Don Shula coached the Miami Dolphins for 26 years. His worst season was in 1988. The Dolphins finished 6-10. His WORST season ever was 6-10. Since Shulas's last year in 1995, the Dolphins have been through 10 Head Coaches (including interim HC's.)
Shula, in those 26 years won 257 games with a winning percentage of 66%.
In the 22 years since, the Dolphins have won 173 games and lost 179 and I won't bother with the winning percentage...
Yes, Don Shula was one of the very best to ever coach in the NFL. But the problem is at the top. The VERY top. Are these last 10 coaches anywhere near Shula's greatness? Of course not. But the major problem is not the coaching. The issue is who hired the coaches? Who hired the Director of personnel? Who hired the GM? Who hired the VP of operations? Who oversaw the cap space? Who oversaw draft selection during these last 22 years? That group is much smaller than the 10 Head Coaches previously named. But much more responsible for the assassination of a once great franchise.
Wayne Huizenga and Stephen Ross have been the principle owners in these last 22 years. And it would be a battle to figure out which one of them knew and know less about professional football. Savvy businessmen, but ignorant as hell about the product on the field. Instead relying on the football personnel to advise them. So those that advise these men need and needed to be football savvy. Some were, some were not. But if they could convince Ross and Huizenga that they were, that's all that mattered.
The GM's during the last 22 years have been Eddie Jones until 2004, and then Randy Mueller became GM in 2005. He was hired by Wayne Huizenga. A decision that belonged in one of Wayne's garbage trucks. Mueller then hired the great Cam Cameron. Cameron and Mueller were fired after the 2007, 1-15 season. You can't overestimate the damage a terrible GM or someone in an authority position in team management can do in a position of power on an NFL team. In 2008 Jeff Ireland became the GM. I believe he hired Tony Sparano as HC. And then hired Joe Philbin as HC after firing Sparano. Again, we cannot overestimate the damage a terrible GM can do to an NFL franchise. History proves me right.
After the 2013 season Ross fired Jeff Ireland. And hired Dennis Hickey. Hickey or was it Ross, fired the great Joe Philbin after 4 games in 2015. Who knows, the incompetence is interchangeable. Hickey himself was fired after the 2015 season. And Chris Grier became the GM in 2016. But everyone knows that the guy running the football ops in 2016 was really Mike Tannenbaum, overseeing the operation. And so, Grier really was only a GM on paper and didn't have all that much power. That's the same Tannenbaum who signed Ndamukong Suh and single-handedly nuked the Dolphins salary cap space for this year. Same Tannenbaum who could have worked out a deal with Jarvis Landry last year and saved himself and all Dolfans anxiety attacks as we speed towards NFL free agency. Same Tannenbaum who over paid Kiki Alonzo, and a few others. Same Tannenbaum at the heart of all the failed free agent signings in 2017.
In 2017 Chris Grier remained the GM, but again Mike Tannenbaum oversees the football ops. And that is part of the disfunction. Because of the amazing football ignorance of Stephen Ross, he has relied and leaned on people who are equally as ignorant and transferred power to people who shouldn't be in positions to make any meaningful decisions on any NFL team.
And Ross has taken power away from the few solid football minds, like Chris Grier, who should have more power and authority. As a result, this is a cycle of ineptitude that the Dolphins are not likely to break and overcome anytime soon. But hope springs eternal with every NFL draft cycle and combine so.... we can only hope.