BREAKING: Former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano passes away
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have lost a member of their alumni family. Tony Sparano has passed away at the age of 56.
For Miami Dolphins fans the name Tony Sparano brings memories of fist pumps for field goals and a 29-32 record. In reality, Sparano was the one head coach who began to turn the Dolphins organization around before it completely imploded with Joe Philbin.
Announced a short while ago, the Vikings have confirmed that Sparano has passed away unexpectedly He was serving as the Vikings offensive line coach. Details are not available. The news is shocking as he was only 56 years old.
Sparano was an energetic head coach who the players loved to play for. His raw deal however came at the expense of a new owner who wanted to exact change as he grew into the role of an NFL owner.
Sparano was hired as the Dolphins head coach under Bill Parcells in 2008 and with the help of the Wild Cat offense took the Dolphins to their first playoff appearance since Dave Wannstedt was the head coach.
After a poor 2nd season with the Dolphins the relationship between Sparano and then G.M. Jeff Ireland began to deteriorate and in 2011, Sparano was fired. His relationship with the team was scarred after owner Stephen Ross and Ireland flew to California to meet with Jim Harbaugh while Sparano was still the head coach.
The aftermath was something that the Dolphins could not overcome. Tension in the offices flowed to the field. And through it all while Sparano was mentioned endlessly as a coach ready to be fired, he kept his dignity and professionalism.
It is a sad day for Miami Dolphins history but it is far worse for his wife and family. Sparano loved the game of football and despite the failures in Miami is still considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league.
Former Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline:
The Dolphins also have paid their respects on the social media platform.
As the NFL begins its new season around the landscape of the 32 teams its times like this that we remember the human side to the sport. For all the vitrial fans throw at coaches and players who do not live up to expectations, there is always a human side that unfortunately often takes an unexpected passing to remember.
May you rest in peace Tony Sparano.
UPDATE: According to Adam Schefter Sparano had complained of chest pain late last week. He had tests done at a local hospital and was released. Schefter also states that Sparano’s wife found him in their kitchen unconscious.