It’s an expectedly dark day in the NFL, as several coaches got their walking papers. But while some arguably saw the writing on the wall ahead of Monday — e.g., Mike Zimmer, Matt Nagy — there’s now been a firing no one saw coming. Brian Flores, who engineered a remarkable mid-season turnaround for the Miami Dolphins this season, has been relieved of his duties in South Florida, the team announced.
The Dolphins point at his overall record as the reason behind the decision.
“The Miami Dolphins announced today that head coach Brian Flores has been relieved of his duties,” the team said in an official statement. “Flores completed his third season as head coach with a 24-25 record.”
For his part, Flores bows out gracefully.
“I want to thank the Miami Dolphins for the opportunity to be the head coach of this team for the last three seasons,” he said, via ESPN. “It was an honor to represent the franchise and lead this group of men. I am grateful most of all for the players, coaches and support staff who gave everything they had on a daily basis to help us win games. They deserve the credit for any success on the field, and it was the honor of a lifetime for me to go to work with them everyday.
“I have always believed that leadership is really about service, and I did my best to serve the players, the staff and the organization everyday. I believe in this team and will always value the relationships my family and I made here.”
Team owner Stephen Ross added to the initial comment from the team.
“I made a decision today to part ways with Brian Flores,” said Ross. “After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins. I believe we have a talented young roster in place and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022. I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
Flores joined the Dolphins as head coach in 2019, his first such attempt at a HC role after becoming a prized football mind for the rival New England Patriots in years prior. He’ll undoubtedly garner plenty of interest on the open market, having fallen on lean stretches but bouncing back each time en route to delivering two winning seasons in his three seasons with the Dolphins, his only losing season being his first as an NFL head coach (2019) in a season that saw his offense wrecked by injury.
Also integral in the progression of former fifth-overall pick Tua Tagovailoa, Flores’ ability to both motivate players and scheme for unexpected victories — e.g., sweeping Mac Jones and the Bill Belichick-led Patriots this season — presumably raised his value in a major way in Miami. Instead, the Dolphins unexpectedly pivot to the unknown heading into the offseason.