FROM PATRIOT TO DOLPHIN

With Brian Flores’ hire, the Miami franchise becomes the only NFL team with a Black head coach and Black general manager.

coach
CHARLES TRAINOR JR./MIAMI HERALD/TNS
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is shown with his new head coach Brian Flores and General Manager Chris Grier at a press conference at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie on Feb. 4. Flores becomes the Dolphins’ first Hispanic head coach and its second Black one.

BY SAFID DEAN
SUN SENTINEL/TNS

DAVIE – The Brian Flores era has begun in Miami.

One day after leading the New England Patriots defense that held rising Rams coach Sean McVay and one of the NFL’s most potent offenses to just a field goal, Flores jumped on a plane with his family and traveled to South Florida to be introduced as the new Miami Dolphins coach on Monday.

“It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours,” Flores said with a smile, as his wife Jenny and children Miles, Maxwell and Liliana looked on during his introductory press conference.

Flores — the 37-year-old, first time head coach — and the Dolphins agreed to terms officially on Monday morning, shortly after the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday night in Atlanta.

January interview

Flores was the first of six candidates to interview for the Dolphins job with team owner Stephen Ross and general manager Chris Grier on Jan. 4. He became known as Miami’s top candidate on Jan. 11.

The Dolphins have been consistently mediocre, with a 199201 record since 1994, and missing the playoffs for the 15th time in the past 17 seasons.

Ross and Grier hope Flores, who won four Super Bowls and has coached in seven championship games, can lead the Dolphins franchise through a rebuilding process with hopes to recreate New England’s winning ways in Miami.

Bumps, pain expected

“Every week, we’re going to go out there with the idea we’re going to win a game,” Flores said when asked directly about the team’s perceived plans of tanking to improve the roster for sustained success, as Ross and Grier have coined it.

“There’s going to be pain in that, too. There are going to be bumps in the road… there will be some pain, we know that.”

Flores, wearing a black suit with a striped teal tie, spoke for nearly 20 minutes on a variety of topics including his team-first philosophy, his time under Patriots coach Bill Belichick, his Honduran family’s upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, and his rises through the coaching ranks.

Patriot since 2004

Flores knew he wanted to become a head coach after helping the Patriots win Super Bowl XL-VIII in 2014, but did not expect to be one as soon as he did.

This season was the first Flores, New England’s linebackers coach the last three years, filled the role of Patriots’ defensive play-caller, despite not having the official title of defensive coordinator.

Flores had been with the Patriots since 2004, where he began as a scout for four years, before he joined the coaching staff in various roles for the last 11 years.

“I was not in a rush to be a head coach,” he said. “I had a great job in New England.”

Sought a leader

But Flores’ leadership qualities and plans for short term and long term success piqued the interest of Ross and Grier to hire him as the next Dolphins coach.

And the Dolphins’ plans for the same potential success aligned with Flores’ vision for his first head coaching job.

“What we were looking for was a leader,” Ross said, “and that was probably the most important aspect of what we were looking for as opposed to what we’ve seen a lot of the other teams looking for offensiveminded coaches because of the success of Sean McVay and other great offensive minds.”

First Hispanic coach

Flores, who is Honduran, will be the first Hispanic coach and the second Black coach (interim Todd Bowles) in Miami Dolphins history.

Flores will also be the second Hispanic coach in the league (joining Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who is Puerto Rican) and the third Black coach in the NFL (along with Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn).

With Flores and Grier, the Dolphins will be the only NFL team to have a Black coach and Black general manager.

“When you call people around the league, and people he’s worked with, and players, they all said he’s has leadership, is a leader of men, the presence he has, how he carries himself, and how players connect with him and want to play for him,” Grier said of Flores.

Winning direction

The Dolphins have not won the AFC East since 2008. They have not won a playoff game since 2000. They have not won a Super Bowl since winning back-to-back in 1972 and 1973.

They may not be near to accomplishing those lofty goals just yet.

But they hope Flores and his winning pedigree can lead the Dolphins franchise in a winning direction.

“We’re going to do everything possible to win games, build a culture, and build a winner here,” Flores said.

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