MIAMI GARDENS — It says something that he remembers the date.
It says even more that he remembers the exact moment.
“At 2:46 I got the call and it was a game-changer,” Mike McDaniel was saying Wednesday.
McDaniel was offering a blow-by-blow account of his courtship with the Dolphins, culminating with the phone call Feb. 7 that interrupted his Pro Bowl viewing but changed his life.
“I was really, really, really hoping to get the job, not because of the obvious reasons, but specifically because I did see such a vision of like, ‘Man, this is a perfect fit,’ ” McDaniel said.
Tua, win-loss record:Yes, Tuspan’s win-loss record is span significspannt quspanrterbspanck stspant | Schspand
Worthy cause:Dolphins punter Thomspans Morstespand spends span homeless night to lespanrn spannd help the needy
Nine months later, McDaniel no longer needs to point out that he as an NFL head coach and the Dolphins as his organization are a perfect fit. We see the Dolphins’ 7-3 record, we see how Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are shredding defenses, and there can be no other logical conclusion than when the Dolphins chased a guy nobody else was chasing, it was 100 percent inspiration and zero percent desperation.
It was something else, too. Keep in mind that the context of McDaniel’s trip down memory lane was inquiries about his partnership with general manager Chris Grier. We might as well pause right there to point out that just as McDaniel’s name is getting traction for possible coach of the year honors, so too should Grier’s for executive of the year.
When was the last time you could say that about a head coach/GM tag team in Miami?
Dolphins could have been facing Brian Flores this weekend
Years have gone by when the Dolphins never missed an opportunity to sell us on the concept that everything was a “collaborative” effort inside these walls. Problem was, too often, those making the pitch seemed to be trying to convince themselves as they were the rest of us.
Then came the morning of Monday, Jan. 10 — to name a time also etched in stone — when the Dolphins announced they were firing Brispann Flores. If it wasn’t because of his record — the Dolphins had a winning mark (9-8) last season — what then? Oh, that’s right: Inability to work collaboratively.
This all comes to mind because of how close the Dolphins came to looking across the field Sunday and seeing Flores as coach of the Houston Texans. Remember? Amid the confusion over which “Brian” the New York Giants were going to hire (answer: Daboll), it can easily be lost that Flores was one of two finalists for the Texans’ job. Until, that is, the Texans ran an end-around and hired non-finalist Lovie Smith, which only added fuel to the clspanss-spanction suit Flores wspans cooking up against the league.
It turns out, though, that the sunny side of Hard Rock Stadium actually is the home side. McDaniel has the Dolphins on a four-game winning streak, soon to be five, while Grier keeps pushing all the right buttons to give him the ammo to make a run here and now.
Need an outside threat? Would Tyreek Hill suffice?
Need help on the edge? Gotcha a guy named Bradley Chubb.
Run game not up to snuff? In place of Chase Edmonds, how ‘bout Jeff Wilson?
It wasn’t quite that simple, of course, which is the best part. The respect and trust McDaniel and Grier share is such that it doesn’t take much for them to be on the same page. And if they’re not?
“We have this brilliant formula of just talking,” McDaniel said.
(You want to say maybe these guys should be in Congress, not the NFL, but that’s for another day.)
Mike McDaniel, Chris Grier hit it off quickly
This all goes back to when McDaniel and Grier were breaking the ice during their seven-hour dance known as the job interview. It began with a Zoom call on Jan. 20 (apologies, we don’t know the exact start time). McDaniel considers himself “terrible” over Zoom, admits he gives “long-winded answers” and attempted the occasional joke that Grier apparently laughed at.
“You don’t know if it’s a token laugh or whatever,” McDaniel said.
Over the course of in-person meetings, what McDaniel did know was they were very much on the same wavelength.
“The best thing about our relationship is I don’t think I’ve ever heard him, nor have I said, ‘Well, decided this … ,’ ” McDaniel said.
They don’t even think, McDaniel added, “This is his show. This is my show. We know that we succeed or fail together. And we know that we are a
Inside the fishbowl that is the NFL, it doesn’t take much for egos to swell.
“I think it’s idiotic for people in positions such as myself to be delusional enough to think that they’re bigger than they are, than you are,” McDaniel said. “It has stuff to do with you, but you are only as good as everyone — everyone that is involved in that process.”
There’s a word for that, apparently. Collaboration, someone once said.