The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

FROM SIDELINES TO STUDIOS

The Dolphins may now have an interim head coach, but Sunday the network studios were full of their ex-coaches in this week ten of the NFL season. Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wanstedt were both doing NFL studio shows Sunday while Jim Bates prepared for his first game as interim head coach of the Dolphins next Sunday against the Seahawks.
The most interesting aspect of Davie Wannstedt’s Sunday appearance on CBS’ pregame show, of course, was seeing him on the same set with Dan Marino. After all, Dave Wannstedt had more than a little to do with the end of Dan’s Hall of Fame career. Those of us without serious memory disorders remember that when Jimmy Johnson had his meltdown following an embarrassing 1999 playoff loss that pushed him to resign as head coach and general manager of the Dolphins, Dave Wannstedt—Jimmy’s handpicked successor—somewhat less than diplomatically put an end to Marino’s illustrious seventeen-year career as the Dolphins’ franchise player. Marino was thus left with an unpalatable choice of retiring or donning a Minnesota Viking’s uniform.
Although the competitor in Dan thought seriously about prolonging his career by joining the Vikings, he just did not have the heart to pull up his roots to play in Minnesota. [As an aside, his decision to retire rather than join Minnesota was probably motivated by some of the very same family considerations that resulted in him leaving his job as special vice-president of the Dolphins after three weeks this past offseason.] Undoubtedly, Wannstedt’s handling of the situation in the early days of his tenure as the Dolphins’ head coach left a bad taste in Marino’s mouth and that may have had more than a little to do with the harsh comments Marino made on his HBO show about the Dolphins’ coaching staff in the wake of Wannstedt’s resignation this past week.
This made for an interesting setting when Marino and his co-hosts prepared to interview Wannstedt during CBS’ pre-game show. The interview, however, was anything but controversial as Marino stayed low-key and Dave handled it with the same class that he has displayed over the years. Dave even refused to bite when Boomer Esiason asked some pointed questions about his feelings about Ricky Williams having caused most of the problems that ultimately resulted in Wannstedt joining Jimmy Johnson in the ranks of Dolphins ex-coaches. He is anything but a bridge-burner. While Dave might not be a great head coach, he is a quality individual who is not known for bad-mouthing people. Of course, this separates him from Jimmy Johnson who is not generally known as a nice guy.
One wondered why Wannstedt would even subject himself to doing such an interview in the wake of Marino’s comments a few short days ago. The answer was provided when Wannstedt continued on as part of the studio show throughout Sunday. Of course, unless he quickly loses the “nice guy” image, he probably won’t be able to keep that job for the long-term either.

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