One of the more exciting names this head coaching cycle is Mike McDaniel, the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. He is already the belle of the ball and won over the IDC (Internet Dolphins Community) and is their favorite candidate right now.

The IDC is going to bed every night hoping and praying he is the next head coach of the Dolphins, and I must admit so am I.

Mike McDaniel is an interesting person and very polarizing in some ways. Some feel he doesn’t “look” like an NFL head coach, he can’t be a leader of men, and he wouldn’t be able to command the room when addressing a team as head coach.

To those who feel that way, my response is you can’t judge a book by its cover.

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I don’t know what an NFL head coach is supposed to “look like.” I didn’t know there was a prototypical look for the position of head coach that one had to meet before being considered for the job.

I don’t know how one can tell a person cannot be a leader of men by just looking at them. Marv Levy was maybe five feet tall depending on what pair of shoes he wore on a given day and weighed less than 175 lbs. He went to four straight super bowls and won many games in Buffalo. Nobody would say Marv Levy wasn’t a “leader of men,” and he couldn’t “command a room.”

San Francisco 49ers superstar, Tight End George Kittle, said in a 2020 interview regarding Mike McDaniel, “I want to put him in my contract,” Kittle said. “You can’t poach him. I want him to be with me the rest of my career.”

Being a leader of men is about respect. It’s not about intimidation and yelling and screaming. If players respect you, they will play hard for you.

There is no doubt when you look at Mike McDaniel he looks like the guy working for the Geek Squad at Best Buy you bring your laptop to when something is broken with it. Heck, he would probably be the first to chuckle and agree with you about that.

With that said, football coaches come in all shapes and sizes, and you shouldn’t write him off because of his look.

Is Dan Campbell more qualified to be a head coach because he looks like a pro wrestler and says he wants his team to bite the opponent’s knee caps?

How Mike McDaniel Has Gotten To this Point

McDaniel has worked his way up the NFL ranks starting as an intern with the Broncos, to an offensive assistant in Houston, spent two years in the UFL, and then got back to the NFL in Washington as an offensive assistant. He was promoted to wide receiver coach in Washington and then got the same role with Cleveland. Then off to Atlanta, where he was an offensive assistant to then being the run game coordinator in San Francisco to eventually being elevated to offensive coordinator with the 49ers.

He has paid his dues and is at the point in his career where he has earned the right to lead an NFL team.

Some will hold it against him that even now, as an offensive coordinator, he doesn’t call the plays for San Francisco and that head coach Kyle Shanahan does. This is always a gray area and should not be a disqualifier to someone becoming a head coach.

Being an NFL head coach is more than just “calling plays.” First, many of the great head coaches in NFL history didn’t call plays for either side of the ball when they were in that role.

Second, he is being hired as the head coach, not a play-caller. Can he put together a staff, can he work with his staff and put together a game plan, does he have someone he trusts to call plays during games, can he put together the best 53 man roster possible, can he manage 53 personalities and ego’s of the NFL roster, and can he navigate all of the numerous off the field obstacles that go with being a head coach? That is the job of the head coach.

If he has previously or if he will call plays is irrelevant. And I have no doubt if in Atlanta or San Francisco they asked him to call plays, he would have done so successfully because everything else he has done as an assistant coach he has been successful at.

McDaniel graduated from Yale and, per an article in the Mercury News, is a reportedly member of MENSA, and rumor has it that he had a study on molecular biology published in Popular Science when he was in the 5th grade.

Wait, maybe he is more YOUNG SHELDON than a member of the Geek Squad now that I think of it.

But life hasn’t been a bed of roses for McDaniel. He was fired in Houston because he would oversleep at times and miss meetings with then-head coach Gary Kubiak. The reason for him oversleeping and missing those meetings was because he had an alcohol problem.

McDaniel felt alcohol was sabotaging his career, and in Atlanta, after one season, he went to head coach Dan Quinn and the front office and asked for help. They got him into rehab and found him the help he needed.

McDaniel, who grew up an only child raised by a single mother, said in a USA Today article by Tom Pelissero, “For the first time in my life, I had men stand behind me and say, ‘Hey, you’re not alone, dude.'”

He has been quoted as saying he had his last beer on Jan 4, 2016, and he has had no desire to drink since.

While McDaniel may not look like Rocky, this is your typical Rocky story. As Rocky once said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.”

And when I see Mike McDaniel, I see Rocky. Not in physical stature but someone who has taken all the hits that life has thrown at him, and he keeps moving forward.

Why Mike McDaniel is a Fit for the Miami Dolphins At this Moment in Time

The Miami Dolphins right now are at a very critical place where a wrong hire for their vacant head coaching position will send them back to football purgatory very quickly.

For the first time in a long time, they are coming off back-to-back winning seasons, and they have more than a couple of young players who you would consider “building block” type players that you would build your organization around. With the right head coach, this team can make a leap and make the playoffs in 2022 and become a consistent contender in the NFL.

With the wrong hire, though, this franchise will sink back down into the depths of being irrelevant and be to the AFC what the Detroit Lions are to the NFC.

We have heard all of the stories in the last week to ten days about why Brian Flores had to be fired. He couldn’t get along with people in the front office, he wasn’t talking to his coaching staff, some coaches didn’t want to work with him, and certain players found him unapproachable. The Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens sounded like a prison, and the warden didn’t like to communicate with anyone.

How do you change that culture? How do you fix that atmosphere? You do a 180 and bring in the opposite personality to lead you. And if there is someone who is the polar opposite of Brian Flores, it is Mike McDaniel.

Yes, to win in the NFL, you need to have good players, a good staff, and a good game plan. But you also need the right tone in your building and an atmosphere where players want to come to work every day and do their best and give everything they have.

You need to have an atmosphere where players and front office personnel feel comfortable to speak up and share thoughts and ideas. And they aren’t walking around in fear of the man in charge shooting them a nasty look, ignoring them, or not listening to them.

It’s not just George Kittle who raves about how good of a coach and person Mike McDaniel is; a simple google search will show you quotes from Andrew Hawkins, Joe Staley, and Pierre Garcon, among others who heap tons of praise on him.

The 2022 Miami Dolphins don’t need another run-of-the-mill, typical, everyday head coach—been there done that! I’m sure Leslie Frazier, Vance Joseph, and Dan Quinn are good people and would do a fine job if hired by the Dolphins. But they are not what the Miami Dolphins need right now.

This organization needs to think big and think outside the box. After three years of having someone slap their hand as a punishment for every wrong step, this is a very young team that needs someone to give them a high five after every right thing they do. That’s not to say McDaniel is soft and wouldn’t run a disciplined operation, it is saying there are different ways to lead and I think McDaniel’s way of teaching, coaching, and leading is exactly what this organization needs at this moment in time.

Mike McDaniel is the right fit for the Miami Dolphins in 2022, and I hope the Miami Dolphins give him that opportunity to be their head coach.