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Sherman says Dolphins not far from Super Bowl

According to Mike Sherman, the Miami Dolphins are a few tweaks away from the type of Super Bowl glory that decorated the franchise's early years.

"I've watched the tape, I don't think we're that far away," the team's new offensive coordinator told the Miami Herald on Thursday. "We're missing a couple of pieces here and there and we have a chance to build upon what (general manager) Jeff Ireland has put together here. After watching the tape, I feel like we get a couple of pieces here and there and we'll be close."

Sherman's rosy outlook draws from his trust in head coach Joe Philbin, and their shared past as much more than football coaches. 

Long before Sherman rolled south, he and Philbin were bookish men of letters, more taken with literary craft than X's and O's. 

Their story began at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Mass., where Sherman taught creative writing back in 1980. Sitting out among the sea of students: Philbin, an apt pupil.

"Joe was very introspective, cerebral, always prepared, studied hard," Sherman told The Associated Press. "I wouldn't say I gave him an 'A' in the class. He might have gotten a 'B-plus.' I don't know."

For Dolphins fans -- more concerned about questions at quarterback and how the team will escape the mega-doldrums -- there's nothing cute about images of Sherman and Philbin sitting in a dusty, sunlit classroom, drowsy on the words of Jack Kerouac.

Take heart, for they were football coaches, too. Sherman thought enough of Philbin to hire him as a graduate assistant in 1983 at Tulane, where he served as offensive line coach. Sherman later hired Philbin to join his Packers staff in 2003, furthering their bond.

Now Philbin's the boss, and Sherman is comfortable with that. In fact, he sees the Dolphins as close to writing a Super Bowl story of their own.

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