The Blame Game: Stephen Ross

Fans are tired of the losing that goes on with the Miami Dolphins.  They are tired of the lack of excitement.  You have to go back to Nick Saban’s offense that was run under Scott Linehan for the last time an offense was even remotely aggressive…and that was for one season.  Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to Don Shula and Dan Marino in their final season together.

It’s been an ugly feel in Miami after years of watching high explosive offenses on the field and it’s hard to get fans into the stadium when the offense is as exciting as watching someone donate blood.  That hasn’t stopped Dolphins owners from trying.  Wayne Huizenga tried with little success and now that task is left to Stephen Ross.

So let’s blame Stephen Ross!

It’s hard for me to place any blame on Ross.  I know that will not win over many readers but the truth is I probably have enough of you hating on me for my opinions all season regarding other areas of the team so my defense of the “flashy” owner shouldn’t come as a surprise.  To me, what’s surprising is how anyone can put the blame for this mess on him at all.

Ross has been here for one year as the full time owner and he has done in that one year more than Wayne Huizenga did in most of his seasons in Miami.

If there is one thing, universally, that Miami Dolphins fans want, it’s an owner who will stay the hell out of the football side of things.  Let the team be run by football guys, not a wannabe football guy like Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder.  Ross has not stepped over the line and put his finger on the football side of things.  Yet.

If we look at what he has done, it’s about entertainment.  The one area that he can get his fingers wet.  He brought in minority “Celebrity” owners and he changed the way fans experience gameday in Miami.  He added entertainment to the tailgating and added has made home games an event off the field.  There is not one person who would be complaining if the team was playing well on the field.

Stephen Ross did not hire Bill Parcells, he did not hire Tony Sparano or Jeff Ireland, or any other person on the football side of things.  He let the coaches, the GM, and the players run their course this year.  It would have been asinine to fire anyone after last season when he took over fully.  He is faced with his first real on-field decisions after this year.  Those changes, if they are made, will begin his legacy as the teams owner.

Will he fire the coaches and GM and bring in the flashy name like Bill Cowher, will he stay the course with the current staff, or will he find the best fit for his team?  The next couple of months will determine that.

Fans like to criticize Ross for what is off-field.  Yet, their complaints are nothing more than a result of their displeasure off the field.  It’s easy to see all the money that is poured into the stadium renovations, the entertainment aspect, and everything else that isn’t related to the team and then watch as the team fails miserably each week.  Yet the Dolphins have one of the highest payrolls in the NFL so he is spending money there as well.

Fans find it easy to point their fingers at something so trivial as the change to the Dolphins fight song, yet it was Wayne Huizenga who struck the deal with Jimmy Buffet last season, not Ross.  To be honest, I like the new song.  I like the old one too but when I’m at a game live and they both play, the “Fins” song seems to pack more energy and doesn’t sound as outdated.  Besides, it’s not like the Dolphins are scoring a ton of points these days anyways.

Others complain about the celebrity endorsements on the jumbotron during TV timeouts.  Are you serious?  So what if Fergie pops up on the screen and does a “Fins-Up” spot or some other celebrity says something about what goes on off-field.  It’s entertainment and don’t forget that sports is exactly that…unfortunately our Dolphins are not, on the field.

All in all I find it a ridiculous notion that Stephen Ross is to blame.  I don’t like him as much as I like Wayne Huizenga and there is something about him that I’m not sold on yet but it’s not his fault.  He is spending money on the players, on the team, and making the stadium a focal point as well.  The tailgating festivities should end a good 15 minutes or more before kick-off to get the fans out of the parking lot and into the stadium but a winning and exciting team will do that as well.

Ross is the owner and that means he won’t be going anywhere.  Who’s going to fire him?  However, his legacy, as stated above, hasn’t started yet.  What he brings to the team is off the field value, something that Wayne didn’t do directly.  But this off-season we will see what he brings to the field.  Regardless of whether he fires Tony Sparano or keeps him.  Whatever decision is made will be on him, and what happens after that will define him.

Next Up – Jeff Ireland

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Tags: Bill Cowher Dan Marino Jon Gruden Miami Dolphins Nick Saban Scott Linehan Stephen Ross Tony Sparano Wayne Huizenga

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