Philbin Makes the Same Exact Error 3 Years in a Row and Causes the Miami Dolphins to Lose

While we all get angry at Joe Philbin’s incorrect decisions each week,  we must understand that anger is a part of being a fan.  Not everything can go right, so we have to be a little patient if a coach makes a mistake now and then.

But do fans, players, and team ownership (ahem, Mr. Ross) have a right to be angry when the coach makes the SAME INCORRECT decisions for three straight years?

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin
Queasy Joe. His word, not ours

As far as Joe Philbin blowing the Packer game against his friends Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers, et al., we at Dolphins Truth don’t think the fans and ownership should be angry…

…We think they should be irate, outraged, and infuriated.

It’s time to be beyond simple anger.  It’s time to be fuming mad at Philbin for all his mistakes.  Or, more accurately, it’s time to be fuming mad at Philbin for the same exact mistake he keeps making.

Joe Philbin was happier when he wore these colors. Packer fans were happier when he wore these colors. And now, sadly, Dolphins fans were happier when he wore those colors. Please, let’s send him back.

Just so you know that we’re not talking nonsense, we’re going to tell you about three specific games that Joe Philbin cost us over the last three years.  The main component of these losses is that Philbin made the same error each time.

Again, it’s bad enough that he makes these mistakes, but it’s worse when he refuses to learn from them

We had the ball at the end of the Packer game with about 3 minutes to play, and we were in decent field position at our own 35.  We ran on first down for a yard, and GB used its final timeout.  Here’s where Philbin got all wishy-washy and waivered.   He admitted himself that he was “queasy.”  (Can you imagine champion leaders like Shula or Belichick being queasy…let alone admitting it to the world that you don’t have the stomach for this job like Philbin did?)

Anyway, the next play was a pass with a deep dropback.  GB was all over it, and Tannehill had to throw it away…which stopped the clock.  A pass play that didn’t work in the waning moments of a game.  Sound familiar, Joe?  A pass play that cost us the game.  Sound familiar, Joe?

We feel that we should have run in that situation, to eat another 45 seconds off the clock and give Rodgers far less time to make a comeback.  Some disagree about that, and it’s an interesting debate.  But even if you think we should have passed, everyone agrees it should have been a quick slant or a screen or something similar.

That pass play, which stopped the clock, gave Green Bay 45 extra seconds and cost us the game. Because Philbin passed in the final minutes of a game.  When we should have run.

Philbin decided to pass in that situation, he said, because he knows Aaron Rodgers is good and he wanted to keep the ball away from him.  “We know the type of quarterback that we’re playing against,” said Philbin.

He was afraid of an opponent instead of trusting his own men.  Queasy?   More like cowardly.

Maybe you think Philbin was right to fear an All-Pro quarterback like Aaron Rodgers.  But then what was Philbin’s excuse for fearing 4th-string journeyman bums like Thad Lewis and Kevin Kolb, both of whom are now working day jobs far away from the NFL?

You see, Philbin called a deep-drop pass play last year against the Bills that cost us the game.  We had the lead in the 4th quarter.  We had the ball near midfield with just a few minutes left.  The running game was going well, and we had all the momentum.  Run down some clock, and punt the ball back to the lowly Bills and to some backup-backup QB named Thad Lewis.  Easy finish for the Dolphins D.   But no.  Philbin apparently feared Thad Lewis the same way he feared Aaron Rodgers.  He tried a pass, and disaster struck.  Sack, fumble, recovery, short field, opponent scores on a short field.

Disaster struck because Philbin was too queasy to trust his great defense against an emergency QB.

Now go back a year further to our game in Arizona.   We had the lead in the 4th quarter.  We had the ball near midfield with just a few minutes left.  The running game was going well, and we had all the momentum.  Run down some clock, and punt the ball back to the lowly Cards and to journeyman QB Kevin Kolb.  Easy finish for the Dolphins D.   But no.  Philbin apparently feared Kolb the same way he feared Thad Lewis the same way he feared Aaron Rodgers.  He tried a deep-drop pass, and disaster struck.  Sack, fumble, recovery, short field, opponent scores on a short field.

