Joe Philbin was named the 10th head coach in Miami Dolphins history on January 20, 2012.
Joe Philbin was named the 10th head coach in Miami Dolphins history on January 20, 2012.
The Dolphins’ second straight 8-8 mark in 2014 included improvements in all three phases of the game. Miami joined elite company with its first six wins of the season being by at least 13 points. Only three other teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger recorded their first six (or more) wins in a season by margins of 13 or more points: the 2007 New England Patriots, the 1999 St. Louis Rams and the 1984 Washington Redskins.
In 2014, the Dolphins were the third least penalized team in the league. In fact, in Philbin’s three years at the helm of the team, Miami has recorded 233 penalties for 1,957 yards, both of which were the lowest figures in the NFL during that span.
Miami’s offense experienced a dramatic improvement under the guidance of Philbin and first-year Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor in 2014. Not only did the unit average 24.3 points per game, tied for the eighth-highest season average in team history and most since the team averaged 24.9 in 1995, but its 4.5-point increase from 2013 (19.8 points per game) was the fourth-highest increase in the NFL from 2013 to ‘14. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill made significant strides in his third season, finishing with 4,045 passing yards, establishing a new career high. He joined Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to surpass 4,000 yards in a season. His 27 touchdowns were a career high and the sixth most in Dolphins history, and the most since Marino threw 30 in 1994. Additionally, Tannehill’s 92.8 passer rating was the fifth highest in a season in Dolphins history and his 66.4 completion percentage was the second-best all-time. In his three years playing under Philbin, Tannehill has thrown for a total of 11,252 yards, the sixth-highest total by an NFL quarterback in his first three seasons in league history. Running back Lamar Miller rushed for 1,099 yards in 2014 and became the first Dolphins 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2011 (1,086 yards). Tannehill and Miller combined to become the first duo in team history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry recorded 84 receptions, the most by a rookie in team history and the fourth-highest total overall in a season in franchise history. It was the sixth-most receptions by a rookie in NFL history. Mike Pouncey was tabbed to his second-straight Pro Bowl, being honored as a guard after making the team at center following the 2013 season.
Led by Pro Bowl selections Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake, the Dolphins’ defense contributed three defensive touchdowns on the season and had a four-game stretch where they forced 11 takeaways (most since 2003). Jelani Jenkins emerged in his second NFL season and led the team with 108 tackles. Miami’s pass defense finished sixth in the NFL, allowing 222.3 passing yards per game. One of the highlights during the season came when the team defeated the San Diego Chargers 37-0 to start the month of November. It was the Dolphins’ first shutout victory since Dec. 10, 2006 when they defeated the New England Patriots 21-0 in Miami.
The 2014 Dolphins set the franchise record with three blocked punts in a season. They added two blocked field goals, giving Miami five blocked kicks on the season, the most since the team blocked seven in 1977. Explosive plays weren’t limited to the block units as Landry won AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October when he returned five kickoffs for 178 yards (35.6 average), with a long of 54 yards.
His 8-8 record in 2013 marked the second straight season the Dolphins improved their win total under Philbin, and he became the Dolphins’ first coach to improve the team’s record two consecutive years since the 1997 and 1998 campaigns. In addition, the Dolphins were one of only four teams in the NFL in 2013 (along with Seattle, Cincinnati, and Carolina) to improve their record for a second straight season.
The Dolphins got off to a 3-0 start, which was the first time since 2002 they won their first three games. Philbin rallied the team through a variety of challenges in the middle of the campaign, winning five times in a seven-game stretch in November and December and keeping the team in playoff contention the entire season.
Along the way, the Dolphins improved in a number of key areas. Philbin emphasized the importance of takeaways throughout the year and the defense responded by recording a takeaway in 15 of their 16 games, one of only five NFL teams to accomplish that feat in 2013. In addition, the Dolphins improved their turnover ratio by a plus-8 margin from the previous season, the eighth best turnover improvement in the league.
The Dolphins finished third in the AFC in scoring defense, while limiting opponents to a 77.3 passer rating, the third lowest total in the AFC and the fifth lowest total in the NFL. The Dolphins also had the best two-minute offense in the NFL, producing a league-high 36 points in drives that began with two minutes or less left in the half or the game.
