In the past week, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin treated his team to movie night to see "Straight Outta Compton" and dressed in a goofy white tuxedo to sing in front of his team.
Is Philbin losing his mind? Is he suddenly channeling his inner Rex Ryan? This certainly doesn't seem like the meticulous, tightly-wound coach we've come to know with the Dolphins the past three years.
In a playoff-or-bust year in Miami, this is all part of Philbin's plan to build a better rapport with his players. I asked Philbin in his office before training camp what would the coach of today tell Philbin of three years ago when he first took Miami's head post?
Philbin explained that he lost sight of building strong relationships with players. He was so consumed with studying game film and the next opponent that he forgot check enough on players' families and home lives, for example. Philbin was so focused on the big pictures that he lost sight of the smaller details. It was solid self-reflection after three non-winning seasons that included a bullying scandal within his locker room and two late-season collapses.
Now Philbin is signing songs, organizing kickball games and hosting movie nights. Philbin does have a personality and a dry sense of humor. He mostly chose to suppress it in his first three seasons as boss, but this year Philbin is letting it out.
In the end, Philbin's future will be determined by wins and losses. Philbin believes stronger bonds with players will help get the most out of his players when things get tough. Therefore, singing poorly for his players' enjoyment in August could pay dividends for Philbin in November and December.