Yesterday may have been my single lowest moment as a Dolphins fan. I’m now 25, I’ve been watching Dolphins games since I was able to sit on my father’s lap. I’ve seen Dan Marino tear an achilles, watched Pete Stoyanovich miss a field goal at San Diego to end the season in ’94, I sat through the end of the Shula years, through the Wannstedt era and I watched every game of that 1-15 year.
I am a glutton for punishment, but I don’t know if I can watch another game this season.
This is a different sort of futility, this isn’t a team that’s down on its luck it’s a team that has been driven into the ground by some of the worst ownership in football. I don’t need to recount Ross’s list of non-achievements. Suffice it to say the most successful thing the man has done as the owner is put his kangaroo TV’s at every seat. In a football context Ross took over an 11-5 team that now sits 0-6 and on the edge of the abyss. Is that all his fault? No.
Most of it is though. Starting with letting Bill Parcells walk with his money anytime he wanted at the outset of his tenure as owner and continuing on to allowing the team to enter the season with a lame-duck coach after failing to replace him in the first place.
Miami Dolphins Entertainment Co.
Stephen Ross has made the Dolphins, or attempted to make them, into an entertainment company. When I see Parks and Rec on NBC and listen to Tom Haverford and his nit-wit friend describe the vague, inarticulated endeavor that is Entertaiment 720, I think of how Ross is running the Dolphins. I hate to make a pop culture reference in fear of losing anyone, but Entertainment 720 is a huge joke and so are the Dolphins.
Stephen Ross has done everything to this Dolphins team except build a winner on the field. Needless celebrity owners? He got them. A superfluous “orange carpet” event before each home game? Bingo. More attractions around the stadium? You know it. How about opening a club on gamedays? Let’s do it.
This is a football team, the product you’re selling is football. You realize since the Dolphins opened Club Liv they haven’t won a home game?
That’s not Club Liv’s fault but you can’t argue any owner who willingly takes several thousand fans out of their seats during a game diminishes a team’s home-field advantage and isn’t focused on football.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
Let’s talk about yesterday and let’s forget for a moment that Stephen Ross invited his own fanbase to root for Tim Tebow. I almost broke my television set when I saw Ross and Urban Meyer laughing on the sideline at the end of the game. Laughing.
I don’t like Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder or a number of other NFL owners, but none of them would ever laugh off a truly embarrassing performance by the team they own while they hob-nob on the sideline with a supporter of the other team. Make no mistake about it Urban Meyer went to Miami for Tebow and the Gators, that was akin to betrayal from Ross in my eyes.
Yesterday he embarrassed the fanbase, the organization and the team embarrassed themselves, and after all of that Dolphins fans were treated to the image of him laughing it up on the sideline with the Gator contingency.
At no point has Ross ever acted in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins. Not one. He acts in the interest of money and while all owners do, few pursue the bottom line at such a dramatic cost to their own team and fan-base.
What owner enters the season with a lame-duck coach? Hell, what owner is such a sniveling coward he has to sneak around his own head coach’s back?
Why This Feels Worse
You know why it feels so bleak for Dolphins fans? Because this is worse than 2007. In 2007 I trusted Wayne Huizenga to fix things. He had picked Cam Cameron and Wannstedt and Saban before that, but I never faulted for Huizenga for getting it wrong because I felt he at least had his heart in the right place. He wanted this team to win.
Does anyone trust Stephen Ross to replace this regime at year’s end? Anyone?
The Dolphins WERE one of the most legendary franchises in all of American professional sports. Until a few years ago they held the highest all-time winning percentage of any major pro sports franchise (they’re still top five). This is the team that Don Shula built, where the greatest coach in NFL history won the bulk of his NFL-record 347 wins. This is the only team in history to go undefeated and win the Superbowl. This was a team with two hall of fame QB’s in 40 years, including the most prolific passer of all-time. These were the Miami Dolphins. That meant something once.
Now the Miami Dolphins are a joke. They are has-beens.
Stephen Ross has to go. He’s the worst owner in football and he has turned a once-storied franchise into an absolute laughing stock. Other owners don’t respect him, fans don’t respect him and it doesn’t even seem like his players respect him.
And frankly, that’s with good cause.
Stephen Ross lacks NFL business sense.
Stephen Ross lacks integrity.
Stephen Ross needs to go.