Tony Sparano lacks the authority to bench Joey Porter

There are only two people who have the authority to pull Joey Porter out of a football game, and their names are Joey Porter and God. And God loses the privilege in the fourth quarter of divisional rivalry games.

Tony Sparano? Sorry, he doesn't make the list. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald explains:

With 3:23 left to play in Sunday's Dolphins loss to the Patriots, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano got an ugly glimpse of how hard to control Joey Porter is when the linebacker collected an unnecessary roughness penalty -- no doubt, on purpose.

One play later Porter was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct -- just a guess here, but whatever he did was probably premeditated. And so Sparano had seen enough. He sent Charlie Anderson into the game to replace Porter.

Porter refused to leave the field in direct insubordination of his coach's wishes. Porter ordered Anderson to go back to the bench. After the game, Porter refused to speak with the media. (So much for being a stand-up guy.)

Back to Sparano in a second, but right now, I'm wondering what it was like to be Charlie Anderson at that moment. Poor Charlie had to have an internal monologue something like this.

"Alright, I'm getting some playing time! Maybe I can help the team win if I try really hard. All I have to do is tell Joey that -- what? You'll burn down my house if I don't get back to the bench right now? Oh, that's no good. If I don't listen to Coach Sparano and stay out here, he'll yell at me. But if I don't listen to Joey and leave right now, he'll burn my house down. Oh, what do I do? What do I do?"

What did he do? You'll notice that his house is still standing this morning.

Meanwhile, Sparano's got a problem to deal with. Tough guy coaches like him live and die with the reputation that they're in control, no one player is bigger than the team, and that they are the authority figure.

A Sparano/Porter clash is brewing. It almost has to happen. I say we get the National Guard down to Miami right away.

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