Saturday, January 08, 2011

the big show

I obviously didn't attend the press dealy. Only read the tweets from our local media.

But here's what I take away from it:
(1) the media was quick to put out information, and sometimes it hadn't been vetted. But facts are facts and sources are sources - I find those more reliable than an owner who has an agenda
(2) Cap'n Firepants (Ross) was mincing words, and playing semantics games, but probably stopped short of outright lying.
(3) the other two stooges hemmed and hawed there way through "working it out"
(4) they all sang koom-buy-ya (phoentic for emphasis) and will all work together to make this team better.

Then it moved on to how to make the team more explosive!

Yippee. [sarcasm=high] They really sold me that its all worked out [/sarcasm]

how gauche

Stephen Ross flew his helicopter to Dolphins training camp, and landed it on the practice field.

I know you're a billionaire, but that's silly.

Are they all going to get in after the press conference and never return?

I'm more skeptical than ever

The press conference will be a round table with the three stooges (think of it as Curly left, and Joe Besser came in).

They have invited exactly (2) people from each "accredited media outlet" and it would seem they want to totally control the flow of the session, so it comes off the way they want it to.

And it will not be brodcast/simulcast/aired in any way. I wouldn't be surprised if they ban mp3/video recorders, so they can twist it after the story comes out.

Trust me on this one: carefully orchestrated press events are always just that. The orchestration is to ensure that certain things are not discovered, or certain questions are not asked ("What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?).

They want to show a unified front...but just what are they hiding?

Fins to the left....

On the masthead of today's Miami Herald was a teaser "What would Buffet do?" ... and given all this Dolphins talk this week, my immediate knee-jerk reaction was "are they really asking Jimmy Buffet for advice? Wow, is that stupid."

Except of course, it was about Warren Buffet and was an article about investing.

...He came down from New York City, took him 2 hours on a plane. Bought some tickets, and fell in love with the Dolphins,so he purchased them from Wayne....can't you see 'em circling Stevie, can't you see 'em schooing around? You got coaches to the left, players to the right, you're the laughing stock in town!

Friday, January 07, 2011

I *love* this...

As the season wound down, I was wondering whether I wanted to keep up my site - or even maintain my loyalty to the Fins.

Then this happened, and my immediate reaction was "ugh"

But then I realized that you can't write stuff this good.  And no matter what they say tomorrow, it is *not* over (was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)

This will go on into the season.  Especially with a general inability to release players who were already outspoken against Bootin' Bull (Sparano).

Man, this is such good stuff.  "I hope it lasts..." 

Say what?

According to "a source," the announcement tomorrow will be that Sparano has signed a 1-year extension, meaning that he's around for a total of 2 years instead of one.

What does that accomplish, exactly?  It shows no additional faith in him, and he's still (for all intents and purposes) a lame-duck coach.

This is like the dating world: you have a nice looking girlfriend, but at some point you chase a supermodel, and then you tell the gf you're still committed but are still looking for a better option.

How's it feel to be used Cap'n Izzy Firepants?

No surprise, really, as Jim Harbaugh was introduced as the head coach of the 49ers today.

Quoth he:


Its a perfect competitive opportunity; one of the legendary franchises in all of football.

I can feel the enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now. I accept this competitive challenge willingly.

I knew in my heart and my gut the right decision was with the San Francisco 49ers.

It's the process of building a team, being part of a team and leading a team, and working at it.

[Money] wasn't the factor. I like a buck just like the next guy, but I love coaching and I love winning and I love football. The factor that dictated my being here was that Trent and Jed and the 49er organization wanted me to be here and I wanted to be here as much or more than they wanted me. Here I am.

Losing is not an option


From ESPN:
Harbaugh has long admired Walsh and how he made the successful leap from Stanford to the 49ers. Harbaugh knew the man nicknamed "The Genius" for 18 years and once received footwork tips from the coach while playing for the Bears.

While Harbaugh said he had all but made up his mind to accept the 49ers' offer following a meeting of more than six hours that went into Wednesday evening, he took a couple of days to hear out his other suitors and do his "homework" -- and "do some soul searching" as new 49ers general manager Trent Baalke put it.

"I met this man six or seven years ago at a college All-Star game and I fell in love with his energy," Baalke said. "This is the start of a new generation. ... What we have to do is bring back the culture of winning. He's a guy who can lead the 49ers franchise back to where it rightfully belongs."

Harbaugh likely will be grooming a new quarterback in the coming months. Alex Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick out of Utah, becomes a free agent. So, finding a QB is high on the team's to-do list heading into what should be a busy offseason.

"Let me tell you guys out in San Francisco, you got a great one," [brother] John Harbaugh said. "I'm very happy he's not in the AFC. We'll see him once every four years and Super Bowls -- hopefully we could get a couple of those. ... I got a feeling you'll see two pretty similarly built football teams."

-------------------

So, in other words, he knew all along that he was going to the 49ers, and was just stringing the Dolphins along. I think the Broncos (and others) were smart enough to realize that, but not Cap'n Izzy. Nope, he had the man crush and wanted him. So much so that he didn't bother to consider what would happen if he said no.

And the wanker that is Harbaugh used the Fins to drive up his own value - and prove to himself that he really wanted to stay in the Bay area.

Man this really does keep getting better!

