Dolphins Hire Mike McDaniel as Head Coach

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NFL Super Bowl - The Miami Dolphins have hired Mike McDaniel as head coach. McDaniel, 38, has been an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers since 2017, serving as their offensive coordinator this season. We was also an offensive assistant with the famed 2012 Washington coaching staff, where he worked with current Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, current Rams head coach Sean McVay, and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. 

According to his Wikipedia page, McDaniel has a degree in history from Yale and is a "proficient violinist." McDaniel, who is multiracial, is replacing Brian Flores, who is currently suing the Dolphins, Giants, Broncos, and the NFL as a whole for racial discrimination. 

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58 comments, Last at 09 Feb 2022, 3:38pm

1 McDaniel:

  • 2021: 5th Offensive DVOA at 14.9%, 1.8 OSRS (only year as offensive coordinator)
  • 2020: 20th Offensive DVOA at -2.5%, 0.2 OSRS (year prior)

2017-2020 RS as SF RGC:

  • Rush EPA: 18th
  • Rush SR: 15th

Now there's a little diversity. Finally. Can we get up to 3.5 black coaches though

2 McDaniel comes across as a…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

McDaniel comes across as a pretty peculiar guy. He looks awkward in front of the camera, but at the same time funny. I don't love the hire in that he's not what I think head coaches should look and talk like, but who really knows? At least if he fails it should be in an entertaining fashion -his press conferences should be worth watching. And also, he's the whitest black person I've ever seen. Does he actually count as a minority?

5 Name a coach who doesn't…

Name a coach who doesn't look awkward under the camera in their first appearance.

The question about whether he's too white to qualify as minority is just a giveaway to the slaveowners who sowed their seed among the slaves to "improve" them, yet didn't make them less slaves. Or to take a line from 'Dahlgren', "if you have one drop of African blood, you are 100%!"

At least they didn't go after the wrong McDaniels.





18 Yes

Press conferences are mostly pointless. If Dan Campbell can bite knee caps and win 3.5 games and still retain his job, none of it really matters. 

19 Dan Campbell is a shining…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Dan Campbell is a shining light of competence compared to his predecessor.

10 While he's a minority, he…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

While he's a minority, he doesn't exactly fit the bill of what people have been clamoring for. Most of what I've heard is outrage because white GM's aren't taking chances on minority, specifically black, coaches because they don't "talk" or look how a head coach is "supposed" to look.

Yet I don't think there's a single person out there who thought Mike was anything but white until told otherwise. So do the Dolphins, who are allegedly racist for firing Flores, suddenly get brownie points for hiring the minority coach that looks and "talks" like a white guy? I don't see any chances being taken here, unless it's that they hired a guy who doesn't fit the standard billing by way of his apparent nerdiness.

16 It doesn't absolve them

or the league of anything (even if people try to spin it that way). But the only other guy that had a second interview was Kellen Moore who has coached 13 less years, less than what McDaniel has been even just a coordinator (17-21). 

IDK if he '"talks" like a white guy' but certainly more encouraging that than pasty white guy that rose somehow quickly after 1 year coaching QBs. Still need work as McCown was just a finalist, until the Texans realized they can't do that right now with his lack of experience, and are about to hire Lovie Smith to be another fall guy. 

22 The Texans should make Lovie…

The Texans should make Lovie Smith be the head coach; the main reason they were slightly better than expectations was the defense, and he has prior good experience.  I keep forgetting he's there.  I'm also thinking it would be hard to make him the fall guy, since they would probably do a lot better with him in charge.

25 Fire a guy?

Then promote his assistant? Sounds like the Packers firing their STC Shawn M and then promoting Drayton.

They can do better (bottom half defense, worse relatively than ST) but they're just buying their time for McCown to get...anything, on his resume. Wouldn't be Lovies first stint in the NFL where he's fired after 2 seasons with below .500 records in the south.

