| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos
animatronic-statue-of-dolphins-defensive-end-jason-taylor animatronic statue of Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor...
All the latest Miami Dolphins Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
miami-dolphins-vs-new-york-giants Miami Dolphins vs New York Giants...
All the latest Miami Dolphins Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
miami-dolphins-vs-new-york-giants Miami Dolphins vs New York Giants...
All the latest Miami Dolphins Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.

Miami Dolphins News

News » The little feats define Sparano's year of success


The little feats define Sparano's year of success


The little feats define Sparano's year of success
It's a story you should read more often in sports and don't: Tony Sparano has succeeded in part as Dolphins coach because he wasn't sure he could.


Even now, he allows, the job is harder than he imagined. Each day, three things come across his desk that he didn't expect or ever see before, like last Sunday in Kansas City when he feared his team was thinking too much about the zero-degree weather.

So you know what Sparano did? Linebacker Joey Porter huddled the team just before kickoff, as he does before every game, and began yelling and jumping and cursing and . . .

"Then Tony jumps in the middle and pushes Joey out," receiver Brandon London said. "It was like he wanted to show how much he was into this. He started chest-bumping everyone. And yelling. And dancing. Tony! Can you imagine the attention that would've got if someone else had done it? Instead, well . . ."

Because it's a rookie coach without a national presence . . .

"Hey, it fired everyone up," London said. "Everyone forgot about the cold. Everyone went crazy."

It's a little moment in a season that will be defined by a big moment today in New York. Win, and it's playoffs. Win, and the surprise is complete. Win, and Bill Parcells adds to his Hall of Fame resume, quarterback Chad Pennington gets his revenge, team owner H. Wayne Huizenga leaves sports with a smile, and most surprisingly of all, Sparano surely is NFL coach of the year.

Strange how the coaches with higher expectations like Jimmy Johnson and Nick Saban delivered little. And a career assistant who's about as stylish as a dirty dish towel makes so many right moves.

There are telling moments from his season, like when he sat beside quarterbacks coach David Lee on the flight back from the embarrassing loss to Arizona. "We've got to think of something," Sparano said, which led to the "Wildcat," which surprised New England, which changed the season.

There also are small ways his personality works inside the team. Take his sayings. "Tony-isms," players have taken to calling them.

"Don't be a ghost," he says to players who are in games but not active enough.

"Don't be a ball in the weeds," he says to players who are playing lost.

Sparano has more lines like these. Tight end Anthony Fasano calls over to Vernon Carey at the next locker. "What are some other lines, Vern?" he says.

"Nothing you can say in the paper," Carey says.

"Yeah, he curses a lot," Fasano says.

Sparano wasn't perfect. Remember how little Ronnie Brown was used in the opening games? But perhaps the best way to see Sparano's rookie impact is by what he didn't do. He didn't cost games with faulty strategy, as Saban did, like the day in Houston when a game-winning, two-point conversion became a halfback pass that failed.

Nor did Sparano embarrass the franchise from the start, like Cam Cameron. Sparano also didn't flex his ego in handling Porter's missteps, as Cameron did in taking sides of an in-team issue and fining Keith Traylor.

Through such details comes the bigger picture. It's one safety Yeremiah Bell saw in July, in training camp, when he said, "This is the first time I've come through the doors and thought an organization was in place to win."

There's an asterisk in going overboard, and it's Dave Wannstedt. He coached a great year in 2000, his first as Dolphins coach, when the offensive hopes were Lamar Smith and Jay Fiedler. The team won a playoff game. That was the last year Wannstedt coached well.

This year has been full of fortune: Pennington falling from the sky, a fortunate schedule, the lack of injuries. But Sparano's coaching can't be dismissed. A year ago, Cameron was blasted for rookie mistakes. Sparano should be praised for his lack of them.

He was asked what he's learned about himself this year. "I found out that I don't need a lot of sleep," he said.

Then: "I think that there is always this thing when you get into these positions and you feel like you're ready, but there is just something in the back of your mind that says, 'Are you ready?' Well, I feel like to myself, I've answered that question. That's all that really matters."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 29, 2008

• More On Nfl...
 Posted By dilphine
• Daily transactions...
 Posted By dilphine
• Who will win Week 6 games in NFL?...
 Posted By dilphine
• Injury report...
 Posted By dilphine
• Latest odds...
 Posted By dilphine
• Matchup breakdowns...
 Posted By dilphine
Joey Thomas Name: Joey Thomas
#23
Position: CB
Age: 27
Experience: 3 years
College: Montana State
Copyright © Dolphinsdaily.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.