And by the way, when the Fins hired Nick Saban, the 49ers hired a guy I thought was *much* better in Mike Nolan. And where is Nolan these days? Oh yeah, he's still with the Fins. Why not give him a shot?

Duh.

They all need nicknames

Tony Sparano = Bootin' Bull
Jeff Ireland = Furious Enigma

And for good measure:
Chad Henne = Bro Montana [edit: Schmoe Montana]

This is becoming more fun all the time. 'Cause they are all bozos, on this bus.

----
Press conference tomorrow to sort this all out. Its a roundtable, we're told. Calliope music optional.

Curiouser and curiouser

Today, Mr. Ross (I have to come up with a nickname for him, this just isn't cutting it! I'm thinking Cap'n Izzy Firepants, which came from GetNicknames.com!)....

Okay so Cap'n Izzy Firepants decided that he might, maybe be keeping Sparano.  Except that he told friends and associates, but not Tony.  And at some point today (we think), they had a talk.  And (we think) Tony laid out his desire to, well, be paid more like the offer that they made to Harbaugh.  So (we think) they set about settling that issue, and (we know) called a press conference for this afternoon.

Then, put off the presser, and then cancelled it.

In the meantime, we hear the (previously good) relationship between Tony and Jeff Ireland has soured.  How could it not?  Carl Peterson is now officially involved in this (in spite of Cap'n Izzy's insistence that he would never be - ha!),  and Jeff used to work for Carl.  And of course Jeff was on the recruiting trip yesterday...

So, Tony appears to be making things harder for Cap'n Izzy.  We think.

And then there was another nugget that came out.  Cap'n Izzy also contact Eric Man-genius about "consulting" with the team.  What the frick does that mean?

Why do I keep saying we think?  Because its all based on stories from people inside who give us the occasional nugget.  Do we hear ANY of this from Cap'n Izzy Firepants?  Of course not.  Why tell the fans or the media anything?  Everything is a big secret!

And that leads me to believe that they're actually concealing a bigger secret out there at the Dolphins facility.  Maybe the Sorcerers Stone, or Jimmy Hoffa, or the missing Zabruder film.  Who knows?  It has to be something, otherwise why would a football team play these stupid games?

I expect to see a clown car any day now pulling up to the team facility - its all a circus anyway.  And that practice bubble is the tent!


And the winner is

Give it up for Nikki our 2010 cheerleader of the year!


Visit Nikki's official page

Congrats to you!

Its been downhill ever since

This once proud franchise has been on a spiral downward for exactly 21 years.

Yes, on January 7, 1990, Joe Robbie passed away - and I contend that's when this mess that we call Dolphins football started.

Sure, Robbie had his ups and downs.  His share of glory moments, and his mistakes.  That's part of being an owner - or running a business.  But overall, the success he had from 1966-1990 was astounding.  And realistically, he left the team in good shape.

So, let's look back and hilight some of the mis-steps that got us to where we are today.  Some are things the Dolphins did, and some are things that merely happened.  But it kind of gives a sense of perspective:

