The Dolphins have a value that can’t be overlooked.

Tough, physical, versatile, and team-first— that’s how a lot of fans describe Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ football philosophy.

Those are the types of players Flores looks for, and that’s the type of football Flores wants to play on Sundays.

But there’s another element that Flores took from the New England Patriots and brought to Miami. And that’s discipline.

Having a disciplined team is vital in the NFL. It’s one of the key aspects that lead a team to have success. All the good teams have this.

What do I mean by discipline?

—It’s playing as a unit.

—It’s not shooting yourself in the foot on Sundays with penalties.

—It’s keeping your cool while facing adversity in a game.

—It’s not compromising your team on or off the field.

Under the former Adam Gase regime (2016-2018), discipline was something his team lacked.

In 2016, Gase did not let the team’s future single-season star player and pro bowl running back Jay Ajayi take the flight to Seattle for the team’s first game. The Dolphins went 10-6 and made a playoff birth this year, but early on, lacked offensive line cohesion, and secondary issues.

The Dolphins finished the 2016 season as the league’s 3rd-most penalized team: 125 for 1,141 yards.

In 2017, offensive line coach Chris Foerster recorded a video of himself snorting cocaine in the Dolphins facility while pledging love to a model he had some sort of relationship with.

This was also the year when wide receiver Jarvis Landry was due for an extension but causing unsportsmanlike penalties. Landry got ejected from the team’s season-finale versus the Buffalo Bills after scoring a touchdown.

Hiring a coach-killer and borderline-cancer of a quarterback in Jay Cutler to lead the team that year couldn’t have helped much either. Ryan Tannehill was injured in training camp and out for the season, and Gase decided to bring in Cutler as the team’s savior. Cutler’s reputation proceeded him as he was never known to be the greatest of leaders and hard to get along with. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons also had a mental breakdown and went AWOL a night before the team’s season opener.

2017 was a troubled season from the start, and whatever magic the Dolphins had the year prior failed to show itself again.

The Dolphins finished 6-10 that year with the league’s 2nd-most penalties: 137 for 1,154 yards. Landry found himself traded to the Cleveland Browns where he decided to throw footballs and fight with his teammates in practice in the 2018 training camp. And by 2019, he was yelling at his head coach Freddy Kitchens on the sidelines.

(How was 2019’s Cleveland Browns season by the way? Not a lot of discipline there either.)

I really don’t want to bother getting into the Dolphins 2018 season. They finished 7-9 and were in the middle of the NFL in penalties: 108 for 978 yards.

Gase was fired.

But soon HIRED! Yay!

By the rival New York Jets the very next season. Gase continued to bring a storm of negative media headlines since his introduction as the new head coach and throughout the 2019 season. Jets finished 2019 with a 7-9 record and 10th-most in penalties.

The Dolphins couldn’t have asked for a better Jets hire to share their future rivalry with — an undisciplined coach who can’t keep his team from falling apart.

Gase’s annual team penalties don’t even compare to where the Patriots have ranked in locker room discipline and penalties throughout the same timespan:

2016 – 29th

2017 – 26th

2018 – 29th

2019 – 27th

And as far as locker room stories, you never hear a peep out of the Patriots locker room.

Brian Flores came from the Patriots and brought structure to the Miami Dolphins locker room that Gase never did. Flores gave it to his players. He taught it to them. He instilled it in them.

That’s why he made his players run to the wall every time whenever they made a mistake during practice.

And it paid off.

Flores inherited a 2019 Dolphins team that was stripped down, tanking for Tua Tagovailoa, and built on young veterans, castoffs, undrafted players, and no-names. This was a roster many said was the worst team constructed in NFL History, and expected to go winless.

Flores got this team to 5-11 with a season-finale win against the league’s evil empire— the New England Patriots in Foxboro. This is a place where the Dolphins haven’t won since 2008.

Flores kept his team focused, collected, unified, and stayed the course. He managed to get a talent-deficient team better throughout the year and finish strong. He got them to believe.

There were no tantrums on the field, there were no fights breaking out, there was no player yelling at their head coach on the sideline, there was no torn locker room, the Dolphins weren’t killing themselves with dumb penalties.

Because Flores kept his team in check.

Flores maintained discipline.

By the way, the Dolphins finished 29th in penalties in 2019: 92 for 769 yards.