It wasn't very long ago that Brian Flores was getting some mention as a potential long-shot NFL Coach of the Year candidate, but now he's done.
The Dolphins fired Flores on Monday morning, one day after the team finished a 9-8 season with a 33-24 victory against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium.
The organization put out a statement through its social media channels announcing the news, which earlier had been reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
"I made a decision today to part ways with Brian Flores," owner Stephen Ross said in the statement. "After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren't functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.
"I believe we have a talented young roster in place and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022. I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish him nothing but the best in his future."
FLORES' THREE SEASONS WITH THE DOLPHINS
Flores had a 24-25 record in his three seasons as Dolphins head coach and led the team to consecutive winning records, something the team hadn't done since a run of seven straight winning seasons from 1997-2003.
But Flores also failed to get the Dolphins to the playoffs, joining George Wilson and Joe Philbin as the only coaches to fail to do so in their first three years.
Because of the extra game in 2022, Flores ended coaching one more game, but his record was practically identical to those of predecessors Philbin and Adam Gase, who both went 23-25 in their first three seasons.
It was Gase that Flores replaced when he was hired as Dolphins head coach in February 2019, right after he ran the defense that helped the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl with a 13-3 victory against the Los Angeles Rams.
FLORES' FINAL SEASON
The Dolphins' 2021 was history-making as the team became the first in NFL history to have a seven-game losing streak and a seven-game winning streak in the same season.
But the 1-7 start left the Dolphins with practically no margin for error, and the team's playoff hopes disappeared in Week 17 after a humbling 34-3 loss against the Tennessee Titans.
Still, the Dolphins winning eight of the final nine games says something about the resolve that Flores instilled in his players, and it earned him a lot of nationwide respect — along with odds as a potential NFL Coach of the Year candidate.
But that all came crashing down with that loss at Tennessee.
DOLPHINS COACH PATTERN
Flores' firing, while surprising to many, followed a pattern established by Ross since he took over as owner.
Like Gase, Flores was fired after three seasons as head coach, and both Tony Sparano and Philbin were fired during their fourth season.
Flores was asked after the victory against the Patriots on Sunday how he would sum up the season.
"Look, every year is different," Flores said. "I think every experience you learn from them, good or bad. That’s kind of how I try to approach everything. I’ve learned a lot this year about myself, this team, players on our team, the people in our building. I think that’s really what I take from it. I think that there will be time to reflect on it and see that there’s certainly some things that I’ve learned. I’d like to think I’ve grown a little bit. Hopefully that’s the case for everyone. That’s the case for everyone every year — players, coaches. I’m sure that’s the case for you in your profession. There’s always good, there’s always bad, and you try to learn from it all."