1990: 
  • The Robbie family fights over control, and frankly Tim doesn't quite have the "will" that his father had.  They sell a portion of the team to H Wayne
  • Sammie Smith is drafted (need I say more?)
1991:
  • They lose to Buffalo in the playoffs (to end the '90 campaign)
  • They agree to play an exhibition in Tokyo.  They do beat the Raiders in that game, but its the longest road trip ever
  • Miami loses to the Jets on a last-second field goal and misses out on the playoffs
1992:
  • Charley Winner retires as Miami's pro personnel director (this was key.  He was Shula's right-hand man)
  • Hurricane Andrew devastates, though you couldn't call that a Dolphins mistake.
1993:
  • The fins host the AFC East championship to end the 92 campaign, but lose to the Bills (again)
  • The Fins opened their current training facility.  While it is a good thing, there was a certain austerity about the old facility that made it special.  Now they have a palace.
  • Marino suffers the achillies injury
  • Miami loses to New England during the last week of the season and is eliminated from the playoff contention
1994:
  • H Wayne buys out the Robbies
  • Rick Weaver (*the* voice of the Dolphins) retires
1995:
  • The Fins lose in the playoffs to close out the 94 season; its a loss to the Chargers on a missed field goal
  • Shula decides he'd rather not draft.  Oh wait.  He drafted a bunch of guys who amounted to nothing (Billy Milner ring any bells?)
  • Miami again loses a game in Buffalo in the playoffs
1996:
  • Don Shula "retires"
  • Jimmy Johnson takes over
  • H Wayne signs the deal to name JOE ROBBIE STADIUM "Pro Player Park" 
  • There's contention over the broadcast rights, but it gets worked out.
  • At 8-8, they go nowhere
  • Gary Stevens is yelled at on a team flight by JJ and fired.
1997:
  • The new logo is unveiled.  Unfortunately, they didn't select mine (Flipper with rabies as I called it)
  • TD (the mascot) is introduced (on second thought, maybe this is where it all went downhill)
  • The Dolphins lose to the Patriots to close out the season, and have to travel to New England to play the Patriots as a wildcard.  Any guesses what happened on that day?
  • They hire a new offensive coordinator
1998:
  • This was a quiet year.  Miami beat the Bills in a playoff game, then went on to get hammered by the Broncos
  • They hire a new offensive coordinator
1999:
  • JJ quits, then unquits
  • The Fins hire Wannstache at JJs request
  • The Fins change offensive coordinators again
2000:
  • All hell breaks loose as the Dolphins get - well routed is even a strong enough word - annihilated/embarrassed by the Jaguars 62-7
  • Jimmy quits
  • Dave is promoted
  • Rick Spielman is hired
  • Dan Marino is helped to find the retirement village
  • Hey whaddya know, they hire a new offensive coordinator!
  • H Wayne does something "odd" when he "explores strategic alternatives regarding the financial structure of the Dolphins".  I think this was when it truly turned into a business
  • Jay Fielder?!
  • Miracle in the Meadowlands
  • The Fins make the playoffs, and beat the Colts...
2001:
  • ...only to get clobbered by the Raiders the next week
  • Things are quiet for most of the season.  After all, focus was on the 9/11 and recovery, and sports provides a nice outlet
2002:
  • At the end of the '01 campaign, the fins make the playoffs.  But the stadium is only half full, and they lose to the Ravens.
  • A new OC is hired!
  • They trade for Ricky.  Two firsts and a second!  Wow!
  • There's more contention on the radio front.
  • The Dolphins lose to the Patriots on the last week of the season, and miss the playoffs
2003:
  • The Dolphins wear those awful orange jerseys for the first time (I don't like 'em!)
  • They miss the playoffs again, and the "December swoon" is now being talked about
  • H Wayne chooses to restructure his football operation and there will be a GM and coach
2004:
  • Rick Spielman gets the job as GM
  • There's shuffling of OCs, as one guy gets it, and someone else quits, and someone else takes over.  Now you have a guy who's never really done this job before
  • Marino spends 21 days as the senior VP in charge of nothing.
  • They trade for a QB
  • Ricky Williams quits
  • There's an oddity with Mare hurting himself in warmups, and the Fins having to go to Wes Welker for PATs.
  • Wannstache quits
  • "Master" Jim Bates takes over
  • The Fins miss the playoffs
  • But H Wayne has a plan to bring a big-name to the team.  He flies to the home of Nick Saban and "talks him into" coming to the Fins.
2005:
  • On the business side, H Wayne restructures to, well, make more money
  • Joe Bailey joins the organization (remember him?  Yeah, I didn't think so!)
  • We get another OC!
  • Another QB is brought in
  • Another flap about radio rights
  • Randy Mueller is hired as GM
  • The Fins open the "Gallery of Legends" which is very nice, but based on how bad they've been for the last little while, legends seems long, long before
  • Nick tells everyone what they want to hear publicly, and derides everyone privately. We don't know it yet, but he's a horse's ass.
  • Of course, they miss the playoffs
2006:
  • Another year, another offensive system
  • Nickie has a choice between trading for Daunte Culpepper or signing Drew Brees.  Its obvious how this one would go.
  • But we also get another QB in a trade (Harrington, yipee!)
  • Ricky comes back
  • Another change to the operations, re-aligning the stadium in some way - making it a destination of some sort
  • Nick really doesn't like coaching the pros.  His wife is unhappy, and says as much just after they leave.  He wants to be worshipped, lauded, praised.  Instead, he's a head coach in the pros and is chastised.  He tells us he's not going to Alabama, and then goes to Alabama.
  • Need I mention that there was another miss of the playoffs.
2007:
  • Its time for the epic "Wayne's world tour.  He won't stop until he gets a coach!"
  • He interviews a dozen or so candidates - many of whom have success later in other cities - but decides on Cam
  • He and Mueller are joined at the hip in making decisions or some such nonsense
  • Cam tells us he's gonna fail forward fast
  • And he does
  • He gets Trent Green and Cleo Lemon
  • He gets called out by J Peasy
  • He goes 1-15, and it seems like, well, he doesn't care
  • And there's another radio rights dilemma
  • Cam is fired, Randy Mueller is fired
  • Bill Parcells is hired.  Is this... a ray of hope?
2008:
  • Parcells hires "his guys" in Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland.  And then, he doesn't voluntarily say another word for the remainder of his tenure in Miami.
  • But fans are stoked!
  • They draft an actual QB.  Something that hadn't been done since Marino retired a decade before...and it was someone who was tabbed to start at some point, which hadn't been done since 1983.
  • They trade JT
  • The Fins get Chad Pennington
  • They unveil the wildcat
  • They go 11-5, which is great.  And lose to the Ravens, which isn't so great
  • Side note: I now understand that the reason they went 11-5 instead of 7-9 is because of Pennington.
  • But things are on the upswing, right?
  • Stephen Ross buys a stake in the team
2009:
  • The Dolphins lose Pennington to injury, and in comes Henne
  • JT comes back
  • Stephen Ross buys 95% of the team
  • Parcells is offered an out clause
  • It becomes celebrity city, with all the minority owners, and all the hype.  
  • Jimmy Buffet gets involved and re-writes a pretty good song into a stupid one.
  • There's a crappy auto-tunes song written
  • It suddenly becomes not-at-all about football.  And all about hype.
  • The team struggles to 7-9, and is going nowhere
  • They overuse the wildcat
  • But we still have Bill, and its going to get better!  Right?
2010:
  • JT leaves to go to the Jets
  • A new defense is installed (what?  not a new offense?)
  • They lose on successive night games to the Jets and Patriots in cover-your-eyes awful games
  • The special teams coach gets sacked
  • Somewhere in here, we're told that Parcells is now a "consultant" for the team rather than the VP and he's "upstairs watching film"
  • Only it was a ruse.  The guy quit, and no one wanted to tell us
  • He calls out Henne on national radio - "helllo?"
  • The OC starts playing it really safe, and fans call for his head
  • Chad Henne looks lost, and can't motivate the team
  • Sparano has become a coach that settles for field goals - OMG he's using Wannstache's mustache!
  • The season plods along and you know it won't end well.  
  • 7-9 is the final tally.
2011:
  • And here we are.  Lockout looming.  A coaching search that was a disaster.  Sparano and Ireland are still here. Players calling out coaches
  • It is ugly, and now I think quite funny

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Now what?

