Miami Dolphins Continue Off-Field Embarrassment With Gator Invitation


The Miami Dolphins just may be turning a corner with QB Chad Henne….maybe.  The offense, aside from the offensive line, is starting to look sharp with only two weeks left until their Monday night opener against division rival New England.  On the field, the Dolphins look to be improving.  Off the field, the team simply can not steer clear of getting punched square in the face.  And they are the ones throwing the punches.

It was announced yesterday officially, after Mike Dee spilled the beans during the broadcast of the Phins pre-season game on Saturday night, that on October 23rd, the Dolphins would host members of the Florida Gators National Title team from the 2008-2009 season, including the colleges band, mascot, and former head coach Urban Meyer.  Forget that the University of Miami plays their home games on Saturdays in Sun-Life Stadium.  Apparently the Dolphins reached out the “U” as well and were turned down.  Scandal perhaps?  The “U” said they would be honoring their 10th anniversary of their last National Title team at one of their home games.

To me this is not about another big Florida college coming to Miami to be honored.  I could care less.  What I do care about however, is that Mike Dee, the Dolphins CEO is providing this honor on the weekend that his Dolphins host the Denver Broncos.  And thus Tim Tebow.

Maybe Dee knows something we don’t.  Maybe Jeff Ireland is in the process of working out a trade for Tebow and that added Florida Gator crowd will be cheering wildly for the Dolphins and louder if Tebow steps on the field.  Maybe.  Likely not.  The fact that Dee is using the Denver game to sell tickets to the Florida Gator fans to honor a team led by a former player who is beloved by their fans, on a day when he will be arriving as part of that teams roster is absolutely appalling.

Do you think that Mike Dee would have disrespected the Boston Red Sox during his tenure in Boston by hosting an event featuring anything remotely connected to the New York Yankees or their players on day when the Sox were hosting the Yankees?  He would have been killed in the parking lot.  Across the NFL landscape you hear of teams doing stupid things.  The Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year informed their parking and gate receipt workers that after their shifts they are to leave the stadium instead of being allowed to watch the remainder of the games.  STUPID.  Yet none of what the other teams do directly supports another team on their schedule.

It’s one thing to say honor the late wife of Bob Kraft at half-time of the Monday night opener…no they are not doing that, it’s completely different to honor a player from the opposing team.   Not just any player…the leader of that team you are honoring.  The sad part is this is not the first time Mike Dee has done this.

Earlier this year the Miami Dolphins on orders from Dee sold NY Jets T-shirts in the Miami Dolphins team store that said, “Home of the NY Jets” on them.  Dee claimed it was a fire sale of old merchandise because the NY Mets were in town to face the Marlins.  So he just catered to not only to a Miami Dolphins rival but the fans of a team that the Florida Marlins were facing as well.

The reality is this team used to be the class of the division and maybe the NFL.  Perhaps there is a curse on this team.  Don Shula forced into retirement for Jimmy Johnson who immediately decries the history of the team and removes it’s presence only to quit the team a few short years later.  Dave Wannstedt kicking HOF QB Dan Marino to the curb in favor of Jay Fiedler.  Ricky Williams and his on again off again suspensions and quitting.  The bold move to land Nick Saban and the subsequent public humiliation of Wayne Huizenga when Saban skips town two seasons later.  Cam Cameron and his one year flop.  Bill Parcells and his brooding gait that ends with him walking away from a job unfinished.  The Stephen Ross, Jeff Ireland, Jim Harbaugh, publicity nightmare.  Mike Dee who is a nice guy but doesn’t come close to understanding how south Floridians feel about their football teams.

The Dolphins are also in danger of widespread television blackout this year.  It’s one of the reasons that Dee is trying to drum up tickets sales to the 10,000 south Florida, Gator fans that Dee says live in the Miami area.  The Houston game in week 2 is supposedly far from being sold out as are other games in the season schedule.  Economic downturn, NFL lockout, owners greed, players greed, a team that doesn’t win and isn’t overly exciting, have all pushed local Miami fans to the point where they simply don’t want to spend the money.  Content instead on sitting home and watching replays.

Mike Dee does not have the pulse of this franchise.  He is supposed to be a savvy businessman and when he was brought to Miami, he was tasked to fill the stadium.  I asked him point blank on my first contact with him how he could use a formula successful in Boston and the MLB in Miami and the NFL when he had 60 plus home games at Fenway and 8 at Sun-Life?  He simply said that was the challenge.

Since then?  The Dolphins have parking lot concerts prior to the game and a mall around the stadium on game day that is festive and alive.  It’s fun…the first couple of times you participate but when you realize that all the little booths along the perimeter of the stadium walks cost money, you head back into the parking lot to hang with the fans.

Mike Dee is defending the decision saying that the team must be “agnostic” in it’s attempts to fill the stadium in regards to using a school that is not the University of Miami.  I don’t question that.  But honestly, why not host it against a team that does not have the winning QB on their roster?  Would it not be the same to say hold this honor for the team when the Dolphins hosted the Jets?  Mike Pouncey was on that team for Florida.  Seems that would have been the smarter thing to do.