No More Execuses, It's his team now

Stephen Ross Must Go

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.


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  • StuartClurman

    Ross is a low rent slob, to be sure, but this is all Huizenga’s doing. Ross inherited Parcells and the sweet deal he made with Huizenga. You’re 25, I’m more than double that and have followed this team since 1976 from NYC. I’ve seen its resurgence and the depths Huizenga has taken it to. Ross is just a circumcised version of Huizenga — I hoped we were getting another Bob Kraft! Understand this — Miami is not an NFL city and hasn’t been since the Robbie family sold it to the hucksters and new money slobs. Miami isn’t really an American city any longer. This is just fact. The NBA is what Miami is up to. It’s what Ross’ “celebrity” minority shareholders relate to. True NFL cities are different. Here in NY, the press is rabid and out of control but they don’t pull their punches when it comes to bad ownership, bad coaching, bad football. Unlike the Miami sportswriters. When I ready Miami fans fulminating about this terrible, worthless franchise, it’s as if they never watch the games, blaming Henne like they blamed Fiedler, who also had his shoulder trashed running for his life behind an incompetent OL. The front office and Sparano (not to mention the abominable egomaniac Parcells above all) are what put this replacement squad on the field. Every game this year has been lost because of the OL and Ireland’s unbelievable incompetence in not rebuilding the right side. These guys don’t even RECOGNIZE basic football sense. Why should they — after all they were gofers for The Tuna, Yellowfin at that, a truly despicable con man without a grain of honor.

  • mmandia

    I disagree with a lot your article. Ross didn’t put this product on the field. I think fan anger should be directed at the “trifecta” and their failures. Ross’ job is to sign the checks and stay out of the football side of things. He’s done that. I agree he has made some bad decisions. IMO the Gator thing yesterday was really bad, but from my understanding that was Mike Dee’s doing, and hey, it sold tickets. As for the Harbaugh thing, we should be applauding that. Ross identified his man and went after him (or didn’t, depending on what you believe). He didn’t go about it the right way, but what difference does it make? If Harbaugh was here now, nobody would remember that. If Ross wants to have orange carpets, celebrity part owners, and a club in the stadium, who cares? I guess I don’t understand how that hurts the team. He’s trying to sell tickets. Obviously, the best way to do that is put a winner on the field. Surely you recognize that Ross wants the team to win games.

    What kind of owner do you want? Do you want a Jerry Jones / Al Davis type? Do you want Ross in the war room making the draft picks and handling free agents? Actually, that may not be a horrible idea compared to what we’ve witnessed over the past decade of drafting and signing. At least Ross had the foresight to squash the Orton trade. Perhaps Ross knows football personnel better than Ireland, after all.

    This offseason will give us all a better chance to gauge what kind of owner he is. Let’s see what he does going forward and maybe (hopefully) next year at this time we can discuss how Ross brought in a staff who’s committed to building through the draft and instilling a winning attitude throughout the organization. Or maybe we’ll be talking about how he struck out and brought in the wrong people. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • mcordova933

    stephen ross will make things right in the offseason, firing tony now would just make things worse, we would proly win meaning no LUCK so f off

  • Spartanpride_46

    @dolphinsbuzztap Very nice post. Agree completely. Maybe we can use our first round pick to pick up an owner?

  • mscout99

    I have a huge issue with the way Ross has run this team into the ground. Make your money, I could care less. But the way you make money is by putting a good product ON THE FIELD. Are the attractions off the field nice? I’m sure they are, but fans care about football FIRST. Yes, some guy will got hot and bothered if JLo is spotted on the orange carpet, but he cares about what happens on the field more than how hot she looks.

    You don’t have to know everything about football to be a good owner; you need to know how to get the competent football people in place to make your team great. Take the Pats, for example. Very little glitz or glam to that team. They have a system, and they have the competent football people in place at the front office to make sure they get those players. Same thing with the Steelers, Ravens, and the Packers.