2011 is going to be a most interesting year for the phins.  And I'm going to be right here.  MAKING FUN OF IT!!!

Enough with the "we'll get better soon" or whatever nonsense we'll be hearing, and have been hearing for the last decade.

This team is a joke.  We've become the Detroit Lions.  I think the game a few weeks ago where they beat us was the official handoff ceremony - they get to go on the uptick, and we start the downward spiral.

Tony Sparano is now a one-year coach assuming he stays around at all.  Who is going to come here and coach with him given that?  That's right.  No one.  It seems unlikely that he'll land any replacements for OC, or special teams, or anything else for that matter.

And if and when free agency resumes, who will want to come here as a player?  After a bunch of guys bad mouthed the coach, and the coach may not be here?

A lockout is bad news as well: the players are banned from the team facility.  No working out.  No going over game concepts or film.  No installing offenses.  No meetings with coaches. Then when we resume (late summer?  early fall?), we'll still have mostly the same players.  Chad Henne, Ricky, Ronnie, and so on.  Because they won't be able to go anywhere...

And that means when they do take the field, we'll be seeing the same nonsense we saw this season - only worse.  Other teams will have figured us out, and there is bound to be some major dissension in the locker room.  However many games there are, I predict we win no more than 2.

I said it last offseason, they needed to load up to win in 2010.  And now I look like a sage one.  

And the distance grows greater and greater between us and the rest of ... I was gonna just list the Jets and Patriots.... but its the Bills too.  And the rest of the NFL.  

What a wanker

The conclave will convene over the next few weeks to decide on the merits of adding Stephen Ross to the wanker hall of shame.  At this point, he certainly merits consideration.

For today, we will simply call him a wanker!!!

Wow, the way the last 4 days have gone certainly makes him at least that.

[editors note: pictured with Ross are the great peeps from DolfansNYC who are most definitely NOT wankers]

On the bright side

Dan Henning and Tony Sparano sat down yesterday, and decided it was in the team's best interest to part ways.

Henning did clean out his desk, and his leaving has been confirmed.

So there is a ray of hope...

Makes you wonder...

Jeff Ireland was along on the trip, helping out with the interview.

You have to wonder what questions he might have asked.

Maybe he asked about Harbaugh's "family business?"

What the....???

Yesterday, I heard from someone "close to" Stanford football that Harbaugh accepted the offer in principal, and told people at Stanford that he was leaving to coach the Fins.


Then, we heard that Ross left to interview another candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule, and that Andrew Luck was staying in school.  And then, shortly after that, we heard that Denver wanted to interview Harbaugh - and that sources were saying Harbaugh was going to visit Denver on Friday.


Uh-oh.  Late last night, we heard that the deal was dead, and that Ross decided that Sparano was his guy after all, and he retained him.


I really have no idea what happened.  But it absolutely makes the Dolphins a laughing stock.  And two things: (1) who on this team will respect Sparano, now that this has happened, and (2) how can Sparano keep himself motivated to do a good job knowing that he was Miami's 3rd or 4th choice?


We absolutely stink.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sparano

I drove by the dolphins facility. Lots of reporters. And I actually had a sparano sighting *just* as I heard it reported on the radio that harbaugh took the offer.


He walked toward the reporters chomping on gum and said nothing.


I heard an interesting rumor that Ross is working a deal to get sparano another job, possibly in Michigan.

This is rubbing me wrong

Tony Sparano may seem like a bit of a pariah right now. But I have met him and I think he's a decent guy and overall seems like a good coach. He certainly understands the game. I may poke at him from time to time and I'm still on the fence about whether he should be retained as the coach of my team.

But what's happening to him really isn't fair. Yes he's highly paid and this in some ways comes with the job. But to leave him dangling? Come on!

Now we turn to Jim Harbaugh. Maybe he's the next great thing. Maybe he returns this team to greatness. And maybe not. No one knows. But for him to listen to overtures from the dolphins doesn't feel right. It feels wanker-ish. He's essentially interviewing to take someones job.

No as for the owner, well this is the second off-season in a row where there's been behavior that silly. Last year it was JT and Parcells. Now it's this. Mr Ross was the owner in both cases. I have to wonder.

Plus there's this "pesky" Rooney rule that has to be met. Ross has to interview a minority candidate before he can make a hire. Has he done that? Will he?

We are the talk of the NFL and a bit of a laughing stock. Why can't it be about whether we will win in the divisional round next weekend??!!

And one more thing. With Harbaugh - a Michigan guy - and Ross - also a Michigan guy - coupled with the delay to free agency and possibly the draft .... Could that mean that Chad Henne - from michigan! - will (gulp!) be given another shot ?

