The Miami Dolphins’ next head coach is a humble kid from the projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn who always dreamed big.
Not sure if the NFL has ever had a minority head coach from Brownsville, Brooklyn, but New England Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores will fit that mold when he assumes the head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins.
Flores is a living example that the American Dream is still very much alive.
Brian Flores is expected to become Miami’s seventh head coach since 2000 https://t.co/mwBZfdJ6EM
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 13, 2019
Once highly-touted defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Detroit Lions after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, Flores was awarded the defensive play-calling responsibilities in addition to his job as linebackers coach. He had huge shoes to fill.
On Sunday, Flores, the son of immigrant parents from Honduras, had the kind of slam dunk final interview that a hunch could never satisfy.
“You don’t get to be defensive signal caller under Bill Belichick unless you know your stuff,” NFL sideline announcer Tracy Wolfson said in a flattering appraisal of Flores’ efforts during the Patriots’ 41-28 thrashing of the LA Chargers in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game.
Interesting observation. Multiple times, Brian Flores has had huge defensive plays happen right in front of him. He remains calm and collected while the sideline erupts. Reminds me of Belichick level composure. #NEvsLAC #NFLDivisional
— Boston Sports Takes (@takes_boston) January 13, 2019
The Patriots defense stifled the No. 6 scoring offense in the league behind a variety of blitz packages and defensive alignments. Now Flores and the Patriots will look to suppress the Chiefs offense, who finished No. 1 in the league in 2018.
Dolphins owner Steve Ross and general manager Chris Grier have seen enough. They intend to offer their vacant head coaching position to Brooklyn native.
Despite the owners’ whitewashing of the NFL head coaching ranks, the Dolphins seem to be on a progressive plane of their own. Miami would be the only NFL team to have a black/Hispanic coach, black general manager and assistant GM. Grier will remain the GM next season and Miami just hired former Buffalo Bills scout Marvin Allen to assist him.
Buffalo national scout Marvin Allen is leaving the Bills’ to become the Dolphins’ assistant GM, per league sources. Allen and Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier have a strong relationship.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2019
It’s an all-black front office in Miami, but the party won’t start until next week at the earliest and that’s only if New England loses to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. Once the Patriots’ playoff run ends, Flores and the Dolphins can announce his hiring as the 13th coach in franchise history.
Flores is a true example of a rose that grew from concrete. He was born into an underserved community, full of people of color who think the only way out is to sell drugs or hoop. He survived the many temptations of the projects, stayed focused on a path and rose to the highest position in his craft as an adult.
Flores’ name is starting to make noise and Brooklynites are getting curious.
“He’s a success story and there aren’t enough of those coming from here,” rap legend Masta Ace, Golden Child of Brownsville and a former high school football player, told The Shadow League. “Someone else mentioned him to me. I need to do some more research on him. That’s dope. Belichick had another Brooklyn guy on the staff a few years ago too. A guy from my high school.”
Flores, who is Honduran, will be the first Hispanic coach and the second black coach (interim Todd Bowles) in Miami Dolphins history. Flores is also the only black or Hispanic coach to be hired during this NFL cycle that saw the Rooney Rule blow up in smoke as five of the seven African-American coaches were axed.
He’ll be the lone head coach of color hired for one of eight openings this offseason, leaving the NFL with just four minority coaches. That’s half of last year’s total.
Letterman: From PJ’s to HC
Flores has always humbly, but magnificently, set himself apart from the crowd. This hiring is no different.
The 37-year-old’s parents, Raul and Maria, were immigrants from Honduras. Raul, was a merchant marine who was never really home. Maria had to hold down five boys, including a baby with autism.
Brian was the second oldest and grew up in the crime-infested projects of Brownsville before his athletic prowess and intelligence earned him a scholarship to the prestigious Poly Prep Country Day School.
The transition was like night and day. The 40-minute trek from Brownsville to Poly Prep took the Flores Brothers from the harsh realities of the PJ’s to a residential neighborhood filled with people of wealth and privilege.
The kids there were different and had problems that paled in comparison to Brian’s everyday struggle. But he flourished in that atmosphere and it opened doors that led him in an opposite direction, away from the project hallways that often pollute black potential.
Tragedy To Triumph
From there, he became a star linebacker at Boston College. As a two-year starter, he contributed to four bowl-winning teams and was named to the Big East All-Academic Team. A torn quadriceps muscle during his senior year ended Flores’ NFL dream in 2003.
“What I remember about Brian is that he had a tremendous work ethic,” Frank Spaziani, who was defensive coordinator when Flores was at BC said in an interview. “He got the most out of his potential. He worked hard. Had real good instincts. He was a good football player. His ability was what it was, but he always knew what to do, where to be, where to go. He knew his assignments. You could always count on him.”
Flores’ NFL dream was shattered, but his love for football sparked a 15-year career with the Patriots, which began in 2004 as a gopher for the team. Flores’ intelligence, energy, hard-nosed Brooklyn demeanor and invaluable tutelage under legendary Bill Belichick has led him to this moment.
Flores’ hiring is valuable because it ensures that head coaches of color are not totally shut out of the coaching carousel. The black coaching purge was distasteful at best, but in the words of Fritz Pollard Alliance President John Wooten, “If we aren’t in the room we can’t influence change.”
So looking on the bright side, Flores continues the pipeline of talent for Black and Hispanic coaches with unique life experiences and diverse talents. Reports say he’s going to hire Jim Caldwell to his staff.
Former #Lions HC Jim Caldwell is expected to be part of Brian Flores staff in Miami once Flores is officially hired as the #Dolphins Head Coach, per source. Caldwell may not be the offensive coordinator, as they might try to bring in a young offensive coordinator. pic.twitter.com/X9CzaYIZ01
— IG: Dolphins.Central (@DaddyCent_) January 14, 2019
Something bigger than football is brewing in Miami. Just when the Black coaching pipeline appeared to be cut off at the roots, Flores and Co. have the opportunity to create another diverse coaching tree for the future.