The Dolphins are a far different looking team in 2022.
Some of that has to do with Tyreek Hill, some of that has to do with their legitimate defense, but a lot of it may deal with who’s patrolling the sidelines.
Brian Flores is out and Mike McDaniel is in. While the McDaniel hiring wasn’t all that surprising, what led to it was. When the Dolphins fired Brian Flores in January, eyebrows were raised and questions were asked. Flores seemed to be on his way to building something good in Miami, but it just wasn’t enough.
In the months that followed, Flores’ profile grew beyond the football field, as a class-action lawsuit shone a light on some of the NFL’s behind-the-scenes hiring practices, a lawsuit that’s ongoing today.
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Here’s the latest on the former ‘Phins boss:
What happened to Brian Flores?
On Jan. 10, the Dolphins fired Flores after a 9-8 season, his third year at the helm in Miami.
The move was a stunner: Some viewed Flores as a definitive culture-changer in South Beach, as the team had been searching for that type of coach since the Don Shula era, and coming off another winning season, it seemed as though Flores’ job was safe.
But it didn’t strictly boil down to wins and losses with Flores. He reportedly had a contentious relationship with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, as Miami was actively eyeing Deshaun Watson (and Tom Brady) in trade talks.
Flores’ offensive staffs also left much to be desired, as the team was consistently among the worst offensive groups in the NFL over his three seasons in Miami. The team ranked 25th, 15th and 22nd in points scored over three years.
There was more behind-the-scenes stuff regarding Flores’ firing, too. Flores’ would later file a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, alleging racial discrimination around the league, as well as the Dolphins supposedly offering to pay him $100,000 per loss in 2019, effectively asking him to help tank the season for a better draft pick.
Still, after his firing, he was considered to be a hot head-coaching commodity, and would interview for a few head coaching positions (the Saints, Giants, Bears and Texans). He would later get a job as a linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant on Mike Tomlin’s staff in Pittsburgh.
Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL
On Feb. 1, 2022, Flores, alongside former coach Ray Horton and Panthers DB coach Steve Wilks, filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and a number of teams (including the Giants, Broncos and Dolphins) alleging racial discrimination in the league’s hiring process and sordid practices within the Dolphins organization.
In the lawsuit, Flores alleged, among many things, that he was fired from Miami because of his standing as a Black head coach.
There were several other main talking points in the lawsuit for Flores, as well:
— Text messages mistakingly sent from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to Brian Flores, congratulating him on getting the Giants head coaching job; but the texts were instead intended for Bills’ OC Brian Daboll. The timing was such that Daboll would have been assumedly hired by the Giants prior to Flores’ second interview with the team.
— During his interview with the Broncos in 2019, John Elway and other Denver front-office executives supposedly showed up hungover to the interview, thus not giving Flores the proper treatment or respect in an interview setting. Elway would deny this, saying that the team gave him the appropriate attention during the interview.
— Dolphins owner Stephen Ross allegedly offered money to Flores to tank games in 2019. The NFL’s investigation claimed it found the Dolphins weren’t in the wrong.
As of September, the lawsuit is still ongoing despite Flores landing a job with the Steelers, with the league hoping to move the case to arbitration.
Brian Flores coaching record
In three years in Miami, Flores had a 24-25 overall record.
In 2019, Flores led the Dolphins to a (surprisingly competitive) 5-11 record, followed by a 10-6 record in 2020 and a 9-8 record in 2021.