joe_philbin_web.jpgDAVIE (AP) — New Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin stood at a lectern, swallowed hard and began to talk about his son's recent drowning. His wife and their five surviving children sat to the side with somber expressions reflecting a loss worse than any game.

Moments later, everyone was laughing as Philbin joked about his good fortune in becoming a first-time head coach. He and his family are counting on a bright future to ease the pain of the recent past and his introductory news conference Saturday was part of the healing process.

Philbin, the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator for the past five years, said he's eager to lead the Dolphins back to the top of the NFL. He noted they haven't been there since 1973, the year of their most recent Super Bowl championship season.

He also did a little math regarding his career. He had been an assistant since 1984 —10,061 days, by his count — and said that gives him sufficient experience to succeed as a head coach.

Philbin played a significant role in the development of Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and helped the Packers rank in the top 10 in the NFL in yardage each of the past five seasons. They won the Super Bowl a year ago and went 15-1 this season.

Ross fired Tony Sparano last month with three games to go in his fourth year as coach. The Dolphins finished 6-10, their third consecutive losing season, and haven't won a playoff game since 2000.

Philbin becomes Miami's seventh coach — including two interim coaches — in the past eight years.

Photo: Joe Philbin