Don Shula: 1993 SI Sportsman of the Year

State of the Franchise (poll)

This intention of this article is to review the history of the Miami Dolphin franchise and accurately report the current state, while speculating on what could or should be done to improve the Dolphin organization.

The Miami Dolphins were born in 1966 with Joe Robbie and Danny Thomas buying the rights from the AFL for 7.7 million dollars. A mere 4 years later they became a powerhouse juggernaut in the AFL /NFL. By the early 1970’s the franchise had not one, but two Super Bowl wins and a perfect, undefeated season that still stands as the only time in the history of the sport that a team has accomplished such a feat.

Joe Robbie, as an owner, was committed to winning and was a shrewd business man / lawyer.  In 1969 Robbie hired a young Don Shula who would come to be known as the “face of the franchise.” Shula would go on to become the sports winniest coach with a career of 347 wins and 173 losses and had only two losing seasons in 36 years of coaching. Quite simply, Don Shula  was responsible for all of the success the Fins ever had. He drafted not one, but two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Bob Griese and Dan Marino. His tenor from 1970 to 1995 gave the organization stability it had never known before…….or since.

As Chad and Jeremy (who, lol?)  once said, “That was Yesterday and Yesterdays Gone.” What happened? What went wrong? Lets look at the facts.

Since 1995 the organization has seen owner turnover…TWICE! While Wayne Huizenga was a good owner who tried to put a winner on the field, he was more of a business man than a football fan. If you have any doubt, look no further than the Florida Marlins. Wayne made a bundle on the sale of both teams, although he still owns appx. 5% of our beloved Fins.

The current owner, Mr. Stephen Ross is a billionaire who made his money in New York  real-estate. In fact, he still resides in New York and by his own admission, only fly’s down to Miami on game days. He has also sold minority stakes to celebrities in an effort to bring a more festive atmosphere to the stadium. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. In my opinion, it is the owners main responsibility to hire the best people on the planet to manage his investment. You decide if that is what he has done, although admittingly, the current “regime” was inherited, and not of his choosing. Some people forget that.

What about the coaching staff? The Head Coach and General Manager are the pilot and co-pilot of a professional football team. The success or failure of the franchise lies squarely on their decision making and skill set. Since 1995 the franchise has had six different head coaches and has lost all stability.

However, it is not all the fault of the owner. Who knew Nick Saban would skip town after only one year, leaving the Fins desperate? Who would have thought Jimmy Johnson would be unable to duplicate his success that he had in Dallas and at the U? Finally, who in their right mind would have ever thunk the Fins would still be looking for a franchise QB 12 years after Dan Marino?

What will Ross, or what should he do to imrprove this “once proud franchise? Let’s look.

What Ross Should Do!

  1. Priority one for Mr. Ross is to come to the realization that his current staff, from CEO on down to ball boy lacks the experience and skill set required to succeed in the NFL. PERIOD! The organization is getting worse every week and headed in the wrong direction!
  2. Mr. Ross needs to hire experienced winners at every level. Hire a HC with a plan and vision.
  3. Ross needs to make sure his new regime gets a franchise QB. Were you aware the Fins have gone through 16 quarterbacks since the retirement of #13?  Unacceptable!
  4. Mr. Ross needs to act soon. Waiting only delays success.

What Mr. Ross Might Do

  1. Fire Sparano at the end of the year. This is beginning to look more and more like the likely scenario. The bye week would have been the perfect time to make a change during the year. Since he is still employed, it looks like Tony will be around for awhile.
  2. Keep Ireland. Stephen has been said to have a very close relationship with Jeff and Ross likes the fact Ireland is frugal with his money.
  3. Terminate Ireland. Conversely, should Ross pick a new HC who “wants to shop for his own groceries” Ireland would most likely lose his job.
  4. Keep both Sparano and Ireland. Just kidding. I give this possibility a .0000000001% chance.


You have read my thoughts and what I believe Mr. Ross should do opposed to what he “might do.” Even if you disagree with me (and a lot of people do), you have to admit the Miami Dolphins are headed in the wrong direction and Mr. Ross needs to take some sort of action.

What Should Mr. Ross do to Rectify the State of the Franchise?

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Tags: Dan Marino Don Shula Florida Marlins Jeff Ireland Jimmy Johnson Stephen Ross Tony Sparano Wayne Huizenga

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