Stephen Ross needs to move from New York to South Florida or should sell the Miami Dolphins, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio in an article penned this morning. His words are italicized while mine or not.
… he’s an absentee landlord, the cat who is always away while the mice are fighting among themselves. The hiring of Dan Marino to essentially babysit the front office and then of Mike Tannenbaum to oversee it hasn’t changed anything yet. There’s a good chance nothing will change it until the owner: (1) moves to Miami; and (2) shows up at the facility every day.
Isn’t the real issue here — if we must blame the owner — Ross’ failure in finding his Pat Riley, his Bill Belichick, to build the foundation of a successful organization and sustain it? A great NFL owner accomplishes three things: (1) The checkbook is always open; (2) The right football czar is found (3) NO meddling.
These rules of thumb can actually be applied to any professional sports owner or big-business CEO. Ross checks off the first and third boxes but not the second, swinging and missing with the Bill Parcells/Jeff Ireland regime and thus far failing with Mike Tannenbaum and Dennis Hickey.
Jeffrey Loria leaves all three boxes unchecked. Why? Because he’s a lousy owner with no business owning a franchise. Do you think Loria’s overbearing presence is anything more than an irritating mosquito constantly buzzing around players and management?
Here’s an unmistakable truth regarding the modern NFL: Owners who live and work in the cities where their teams are located love competing against owners who don’t. That alone should be enough to get Ross to load up the truck and move to Hy-a-lee. (Ah.)
Is Ross living in Miami going to suddenly shift this slop into a winning culture? Is it going to make Robert Kraft and the Patriots suddenly bend over in fear? People hate attributing luck to success in sports — and life — but the reality is the NFL leans on luck more than any other professional team sport.
It takes luck in finding a czar capable of injecting a franchise with an inherent advantage. You don’t think every NBA owner wants the next Pat Riley or Gregg Popovich running things? For the new-age NFL, this mission is murkier with one common denominator: Those depicted as smart presidents and general managers always happen to have that special, transcendent quarterback behind them, increasing the team’s margin for error. Landing said QB requires lots of LUCK and it requires luck nearly all of the time. If the Patriots knew what they had in Tom Brady before they drafted him, they wouldn’t have waited until the SIXTH ROUND to pull the trigger on the best quarterback of his era. The same goes for Aaron Rodgers getting drafted late in the first round.
It’s not Ross’ fault Ryan Tannehill isn’t a prodigy. It isn’t Jeff Ireland’s either. The major fault in the Dolphins’ process in scouring the earth for a special quarterback has nothing to do with the owner, just the philosophy. If I’m an NFL GM, I’m drafting a quarterback within the first three rounds every single year, regardless of who lines up under center. Why not increase your probability of finding a rare talent at the game’s most valuable position? Who gives a shit if it will make your incumbent starter unhappy? Competition breeds greatness and unveils weakness.
Florio won’t acknowledge luck, just the fact Ross lives in New York.
“It’s impossible for a billionaire who built a billion-dollar real-estate business that he still runs in New York to treat his billion-dollar sports acquisition as a casual investment or a hobby. The players, the coaches, the front office, and the fans of every NFL team deserve an owner who is all in.”
Again, all an owner can do is be all-in financially, find the right person to run things, and get the hell out of the way. Ross’ physical presence isn’t the issue.
Finding the right football czar and lucking into (and searching for) the right quarterback are what has plagued this sinking franchise. Not where Stephen Ross calls home.
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