and Bills this year, they will be leading the East division with 5-1. I foresee a tough game for the Dolphins as they face San Diego and Kansas City on the road. In my view, AFC West division teams were all pretty good last year.

I have observed that the Dolphins perform well at home against teams from the West Coast. I am confident that the Dolphins will beat the Raiders. My expectation is that the Dolphins will also defeat Tennessee and Tampa Bay.

The Carolina Panthers weren’t very good last year, but I would expect them to be one of the most improved next year, and the Atlanta Falcons just made the Super Bowl.  Getting both of those teams on the road is going to be difficult.  It’s also unfortunate we lose a home game and have to go to London to face the Saints, that’s more of a toss up now than advantage us.

In conclusion, I have confidence the Dolphins can improve on their double digit win total and get to 11 wins. They are going to have to nearly sweep the seven games in Miami, then figure out how to win just half of the remaining games on the road and in London.  It won’t be easy, but Adam Gase is a great coach who can get it done.

What Do the Miami Dolphins Need to Do to Improve

The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football franchise that competes within the National Football League (NFL) in the AFC East division. They play their home games at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Miami Dolphins played in their first championship game in Super Bowl VI, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys with a score of 24-3. The following year, they ended up winning the NFL championship. They also took things to another level and won Super Bowl VIII.  They had become the first team to appear in three straight Super Bowls.

In the early years of the Miami Dolphins, under coach George Wilson and Don Shula, they won many games during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. After the championship years, they started slowing down, but they were lucky to have one of the best players of all-time, Dan Marino.  He gave the Miami Dolphins many winning games and was terrific to watch. He was voted as MVP back in 1984, and spent 17 seasons with the Dolphins, helping them to go to an AFC Championship. He retired in 1999.

In 2001, the Dolphins had a strong defensive and earned a wildcard, with great players like Chris Chambers and Lamar Smith. The team got better in 2002, with Ricky Williams and Randy McMichael.

After the 2013 season, General Manager, Jeff Ireland was replaced with Dennis Hickey. In 2015, the team signed on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. After a losing season, head coach Joe Philbin was let go, and in January 2016 Adam Gase was hired as head coach.

The Miami Dolphins are best known for their two Super Bowl wins under the leadership of Don Shula and the five AFC Championships they won.  The team that went undefeated is still the only one in league history.

The Miami Dolphins need to improve in 2017 if they want to compete for a Super Bowl title. What do they need to do?  Let’s take a look.

  • The Dolphins defense needs to get better at stopping opposing team rushing attacks and
    pick up more speed
  • Allow Ndamukong Suh to get further up the field, so that he can stop the opposition in the backfield for a loss.
  • They need to draft or sign an inside linebacker
  • Utilize Ryan Tannehill’s abilities better and allow him to throw the ball and also hire a backup quarterback
  • Put Bruce McCain on as a nickel cornerback and rotate Bobby McCain to play in every game
  • Allow De Vante Parker to share the split end field with Greg Jennings, so they can see the difference in steady routes
  • Use Billy Turner more often
  • Sign fullback player, Vonta Leach
  • Replace the current player, because Mike Pouncey’s current contract issues
  • Hire an offensive tackle, who will need to help out Nate Garner and Ja’Wuan James
  • Utilize Arthur Lynch, who was on the injured in 2014, because he is a great player
  • Move Mike Pouncey to a guard position
  • Consider re-signing Samson Satele
  • Allow Lamar Miller to touch the football more often
  • Work harder on opposing more yards, and be more mindful about fitting into gaps, limit yards and tackle better
  • Quarter back Tannehill need to make more aggressive decisions and have less turnovers
  • Practice to have fewer fumbles
  • Their offensive success comes to late in the game but they need to play strong through at the entire game
  • The need to work hard at their tight end receiving
  • The coach Gas need to stop calling mistakes and have issues between running and passing

No matter, what happens with the Miami Dolphins, they need another wide receiver- to make things easier for Tannehill and they need to reverse all their losses to start winning.

Top Ten Miami Dolphins of All-Time

The Miami Dolphins have certainly been able to prove themselves as one of most iconic sports teams in the history of professional sports. They are the only team in the history of the National Football League to complete a regular season undefeated and then go on to win the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots of 2007 came the closest to matching that mark but ended up losing in the Super Bowl. The Dolphins have had great players and coaches all throughout their existience. Here is a small look at the ten greatest Miami Dolphins of all time.

The first player to be on the list of the ten greatest Miami Dolphins of all time is Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino. Marino was drafted by the team in 1983 and within a year the team was back in the Super Bowl. Marino has his name written all over the Dolphins and NFL career record books for passing. A strong passing game needs a strong reciever and Mark Clayton was able to do that for Miami. The 1984 AFC Champion edition seen Clayton score an amazing 18 touchdowns.

The 1972 Dolphins have been heralded as one of the greatest teams and Super Bowl champions of all time. They went undefeated and they were led by a strong running game and timely passing. The next players to make the ten greatest Miami Dolphins list is QB Bob Griese and RB’s Larry Czonka and Mercury Morris. Czonka and Morris became the first running back duo to have over 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. In today’s world of feature backs, that accomplishment is very hard to pull off. Griese was the preeminent taskmaster and help set the ball rolling for the dominant Dolphins teams of the 1970’s.

The Dolphins running game of those glory years in the 70’s was bolstered by the blocking of offensive guard, Larry Little. He was an All-Pro for five straight seasons and was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1993. From 1996 to 2007, the Miami Dolphins had a middle linebacker that was well known for his hard edged play. Zach Thomas was another player that had a huge playing heart and the football smarts to go with it. Zach Thomas is certainly worthy of being named one of the ten greatest Miami Dolphins of all time.

The 1980’s Dolphins were known for their strong offensive line play. The team gave up the least amount of sacks for six straight years and that is an NFL record. Dwight Stephenson was noted as the leader of that vaunted blocking group. Stephenson is part of the Dolphins ring of honor and was able to start in 3 AFC Championship games for the team.

The passing game of the 1970’s Dolphins were lead by WR Paul Warfield. Warfield only played 5 season for the Dolphins but he was able to be a part of two Super Bowl winning teams. The last player to be mentioned on this list of the ten greatest players in the history of the Miami Dolphins is defensive end, Jason Taylor. Taylor could to anything and everything to let his team win. He gave his all year in and year out and that is why he is revered.

There are plenty other players that are worthy of being named one of the ten greatest Miami Dolphins of all time. One certainly cannot talk about the Dolphins without mentioning their Hall of Fame coach in Don Shula. Shula had the Dolphins in the title hunt year after year and has always been named on of the best head coaches in the history of the NFL.