Tony Sparano Loves His Underachieving Team

Dolphins coach says 4-8 2011 team more fun than 2008 AFC East winners

By David Hill
|  Thursday, Dec 8, 2011  |  Updated 7:37 AM EDT
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A Cheerful Night

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Tony Sparano might just be the last person in South Florida who can get amped up when discussing the Miami Dolphins. The team's coach spoke about his players like they were his cool nephews on Wednesday, calling this year's version of the Dolphins the "most fun bunch of guys I've been around."

As long as you don't mind seven-game losing streaks, the Dolphins do look like an enjoyable bunch. LB Koa Misi does a pretty decent Pee Wee Herman dance after sacks. Reggie Bush probably gets a lot of free pizza. Karlos Dansby has an absurd sense of humor (how else to explain the time he called himself the best linebacker in the NFL?).

But does Sparano need to pretend he is having the time of his life to distract himself from the fact that he probably will be out of a job at the end of the season?

Not even his first Dolphins team, which won the AFC East in 2008, was as fun as 2011's version, which has lost twice as many games as it has won.

"I've said this before and I'll say it again, including that team, with all due respect to that [2008] team, and that team was special to me, this is the best bunch of guys," he said.

"They're not afraid to work," he added. "They just came off the field laying it on the line out there today, and giving it everything they've got. It's a good group of people to be around."

This is what passes for excitement around Miami Dolphins camp these days. With the Miami Marlins signing nearly every free agent available and the Miami Heat set to kick off its run for an NBA title on Christmas, the best thing the Dolphins have going for them is the undying love of their lame duck coach.

Few would have predicted two years ago that the Dolphins would become third banana among Miami sports franchises, but that fact is now a reality. No amount of raving from Tony Sparano can change that fact.

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