The NFL is and has been chock-full of snap decisions by owners and coaches. That is the case yet again this year. The Saints pulled their kicker Garrett Hartley in light of his inability to make a game-winner among other woes. That move seemed to pay off, as his replacement in John Carney nailed three kicks, with the third winning the game for the Saints against the Panthers.
Now the Dolphins have fired John Bonamego, their special teams coordinator in the wake of the embarrassing debacle against the Patriots in which their special unit scored 21 points. First there was a 103-yard kick return by Brandon Tate to start the second half and it was all downhill from there for the Phins. Two blocked kicks by Patrick Chung and three touchdowns later, the Pats were up 34-14 after a 7-6 halftime deficit. The eventually won the game 41-14.
Coaches get most of the blame for the on the field missteps. It’s really unfortunate. As head coach Tony Sparano so eloquently put it: “Our players also need to take responsibility.” The whole viewpoint and subsequent approach to this decision is backwards. If a player misses his assignment, not once, but on multiple plays that cost the team, that should be on the individual. Take them out of the game. Don’t punish the guy who’s trying his darnedest to get the job done.
If parents raise their kid with morals, beliefs, and values as they grow up but they rebel against them anyway and they become a murderer, should the parents be held responsible? No. That’s how I feel when it comes to coach firings in sports. Coaches are given very few chances. If you don’t perform under the tremendous pressure and criticism, you’re gone.
Out of 32 teams in the NFL, only eight currently have coaches that have been around for six years or more (John Fox, Panthers; Lovie Smith, Bears; Marvin Lewis, Bengals; Jack Del Rio, Jaguars; Bill Belichick, Patriots; Tom Coughlin, Giants; Andy Reid, Eagles; Jeff Fisher, Titans). Coaches are under the microscope more than any other, even arguably more than the players on the field.
Maybe the Dolphins were just alarmed by Belichick actually smiling and making jokes for the first time since, well, ever. That was the last straw. If our team’s performance was that bad that it delighted our division rival grouch of a coach, then it’s time to make a change. We’ll see if the firing makes sense for the Dolphins in the long run. Monday night can’t happen again if they want to compete in the AFC East. That is for certain.
By Josh Delp of the Sports Fan Blog Network