When the Tony Sparano era finally comes to a close in Miami, he won’t be remembered as a leader who possessed basic but fundamental skills like clock management and communication. No, he’ll be remembered as the teacher who couldn’t even distribute his textbooks in a timely manner to his students.
His failure will be the saddest kind when it mercifully reaches some kind of finality, which is why a report earlier this morning about Sparano’s desperate pleading with the officials yesterday to review a Denver touchdown is simultaneously hilarious and depressing.
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that following Tim Tebow’s five-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the fourth quarter, Sparano called a timeout to encourage officials to review the play. The touchdown was Denver’s first score during an improbable 15-point comeback, and initially there was some question about Thomas’ catch and whether or not he maintained possession of the ball while falling to the ground.
Every scoring play is now automatically reviewed by the video replay booth, so Sparano was just being Sparano by needlessly burning a timeout. That timeout could have been valuable in the closing minutes for a winless team, and for a coach whose employment IV drips a little faster with each loss.
But at the time none of that mattered to Sparano, because there was a far more urgent matter at hand. In his mind he was saving his job by calling a timeout and pleading with the zebras.
Every touchdown is supposed to be reviewed, but Sparano had to call a timeout to encourage the game’s officials to examine the catch, which trimmed Miami’s lead to 15-7 with 2:44 left in the game.
Sparano was clearly frustrated and CBS4’s cameras caught him venting, telling two officials: “ If I don’t call timeout we’re all (explicit). Now I’m getting fired.”
Although Thomas’ score that was upheld started Denver’s momentum, Miami still held an eight-point lead. A panicked leader will lead a panicked team, and if Sparano is operating under the cloud that one play, and one borderline touchdown catch could cost him his job, mentally he’s already fired himself.
Coaches are often scapegoats when they’re finally canned, and even if the struggles of a team aren’t entirely their doing, it’s their position that’s the least secure during desperate times. Sparano won’t be a scapegoat when Miami owner Stephen Ross finally takes action.
He’ll be a cancer being severed.