I sat across from Joe Philbin in the airport on Thursday as he waited for his flight home to be with his family, and were it not for a report that he was heading home to deal with a “personal family matter,” I would never have known something was amiss. He exuded the same calm, quiet demeanor that has drawn the ire of many in South Florida (myself included on occasion), and upon his return to the team, did the same on the sideline. I would like to extend my personal condolences to Coach Philbin and his family, and as his players showed on the field, the Dolphins’ family is “stronger together.”
Ryan Tannehill looked like a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback, throwing for three touchdowns in the best game of his professional career, while the defense shut down Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense in what was Miami’s most dominant defensive performance in recent memory. It was a total victory in all phases of the game, and exemplified the level of respect that the players and coaches have for Joe Philbin, while also providing insight into just what a leader he is.
As Philbin rejoins his family in Massachusetts, the Miami Dolphins return to practice in preparation for this week’s game against the Detroit Lions. The assistant coaches will run the practices early this week, with defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle taking lead, but this is nothing new for the Dolphins, as Coach Philbin uses an executive approach to practices during the week. The fact that the head coach has that level of faith in his assistants is telling, and must be comforting, as the ability of the coaching staff to conduct business certainly appeared on the field against the Chargers.
Unfortunately, it so often takes a time of hardship for a team’s true colors to show, but Joe Philbin should be proud that in his time of loss the entire Dolphins family has rallied behind him. In his post-game speech, Philbin mentioned his father looking down on the game from Heaven and having a great show to watch. Personally, I believe that Paul Philbin was watching the game from upstairs, and had the best seat in the house for an amazing performance by a team that loves its coach.