28 Kellen Moore has been the…

Kellen Moore has been the sole offensive coordinator for Dallas for 3 years, under 2 head coaches, and calls plays during games.  Mike McDaniel was the sole offensive coordinator for only a single season and the run-game coordinator for 5, all under KS, and did not call plays.


That being said both seem to be well qualified HC candidates deserving of a HC job.

38 Part of me prefers the idea…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Part of me prefers the idea of a Head Coach who _doesn't_ call plays but concentrates on the rest of the game management. Make the decision that it is time to hurry-up, time to burn clock, time to go into 4-down play, but trust the coordinators to know the actual plays to call. Perhaps doing a bit of quality control on the play calling too - if one early blitz works well, but now your DC is calling obvious blitzes too often, then the HC can have word during the next offensive drive.

Empower and assist the coordinators but let them coordinate. I've seen enough excellent coordinators fail as head coaches to feel that is someone's ego and self-valuation of their work is too tied up in the nitty-gritty of play-calling then they might not be the best option for a head coach.


39 That's fine

Part of being one should entail knowing ones limits anyway. Handing off (or taking!) play calling when needed. I still don't like that Mccarthy took back play calling after the hail Mary game in detroit. That we won. Believe it was Philbin who had only been doing it for like 9 weeks. Too impatient. 

24 The Dolphins GM, however, is…

The Dolphins GM, however, is black. Another key FO employee, Reggie McKenzie, is also black. And the former head coach and present QB are also minorities. Not to mention Ross, for all his faults, is well-known as a progressive. The part about the bribes is a different matter, but I don't think the racist bit will stick to the Dolphins. Besides, the idea that Flores was hired because he would be more malleable than a white coach is ludicrous. In this league coaches are either smart or tough. Flores is both. Just one look at him should suffice to conclude this dude is nobody's yes-man.

50 Yes, Not Progressive

but not anti-Democrat.

“The PAC solely opposed Democrats. Six of the eight candidates the PAC opposed ended up losing. The group supported 18 candidates, including one Republican, with 13 winning.”

since the Council has 51 members, it appears he targeted specific individuals.  And according to the article the Wiki was based on, these were for the primaries.

37 Racist hiring practices are…

Racist hiring practices are not in any way countered by the existence of people in positions on the team. That's affirming the consequent. If you lack systemic or explicitly exclusive hiring practices you will have diversity in your employees, but the reverse does not follow.

There are plenty of ways to get diversity without having fair hiring practices.

Equal opportunity laws are about the individual. If he can demonstrate the claims he's making, it doesn't matter what the racial makeup of previous or current employees are. It's about what the hiring/firing process was for him, not for others.

43 I agree with you in general…

I agree with you in general terms, but in this specific case I don't understand how that would work. Why would the person who hired him -let's assume it's Ross, not Grier-, knowing he was black or hispanic, fire him three years later for that very reason?

47 Why would the person who…

Why would the person who hired him -let's assume it's Ross, not Grier-, knowing he was black or hispanic, fire him three years later for that very reason?

The argument (*) is that Ross only hired Flores because it didn't matter who the head coach was since they were committed to losing. And again, it doesn't matter about Ross's previous hiring patterns or anything else, it only matters with regards to Flores. You have no idea if those other hires were fair either. Then once it became clear that the team was out of that stage, they ditched him.

This stresses the point that it's about a fair hiring process, not about diversity. For instance, I can easily construct an instance where a hiring process is totally unfair that meets your example. Imagine a company that hires a minority to meet an internal quota. Someone in a cheaper department retires, and they hire a minority for that department and fire you, because the quota's already met. Same situation you gave - hired knowing the person was a minority, fired for the same reason - and 100%, explicitly unfair.

*: I'm making no statement as to the validity of his arguments or claims, I'm just treating them as if they're totally true.

