Miami Dolphins

Dolphins are hard sell for coaches due to ownership

The Miami Dolphins need a new head coach again. Getting one they really want is complicated thanks to the ownership of Stephen Ross.

There is growing concern in the NFL agent community that Miami owner Stephen Ross simply doesn’t know what he’s doing with the Dolphins.

Ross bought the team in 2008. In the decade since, they’ve employed five different head coaches, including two on an interim basis. They are currently searching for their sixth. Through it all there is only one common thread: Ross.

A franchise in Miami should have the pick of the proverbial litter. The weather and lifestyle are  fabulous. The restaurants are diverse and delicious. The free agents will flock to both the city and the money pouring out of Ross’ pockets, not to mention the lack of a state income tax.

Yet getting a name head coach to Miami has been a chore. Ross went hard after Jim Harbaugh in 2011, appealing to the fact both are University of Michigan men. Harbaugh was a great quarterback there once, while Ross has the School of Business named after him. Harbaugh went to San Francisco instead.

Of all the Dolphins’ head coaches under Ross, none have had previous experience. This isn’t by design in some cases but more necessity.

League sources describe Ross as an absentee owner, with his biggest problem being indecision. The advisor list over the years is long, ranging from Bill Parcells, Nat Moore and Dan Marino to Mike Tannenbaum and Carl Peterson. Instead of grooming an in-house operation, Ross has relied on people looking to remain relevant. It has been a mess.

Currently, the Dolphins want to trade for John Harbaugh with the Ravens’ season now concluded. Baltimore is willing to engage in talks, but with the Broncos also looming as a potential trade partner, Miami could become far less appealing. Money always speaks loudest in the end, but Harbaugh could decide to force his way to Denver or simply decide to stay in Baltimore on his current contract or an extension.

In essence, Harbaugh has to be comfortable enough to sign a long-term pact with Ross. If he isn’t willing to do so, there’s no reason for Miami to pursue a deal.

For years, Miami has received a national pass for its ineptitude. Cleveland, Oakland and Detroit have all been the butt of jokes, but the Dolphins remain invisible to biting criticism outside of South Florida. Unfortunately for Ross, the league has caught on to the problem plaguing his floundering franchise.


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