Dolphins need to rely on Mike Tannenbaum


While the Miami Dolphins continue to interview head coaching candidates, one man should have the most input. Mike Tannenbaum. It’s not a popular choice but it’s the best choice.

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The Dolphins “committee” who are conducting this search consists of owner Stephen Ross, executive Matt Higgens, CEO Tom Garfinkel, Dawn Aponte, Chris Grier, Dan Marino, and VP of football operations Mike Tannebaum. Of all these members, only Tannenbaum has experience in this area.

I know, Stephen Ross has conducted interviews before, and maybe more than Tannenbaum has. But let’s face it. When it came to hiring the last head coach, Ross wasn’t listening to his staff. Joe Philbin was his choice after Jeff Fisher and when it came down to push and shove with Jeff Ireland’s Mike McCoy choice, Ross hired Philbin.

Through that process it’s unclear what Ross may have learned but Ross isn’t a football guy. He is a fan. Just like you only with a lot more money and actual say in the process and who gets hired. For all his stats and his HOF jacket, Marino is not an executive who knows this process. He is not John Elway in that regard. Tom Garfinkel is likely the smartest man in the room but he was a baseball guy and this is a new arena for him.

That leaves Dawn Aponte and Higgins who both are excellent in their jobs but are they close to be even good enough to conduct a head coaching search? Chris Grier? He knows football inside and out and he should have input as the teams GM but when it comes down to it, the only executive with experience is Tannenbaum. For better or for worse.

This is not to say that Tannenbaum is the end all for this search. He is not. He is only one person who has the knowledge of coaches and what they can bring to a team. He knows from experience in New York how easily everything can get screwed up if the wrong coach is hired. Despite the face Miami isn’t all that competitive right now the wrong hire can set the team back another three or four years easily. It can get worse.

Stephen Ross may be enamored with Adam Gase but if Tannenbaum doesn’t think he is the right guy, then Ross needs to listen to that. Ross doesn’t need “yes-men” in this search. He needs someone with knowledge that studies these coaches and has studied these coaches. Ross hasn’t studied these coaches. Not enough. Nor has anyone else. Tannenbaum has been looking over these candidates since last year when he told Ross that Philbin should be let go instead of retained. Ross didn’t listen then, he should listen now.

As I said, Tannenbaum is simply the best of what the Dolphins are searching with. That is not to say that Tannenbaum is great at his job. We have yet to see anything close to great in him or anyone else. He is simply the one who has the most knowledge of the process. Maybe that isn’t saying much but it is what it is.

Whomever the coach that is hired better have more than a simple “we all believe in this guy” comment after the decision is made. We don’t need to hear months or a year later that this hire was made because Ross demanded it. Or because Aponte, Higgins, or someone else demanded it. We need to  know that every single person on this committee believes in this hire and that Mike Tannenbaum was on board. Otherwise what’s the purpose of having him here?

We know that Tannenbaum is going to handle personnel. We know this because when Grier was hired as GM Tannenbaum was asked if Grier would have say over the roster. Tannenbaum simply said we are not ready to discuss control or power. That says a lot about Tannenbaum’s hold on the team. So if he is going to be “buyin the groceries” he better be able to hire the chef. Or at the very least have his opinions on that chef heard very clearly.

So far the Dolphins are holding interviews the right way and there has been nothing that shows any dysfunction and that’s probably the best news of all. Let’s hope it stays that way.