49 But if the argument is that…

But if the argument is that Ross only hired Flores because he was committed to losing, surely that only applies to the Borrow from Tank for Tua season. If so, the supposed infraction came two seasons before the firing, both of them winning seasons, at a time when losing was no longer the goal. I don't get it. Why would he not fire Flores at the end of year one? If he was fired for losing and he failed at such a simple thing, why keep him longer? And then, when you want to win and he does win a little, you fire him because he failed to lose before? No, this is too much for me. I just can't wrap my head around it.

The example you give, on the other hand, is reasonable and it actually does help me better understand these situations in general.


52 The claim is that Ross…

The claim is that Ross pressured Flores to recruit a "high profile QB" (Watson, most likely) which would be in violation of NFL rules. When Flores refused (as in the first year), Ross eventually fired him for not working with others.

The equal opportunity claim is that a non-minority head coach wouldn't be forced to violate the underlying requirements of the job in order to keep it. Again, not commenting on the merits, but the argument's sound.

57 Which obviously wouldn't be…

Which obviously wouldn't be an equal opportunity claim on its own, but if you can show that minority coaches are held to a different standard (by saying hey, only minority coaches get fired for crap like this, everyone else has to suck) that's where it gains traction. The difficulty of course is that you have to basically loop through other teams to do it, so it's a bit of a stretch - but the existence of the Rooney Rule kindof opens the door there.

It's still a tough haul, though, especially because the coach just prior to Flores basically got fired with nearly the exact same record. Which really is why Flores has to loop in the other incidents to make a more solid case.

27 While he's a minority, he…

While he's a minority, he doesn't exactly fit the bill of what people have been clamoring for. Most of what I've heard is outrage because white GM's aren't taking chances on minority, specifically black, coaches because they don't "talk" or look how a head coach is "supposed" to look.

I mean, I think a better criticism is that it'd be nice for coaches to not be legacy hires, because... (glances at NFL legacy) hopefully that's obvious.

McDaniel... kinda still is. His stepdad was an employee of the Broncos for decades (and he was a ballboy for the Broncos when young) and he's a Yale grad (...again, legacy).

Yes, obviously, networking's a real thing in any business, but it's a huge diversity impediment. Minority candidates just aren't often going to have dads who were NFL head coaches or even team employees, and they aren't often going to go to the ol' boys club schools, either.

Note the "kinda" above, though, because honestly I hate the idea of criticizing any diversity hire. McDaniel at least isn't the bog-standard "son of former college/NFL head coach in well-to-do family."

30 I mean I agree with all this…

I mean I agree with all this. If diversity is going to be something pushed forward, then there needs to be some standard. A coach being partially a minority shouldn't immediately mean he checks the box, although I think having this standard in writing would be a terrible idea, as it could be interpreted as outsiders deciding who does and doesn't count as members of a specific ethnic group.

If he has a "white sounding" name, looks white, speaks with white speech patterns, and comes from a well connected and probably wealthy family, then why should clubs get credit for hiring a minority? It doesn't mean he isn't a minority, just that a privileged minority status means nothing if the minority in question isn't disadvantaged in some way because of their minority status, and nothing from his past or appearance would suggest grounds for this being a substantive win for diversity or disadvantaged minorities.

If Mike was teased for anything raced based growing up, I would guess that it was for not being "black enough" than it was for being mixed.

35 If you're referring to my…

If you're referring to my last line, I'm not really making a political distinction. 

Ultimately, any kind of ostracism he faced would be based on difference and not fitting into a particular group, but one kind would theoretically prevent him from moving up in his job, realizing his potential and being successful, and the other maybe some personal identity issues or lack of companionship.

3 As a Bills fan I am…

As a Bills fan I am disappointed that the Dolphins hired someone good rather than an incompetent coach such as a Gregg Williams or Adam Gase again!

4 I don't know

Dolphins hire yet another HC with no prior experience. Expectations are extremely high, but the offensive roster is weak. The reality is; I have no idea how good this will work.  Free agency is up next and we'll see how much the team plans to rebuild to fit the new coaches schemes. 

7 Another offensive head coach…

Another offensive head coach. That leaves three openings left. We shall see how many of these become defensive sides guys.

