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Joe Philbin, Ryan Tannehill, and Non-Winning Seasons

We are in year 4 of the Joe Philbin/Ryan Tannehill era in Miami, one that has been defined by a season of scandal surrounded by a constant stream of mediocrity.  The Dolphins went 7-9, 8-8, and 8-8 during the last three seasons, but entered 2015 with higher expectations. Then, after an ugly opening week win against Washington, Miami lost to Jacksonville before getting embarrassed by the Bills last weekend. So with the Dolphins at 1-2 and underdogs on Sunday against the Jets in London, rumors are swirling that it won’t take much to cause Miami to move on from Philbin — perhaps as soon as after the Jets game, if it’s a repeat of last Sunday for Miami.

Let’s say that doesn’t happen, but that Miami finishes the year with another 7-9 or 8-8 record. How rare would it be if Philbin and Tannehill stay in Miami and the team fails to post a winning record for the fourth season in a row?

Incredibly rare, as it turns out. In fact, just once1 in NFL history has:

  • A quarterback led his team in passing yards in four straight years, and failed to post a winning record in any of those four seasons; and
  • The same man was the head coach for the majority of the games in each of those four seasons

The only team to meet those criteria were the 2005 Texans. Houston entered the NFL in 2002 as an expansion team, with Dom Capers as head coach. The team used the first overall pick on David Carr, and as you can imagine, those two were given a very long leash. The Texans went 4-12, 5-11, and 7-9 in their first three seasons, before collapsing back to 2-14 in 2005. That was it for Capers, although Carr was given one more year as a starter.

Anyway, that’s just some trivia.  What do you think the Dolphins should do?

  1. Although if you want to count the 1942-1945 Rams, I won’t hold that against you. Parker Hall wasn’t a quarterback in name, but led the team in passing yards each year, while Dutch Clark was the head coach each season. The Rams went 5-5-1, 4-6-1, 2-9, and 5-6 during Clark’s four seasons in Cleveland. []
  • sacramento gold miners

    Joe Philbin appears to be the classic case of someone best suited as a coordinator instead of a leader like a head coach. I do see Miami pulling the plug soon if things don’t turn around.

  • Im not sure I see Tannenbaum as being someone who will fire mid season so I think they finish out the year, but I wouldnt think they go beyond that. Miami just feels like the longest running 8-8 type of team in like the last 20 years though I was surprised by that stat. When you first mentioned Houston I actually thought it would be the Kubiak/Schaub group who also seemed stuck forever in that range.

    Hopefully Miami continues to play poorly this weekend. They seem kind of archaic in what they run on the field and I think the big money runs of the last few years have brought in too many “fat cat” types. I thought it would take awhile for them to get it going this year but aybe its an organization issue. Im not sure they have gotten 100% out of anyone they have signed to a big deal other than Grimes.

  • They should have fired him after last season. I can’t remember why that didn’t happen. I was optimistic that the roster would overcome him this year. But that’s obviously not going to happen because he just isn’t good and there are big holes in the roster. If they lose to the Jets he should be fired. At that point, I don’t think fans will accuse them of throwing away the season because it will already be done.

    • Richie

      I think they kept him this year just to try to build stability. I think stability is important. The hard part is knowing if a coach can turn it around.

      • Hehe 🙂

        • Richie

          Philbin would have turned it around!