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If you want to know why the Miami Dolphins tried and executed an onside kick against the Denver Broncos while leading 33-9 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, you probably have to go back to his time with the team.
Start with the time Gase was Denver’s offensive coordinator from 2013-14. After that stint, in January 2015, Gase was making the rounds interviewing as a possible head coach for several teams. He got a second interview with the San Francisco 49ers the second week of the month and, per league sources, Gase was told he had the 49’ers job all but sown up.
Except that after San Francisco GM Trent Baalke left that second interview with Gase, he suddenly soured on the young coach and gave the job to defensive assistant Jim Tomsula.
And the reason, Gase believes per the sources, is that Broncos GM John Elway bad-mouthed him to Baalke and the 49’ers. Gase didn’t complain at the time because he thought Elway was doing this so as to hire him for the vacant Broncos head coaching job.
And Elway interviewed Gase for the job. But he promptly awarded the job to longtime friend Gary Kubiak.
So Gase felt Elway ruined his chances to be hired in San Francisco when he didn’t really have intentions to hire him in Denver, anyway.
Sunday’s attempt to pile on more points may have been come from Gase wanting to hurt Elway.
[UPDATE: Gase said in his day-after press conference on Monday his move had nothing to do with John Elway.]
On Sunday when he was asked his reason for the onside kick, the coach kept it strictly about football.
“Just playing 60 minutes,” Gase said. “We’re not going to slow down. I don’t care what the score is.”
It is possible the coach was also sending a message to his team, which he wants to take on a certain killer attitude that it has lacked in 2017.
[UPDATE: Gase repeated the same reason on Monday.]
Denver coach Vance Joseph, a friend of Gase’s and the Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2016, didn’t take exception to the onside kick, saying the Broncos tried one also.
Perhaps that’s because Joseph is aware why Gase tried for a chance to run up the score on Denver and realizaes it wasn’t about their friendship.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero