Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is entering his second season at the helm. He becomes the seventh coach in team history to get a second season, and this article is a look at how the previous six guys did in their sophomore season.
George Wilson was the team’s first head coach, and he followed up the debut season of 3-11 with a 4-10 in year two. As the 70’s began, in came Don Shula who got off to a huge start with a 10-4 season. Shula led the team to a 10-3-1 record in his second season, and his days as a Miami football legend were underway. Shula would call the shots from 1970 through 1995, and when he stepped down in came Jimmy Johnson.
Johnson led the team from 1996 to 1999, and he followed his 8-8 debut season with a slightly better 9-7 in 1997. The good thing about the ’97 results was the team did get back into the playoffs, which was the first of five straight seasons qualifying for the post-season. We can call those the “good ol’ days” because the team has played a measly one playoff game in the past 11 seasons since then (yikes).
Dave Wannstedt went 11-5 in his debut season back in 2000, and he was equally impressive in his second season at 11-5. Wannstedt was the last coach to do well in his second season.
Nick Saban had a 9-7 debut with the team in 2005, but that plummeted to 6-10 in his second season (which of course would be his final season as things ended somewhat messy). Cam Cameron would take over in 2007, and his 1-15 debacle did not lead to a second season … ahem …
Tony Sparano took over in 2008, and he had a historical debut season turning the one-win ‘Phins into the AFC East champs with a whopping 11 wins (plus only playoff birth in last 11 seasons). Sparano’s plummet to where he is now (assistant head coach/offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders) began in his second season with the ‘Phins as they regressed to an under .500 team (he ended his regime on a 18-27 dive).
That brings us to Philbin and his regime entering their second season. His debut season saw 7-9 results, but the roster should be way more up his alley in 2013 and we should see several areas take steps forward for the ‘Phins. In his debut season, Philbin established that he will run the ship “his way” and the players he wants are “football players” that will do do things “his way”. I thought he did a great job of establishing what “his way” is and so I think the team can really build with Philbin going forward. I would be rather disappointed if Philbin’s year two is not better than his year one.