Miami Dolphins Mike Tannenbaum Could Help Team


Yesterday’s news of the Miami Dolphins adding former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum as defacto “czar” was met with a lot of skepticism and even more outrage. The truth is we really don’t know what Tannenbaum will be doing in Miami.

While news trickled out later that Dennis Hickey and not Joe Philbin would report to Tannenbaum, fans got riled up over the lack of respect being shown to last years lone bright spite in management. Today we learn that Stephen Ross does not want to let anyone have decisions on the head coach because it’s a part of being an owner that he likes to control. So how does all of this help Miami?

For starters it should unify the team management structure for better or for worse. Over the last three years there has been a structure that consisted of Ross to Ireland to Aponte to Philbin. Last year we saw that structure change to Ross to Philbin/Aponte/Hickey with no clear direction on who answered to whom. It was a mess. Now we get yet another change.

The structure for 2015 is less haphazardly tossed together. Joe Philbin answers to no one but Stephen Ross and any future coaches will do the same. The general manager will answer only to Mike Tannenbaum but retains final say over the 53 man roster while Dawn Aponte no longer holds sway over the GM or the coach but instead will also answer directly to Tannenbaum. Then there is Dan Marino and CEO Tom Garfinkel who only answer to Ross as well.

While the addition of Tannenbaum seems misguided it’s something that Stephen Ross needed in order to stay out of his own way. Ross isn’t built to own an NFL franchise but his passion and his wallet says that he can. The issue is that Ross doesn’t know how to manage a football team and he needs people in place to do that for him. Tannenbaum is a very trusted advisor for Ross so his addition to the franchise gives Ross an NFL guy in a high place that he can lean on without disrupting the actual structure of the team as a whole.

A lot of media and fans believe this is just one more power hungry manager that is going to delegate his way into controlling more than he should but if he truly keeps to being an answer man and the “voice” of moderate reason and structure then the Dolphins have made a smart move. Remember this was the same position that many thought would have gone to Carl Petersen so it’s been coming for awhile now.

Interestingly enough, Stephen Ross doesn’t know any different. When he took over the team full time Bill Parcells sat where Tannenbaum is but with full control over every decision related to the football personnel. Tannenbaum doesn’t have that control…or at least as far as it is known. In addition since Parcells left the team, Ross has continued to trip over his own feet in dealing with issues related to football. Try as he may he is not Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones but really needs to sit back and be far more like Bob Kraft instead.

Whether this is a good move or a bad move won’t be realized for a few more years but the Dolphins really are no closer to becoming a playoff team at this point with or without him. So perhaps he can do more good than harm. Of course that is predicated on the notion that his power does end where choosing the players begins otherwise Dennis Hickey is nothing more than a figure head and the Dolphins management team will implode on itself again in another year.