The Miami Dolphins have a problem. A very very big problem. They have totally managed to make a mockery of the team since the season ended. You really don’t have to look any further than Stephen Ross in order to place the blame. There has been absolutely zero coming out of his court to smooth over the relationship of the fans that support the team. The same fans that will be asked to pony up dough to watch the team play.
This is simply ridiculous.
But, it’s not without hope. First, the way I see it, is Ross needs to release Tony Sparano, and pay him his final year of his contract. Maybe more. Sparano, regardless of how anyone feels about his coaching style or abilities did not and does not deserve this treatment. Not one single bit. I don’t care if you say “he’s making millions of dollars…blah blah blah”, he doesn’t deserve it.
Sparano has given everything of himself for this team and every turn has handled adversity with class, dignity, and professionalism. Even through the last week. But unfortunately, his control over this team is all but gone. He will have the respect of his players for the way he has handled this situation but everyone still knows his tenure here, long term, is finished. Ross needs to do right by Sparano and in the process begin the healing of his own image that has dropped to nothing in less than a week.
Sparano will land on his feet. His classy handling of the situation this week has won him many kudos in the NFL and he wouldn’t be unemployed long.
This brings us to fixing Ross’ image. There are two options he has at his disposal. One, find a coach that will work with Jeff Ireland. His image is tarnished as well. A John Fox may be that guy or he can promote Mike Nolan to a three year deal and see what he has. It’s his best option. The second option is less of an opportunity.
Ross could fire Ireland and sit down and talk with Bill Cowher, apologizing for the mess this week has brought and convincing Cowher that the team and his office needs to upgrade it’s image. That’s really the only options he has left.
Fans are not going to simply “buy” into any pre-conceived notion that Sparano is his guy. That chance fell apart the moment that word leaked that Sparano was ready to quit. Fans see that and they are done. They are disgusted and embarrassed and tired of the media circus. Fans are no longer talking about what the draft may hold, or even for that matter next season. They just want this to all go away, and the only one who can make that happen is Stephen Ross.
The question is whether or not his “Media Roundtable” event tomorrow will shed any light on the situation of the past few days or if it will only further alienate the fan base?
For Dolphins fans, the season can’t get over soon enough.