Joe Philbin thinks Thad Lewis and Aaron Rodgers have the same skill set and is afraid to run out the clock on either of them.

Do you see the pattern?  Philbin calls for pass plays when runs work better.  And he loses games for us.  The same exact scenario THREE YEARS IN A ROW, and Philbin’s decision to pass cost us wins.  He simply makes the wrong call when we have the lead late.  Repeatedly.

He says he is too queasy to pass, but then he passes anyway and loses us games.

Whether the pass play goes wrong because of a fumble or the pass play goes wrong because it stops the clock, either way, the pass plays go wrong.  These are Philbin’s calls and therefore Philbin’s fault.

Letting the opponent have the ball deep in their own territory with time ticking against them is not a bad strategy.  This is not the Olivadotti era.  We have a strong defense.  Trust them, Joey, trust them.

Don’t help the opponent by stopping the clock for them or turning the ball over at midfield.




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  1. I know ive been semi standing in the positive side of thigs mostly because of the incredible play of the team. But i rewatched the timeout call on 4th down and 10 and it simply makes no sense.

    Someone summed it up perfectly by stating that if no.timeout was called and they still converted , there would be little if no time left or even less time to properly run the fake spike. Now if almost every fan casual and passionate knows this. Then why doesnt Philbin? Simply he didnt feel confident enough or lost his nerve in a chaotic situation and tried to regain control of he thought was slipping away.
    Does anybody know if Philbin ever played football? Where is that killer instinct, go for it, players mentality formed while being a player? Too much x and 0 and schematics and.not enough player mentality. Im still hopeful this same team that played last sunday shows up Chicago, but if we fall flat again. I will be changing my tune.

  2. Author

    Yes, it’s 3 days later, and we’re still piling up more and more reasons why the timeout was a terrible idea, and not a single new reason FOR the timeout has surfaced. Not even from the man who called it.
    As we have said, even if Rodgers throws a TD on that 4th and 10, then we get the ball back with a minute left and two timeouts. We’d only need a field goal. Landry has been doing great on his kickoff returns, so there’s a decent chance we begin at our own 35 or better.
    If they converted, you’re right, there would be no fake spike. But then they still would have about 9 seconds to get one final play off, and Philbin would have called the second TO then. You see, even if Philbin doesn’t commit mistake number one, then he makes up for it by committing number 2 later. Every time.
    Again, while that timeout was awful, the incomplete pass earlier on our last drive sealed the loss for us.

  3. I really wanna blame thill for.that pass but that play was so fast he had no time to.think. Instinct took over. And whoever said he had room to run better watch that play again. He never had a.chance. But yes coaching there would have told him before the series to take a.strategic and safe sack if the the play goes wrong. Philbin should have said we will do anything to keep burning the clock and hopefully get a first down while doing that. Im willing to accept his mistakes if he learns from them. Im not sure he is though.

  4. Barney Fife calling two time-outs on the Packers last drive is beyond embarrassing. I would feel sorry for Barney, but he is such a douche that I can only hope Stevie Ross will send him back to Green Bay soon.

  5. Damn Johnny you just scared me a little with your Barney Fife comment. But in reality its fear that your moniker for Joe Philbin will catch on in the media ,public lexicon, and never go away. Barney Philbin (that’s my version) gets out there and has some steam behind it then Philbin’s days will assuredly be numbered as that term gets churned out with every sure to be condemning article about our team’s latest embarrassment.

