The Miami Dolphins got a big win on Sunday, the first for Dan Campbell as the head coach. A look back at history tells us that we shouldn’t get too excited over the lopsided victory. Former Dolphins have had success in their first game and many others have not.
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The Dolphins have their third interim head coach in Campbell and their 11th coach in franchise history. How have the other coaches done in their first games as a head coach? Let’s take a look.
The first Miami Dolphins head coach got off to a rocky start winning only three games in his first season, the Dolphins first season. Despite an opening kick-off return for a touchdown by Joe Auer, the Dolphins lost to the Raiders 24-10 in Wilson’s first game.
Don Shula is in the Hall of Fame and has more wins than any other head coach in NFL history. Despite leading the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in his first season with the Dolphins way back in 1970, the Dolphins opened the Don Shula era losing to the Boston Patriots 27-14.
Johnson ushered in a new era for the Dolphins in 1996 and he won his first game as the teams head coach. Johnson led the Dolphins to a 24-10 win over the New England Patriots. Johnson’s career in Miami was a winning one but he never got the team deep into the post-season.
Wannstedt got off to an impressive start with his first game in 2000. Wannstedts team beat the Seattle Seahawks 23-0.
Following the resignation of Dave Wannstedt during the teams week 10 bye, Jim Bates became the first interim head coach for the Dolphins. His first game as the head coach was a loss to the Seahawks 24-17.
Nick Saban won his very first game with the Dolphins beating the Denver Broncos 24-10. The rest of his career in Miami was not so thrilling.
Cameron entered his first NFL coaching gig after Nick Saban resigned following the 2006 season. Cam Cameron opened the season with an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins 16-13. Cameron would wait well into December before he got his first and only win as an NFL head coach.
Sparano’s career in Miami was up and down to say the least. His first game was against the New York Jets where he lost 20-14.
Bowles became the 2nd interim head coach in Dolphins history after Stephen Ross fired Tony Sparano with three games to go in the 2011 season. Bowles first game as a head coach was a 30-23 win over the Buffalo Bills. He would lead the team to two wins in the final three games before being replaced in the off-season.
Philbin would start a new era in Dolphins history but it would produce nothing but heartache. Joe Philbin’s first game as the teams head coach was a 30-10 loss to the Houston Texans.
Overall the Dolphins are 5-6 in games coached by a new head coach. This includes Dan Campbell’s win on Sunday. What have we learned from this? Nothing. The longest tenured coach in club history and it’s historical face and Hall of Famer lost his first game while Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban all won their first games and flamed out our did nothing remarkable.
What Dan Campbell will do with the remaining 11 games will decide his future with the franchise.