Individually, Tannehill continued his development under Philbin’s direction, becoming only the second Dolphins QB in team history (along with Marino) to throw for 24-or-more touchdowns in a season. Brian Hartline notched his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season, only the fifth time that has been accomplished in Dolphins’ annals. In addition, center Pouncey was named to his first Pro Bowl team.
Defensively, two Dolphins – Wake and Grimes – were named to the Pro Bowl as a result of their outstanding season-long play. Three players – linebacker Philip Wheeler, safety Reshad Jones, and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe – each registered 100 or more tackles, and Olivier Vernon blossomed into one of the best pass-rushing defensive linemen in the league with his 11.5 sacks.
On special teams, punter Brandon Fields earned his first Pro Bowl selection while finishing second in the NFL in punting with an average of 48.8 yards per kick, while kicker Caleb Sturgis notched 111 points, the second-highest point total by a Dolphins rookie in club history.
In 2012, in Philbin’s first year as an NFL head coach, the Dolphins finished in second place in the AFC East with a 7-9 record. Working with one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, Philbin had the Dolphins in playoff contention until the penultimate week of the season while improving the team’s record from the previous year.
Under Philbin’s leadership, the team finished tied for first in the AFC in touchdowns allowed on defense (32), and its 42.6 percent of red zone touchdowns allowed was the lowest figure in the NFL. Defensively, the team ranked third overall in the AFC in points allowed per game (19.8), and the team’s 36.6 percent third down conversion rate against was the sixth best in the AFC and the tenth best mark in franchise history. In addition, the Dolphins had the third fewest penalties in the NFL in 2012.
Also under Philbin’s guidance, Tannehill set franchise rookie records in several offensive categories and became the first quarterback in Dolphins history to start in all of the team’s games in his first year in the league. In addition, Wake recorded 15 sacks to finish fourth in the NFL in that category while earning a starting role on the AFC’s Pro Bowl team. For the third time in team history, the Dolphins had four players with 95 or more tackles.
The special teams unit also excelled under Philbin’s direction, as Marcus Thigpen became the first Dolphin to return a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same season. Fields’ average of 50.2 yards per punt not only led the NFL, but was the highest single-season punting average in team history.
As a measure of the respect Philbin earned in his first year as the team’s head coach, he was named to the Coaches Subcommittee of the NFL Competition Committee by Commissioner Roger Goodell on April 15, 2013. He also was chosen by the league to make a presentation at the NFL Career Development Symposium at the Wharton School of Business that May.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Philbin served as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator from 2007-11. He originally joined the Packers on February 10, 2003 as assistant offensive line coach. He was elevated to tight ends/assistant offensive line coach on February 27, 2004. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy promoted Philbin to offensive line coach on January 17, 2006, and then to offensive coordinator on January 15, 2007.
From 2007-11, Philbin directed an offensive unit which ranked in the top 10 in both total yards and total points, one of only two teams in the league (New England) to accomplish that feat during that period. Green Bay’s point total (2,263) was third in the league over that five-year span, trailing only New England (2,457) and New Orleans (2,283).
Green Bay reached the playoffs in four of Philbin’s five seasons as offensive coordinator. In three of those appearances, the Packers set team postseason records for most points in a game, with 42 vs. Seattle in 2007, 45 at Arizona in 2009, and 48 at Atlanta in 2010. Additionally, during his five seasons as offensive coordinator, a total of 12 Packers were selected to the Pro Bowl.
In 2011, the Packers set single-season franchise records for regular-season games won (15), total points (560), average points per game (35.0), total points at home (321), average points per game at home (40.1), touchdowns (64), net passing yards (4,924) and fewest giveaways (14). The 2011 season marked the third straight campaign (2009-11) that the Packers averaged at least 250.0 net passing yards. Prior to that three-year span, Green Bay had never accomplished that feat in consecutive seasons.
Rodgers established himself as one of the league’s elite passers in 2011 as he posted a 122.5 passer rating, the best single-season mark in NFL history. He set an NFL single-season record with 13 games with a 100-plus quarterback rating and 12 games with a 110-plus rating. He also set franchise marks with 4,643 passing yards and 45 TDs while becoming the only quarterback in NFL history to pass for 4,000+ yards and have six or fewer INTs.