    Now stay with my train of thought if you can for a minute. Then this derogatory comment becomes so wide spread it travels up the corporate ladder within the Phins organization with even Dan Marino caught whispering it under his breath when poor Philbin enters the room. My point being , how long before Ross himself becomes the 2nd victim of the nickname shaming? Before he looks like an even bigger idiot than the person whom the name is for? And feels that every time its mentioned in the media and among his counterparts that its just as much of an insult to him as Philbin himself? And how will that effect Philbin’s lifespan as our HC going forward? If you think Im crazy. How long did it take with the #FIRELAND campaign? See what I mean. Damn my sympathetic side of me wishes we could put that genie back in the bottle. 🙂

    1. Author

      I think the more the fans pile on Mr. Ross, the more he recoils and stubbornly won’t do what we ask. The Fireland campaign went on for years, and every time Ireland screwed up, there was Mr. Ross to publicly support him.
      The bottom line is if Mr Ross has to fire Philbin (and he should), then Ross will have to admit he made a big mistake in hiring him. No one likes to admit that

  6. Our biggest hope for getting rid of Philbin may rest with Dawn Aponte, as sad as that may be. The two of them were thick as thieves last year and were the main reason behind the firing of Ireland. It was a two against one and Ross caved to the two.

    Now, word has it that Aponte and Philbin aren’t quite as cozy as they used to be. Aponte has hired Jets former GM Mike Tannebaum as an “advisor” and this hasn’t gone over well with Philbin. Aponte is no dummy, and she didn’t get to where she is by going down with the ship. This b*tch is cut throat crazy smart and knows when to distance herself from a loser.

    As sad it may sound, it may take Aponte to finally get rid of Philbin, but as long as Ross keeps her (and Hickey for that matter) there is no way we will get a quality head coach. Who would want to walk into a dysfunctional mess like this? No self-respecting GM candidate was willing to do it. Cowher, Harbaugh, and any other coach worth a spit won’t do it either.

    Having said this, anyone (and I mean ANYONE) would be an improvement over Philbin……

  7. Big J ,

    Excellent comments. Im very interested in finding out the true dynamic between Aponte and Tannenbaum. While we are all still trying to truly define Marino’s role too. Aponte may have been the person to hire T-Baum, but was she the force behind it?

  8. Thanks for pointing out those games! I’m been thinking he did that stuff before, but I couldn’t really pin down if/when.

    1. Author

      Even this week, Philbin and the media are slowly starting to remember the Bills game last year and how Philbin caused that loss. Philbin wants to forget the Cardinal game 2 years ago, but we won’t let him.

  9. Marino tried to come aboard before- Wayne hire him as a EVP and Marino was even getting ready to attend the Senior Bowl. Marino thought his role would similar to Elway where he would be the head personnel guy, but Rick “I’m insecure because my brother was a better player than me” Spielman made it very clear to anyone what would listen that HE was the head personnel guy, not Marino.

    This left Marino in a awkward place- he was making more $ than Spielman, had a higher title than Spielman, but Spielman could veto his player decisions? Marino abruptly resigned after about a week or so and went on to CBS….

    Since I haven’t heard exactly what he will be doing, I fear a similar situation could happen, unless Marino is ok with a “community relations” type of position.

  10. See the press conference when the reporter mentioned to Philbin that it was Dan Marino’s birthday. Philbin didnt know which is ok but the almost sarchastic way he wished Marino a happy birthday struck me with arrogance and indifference .Philbin needs to Respect the Dan!

  11. Most fans don’t realize that the main problem with the organization is the man they are asking for a change: Stephen Ross! We all know Clueless Joe is just an overmatched, glorified clerk…but who put him in charge of the team in the 1st place: that other world-class moron Stephen Ross.

    Ross has not made one good decision since he bought the team. Not one important decision was handled the way you would expect from a ‘seasoned business professional.’ The spine of any organization is the OWNER-COACH-QB. If you are strong ‘up the middle’ with those 3 key elements you can foster a winning culture for decades at a time.

