A little more than 12 hours after Brian Flores' Patriots defense put the finishing touches on against the Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Flores departed New England to accept the Dolphins' head coaching job.
On Monday, the Dolphins announced that they've hired Flores, the Patriots' top defensive assistant. It's officially official one month after it was to replace Adam Gase, who was . Gase has since rebounded by landing the Jets job as the AFC East coaching carousel continues to spin around and around.
The Dolphins had to wait for the Patriots' season to finally end, which happened on Sunday night, before they could name Flores, 37, their new coach.
"I'd say it's definitely been a whirlwind," Flores said. "But I am humbled. I am very fortunate to be in this position, to have coached a group that I coached last night and to have been with the organization that I was with for the last 15 years."
Flores was the team's linebackers coach in name this past season (his 11th season as an assistant coach in New England), but he's really the guy who replaced Matt Patricia as the Patriots' defensive play-caller after Patricia took the Lions job last year. In that sense, he was more like their defensive coordinator. He just lacked the official title.
Unlike Patricia, who left New England after the Patriots' disastrous defensive performance against the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Flores is coming off against the Rams in Sunday's Super Bowl. Though it's Bill Belichick who will get most of the credit -- and rightfully so given Belichick's history -- Flores also deserves praise for the way the Patriots' defense limited one of the league's top scoring offenses to three points over the course of four quarters. Julian Edelman won MVP honors, but the Patriots' defense was responsible for the win.
"Two things that stand out immediately when you meet Brian are his football intelligence and leadership skills," Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said in a statement. "Brian is widely respected throughout the NFL. He paid his dues in New England working in personnel, on offense, defense and special teams, which helped him build a great understanding of what it takes to win. If you talk with anyone who has played for him or worked with him, you will hear about his ability to lead and get the most out of people. Brian sets a high standard for his players and coaches and we are completely aligned with our vision on how to build a successful organization."
That being said, plucking a coach off the Belichick coaching tree hasn't worked out well most of the time:
Always smart to pick the fruit of the Belichick coaching tree. By my count 8 former Belichick assistants have become head coaches. Their records:— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 11, 2019
"There's only 32 of these in the world," Flores said. "This sport, I've said this many times, this game is the one thing that leveled the playing field for me. To be a head coach in this league is a dream come true. To be a head coach of the Miami Dolphins is a dream come true."
He'll have plenty of fixing to do in Miami. The Dolphins' defense is coming off a disappointing season that saw them finish 29th in yards allowed, 27th in points allowed, and 25th in DVOA. Beyond that, Flores needs to sort out the quarterback situation, because , according to the Miami Herald. Since he's remaining in the AFC West, he'll also have to figure out a way to vanquish the Patriots while dealing with two New York teams that have already drafted two potential franchise quarterbacks.
There's no doubt that the Dolphins are lagging behind the rest of the division in terms of their long-term outlook. They're starting over with a new coach and probably with a new quarterback as well. Flores just pulled off one of the best coaching performances ever in Super Bowl LIII. He'll now need to pull off another incredible coaching job in Miami.