Gawd I hope not!!!

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K

Did you ever see "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure?"

Bill and Ted meet up with Rufus who takes them to the past, so they can help the future.  They're a couple of dopey teenagers, and as they are sitting and sipping their drinks, Rufus appears in a phone booth.  And the immortal line is uttered as their lives begin to change.

[add oddly, that's the second time I've reference a Keanu Reeves movie this week]

The line also applies to the head coaching situation here in Miami.

Rumor now has it (and its backed by some fact checking) that Stephen Ross has a man crush on Jim Harbaugh.  They had talked earlier, and Harbaugh listened "as a courtesy," at least as we hear it.  Then, yesterday, the 49ers made a pitch to woo him, but it was for less than he *supposedly* wanted.  

Enter Ross, whose plane did fly from NJ to Northern California last night.  He's expected to make money no object in order to land Harbaugh.

It also appears that all other coaches are currently out of the picture.

So it will be Harbaugh, for probably too much money for a new head coach, or Sparano, who has been told clearly that he's not wanted.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Harbaugh rebuffed Ross, and then Sparano simply quit, just because.  And the Dolphins were head-coachless.

Or even better, if Sparano stayed, and then lost the respect of all the players because they all have to be aware of the situation.  He's not wanted, so why play hard?

Sheesh.  Why is this so ridiculously difficult?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Just say NO!

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/fl-broward-stadium-dolphins-20110105,0,5932754.story

The Miami Dolphins want Broward County to share its tourism tax revenue to help pay for a $225 million renovation to its stadium in Miami-Dade.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee has been meeting with area hoteliers, business executives and tourism officials to pitch the idea of rewriting state law to allow Broward to spend its tax money outside the county. The Dolphins argue that Broward has benefited heavily from past Super Bowls at the Miami-Dade venue and that a new stadium would help ensure their return in the future.

Oh come on!  You can't decide on a coach, and Miami-Dade and the state rebuffed your efforts.  What's next?  Raising parking fees to cover it? 

Followup thoughts

Last night, I went back and looked at the stats, and some notes I made about the current team and the one that Cam put out there in 2007. Not at all surprisingly, the stats are similar, and the games were close in both cases.

A bumble here or a tackle there, and either of the teams was 5-11.

So, I took a look at the personnel, and came to the conclusion that while there are 5 players that were on both teams, otherwise the current incarnation is not head and shoulders better than that one. I would argue that you could look at specific plays and wouldn't know which team you were watching.

And that gives me pause. Sparano may be a better motivator, and that's all good, but now his players are calling him out to some degree; and I would wager that *if* he were fired, there'd be a lot more that would say something about him. He has a tendency to back up his thinking with stats "well ya know 80% of the time when teams are in that situation, it ends in whatever so I chose to do whatever..." I can see players getting glassy-eyed over that one when it happens all the time.

And in talking with fans, they want a scapegoat. If Ross tells us Sparano and Ireland will be back, my sense is that they won't be happy. Even with a new OC, QB, and special teams coach. Unless there's a flashy name thrown out there, fans are going to be reluctant to purchase tickets until they see what happens.

Now, I've heard the rumors too: they contacted Bill Cowher, and he wants total control. Then phhhhhffffft. I don't want him. They've contacted Jim Harbuagh - he's the current college coach / sexy pick. Its an intriguing option, and his team just won a big bowl game. But reality says he won exactly one more game as a college coach than Randy Shannon (at the U), and we just ran him out of town! Gruden is not a candidate (thank god!). And there *may* be others.

What does any of this say about Sparano? He's the fall-back guy? You don't have confidence in him? He's your second (or third, or fourth) choice? That doesn't give me a warm fuzzy. And I wonder how it makes him feel. Say your boss just came to you to evaluate your performance and then you heard he was looking for someone to replace you. Would you ever feel the same? Would you work as hard?

How can this end well? I'm not convinced it can.

BTW, here's the flash I did when Wayne hired Cam. :)

a microcosm of the fans view

Mr. Ross comes to the team facility, and meets with Mike Dee, then
apparently talks with Jeff Ireland, and spends some time sitting with
Sparano.

That was on Monday. Ross doesn't say a word. Sparano declines to
comment, other than to say something like "you'll know soon enough."

And that fuels speculation. Will he stay or go? Will his coaching
staff be retained? Is Ross courting another coach?

Who the heck knows?

And isn't that the way its been around here since Parcells took over? Everything is secret. Everything is a surprise.

We just don't know jack. And I suppose that's fine, but I think we
need *something* after two straight of 7-9. We deserve more. The
team went 1-7 at home, and I hear fans grumbling that they don't want
to renew tickets. But maybe there's a ray of hope out there. Or not.

Wouldn't it be nice if Ross just came out and said something like "I
have talked with Ireland and Sparano and it was productive. I'm not
prepared to comment on anything at this time, but I want to be sure
that you, the loyal fans of this team, know that I want what's best
for this team. I want us to win on the field."

That certainly would make me feel a little better.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

End of year report card

As my frustration with the Fins is rather high, I will not be doing an
end-of-year report card.

There is no MVP on this team. No rookies of note. And why bother
telling you who the best offensive and defensive players are (heck
just assume its the guys who went to the probowl).