    Ask yourself what Miami’s system is on offense, and then see if you can answer if they have the right personnel and coaching. Same thing with the defense. Then ask if the GM and personnel staff have brought the right people in place to succeed. They clearly haven’t, and even though the owner is there to sign the checks first, the owner sets the culture, which is clearly not a winning one.

  • mscout99

    @mmandia Do you work for Ross?

    Take any successful organization (sports, business, whatever) and look at why they’re a success. It takes sound leadership from the top first. Ross can’t see that he has stupid football people in place.

    But, Ross DIDN’T stay out of the football side. Remember he practically ordered Ireland to stay cheap in free agency, and showered Ireland with praise for doing so after getting Reggie Bush. And signings after that was like getting a minimum wage burger flipper just to fill a spot instead of contributing to the team. So Ross has failed at both sides of it.

  • mmandia

    @mscout99 No I don’t work for Ross, why, is he hiring?

    I’m just a disgruntled fan with a hole in my heart for has happened to Miami football.

    Agreed, success comes from the top down. Ross didn’t put this FO in place, that was our savior Parcells IIRC.

    Ross tried to get his man and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, probably location if I were a betting man. YES, he does have stupid people in place, but that’ll change soon. Do you want him to clean house now, so you can bash him for classlessness, or wait til the end of the season so you can bash him for not getting his guys in place right now?

    As for staying on the cheap in free agency….you have to admit that’s laughable. First the guy gives a blank check book to Ireland for Marshall and Dansby. Then signs the check for Bush for a team that lacked speed above all else. Thankfully, he put the ixnay on the Orton trade Ireland wanted so badly. SERIOUSLY, would you want Ireland spending your money looking for more “acorns”? C’mon man.

    This shipwreck is on the trifecta (mostly Parcells and Ireland), through and through. Ross is free to do whatever he wants on the operation side of things if it gets people in the stadium. He’s going to spend the money to put the right FO in place and sign the checks to do it.

    Without answering,”Sell the team.” Please explain to me what you would advise Ross to do at this point in time?

  • mmandia

    @mscout99 What culture has Ross set? I give you checks to sign players and a coaching staff. You spend my money and future draft picks on subpar players. I think he should be commended for not going ballistic and killing Ireland for stealing.

  • mcordova933

    u should write for this shit site lol

  • mscout99

    @mmandia Ross has set a losing culture by getting into joint ownership ventures with celebrities and turning Sun Life Stadium into a Hollywood nightclub act rather than a place where a team wins football games. If Ross really gave a damn about the team, he would have pulled the trigger on Sparano, and would have given Ireland the green light to get some actual contributors to the team instead of going cheap after they got Reggie Bush.

    Ross shouldn’t be involved in the day to day transactions, but Ross should know that he’s surrounded by incompetent fools, and birds of a feather flock together. I don’t expect Ross to know everything about football, but at least quit with these celeb co-owners and get some people that at least know the shape of the football to help run the show.

  • mscout99

    @mmandia Ross already breached classlessness when he tried to hire Harbaugh….while he currently had a head coach under contract. Is that a sign of a competent and classy guy?

    Yes, they signed Marshall, Dansby, and Bush. Yay. How far under the cap are they STILL? Still far enough under to get a WR opposite of Marshall instead of Hartline, still far enough to actually get an OT that can pass block his shadow, still far enough to get a safety that knows how to defend/tackle, and still far enough to get an actual QB other than Matt Moore to “compete” with Henne. Any FAN, let alone a guy with enough cash to buy an NFL team, should have seen we weren’t better just by getting Bush, and there were more than acorns lying around in FA, so spare me your ridiculous four letter network imitation garbage.

    I’d advise Ross to fire Sparano. We’ve known since last year he didn’t want him anymore, and the fans are in an uproar, so do it already. I’d also advise Ross to buy out the celeb co-owners, and if he wants co-owners, there’s plenty of former Dolphins and other football people that would be happy to oblige.

  • Phinphanatic

    This shit site? Yet you post here quite a bit.

  • mmandia

    @mscout99 What’s the big deal about the joint ventures and nightclubs? That shouldn’t and doesn’t affect the product on the field.

