I left watching this year’s NFL draft feeling great about the direction the organization is headed. Miami made some selections both great and solid, and positioned themselves well. I never thought I would be at peace with losing Davone Bess, but with the moves that they’ve been making, it makes too much sense. I like the direction that the organization is taking on the whole, with both Ireland and Philbin, and I give credit to Ross for that.
I fully expected to be writing an article right now about the positive direction, but then something else came acrossed my screen, and quite frankly it upset me. A lot.
Stephen Ross went on the Dan Le Batard show Friday afternoon, and referenced how the organization is running the best it has since the Don Shula era. The Don Shula era in Miami, through it’s ups and downs, was about class. Through it’s highs and lows, the Shula era was dripping with CLASS. In watching the moves lately, I do agree with Mr Ross in that the organization is in the best shape it has been in since Shula left. UnfortunatelyIn the same breath Mr Ross mentioned that he felt this was the case, however, he made a statement that quite frankly went up my <expletive deleted> sideways.
Ross turned around and pointed a finger squarely at Tony Sparano as being what damaged the whole organization. Sparano was never Ross’s guy. Ross made that clear when he committed a football “no-no” in sneaking off in the public eye and interviewing a potential replacement for Sparano, making Tony look foolish in the public eye.
I’m not saying that Tony was perfect as the Dolphins head coach, I don’t think that you can point at any head coach in the NFL and say they were or are– From the Cowhers to the Shulas to the JJ’s…no one is. Tony had a tough year in the final year of his contract. In his final year, Tony lost a number of close games after a gigantic turnover of the roster, starting the year at 0-7 and after attempting to start Henne at quarterback with a number of large gaps on the roster. At the point that he was fired, he had turned the team around to 4-9, and had them becoming one of the scariest teams to face at the time, despite their record. The Dolphins roster finally pulled together, and that was a credit to Tony and the way he revamped his approach and coaching style, and everything else necessary to make a difference and start getting the players to go out and have fun and turn the season around.
If Ross wants to point the finger at Tony being upset about Ross going out and courting Jim Harbaugh, you know what? He was right to be upset about that. You know what else? Bringing this up, bashing Sparano unnecessarily, shows a distinct lack of class and THIS fan finds it very upsetting, tactless and classless. What point does it serve? So he wasn’t your guy, Mr Ross, but the key here is to move on once you let him go. To revisit that and chastise him publicly two years later for his reaction to something that YOU did, well, it isn’t right.
I’d go one step further and if you want to point to that instance as what fractured the organization, you should point the finger squarely at yourself. You’re the one who went out and undermined Coach Sparano, which started any fracture that you’re referring to. Tony did what he could to pull the team together that year and prevent your mistakes and public undermining from affecting the players.
If you want to point at things that fractured the organization, I can provide you with a long list – and Tony Sparano is NOT on it… and while you have played a big part in righting the ship in the organization, you’re early actions are on the list of what fractured things around here.
Don’t throw stones in glass houses, Mr Ross, and if you want to refer to the environment now in the same breath as the Don Shula era in Miami, please be sure to look at the class with which things were handled back then. It’s a cheap shot, it’s a low blow, and you NEED to be better than that. We need you to be better than that.