I have no best game. There are too many to choose from for worst.

So they're 7-9 and need a lot of help.

That says it all.

A followup on Mr. Ross

So he was "in Europe" on Sunday, and couldn't attend the game.

Then on Monday at 1pm, he was spotted at the team facility in Davie, meeting with Sparano and Ireland.

How interesting that he was back the next day.

free agency and the draft

Further complicating things for the Dolphins (and everyone else, to be fair) is no one knows what will happen this offseason.

Typically, the free agency period starts as the new league year starts - right around March 1st. But because there is no CBA, there is no new league year. Everything goes on hold as of March 4th. The CBA dictates who is a free agent, whether a player is eligible to become a free agent after his 4th, 5th, or 6th year in the league, who is restricted, what the "franchise" tag means, and so on.

So it may turn out that Paul Soliai is not an impending free-agent, or maybe he is. But that's up to the CBA, which hasn't been written yet.

And Ronnie and Ricky won't have anywhere to go right now, because no team can sign a player to a contract without a CBA in place.

In theory, that would mean that the free-agency period would have to happen after the CBA is ratified. And it seems unlikely that this will happen before the draft. So (again theoretically) that would mean that the draft would be held first.

Now, as I've detailed previously the NFL plans to hold the draft, regardless of whether there's a CBA. But there is always the chance that a rogue owner could break ranks, and wind up 'selecting' a player out of order, or a player could seek a court remedy to go where they want to go.

And the same could likely be said of the end of the league year. If a player is not under contract with team A, why couldn't the owner of team B go ahead and sign a personal services contract with the player? And what's to stop a player from suing to be able to move, under a restraint of trade or something?

So Miami's options for change at QB - or anywhere else - will be limited. I stand by my belief that the team you see now is more or less the one you will see take the field on opening day - whenever that may be. And that's because there won't be a draft or free agency until a deal gets done. And a deal won't get done until around the time the next season starts.

I guess we'll see...

mediocrity

Being mediocre in the NFL is tough.

I think there are three groups of teams in the NFL.

Some teams are at the top of their game, and manage to stay there for long periods of time because they build a culture of winning, have good coaching, and good QB play, and often have a little luck go their way.

Some teams are just plain bad, and lose a lot. But they have the luxury of a few early draft picks, often have some cap space and can lure some free agents, and coaching changes happen. And sometimes that's enough to propel them to another group.

And last is the mediocre group. These are the teams that go 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 year after year. They don't get the big name draft picks. They overspend in free agency. They don't usually get coaching changes - and when they do new coaches tend to want to rebuild. Luck never quite seems to go their way. And that culture of winning seems nearby but is surprisingly elusive. You'll hear comments like "if only we had x happen in this game, we might have made the playoffs."

The problem is that once you enter the mediocre group its tough to get out. Teams spend decades there wallowing until they get one break that changes their fortunes. It may be for the better, or could be for the worse.

Look around the league. Miami was in the elite group for many years. Now they're in the mediocre group. Its going to take some lucky break to free them. I don't have a clue what that will be, but it has to happen sometime...you hope.

Coaching change

Jerry Jones was right: no coach has ever had success when changing teams - no one has ever won a championship in one city, and then gone on to coach a championship team in another.

Some have come close, but no one has ever done it. Not Shula, Parcells, JJ, or anyone else.

So when you feel the desire to bring in a Jon Gruden or a Bill Cowher because "they've had a history of winning" remember that history has a way of repeating itself in the NFL, and they are unlikely to have success here or anywhere.

Plus this: when you hire an uber coach, you cede power to him. He buys the groceries and cooks the meal. He's the GM and coach, and therefore he has control. The current NFL makes that really hard, and there's no one there to help balance the equation. Its all about ego, and its hard to have success that way.

Monday, January 03, 2011

If I were Stephen Ross for the day

I would challenge Sparano and Ireland. Come to me on Wednesday
morning, 9am, my office and bring me your plan.


Tell me what you plan to do to bring fans back. Tell me your plans
for the QB, for the coaching staff, for free agency and the draft.


And then take a look at it. If its not written down, or its on a
cocktail napkin, then hit the button on their seat (like Dr Evil) to
dump them out of the room. If it looks comprehensive and well thought
out, tell them you want to study it; and then review it with a friend
in the biz. If it is decent, they get another shot. If not, they're
gone.


I think a couple of things are important. Changes are needed in the
coaching staff. There has to be a plan for the QB. And the franchise
has to be more public. Football is about the game, and yet its not.
Its about the hype, and Miami has none of that on the field. Players
don't talk usually. Assistant coaches only talk occasionally. There
needs to be more press conferences with a little hooplah. There needs
to be less secrecy and closed door kind of stuff. I don't think it
needs to go to a Rex Ryan extreme, but there needs to feel like
there's some accountability by the players, and it needs to look like
everyone is having some fun, and not just towing the line.


If Sparano and Ireland are okay with that, then fine. If not, buh-bye.

What does he expect from me, as a fan?

Stephen Ross was not at the game in Foxborough yesterday. He was
travelling in Europe. And I think he missed about 4 games this year
(all road games, I think ?)

So, if he doesn't show up for that debacle, how can he evaluate
Sparano's performance in it? And more importantly, if he doesn't come
to his own team's games, why should you or I?

Heck, he gets in for free, has food provided and doesn't have to stand
in line to pee.