    Ross IS going to pull the trigger on Sparano, and by god, Ireland too if he has a brain. Who were the big names you wanted us to acquire? I don’t understand how the players we have fall on Ross. Do you want Ross involved or not? You can’t kill the guy for players Ireland brings in in one breath, then kill him for not firing Sparano in the next. That’s quite a double standard.

    This is very simple: Ireland is the GM, he’s not good at it, he doesn’t want Ireland wasting more of his money kicking acorns, while he trips over diamonds, Ross cuts him off.

    I agree, Ross shouldn’t be involved in day to day transactions. I promise you Ross now understands he is surrounded by incompetent fools. That has nothing to do with the 5% co-owners.

    Ross took over the team in 2009. Everyone has been more than willing to let BP’s draft picks mature, Tony Sparano to find his way, Henne to mature, Ireland’s draft picks to pan out…..why doesn’t Ross get a chance to put his own people in place and get the same benefit of the doubt?

  • mmandia

    @mscout99 No it’s not the sign of a classy guy. It’ is the sign of a owner who badly wants to win, though. Doesn’t that count for anything?

    You keep going on and on about these players we didn’t sign and the cap space……WHO ARE THEY? I don’t understand how else I can type this to make my point. PARCELLS AND IRELAND ASSEMBLED THIS HIGH QUALITY TALENT WE WATCH EVERY SUNDAY, NOT ROSS. It’s awesome the way you’re attacking me. I’m just as passionate about the Dolphins as you. It’s crazy how different our points of view are. Neither you, nor I, thought this was only a 1-3 win team this year. Please step off the soapbox about the Bush signing, HOW does that fall on Ross? And we’re still under the salary cap, remember? So what difference does his salary make? ONCE AGAIN I ASK: DO YOU WANT ROSS TO PICK THE PERSONNEL, OR NOT? I get the feeling you don’t, but then you bash the guy for IRELAND’S FAILS.

    I’d also advise Ross to fire Sparano. I’m on board with your last paragraph 110%.

  • mcordova933

    i do? 6 times is a lot? well i wont anymore lol

  • abbeynormal

    @mcordova933 Good to know thanks.

  • Phinsanity

    @mmandia I applaud Ross for going after Harbaugh, but the aftermath was where he screwed up. If he had fired Sparano at the same time, I would not complain at all. But he offered Sparano a 2-year extension. If I was Sparano, I don’t think I would be very motivated. I do think this is a big contributor to the Dolphins are 0-6.

    I agree that we should give Ross a chance to right the ship. He hasn’t inspired any confidence in me that he has what it takes. I cannot wait to write a positive article on the Dolphins.

  • Strongguard70

    I think the arguments about the situation we see ourselves in as dolphins fans are mostly miss guided, and an attempt express frustrations about the team in general. We need to be honest and level headed and realize Ross truly cannot be blaimes entirely for the debacle we have witnessed this season and on Sunday. I agree that hosting the other teams qb in what amounted to a home coming game is insane under any circumstances, but we must admit that had it not taken place we would all have heard the mess over the radio. The man still had to buy tickets even with the 20k boost “tebow appreciation day” brought in order to avoid a blackout. The reality of the situation is this, I believe Ross has a good eye for talent, much more than we give him credit for. No one thought Harbaugh was going to be as polarizing as he has been so far in SF. He killed the orton deal which proved great foresight on his behalf. Now I know he may not have handled the sparano situation properly but lets not forget he apologized and tried to make amends as best as he could with the extension. I’m sure Ross is aware that firing sparano to hire an interim coach in his wake will be a disservice to the team. Let’s face it no one in that locker room is what the team needs and the fan base is looking for. The man that Ross is after and we are after as fans, in my opinion is probably tied up in something else right now. Obviously I’m talking about gruden and cowher. Both espn and CBS have been very good to both of them and they made promises to those companies that would, out of respect and honor, keep them there till the end of this season. If we want the future of the Miami dolphins to be a bright and hopeful one than we must show patience with Ross and the hand he’s been dealt. I don’t know about you but settling for whomever is available right now isn’t what I want for my team. In conclusion, we can justifiably be enraged with the way the coaching staff has handled this team, and the lack of effort on the part of the players. Let’s not forget JTs comments in week 3 about players coasting through practice not showing enough effort. That’s the root of the 0-6 Miami nfl joke we are experiencing once again. The time to put Ross under the microscope will come at the end of the season and only then will we get a clear view of his intentions with the team and where he plans to take our beloved franchise, one that is now a heartbreaking display of everything we were not when the great coach Shula held the reins.