Green Bay’s 6,482 total net yards in 2011 ranks first in franchise history, besting the 2004 total of 6,357 yards. The Packers’ 560 points for the 2011 season ranks third in NFL single-season annals behind only the 2007 New England Patriots (589) and the 2013 Denver Broncos (606). With 70 total touchdowns in 2011, Green Bay tied the 1984 Miami Dolphins for the third-most TDs in a season in NFL history, behind only the 2007 New England Patriots (75 TDs) and the 2013 Denver Broncos (76). The Packers’ turnover differential of plus-24 in 2011 tied for the second-best in franchise history behind only the plus-26 margin in 1943.
In 2010, en route to the franchise’s 13th world championship, the Packers finished with the NFL’s fifth-ranked passing offense at 257.8 yards per contest. It was the first time in franchise history that the Packers averaged 250.0 net passing yards in back-to-back seasons. Rodgers finished in the top 10 in nearly every passing category, falling just 78 yards short of his third straight 4,000-yard season despite missing one-and-half games due to a concussion. The Packers also posted two 45-point games during the regular season, the first time Green Bay had accomplished that feat since 1983.
From 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 (Jennings, Donald Driver) in back-to-back seasons. The 2009 unit was particularly prolific, compiling a then-franchise-record 461 points and gaining 6,065 total net yards, which at the time was the third-most in team history. The 2009 offense also led the league in time of possession (33:03) and in fewest turnovers (16), both franchise bests.
In 2007, behind quarterback Brett Favre’s MVP-caliber season, the offense ranked second in the NFL in total yards. That ranking was Green Bay’s highest since 1983, while the 5,931 net yards and 435 total points both rank fourth on the franchise’s single-season list. Favre’s 4,155 yards passing that year combined with Rodgers’ 4,038 yards in 2008 marked the first time in league history a team had different 4,000-yard passers in consecutive years.
Philbin’s move from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator helped maintain continuity with the young offensive line and its zone-blocking scheme. In 2006, Philbin oversaw a line that had three rookies (Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll) combine for 38 starts. Despite injuries that led to five different starting combinations, the Packers allowed only 24 sacks and improved their run production by a half-yard per carry.
In 2005, Philbin’s tight ends contributed to a passing game hampered by injuries. Green Bay joined Tennessee as one of only two NFL teams to have three tight ends record at least 25 receptions each that season, as Philbin effectively blended Donald Lee into the offense despite the tight end’s late-preseason arrival.
Philbin’s group in 2004 contributed to an offense that racked up more total yards (6,357) and passing yards (4,449) than any team in franchise history to that point. As proved in 2003, the line played an integral role in the NFL’s third-ranked offense, including team marks for first downs (354), completions (382) and fewest sacks (14). In 2003, Philbin’s teaching played a role in a rushing offense that improved from 12th the year before to third in the NFL, proving to be one of the best lines in team history.
Philbin came to Green Bay after four seasons as offensive line coach at the University of Iowa (1999-2002). Under Philbin’s stewardship, Iowa fielded one of college football’s finest offensive lines in 2002, helping the Hawkeyes finish second in the Big Ten Conference in rushing (214.2 yards per game). Philbin pupils Eric Steinbach, Robert Gallery and Bruce Nelson earned three of the five first-team All-Big Ten linemen spots, while Steinbach earned consensus All-America honors. Over the next two years, all three were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
Prior to coaching at Iowa, Philbin served as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Harvard University (1997-98). Under his direction in 1997, the Crimson established 15 offensive records. Five members of his offensive squad earned All-Ivy League honors, including Matt Birk, a 1998 draft choice and six-time Pro Bowl selection.
Philbin was offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Northeastern University (1995-96) and offensive line coach at Ohio University (1994). He 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). He is married to Diane, and the couple has five children, Matthew, John, Kevin, Tim, Colleen and a deceased son, Michael. The Philbins have participated in the Miami Dolphins “All-Community Team” program under the group name “Philbin’s Phinatics.” As part of the program, the Philbins purchased tickets, food vouchers, T-shirts and parking to each of the team’s regular season home games and donated them to a charitable organization.