Dolphins former coach, Joe Philbin, heading to Las Vegas, why his time in Miami was bad from the start

The Las Vegas Raiders are adding former Dolphins head coach, Joe Philbin, to their staff.
Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins made a mistake when they hired Joe Philbin to replace Tony Sparano but it wasn't all his fault.

Joe Philbin was as quirky as they come. Dolphins fans remember him more for his stance on tied shoelaces and gum wrappers on the practice field than anything else. The problem was, that Philbin came to the Dolphins not as a coach but as a disturbed man.

I have met Joe Philbin on several occasions. He was bright, articulate, and understanding. He was soft-spoken and while he didn't command respect, his demeanor earned it. No, Philbin wasn't a great coach but the Dolphins never got the best of what Joe Philbin might have been.

In Green Bay, Philbin was an excellent offensive line coach. He had paid his dues and climbed the ranks. He understood football and he knew how to coach players. Then, his life changed.

Shortly after Philbin officially joined the Dolphins, his son Michael drowned in a river in Wisconsin. It doesn't matter what he was doing and it doesn't matter what led to the drowning, no parent should have to go through such incredible hardship, let alone try and turn his attention away from the tragedy to coach football.

Some coaches find the outlet of teaching a needed distraction but for Philbin, it may have been harder. Philbin was dealing with a team that was internally, a disaster. This wasn't a franchise that was coming off a run of playoff appearances. It was a team that saw its owner and general manager try and lure a college coach to the NFL to replace their incumbent coach, Sparano.

Joe Philbin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Miami Dolphins / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The Dolphins were not disciplined. They had no franchise quarterback and they were in a non-formal rebuild. Nothing was good for the Dolphins and while Philbin tried to build a franchise, internally he was being pulled into a tug-of-war power struggle between Jeff Ireland and Dawn Aponte.

As Philbin dealt with his family's hardship, his own work environment was rocky as well. After a year, it wasn't getting any better, and soon, Philbin would deal with the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation that sent shockwaves around the NFL and again, brought more unneeded attention to the Dolphins.

I'm not saying Philbin was a great coach or that he would have been but there are a lot of people laughing and sending memes regarding Philbin's hire with the Raiders. I have sent a comment myself on the matter.

The truth is, however, Philbin's career in Miami started out as horrible as any coach, person, or parent could imagine. It never got better and continued to spiral until finally Philbin was let go.

I remember meeting Dan Campbell the first time, two weeks after Philbin was fired. I asked him how he was motivating his team differently than Philbin did. He didn't like the question and got a bit angry at it. He said he was tired of people talking bad about Philbin, basically. He was right. Philbin wasn't a good coach but he was a really nice guy and his NFL career after leaving Miami was never the same as it was in Green Bay.

Maybe that would have been the case regardless of the situation he entered with the Dolphins. Maybe not. Maybe if Philbin hadn't had to deal with something so personal immediately upon taking the Dolphins job, things may have been a little better. Maybe not.

Regardless, Philbin's time in Miami wasn't a good one, it was marred from the start and continued to get worse as his seasons went by. Some was his own fault, others, out of his control.

Maybe retirement might suit him better. That will have to wait.