Wanker of the year

Any guesses as to who wins this distinction? He's #7 on the field,
but plays like #2....he's Chad Henne!

My problem with Chad is that he doesn't behave like a leader. I was
watching "the Replacements" the other day. A somewhat silly movie to
be sure, but there's a scene where coach Gene Hackman sends in a play
for QB Keanu Reeves to win a game; Reeves' character checks off, and
they wind up losing. Hackman says something to him like "great
leaders want the ball in their hands and win the game!"

And while its trite, it sends the right message. You, Chad, have to
win games, and not lose them.

Okay so maybe he's coached to check down, and to not throw it long.
But he's supposed to be the leader on the field. You ignore that and
try to actually win the game. Always. Can you imagine Tom Brady,
Peyton Manning, or really any great QB listening to a coach telling
him to check down?

And then there's the lack of "hustle"....how many times did we see a
2-minute drill where he non-challantly walked up to the line and took
his time. Where was the urgency?

And overall where was the fire? You see Peyton on the sidelines
yelling at people. You see Brady with a fire in his eyes. You see
Brees out there inspiring everyone and leading the huddle and the
chant before the game. You don't see any of that with Henne.

So that, coupled with his play, and you can make the case for him
being wanker of the year.

Sure, the playcalling was bad. Who would have EVER thought that when
you have Ricky and Ronnie in the backfield that you'd have the QB
attempt more passes than Dan Marino in a single game - several times?

Ugh. So Chad, you are my wanker of the year. You can pick up your
award at the bus station - along with your ticket out of town.
Goodbye and good luck.

Thanks and a Look Ahead



I got a note from the commish which I wanted to share

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Roger Goodell" <NFL@email.nfl.com>
Date: January 3, 2011 10:47:39 AM EST
Subject:
Thanks and a Look Ahead
Reply-To: "Roger Goodell" <NFL.GE7G2V.3594@email.nfl.com>

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National Football League

With one of the most exciting regular seasons now completed and the playoffs about to begin, let me first thank you and all NFL fans for your incredible support. Many fans have been asking me where we stand on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Let me update you and be clear at the outset:

I know we can and will reach an agreement.

My goal as Commissioner now is to help our teams and players find a solution that is fair to everyone and ensures that football becomes more popular, accessible, and fun. We want the next decade to be the best yet for our fans, and I'm ready to work day and night to make that happen.

We've come a long way. Compare where we are today with 10 years ago. From player accountability to player safety, more and better television coverage, upgrading the in-stadium experience, innovations like the RedZone channel, the Draft in prime time and playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, we are focused on doing what's best for the players, teams, and fans. My priority is and always will be the game and the fans who love our game.

The NFL is great because fans care deeply about it. Economic conditions, however, have changed dramatically inside and outside the NFL since 2006 when we negotiated the last CBA. A 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all. Fans have limited budgets and rightly want the most for their money. I get it.

Yes, NFL players deserve to be paid well. Unfortunately, economic realities are forcing everyone to make tough choices and the NFL is no different.

These are not easy negotiations, but the outcome can be positive. If both sides give a little, everyone, including fans, will get a lot and the game will improve through innovation.

Even in difficult economic times, a new CBA presents us with the opportunity to secure the future of our game. You may ask how will the NFL look under this vision?

A significant change would be to resolve fan complaints about preseason by modifying our 20-game format. Fans tell us they don't like the quality of the preseason games, and we're listening. An enhanced season of 18 regular season and two preseason games would not add a single game for the players collectively, but would give fans more meaningful, high-quality football.

Our emphasis on player health and safety is absolutely essential to the future of our game. We are strictly enforcing rules that protect players from unnecessarily dangerous play, especially involving hits to the head. We are changing the "play through it" culture to a "player-first" culture to ensure that if a player has a head injury, he doesn't play again until his health is certain. We are also addressing the potential wear-and-tear on players in the way they train in-season and off-season.

It's not just the health of players that concerns us. We must ensure the health of the league. That includes a new system that properly compensates proven veterans and retired players by shifting some of the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies. Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated published a list of the 50 highest-paid American athletes that included five 2009 NFL rookies. Every other athlete on the list was a proven veteran. In 2009, NFL clubs contracted $1.2 billion to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed before they had stepped on an NFL field.

Don't get me wrong: top draft choices will continue to be highly paid. All we're asking for is a return to common sense in paying our rookies. Other leagues have done this and we can too.

These improvements and more will lead to better football, plain and simple. A forward looking CBA that is fair to players and clubs will lead to a great future for the NFL and our fans.

My job is to represent the game — the fans, teams, players, coaches and business partners. Protecting the integrity of the game and ensuring it thrives is a responsibility I take very seriously.

This is about more than a labor agreement. It's about the future of the NFL. We have to improve and will be relentless in our quest. The commitment to our fans is to make the NFL experience even better in the years ahead. With a responsible CBA, we will fulfill that vision.

Happy New Year and enjoy the playoffs.

 

– Roger Goodell



Roger Goodell - Commissioner

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

This week's podcast

I'm trying something new this week, and will be doing a video cast at
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bitchindave starting in a few minutes.

There will be a recorded version, so no need to bring a note if you're late.

Cheers!

