When the Miami Dolphins slaughter of the Broncos was over Sunday, a somber Mike McDaniel met Sean Payton at mid-field. They shook hands and exchanged words and Payton clearly did not take the score as a slight by the Dolphins.
There were rumors after the game that Payton told McDaniel he should have kicked the field goal and beaten the record of 72 set in 1966 but I haven't confirmed that myself just yet. What we do know is that McDaniel opted to stick with the message he has been sending to his team since day one.
McDaniel launched into a long explanation about why he didn't go for the three points that would have broken a 50 plus year record when he was asked about it. He said that isn't what they were playing the game for. The follow up, he said this.
"Q: Was there any part of you that thought – it’s not like it was 40-7, you weren’t trying to embarrass them, but it was just in the flow of the game, that it was NFL history possibly being made as opposed to just scoring?"- Miami Dolphins transcripts
"MIKE McDANIEL: It doesn’t really — I will be fine getting second-guessed by turning down NFL records. That’s fine. I’m very okay with the decision, and I think the team, notably the leaders of the team supported it, the captains supported it. It’s not the way you want to get the record. I would hope that if the shoe was on the other foot, the opponent would feel the same way. That’s called karma. I’m trying to keep good karma with the Miami Dolphins."- Mike McDaniel, via Dolphins transcripts
McDaniel clearly has made it known that the big picture isn't a win in September but the goal is winning in January. Following the game, when he spoke to the team in the locker room, he praised the efforts of every player but he also made it clear.
"I want you to enjoy it, but keep it in perspective. It's a 3rd win"- Mike McDaniel - post game locker room
For the second year in a row, the Miami Dolphins start 3-0 but now they face the Bills in Buffalo for their third road game of the season. A victory in Buffalo next Sunday could very well send the biggest message of all to the rest of the NFL and the media that still doesn't believe in them.
As for McDaniel. His energy and his coaching style is going to lift this team and continue to lift this team. While he may be quirky and nerdy, he remains all class.