Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What a freakin' disaster

I'm not talking about last night's game, or the current scandal about the team.

Nope, I'm talking bigger picture here.  In what will be an 11-year span, Miami will have gone through an astonishing 7 head coaches, once Mr. Philbin cleans out his desk.  And in that same span, since 2003 (Wannstedt's last season), Miami has had two winning seasons (9-7 in 2005, and 11-5 in the weird 2008 season).

In that same span, they have averaged 6 wins a seasons.  And more telling, 5 times (!) they had a top 10 draft pick.  That means that, well, they can now be considered historically bad.  An 11-year span is a lifetime, and you can't deny there is no upside right now.

A new coach and a new GM means that there will be roster churn again.  Tannehill is probably done (new coaches like to have *their* qbs play).  And the team is 3 years away yet again.  That effectively means it would be 15 years would have elapsed since they were actually thought of as relevant....wow....

On the topic of this whole scandal, it seems a certainty that Ross will clean house. When he uses words like he did in the interview.  When he stands on the sidelines with a forced smile.  When Ireland gives a fake smile.  When Philbin looks bewildered.  You know its time.  I think he just wants to see what the report says, so he can take steps to correct it.  Its window dressing to hire Shula, Marino, Dungy, and Curtis Martin to look at locker room culture.  If you plan to fire these guys anyway, what real purpose does that serve?

I have wondered for some time now how an owner can be involved with his team when he's not usually around the team (his residence is in NY, and he's down here only sometimes), and I guess his faith in Ireland may have been misplaced, since he more or less let him run the team.

It would be easy to think Ross might simply move the team and start fresh, rather than try and rebuild their image here.   As I mentioned before, the debt load Ross carries on the stadium will make that impossible - he owes $100s of millions in low and no-interest loans.

But GoFins4SB makes an interesting point.  Ross owns the stadium, and the debt load is low interest loans.  Supposing that he simply leased the stadium to the Hurricanes, local sports teams, and the new soccer club that wants to call Miami home (that Beckham will be a partner in).  Maybe a few other events....Could he make enough on that to cover his expenses there, and slowly pay off the loans so he could ultimately sell the stadium?  Or maybe sell the stadium to someone else with the same idea in mind?

Then he's free to cut his ties and move the team and start fresh.

He's not getting the stadium improvement money.  He's not putting fans in seats.  And now he has to overcome this nonsense and there are going to be fewer season tickets based on a promise that one day, maybe, this team will be good....

I once enjoyed watching this team.  And last night, I watched the game, but not because I was a fan.  Rather, it was the Monday Night game, and that's always been on in my house - its just tradition.  I think this might be the 4th game I've seen part of, and with the exception of the Bills game that I attended (but mainly watched on TV from the club level), all of them were the national games.  Its not must-see, and now it's pretty much assured it NEVER will be again.

The thing that I realized was that I wanted to be a fan. I really did.  But the team, the ownership, the way they have hired, and they silly way they've handled themselves has done them in.  Plus, they're competing with the Sunday ticket and NFL Red Zone.  I don't have to watch a team play anymore.  I can watch interesting games and matchups. And the cost of going to a game and tailgating - while fun - got to be too great to make that worthwhile.

So good luck Dolphins.  I can't be alone in thinking they are now irrelevant.

As for the actual scandal and controversy?  Well, I have to believe the NFL will take it seriously.  I suspect that each team will have an internal "compliance officer" and the NFL will dispatch people to randomly audit what's going on.  The culture will continue to change.  The days of the machismo NFL locker room are gone.


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9 comments

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I have to look at this game last night and place most of the blame on the coaching staff. Sure there were a few bonehead penalties but both coordinators game plans should be flushed down the toilet. The offense, as usual made predictable calls - did not keep the extra protection in and refused to use the backs correctly. Stretch plays? - how about short dumps, how about keeping Wallace close and using Hartline to stretch the field? Same crap, Sherman needs to be fired today. And why don't the Dolphins use Starks and Soliai together all the time. Odrick is out there to much. Cycle him back to Wakes side - because Wake was not in there enough. This gap style is killing us against the run. As far as the team goes - see if Marty will come in and finish the season for us, I usually think it's crazy to clean house but the longer you give this staff to prepare, the worst the result, I thought coaching would be a strength, I was wrong.

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We were not relevant 11 years ago - we have not been relevant in 20 years - in the early 90's when Marino came back from achilles surgury. Mediocrity has been our weekly and annual staples because of complete lack of commitment to making this team relevant. I have been a fan since 1972.

I will be crushed when the Dolphins leave Miami - which I predict is now on the table.

I will resign my fanship for any team in any sport forever if this happens - and I will certainly never care about another Dolphin game in my life if this happens. I will gladly savior my memories of a once proud and heroic franchise. I will remember Shula in his glory days making every effort to make every game competitive - even when he was out manned.

Last night something snapped in me! And I imagine a lot of dolphin fans everywhere!!!

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Wannstedt won 43 games in 4 seasons with Fiedler and nobody was happy.
Be careful what you wish for.

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Hi David:
Excellent article. You have clearly written exactly what I am feeling right now. I have been a serious Dolphins fan since the early 70's. What really pisses me off is that I really want to call them my team. I love the idea that I can say that I have stuck with a team through thick and thin through all these years. That to me is being a "fan". However even for a die-hard fan like me I have to say that enough is enough. It is not one thing in particular but rather the culture of this team for so many years that is so frustrating. The most difficult thing for me now is deciding what other team will fill my need to belong to a team.

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Carl - that's a great point. And he was always "close"....funny that now we long for those days....

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Are you serious? I am bummed too but cycling the coaches isn't the answer. This knee jerk fan reaction is what sent this franchise into continuous turmoil. Everyone wanted JJ and we let go of Shula. You saw how that worked out. Then Wannstadt and the rest of the circus. Give things time. Lose the impatience. This is a young young team and if ownership listens to bonehead fans we will cycle the team every three years.

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The issue isn't what's happening on the field. This coach maybe, possibly, might have worked out. But the off the field stuff is the bigger issue. And for that reason, he will be gone. Its not knee-jerk, this is bigger than football.

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One more thought: Ross may be convening his "committee" for the specific reason of determining whether the coach can be saved. Is there anything that can be salvaged from this? Or is he too deeply involved? Or is he even the right guy? Remember, Ireland hired him - Ross needs to ask others with football knowledge for their take.

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Ain't it Dave