    Think ROBBIE-SHULA-GRIESE/MARINO. Now take a step back and think ROSS-PHILBON-TANNYHILL. Makes you shutter doesn’t it? I don’t think there in an organization in the entire NFL that has a more gutless, incompetent, tentative and weak spine than our Dolphins. If you get one of those elements right you can win occasionally. If you get 2 out of 3, you will win most of the time. If you get all three elements right, you will win ALL the time. The dolphins are 0 for 3. Unfortunately New England’s spine looks like this: KRAFT-BELICHEK-BRADY. Good luck competing with that…with ROSS-PHILBON-TANNYHILL.

    It all starts at the top. Stephen Ross is an absolute cancer. Just look at his face. It’s Mr. Magoo…and he hired a coach in his image. He is the dumbest multimillionaire on the planet. An idiot savant who was hoodwinked by Ireland way too long, crapped the bed with the Harbaugh situation, showed his real character and weakness with the Incognito/Martin situation (where is that ‘task force’ now?), couldn’t get a decent GM to come over because he insisted on keeping Clueless Joe…and on and on.

    In short, Ross is the head of this deceased snake. Until he is cut off, you will get a losing organization with a half-empty stadium and joke of team on the field. This is my opinion…a die-hard dolfan for the past 35 years. Gotta call it like I see it.

  12. Let’s face it- it’s very fashionable to own a sports franchise. Clearly, Ross knows very little about sports, having made his fortune in real estate development. He benefited from NYC’s huge turnaround and subsequent real estate boom.

    I can’t think of a single owner who has been successful when their team is merely a part-time hobby.

    So I guess we know what billionaires do when they can’t get it up anymore- they buy a sports team…..

    On a separate note, I don’t know why Ross doesn’t let Marino take over like Elway has in Denver. How much worse can things get? Marino cares about his reputation and wouldn’t have to be threatened with his own job in order to fire a terd like Mike Sherman. Marino also wouldn’t hire his buddy’s son in law to groom our franchise QB. Seriously, does anyone really think Dennis Hickey is a step up from Marino?? When the Tampa GM opened up, the ownership wouldn’t even consider Hickey for an interview. That’s got to tell you something…..

  13. It wasn’t stupid to hire Philbin. But it is asssinine to keep him.
    When Philbin was hired, he had no negative track record, now he does,
    When Philbin was first hired, he had never blown an NFL game for his team. Now he has.
    Etc etc

  14. HoustonDolfan,

    If that’s your standard for hiring a head coach (he had no negative track record, he had never blown an NFL game), you are setting the bar pretty low my friend. There are a lot of people that fall into that large subset…doesn’t mean they should be offered head coaching jobs.

    The criteria should be: What has the candidate actually accomplished, is he a leader of men, does he have any innovative ideas, is he a good judge of talent/character? etc.

    Nothing in Philbin’s past indicated that he was ready for this gig. All you need to do is listen to the man talk for 5 minutes to realize that he is “queasy” by nature and should be kept in the back room doing analytics or someone’s taxes. No warriors are gonna follow a guy with less charisma and passion than Kermit the Frog. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Author

      I think Mr. Ross probably just didn’t ask the right questions throughout the whole hiring ordeal.
      I would have asked Philbin 3 simple questions:
      1. Why has Mike McCarthy never allowed you to call a single play or make a single personnel decision?
      2. How do you rate the killer instinct in yourself, and furthermore, how will you instill the killer instinct in your team?
      3. Why are you an improvement over Tony Sparano?

  15. @Moonbear, I see your point. definitely.
    All the qualities you mentioned such as leadership and innovation…Philbin can fake that stuff and bullshit his way through a job interview. We all do that! Underqualified candidates get jobs all the time if they know how to say all the right things. Philbin did it too and tricked Ross.

    1. Author

      Houston, I can’t tell if you’re criticizing Ross or Philbin!
      I got an email discussing Bill Lazor as a head coach. At this point, it is worth a shot. Let’s see what he can do with our offense without Philbin over his shoulder vetoing plays and forcing Lazor to run the ball in passing situations. A young up-and-comer isn’t really a proven commodity yet, but he cannot do any worse than Philbin.

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