I am personally a big fan of Todd Bowles and Greg Roman...guys who have had a lot of experience and years of success in multiple places. And in Bowles' case, he was given a suicide mission with the Jets and acquitted himself quite well under the circumstances.

17 That has been my take. The…

That has been my take. The team embarked on a roster purging after 2016 and almost no one on those rosters has stayed in the NFL so far.

While the Browns and the Jags have stolen all of the dysfunction headlines, the Jets have (quietly?), been thoroughly awful for a solid 6-7 year period. 

I am convinced Belichick himself would have gotten fired with this roster.

23 Belichick wouldn't have…

Belichick wouldn't have gotten rid of his offensive coordinator every year.  Chan Gailey retired after 2016 and Bowles fired John Morton after one year even though he did a decent enough job with Josh McCown at quarterback.  Bowles deserves a second chance, but if he hasn't learned anything from his Jets sojourn it will end up being a failure as well.

26 I follow a few Jets fans,…

I follow a few Jets fans, including one I respect a lot in Chase Stuart. And of course, Greeny is a famous Jets fan too. And yet, I have heard all of them gnash their teeth at the coaching staffs every year. It started back with Mangini and continued later with Rexy all the way to Saleh. And the issues have always been the same...the offense sucks, the QB has no chance, ergo the coaching is the problem.

After a while, this narrative becomes pretty strained to hear every single time. 

33 Oh yeah, that's completely…

Oh yeah, that's completely true.  The Jets job has to deal with a cesspool of fan resentment and foolishness, to go along with the media just being insane.  Like let's follow the GM's kid to his baseball game insane.  Still, Bowles had some problems in NY that seem to be forgotten elsewhere.  I feel Edwards and Ryan were better head coaches.  I have high hopes for Saleh and co.

8 Interesting that the final…

Interesting that the final two OC's in the running for HC were both nerdy/dweeby looking guys that don't fit the typical alpha male figure that gets hired as a head coach. Kellen Moore probably wasn't thrilled about that, although I'd say he's lucky for not being stuck in a division with the Bills and Patriots.

Every team seems to be going to a Shanahan clan scheme system, and although the joke's that everyone who had a drink with Sean McVay is getting an opportunity, the results speak for themselves. Since 2016, there has been at least one team with that offensive style in the NFC championship game (excluding 2017).  Sean McVay will be going to his 2nd Super Bowl, Kyle Shanahan has been to 2 and has 3 NFC championship appearances, and Matt LeFleur has 2 NFC championship appearances. And now Zac Taylor is in a Super Bowl from the AFC side. Will be interesting to see if the Broncos, Jets, and Dolphins will be in an AFC championship game soon now that they have their Shanaclone schemes.

Must suck to be Washington, where every person on their offensive staff was a future head coach.

48 I can't recall a coaching…

I can't recall a coaching tree flourishing so widely when the patron of the tree was so young.  Kyle Shanahan is only 42!  Still there's Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, Zac Taylor, Nathaniel Hackett, Robert Saleh, and Mike McDaniel--those are the guys you mentioned.  Don't forget Brandon Staley with the Chargers, either.  Then there are up-and-comer coordinators like Mike LaFleur with the Jets and DeMeco Ryans with the 49ers.  Then GMs like Brad Holmes with the Lions.

That entire group is young and either 1) successful or 2) new at their positions.

Good grief.

As a 49ers fan, I can only hope the brain drain caused by so much success is countered by a brain gain because it's obviously a way to become successful.

51 I actually completely forgot…

I actually completely forgot about the defensive coaches like Saleh and Staley that have gotten hired based on their time with the Shanahan tree. 

I was mainly amazed with the results that teams with the Shanahan offensive system based on play action, motion, and misdirection have had in the playoffs. But counting the defensive coaches, it seems like Staley is the most likely in line to have big success, unless Rodgers flees to Denver.

As a Cowboys fan, I fear your hope will be rewarded and the Niners will be a top seed if Trey Lance is ready next season.