We're beginning to think Las Vegas just isn't a fan of the 2018 Miami Dolphins. First, they peg the Fins with one of the lowest over-under numbers in the NFL; now they've taken it a step further and placed Adam Gase as the second-to-likeliest coach in the NFL to be fired this season — not cool, Vegas!
But wait, is Vegas right to say Gase is coaching for his job this year? If the Dolphins hit Vegas' six-win prediction, would a 6-10 season be enough to call it quits on the Gase era?
Because of owner Stephen Ross' history of giving head coaches a year or two too long to prove themselves, that seems really unlikely. History tells us that Dolphins coaches almost always get a fourth year to figure it out. It would probably take a monumentally bad, poop-the-bed sort of season for Gase to be handed his walking papers.
Opening odds to be the first NFL head coach fired (@betway):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) June 19, 2018
Hue Jackson +350
Adam Gase +750
Marvin Lewis +1000
Vance Joseph +1000
Dirk Koetter +1200
Jay Gruden +1200
Todd Bowles +1600
Bill O'Brien +2000
Jason Garrett +2500
John Harbaugh +2800
Jon Gruden +2800
Pete Carroll +2800
This upcoming season will be Gase's third as head coach of the Dolphins. He enters as a .500 coach with an even, 16-16 record. Those results are not what owner Ross was expecting when he referenced legendary Patriots coach Bill Belichick in the moments following his hiring of Gase.
To be fair, 2017 was a lost season for the Dolphins. Losing Ryan Tannehill this time last year was a death penalty for the team. Winning six games with a combination of Matt Moore and Jay Cutler under center looks like a miracle in hindsight. In his first season, Gase led the Dolphins to a ten-win campaign that resulted in the franchise's first playoff berth in more than a decade, so it's been a mixed bag thus far in his tenure, with lots of bumps and unexpected obstacles.
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The question is this: If Tannehill and the Dolphins don't improve on last year's six-win season, does Gase get another chance? If 2016 was a success and 2017 was a failure, does 2018 work as the tiebreaker, or will the Dolphins consider recent roster purging and "Gase guy" free-agent additions in the decision to give him more time?
When trying to answer a question about a Dolphins head coach's future, it's best to look to the past. Tony Sparano was widely considered a dead man walking after back-to-back 7-9 seasons in 2008 and 2009, but Ross gave him 2010 to figure it out. After going 4-9 in 13 games, he was finally fired.
In his first three years, Joe Philbin put together a 23-25 record. Most observers thought that the Dolphins had seen enough and that Philbin would be toast by the end of 2014. But as with Sparano, Ross afforded Philbin an extra year to figure it out. Like Sparano, Philbin was fired midway into his fourth year as head coach after a 1-3 start.
So, yeah, don't go putting money on Gase getting fired after this season. Ross has proven in the past he likes to break up with coaches in the middle of the fourth season. If you can find that line in a Vegas sports book, that would be the smart bet.