  • mmandia

    @Phinsanity Correct, Ross “dicked the dog” on that whole deal. He should’ve pulled the plug then. I can only assume he couldn’t land his guy at the time and likely didn’t want to eat Ireland’s salary.

    As far as Sparano’s motivation goes: I would hope he is man enough and prideful enough that he completes his job no matter the circumstance, otherwise I wouldn’t want him running my team. We know he doesn’t want an 0-16 and terminated on his resume. So I don’t think it’s a contributor, but it is definately snowballing on him in a hurry.

    I just don’t think he is a good head coach. Hopefully, for him, he gets another shot somewhere and proves me wrong. Ideally, he will get a shot on the post-Belichik Patriots or post-Rex Jets and prove me right :)

    In summation: Ireland’s talent evaluation is terrible (only rivaled by Josh McDaniels and Tim Ruskell). Tony Sparano is in way over his head AND playing with subpar talent. Sorry, but this is a business and you have both failed. Ross will tear it down at some point and we will start over, yet again. At the conclusion of this season we will have hit rock bottom and there will be only one direction to go from there.

    Then we can all go back to being positive, finally. :)

  • mscout99

    @mmandia Wanting to win is one thing, and I don’t think Ross has proven that yet. Another is you DON’T offer a job to someone while you still have someone under contract for the same position. Chances are you’re not going to attract credible people because you have that track record.

    Let me find another way to make my point on Ross and personnel….Ross told Ireland to go cheap in the FA market. Going cheap got us Marc Columbo. Going cheap didn’t upgrade the safety position. Going cheap didn’t address the need at #2 receiver (and it looks like we’re in the market for a true #1) or TE. Going cheap got us Matt Moore. Going cheap got us Kevin Burnett. So you have cap space, a ton of needs, and you’re still in the same boat.

    When Ross tells Ireland to “go cheap,” then he’s ALREADY had his hands in personnel. If he squashed the Orton deal, he has his hands in personnel. Ross (and you) can’t have it both ways.

  • mmandia

    @mscout99 No you’re right, and that’s my point….Ross hasn’t proven ANYTHING yet, other than he is willing to open the checkbook. Let’s see what plays out in the off season before we pass anymore judgement. We don’t know who he’s gonna attract or detract for that matter. I already agreed last offseason was a disaster for the rookie owner.

    I don’t know what Ross told Ireland about going cheap. I’ve heard your theory and I’ve read that he told him to spend, but spend wisely. Again, I ask: can you really blame him? Let’s just say “hypothetically” he knew that if this season was a bust, he would be cleaning out the FO and coaching staff. Don’t you want your new administration to come in with money to spend and not be tied to a bunch of overpriced divas and washed up has beens and have to clean up another cap mess ala the early 2000′s?

    You know the next guy is going to have to do something to the house. Cost being the same, Do you want ANOTHER remodel OR a new house with a new foundation?

    If he did have his hands in there personnel-wise (and I think he did), I actually gain a new “football” respect for him. It makes him look smarter football-wise than I would have guessed.

    I feel like we agree about everything except whether or not Ross is truly the problem here and I realize I’ll probably never change your mind about him, hell I’m not really trying. I have no doubt he’s slimy (I bet we could say that about at least 28 of the current owners, though). I just think he’s A LOT smarter than you’re giving him credit for and he and his new FO should get that same 4 year window that the trifecta got. And for the record: I don’t want him dabbling in personnel once he gets his own guys in place, and I honestly believe he’ll stay out it.

    Bottom line is this: If this were your team, would you want Ireland spending your money if you knew there was maybe a 33% (ultra generous) chance you were going to retain him?