Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross and general manager Chris Grier released statements on Tuesday regarding the team’s new head coach hire of Mike McDaniel.
“I’m very excited to have Mike as our new head coach,” Ross said in his statement. “It’s clear he is an out of the box thinker, and he takes a different approach to problem solving. He’s a leader, innovator and a collaborator.”
Collaboration was a key factor Ross pointed to in dismissing ex-coach Brian Flores after his third season with the Dolphins and following completion of a second consecutive winning season.
McDaniel, 38, who has 15 years of coaching experience and was most recently offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, is brought to Miami to revamp an offense that hasn’t consistently been among the NFL’s best since Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino played in the 1990s.
“He is a smart, innovative football mind, but he is much more than that,” said Grier in his statement. “He excels in developing people, consistently bringing out the best in his players. We talked to a lot of people around the league when conducting this search and each one praised Mike for his football intelligence, creativity and for who he is as a person and a leader.”
The Dolphins also released footage, between Monday night and Tuesday morning, of McDaniel’s process in arriving in South Florida with his wife and daughter on a private plane.
“This is the nicest facility I’ve ever been in,” McDaniel said as he arrived at the Dolphins’ training complex adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens that opened just last year.
There was video of a FaceTime call McDaniel had with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who will go into his third professional season, while McDaniel was on the flight.
“One thing I know about you is you have the ambition to be great,” McDaniel told Tagovailoa. “My job is to coach you, to get all that greatness out of you.
“I’m damn sure going to make sure that, when you look back on this day, you’re going to be like, ‘Damn. That was one of the best days of my career, too.’ But I’ll earn that from you.”
McDaniel, with headphones in for the call, then turned to the camera and said Tagovailoa replied to him, “There’s no other coach I’d rather play for in the world.”
McDaniel: “Which I thought was nice, since that’s the first time I’ve really talked to him.”
Amid the optimism surrounding the franchise over the new hire, there still is a cloud from Flores’ allegations against the organization in a class-action lawsuit that alleges racially biased hiring practices across the NFL.
Against the Dolphins, Flores claimed the relationship with Ross began deteriorating when Ross offered him financial incentive to tank or lose games for a higher draft pick in his first season leading the team in 2019, according to the suit. He also accuses Ross of pressuring him to tamper with a quarterback before his free agency. The Dolphins have categorically denied the allegations in statements by the team and Ross.
Flores was left out of this offseason’s coach hiring cycle after the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, both which had Flores as a finalist, made different hires on Monday.