Playoffs

With the absurdity of the Seahawks making the playoffs with a losing
record, lets consider what might have happened if this were a seeded
tournament. The 12-team field would look like this:
(1) Pats 14-2
(2) Falcons 13-3
(3)Steelers 12-4
(4)Ravens 12-4
(5)Bears 11-5
(6)Saints 11-5
(7)Jets 11-5
(8)Colts 10-6
(9)KC 10-6
(10)Eagles 10-6
(11)Packers 10-6
(12)Giants 10-6
and the Bucs (I assume) would just miss out, also at 10-6

The top 4 would get the byes, meaning this weekend, we'd have:
Bears-Giants
Saints-Packers
Jets-Eagles
Colts-Chiefs

A couple of thoughts about the last week

  • The dolphins became irrelevant about the same time that the heat starting winning

  • Chad Henne has not truly *won* a game for miami - you know a game where you put the ball in his hands and he gets you that win. He had two very good games last year, at home against the Patriots and Jets, and you could argue that he led the team in those game. But I wouldn't say that he took over the game with his play the way you see the great QBs do. It was more a team effort in both cases. Meanwhile, he has arguably "lost" a half dozen games - where he made the critical mistake that cost them the game. And with an overall losing record, more interceptions than TDs, that's evidence enough of his poor performance.

  • The comment last week that the "the pick wasn't his fault" is baloney and its irrelvant. If you have to make excuses every week, then the wrong guy is your qb.

  • Channing Crowder said of fans that booed at home
    [They are] fair weather fans. Real fans keep cheering. I saw fans keep cheering…. That’s their decision, but it’s silly. They are fair weather fans. If you cheer when times are going good and boo when times are going bad we don’t really need you as fans any way. They get mad and want to get their point across. But booing a player out there trying his best? I try not to curse, but it is what it is.We got to win more games at home when you’re in front of your fans. We want to win. It’s not like we’re going out there saying let us not win at home. But it is what it is.”

    Uhhh, yeah 1-7 at home will do that to people. I don't boo, but after a couple of those lousy performances, I've encouraged it.

  • Brandon Marshall said last week he's "not sure" if he and Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne can become a great combination in 2011.
    "We had some opportunities this year to get it done and we didn't do that. I guess we have to evaluate what we've done this year and see where we can improve and see if we can become good before we can become great."

    He also declined to say much about Dan Henning "I don't make those decisions" and said of Tony Sparano: "Awesome"...then added "I don't care if there's one guy on me or two guys on me. There's no excuse for that. Just got to take advantage of what I'm blessed with, my body and my ability."

  • The NFL fined the Jets fined $100k for the dumbass play where the guy tripped Nolan Carroll. And by the way, the Jets backed into the playoffs by losing 2 of 3.

  • Jake Long made the probowl and thus gets his big payday. Cam Wake also made it and will be taking Channing Crowder with him to the game as a buddy/promoter/bodyguard.

  • Some guys can coach. I watched Butch Davis at UNC the other night. He was aggressive, never quits, and wins. When they got the one second back on the clock, you knew his team was not going to lose. That's the kind of guy I want coaching my team!

  • Bill Parcells is making $4mil from the fins this year *and* next, and is reportedly consulting with the 49ers in their search for a GM. Doesn't this guy even have a conscience? I know he's not technically breaking any rules, but it sure seems to me that he's violating the spirit of tampering / non-compete. What a wanker. I'm sure he'll find a way to screw them up, too. Its all about ego with him.

  • Its the 10th Anniversary of the Dolphins last playoff win! Lets celebrate. Remember that game? No, probably not. Lamar Smith ran 17 yards in overtime for the winning touchdown against Indianapolis, as a part of a 40-209 day. The Fins have been to the playoffs twice since, losing to baltimore in 2001 and 2008.

  • Sad to see that the FIU Panthers are the best football team in Miami, isn't it? At least they play with some pride. That makes the Dolphins the 3rd best team in the NFL in Florida, and arguably tied for the 8th best football team in the state (behind all the other colleges, and tied with the U). And speaking of that, how bad is Miami sports - other than the Heat? They all suck and lose a lot of games.

  • A Boston Globe story started
    "It’s here at last. After six days of speculation and analysis, the Patriots finally play football today in a game that means . . . absolutely nothing.If you were at Gillette Stadium for Patriots-Rams on Thursday night, Aug. 26, you’ll probably be in Foxborough again today. Just because.

    Bill Belichick is obligated, of course, to talk about how this is a “division game.’’ He can say that with a straight face because Miami is in the AFC East and that makes this a division game.

    But we all know the object of today’s game is “do not get hurt.’’ And that makes for little drama. It’s Aug. 26 all over again.?"


  • John Elway was named executive vice president of the Broncos last week, joining Dan Marino as QBs from the class of '83 to hold that title. I wonder if Elway will break Marino's record and hold the job for 22 days?

  • You could have predicted these two outcomes: (1) Cam Wake was overtaken for the NFL sack lead, so he winds up second on the year to Hali in KC. And that's because he didn't have a sack in the last 3 and a half games. After getting 14 through the first 12.5 games, he came up empty against the Jets, Lions, Bills, and naturally the Patriots. And (2) it figures that Jason Allen - who hasn't been with the team since mid-season - led the team in interceptions. That's pathetic.

  • As I suggested, I watched *none* of the debacle in Foxborough. I only read about it afterward. Y'know, I'm much better off not having watched it.