MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have hired Joe Philbin to be the team’s tenth head coach.
The team is expected to hold a news conference Saturday.
“We are thrilled to have Joe Philbin join the Miami Dolphins as our head coach,” stated Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in a team press release. “Joe has all the attributes that we were looking for when we started this process. Jeff Ireland and I felt Joe was the right choice to bring the Dolphins back to the success we enjoyed in the past. I know I join our fans in welcoming him as the newest member of the Dolphin family.”
The Dolphins began their coaching search late in the 2011 regular season after they fired then-head coach Tony Sparano after nearly four years on the job. After getting turned down by Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Jeff Fisher, the Fins started to look in the coordinator ranks in the NFL.
A first-round of interviews was conducted and the field was eventually narrowed down to two candidates: Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, with Philbin eventually winning the job.
“I want to thank Steve Ross and Jeff Ireland for giving me the opportunity to become the head coach of one of the premier franchises in professional sports,” said Philbin. “I also want to thank the Green Bay Packers for all the support the organization has given me during my time there. The Dolphins have a strong nucleus to build around, and working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition. I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to their support, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Philbin has been the offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers since 2007. Ever since Philbin took over, his offense has been ranked in the top 10 in points scored and total yards every season.
In four seasons at the helm of the Packers’ prolific offense, the team scored 1,703 points and committed just 83 turnovers. The turnovers ranked the Packers first in the NFC and second only to New England in the NFL during the four-year span.
Green Bay has reached the playoffs in three of Philbin’s four seasons as offensive coordinator. In each of those appearances, the Packers set team postseason records for most points in a game, with 42 vs. Seattle in ’07, 45 at Arizona in ’09, and 48 at Atlanta in ’10.
During the 2008-2009 season, the Packers, under Philbin’s tutelage, became the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000 yard passer; 1,200 yard rusher, and two 1,000 yard receivers in back to back season.
Philbin was blessed with good players thanks to general manager Ted Thompson’s stellar drafts year after year. That may not necessarily be the case in Miami, where general manager Jeff Ireland has managed to leave Fins fans longing for better drafts.
The only question surrounding Philbin was how much of the Packers’ success on offense was from him or from head coach Mike McCarthy. Philbin didn’t call his own plays in Green Bay, but he did develop and install the game plan each week.
The new Dolphins coach has never been a head coach in either the college ranks or in the National Football League, but has been in the NFL since 2003.
But, a tall task awaits Philbin when they move into their new office at the Dolphins facility in Davie. The coach will be tasked with righting the listing ship that has become the Miami Dolphins for the last decade.
Since 1999, the Dolphins have had a revolving door at the quarterback position and have only been to the playoffs three times. The team has never been able to put together a coherent and dangerous offense due to the team never banking on a franchise quarterback.
In addition, they will have to fill out a staff in a hurry. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had to cancel his plans to scout players at the East/West Shrine practices this week to deal with the coaching search.
Senior Bowl practices fire up soon and NFL executives and coaches routinely use the practices to scout out players they may be interested in drafting in the NFL Draft.
The Dolphins roster is much more talented than almost any other new head coach will walk into this year. The Fins defense has been very good the last two years, but it’s a 3-4 defense and will need a coordinator who knows how to get the most out of the defense.
Dolphins fans initially had their heart set on landing a coach with a big name, like Cowher, Gruden or Fisher. Philbin will have to try and rally the fan base which has become apathetic and more interested in the Heat’s success and a potential Marlins surge.
The quickest way to get fans excited about the Miami Dolphins again will start in March when free agency begins and in April when the NFL Draft takes place. If the Fins can make solid moves there, then momentum will build for a new era in Dolphins football that started with the hiring of Philbin.