The Miami Dolphins did just that today when they interviewed Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin for their vacant head coaching position. Philbin is the fourth candidate to interview for the job that became available after Tony Sparano was fired on December 12th.
Philbin just completed his fifth season as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator and ninth with the team and in the NFL overall. After earning his stripes as an offensive line coach in 2003 and then tight ends/assistant offensive line coach from 2004-06, Philbin grabbed the reins as coordinator in what ended up being Brett Favre’s last year.
Green Bay reached the NFC championship and came within one errant Favre pass in overtime of making it back to the Super Bowl in 2007. The departure of the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback during the offseason didn’t slow down Philbin’s progress as he helped Aaron Rodgers transition into the role of starter.
Heading into this season, Philbin’s offenses finished in the top 10 in both total yards and scoring four consecutive years and he made it a fifth this time around. Rodgers rocketed to the top of the elite quarterbacks by finishing strong last season and winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then led the Packers to a 13-0 start and a 15-1 overall record, grabbing the NFC’s top seed.
By season’s end, Green Bay had the NFL’s third-ranked offense behind New Orleans and New England and Rodgers was the league’s top-rated passer with a 122.5 passer rating. He completed 343-of-502 passes for 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
In 2008-09 the Packers became the first team in league history to have a 4,000-yard passer (Rodgers), a 1,200-yard rusher (Ryan Grant) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Greg Jennings, Donald Driver) in back-to-back seasons. The 2009 unit compiled a franchise-record 461 points and gained 6,065 total net yards, the No. 3 mark in team history. That offense also led the league in time of possession (33:03) and in fewest turnovers (16), both of which were franchise bests.
Prior to joining the Packers, Philbin spent 19 years coaching in the college ranks with his last four (1999-2002) as offensive line coach at the University of Iowa. He was Harvard’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 1997-98, was offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Northeastern University (1995-96) and offensive line coach at Ohio University (1994).
Philbin also spent four seasons (1990-93) at Allegheny College, highlighted by two undefeated regular seasons and an NCAA Division III national championship in 1990.
Born in Springfield, Mass., Philbin is a 1984 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.), where he played tight end (1980). He also possesses a master’s degree in education from Tulane University (1986).
Philbin and his wife, Diane, live in Green Bay and have six children: sons, Matthew, 23, Michael, 20, John, 19, Kevin, 17, and Timothy, 16, and a daughter, Colleen, 10.