Sparano is out and the Dolphins will undoubtedly be searching for a Head Coach in the offseason that knows how to fill seats in the perennially soulless Sun-Life Stadium. (Just to let you know, I prepared most of this list back in early November, when the Dolphins were 1-7 - talk about seeing into the future, right?.) Here are the top candidates, in my humble opinion of course:
Honorable Mention: Tom Coughlin (HC, NYG)
Coughlin is gone without a trip to the Playoffs this year, but it isn't fair to put him in contention for the job when there are still 3 games to play and control of their own destiny.
Perry Fewell (DC, NYG)
The Rooney Rule requires teams to look at a minority candidate for HC before anyone else. We all remember what Fewell's Bills defense did to us at the Meadowlands in 2009, not to mention his Giants defense allowed them to hold the Patriots at bay - he would certainly be a reasonable candidate to start the search with.
Jeff Fisher (Retired)
No one outside Dallas has said his name at all since being fired by the Titans last season, and I think Miami is the wrong team to make any significant offer to a man as universally respected as Jeff Fisher.
Jon Gruden (Retired)
I don't see Gruden going to Miami under any circumstances. He needs a team that he can make better, not rebuild. And I don't think Miami can give him more publicity than ESPN.
Todd Bowles (asst. head coach, MIA)
As the assistant head coach he will probably get a decent look, but considering how limited his experience in the NFL is, at best he will be named the interim head coach if Tony Sporano leaves Miami before the end of the season.
Mike Nolan (DC, MIA)
Nolan is the only coach on the roster with head coaching experience, but that most likely will not get him the job. He may get the first look by the front office, but if the Dolphins utterly fail to land a head coach with the kind of experience and talent that can turn the team around, they may simply be stuck with Nolan.
Bill Cowher (Retired)
Personally I don't think Cowher wants to take his talents to South Beach. He wants a team with winning potential now, where he can be the center of attention, make limited vital decisions, and get the maximum results - Ex. Giants, Eagles, Chargers.
Jack del Rio (HC, JAX)
A good in-state selection that would probably help the Dolphins if they decide to get a new quarterback. He has gotten the best out of Blaine Gabbert and David Garrard, and with an even better prospect such as Andrew Luck, Landry Jones or Matt Barkley, he could quickly make the Dolphins into a strong passing team.
Rob Ryan (DC, DAL)
In spite of the Cowboys recent 4th-quarter woes, I would like to believe that Rob would be a perfect fit for the Dolphins: he is a great defensive mind, has proven that his teams can go toe-to-toe with the Jets and Patriots, and is also a big personality who can get the city of Miami excited about football again.