Brian Flores Flexing His Black Coaching Magic With Miami Dolphins | Started 1-7, Now In Seventh Playoff Spot

(Photo: David Grubb)

Brian Flores is one of just three Black head coaches in the NFL. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers) and David Culley (Houston Texans) are the others. WFT’s Ron Rivera is Hispanic and New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is the first Muslim coach in NFL history.

That number is embarrasing for a 32-team league that claims to be invested in putting the entire blackballing of Colin Kaepernick in the rearview, making progress on issues of systemic racism, and improving hiring opportunities for qualified Black head coaches. The NFL hit a record-high of eight minority coaches back in 2018. That number quickly dwindled, and it’s been a pure whiteout ever since.

Apparently, 8 Is Enough For Minority NFL Head Coaches

If the NFL wasn’t so egregiously obvious abut the owners’ intentions to keep the power of team leadership in the hands of various white men, then we wouldn’t feel obligated to discuss the way Flores has saved his job and elevated the talent of the players and coaches around him. It would just be a solid sports story. Not a referendum on the ability of all Black head coaches.

Regardless of Flores’ melanin level, the third-year coach’s accomplishments this season are historic and worth noting.

The Miami Dolphins were 1-7 after eight games this season. Things looked bleak and many believed they were in full tank mode in South Beach.

With the spirit, competetiveness and respect for the game that elevated him from the son of Honduran immigrants to eventual NFL head coach, Flores has rallied the troops on a seven-game winning streak, including Monday night’s 20-3 win at New Orleans. Now at 8-7 the flying Fins currently hold the seventh and final AFC playoff spot with two weeks to play.

 

The Dolphins are now the the first team in NFL history to have both a seven-game winning streak and seven-game losing streak in the same season.

Staying there won’t be easy with games against (10-5) Tennessee on the road and at home against (9-6) division rival New England. Both are also current playoff teams looking to solidify spots and improve their standing.

The Fins are still a long shot to win their division. According to Vegas, they have a 13 percent chance to make the playoffs. They’ll need some slip-ups by the Bills and a win over the Patriots in their season finale. But to come from (1-7) and be mentioned in the playoff realm says a lot about Flores’ leadership.

Flores Is A Leader Of Men: Defense Is His Calling Card

Last season the Dolphins went 10-6, missing the playoffs by just one game. This season, with expectations soaring following last season’s surprising run, they struggled mightily out of the gate. After an opening day win over the Patriots the team lost seven straight. In October, there were questions as to whether Flores had lost the locker room. Flores has worked tirelessly to establish a culture and identity and his efforts showed huge dividends last season.

Led by a stingy and aggressive defense, this turnaround has been even more impressive when you consider all the factors that could’ve stunted any type of momentum. From the inconsistent quarterback situation with Tua Tagovailoa to the constant rumors of Deshaun Watson being traded there. Injuries to key pieces on offense and the league-wide COVID-19 outbreak have also presented hurdles.

Is Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa The Walking Dead?| Reports Say Deshaun Watson Deal Is Imminent, But Tua Continues To Improve

 

Alabama Connection Paying Off For Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle played two seasons together at Alabama, and their chemistry has been obvious. Waddle was drafted to be part of a pass-catching quartet that featured DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Mike Gisecki. Fuller played five quarters and was lost for the season, while Parker has played in just eight games due to nagging injuries. Gisecki has been solid and available, but Waddell has been the star and has only missed one game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Monday night in New Orleans he broke the franchise’s rookie receiving yards record of 883 held by Chris Chambers in 2001.

Waddle is also just five receptions from tying Anquan Boldin’s rookie record for receptions of 101. He’s done this as the primary option for the Fins, with not much production behind him.

Waddle even tied Jerry Rice for most catches by a rookie in “Monday Night Football” history. Flores didn’t have much when he started in Miami on 2019. As the front office continues to add talented pieces and develop a contending roster, Flores has established a culture of toughness and playing until the final whistle blows.

As Tagovailoa and Waddle continue to improve, it’s easy to see that Flores, who went 5-11 in his rookie season and 10-6 in 2021, is a team constructor capable of building a winner in Miami.


More news from our partners:

“I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT!” | Simone Biles Praises NFL Boyfriend Jonathan Owens’ First NFL Interception

‘Angel in Disguise’: Pennsylvania Mother Meets 911 Operator Who Helped Her Deliver Her Daughter Roadside

‘I Just Wanted to Learn How to Make Money Myself and with My Child’: How One Man is Building Wealth with Vending Machines


 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.