Stephen Ross must get this right. He absolutely has to make this decision work on all levels or he will lose the fan base completely. Mediocrity is over. This team needs to win and they need to win now. They don’t need to go to the Super Bowl but they damn well better start competing for the division. That starts with the head coach decision that is being processed in Miami as we speak.
Ross has to ways to succeed and two ways to fail. He goes big name or he goes lesser known name. Either way, it poses a dual edged threat of failure. If a Jeff Fisher fails, Ross won’t have the answers in five years to change it. He will have to fire GM Jeff Ireland before he fires the coach and that would be yet another shake-up. The same could be said if he goes top coordinator. Either way, if he fails, he loses more and more of the fan base that already is losing interest in him as well as the team.
There is an answer though. It’s not flashy, it’s not earth shattering, it’s not even being mentioned, in most circles. The best part is, it’s the safest play that Stephen Ross has and he may not even be giving it much thought.
His name is Marty Schottenheimer.
I love Marty Schottenheimer and to be honest, I have contended for the better part of a decade that Schotty should have been the replacement for Don Shula. After all these years, Schotty would be a welcome change to the mundane uninspired football that we have seen the last 15 years. He would also bring stability and re-unite the Dolphins past with it’s future.
Marty Schottenheimer never won a Super Bowl. Never coached in one either. In fact, if memory serves, he never won a playoff game. Guess what? The Dolphins have played in one in the last 10 years. Marty got his teams there annually. Schottenheimer is a very solid coach and last season, he took the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL to his first pro-Championship. Yes, it’s the UFL, but the fact that he still has a the drive to coach is enough.
In Miami, Schottenheimer would bring the same level of professionalism and respect that Don Shula did. He has the name recognition and has the determination to win. He still has the knowledge to win and the desire. He also is still held in high regards around the NFL. He is close personal friends with Don Shula and has a great history with Carl Peterson as well.
Schottenheimer can turn this team around and he can do it quickly. Why? Because he has done that at every stop he has made along his coaching career except one. A one year stint in Washington. In Miami, he can work with Jeff Ireland, develop an offensive system that is balanced and attacks. A defensive system that will build off the success that unit had last year towards the end of the season. He would not command respect in the locker room, he would instantly own it. Players would know immediately who is in charge and they would look no further than his success record as a HC and know that the team can win.
He would install a winning attitude to the team that has been lacking for a decade. Marty knows how to win, everything except a playoff game. I think Miami fans would take a loss in the playoffs over not being there every year.
For Ross, he get’s everything he needs. A big name coach with muted but exciting expectations. He gets a coach who is capable of instilling excitement in the fan base and thus selling tickets. If Marty fails, then in three or five years he retires and in all likelihood the team is in a far better place and likely competing again at a top level than what they are now. There is no misconception with Schottenheimer either. You know exactly what you will get and his system has worked at every stop in his career.
The Dolphins don’t need a Super Bowl champion team right now. They need a team who is going to get fans excited about the possibility of becoming relevant again. They need a packed stadium on Sunday with screaming fans because the product on the field and the coach on it’s sideline, plays to win and has the confidence that they can and will. Dolphins fans need talks of playoffs and division title competition. They need a fired up angry HC who is fighting for victory, not clapping hands and saying, “it’s o.k.” when they make dumb mistakes.
The Miami Dolphins fans and the teams owner, could use a dose of Marty Ball in Miami.
Like I said, Marty isn’t flashy, he isn’t the top name, he isn’t some top coordinator, or a successful college guy, he is a proven winner. It’s funny too, everyone seemed to want Bill Cowher who attributes every ounce of his coaching success to Marty Schottenheimer. If you can’t get the student, get the mentor.