Away from all the hubbub, helicopters, and roving paparazzi, the Miami Dolphins head coach sat down with Peyton Manning tonight and talked football. According to several sources including ESPN who references “high ranking Miami Dolphins officials”, the two sides met in Naptown for 5 to 6 hours. No training facility tours, no stadium tours, no grand welcome (or backseat rides behind John Elway). Nope, they sat and talked about football.
What little is known tells us that Joe Philbin along with unnamed members of the Dolphins staff were present for all our parts of the meeting. Both sides did well to keep the meeting private and leak proof. Earlier it was reported that the two sides would meet far away from South Florida but I suppose only a handful would have expected a return to Indianapolis so soon.
The news is neither good nor bad for the Dolphins although some may say the fact it lasted six hours without the sideshow attractions of “…and here is our weight room” is a good sign that they did in fact talk football. Perhaps game planning, Joe Philbin’s playbook, his coaching philosophy. Maybe at some point Manning got on the phone to his good friend Dallas Clark and asked him about his thoughts on Philbin. Clark, who has never been coached by Philbin drove to Philbin’s son’s funeral to show support and respect for the coach.
Regardless, the Dolphins now have had their time officially and the next move is with Manning. The Dolphins may come away feeling similar to the Cardinals and Broncos, thinking they have a good chance of getting something done but the reality is only Manning knows what Manning wants and in the end, he is the one calling the shots. Not Stephen Ross or Jeff Ireland, not John Elway or Pat Bowlen, nor the Bidwells and Ken Whisenhutt. No, this is Manning’s choice and he will make it when he is ready.
At least they got to meet with him…maybe that will put some of the poking fingers away for a little while longer.