I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert Friday morning. No, seriously.
As a way of unveiling the new name and logo for Landshark Stadium, the one formerly known as Dolphins, then Joe Robbie, then Pro Player, then Dolphins again, then Dolphin Stadium, new owner Stephen Ross is enlisting the help of his friend Jimmy Buffett.
Buffett, who has been invited to join the Dolphins as a minority owner but has not committed, performed three songs at the venue before invited media and serveral "VIP" guests that included men in hula skirts, people wearing fake parrots as headgear, and yes, even makeup. It was quite a scene with Dolphins great Kim Bokamper and Dolphins mediocre Joe Rose dancing with one another as if drunk and in love.
The new logo is a fin rising out of a depiction of the stadium.
As I told you first in a post about three weeks ago, Ross wants to glamorize Dolphins games. He wants people to think of game day as an event that transcends football. He wants to make Landshark Stadium the place to be on home game Sundays in the fall and winter. And to do that, in part, he intends to attract and invite A-B-C- and D-listers to the games as well as athletes and celebrities from other sports.
The only "celebrity" at the venue Friday, aside from former Miami players, was former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning.
Ross intends to institute a
red aqua orange carpet so paparazzi can get their shots of the so-called stars before they parade around the field prior to the game, then head behind the windows of their private suites. (Yeah, you didn't think Paris Hilton was going to sit in the stands did you?)
So why am I telling you this?
Because it is freaking, fracking fascinating when you consider that the new owner is trying to turn the business side of the organization into something of a showcase while the guy running the football operation loves collecting lunch pail players and fielding a blue collar team.
It is a startling contrast of approaches within the same organization.
Ross wants the beautiful people to come out to his games. He wants stars and glitz. He wants the Dolphins organization to represent and embody South Florida, Miami, and South Beach with all its diversity and flavors and attractions.
Bill Parcells wants a team made of players that make a living behind facemasks and are happy staying relatively anonymous. Did you see the Parcells video a couple of posts ago on this blog? He warns his quarterback against being "a celebrity quarterback."
"We don't need any of those," Parcells admonishes.
And I know he pretty much feels the same way about running backs, and tight ends and defensive ends and safeties and every other position on the field. Parcells would rather his players not write books and not appear on reality or interview shows. He'd be fine with a namelss, faceless band that just thinks, eats and breathes football.
So you have the juxtaposition of those two different approaches within the same organization -- one on the business and marketing end, the other on the football side. And I would tell you neither is wrong. But neither is completely right.
Let's face it, the reason people want to buy tickets is to see their team win. And the stars that really attract fans are usually in the game. Sure, it would be cool to go to a football game and, by chance, see Jennifer Aniston walking to her suite. But that experience would not be worth a nickel if you're walking out of the stadium later unhappy because your team hasn't enough firepower to beat great opponents.
So the hope is the Dolphins soon find some bigtime stars on the football roster. While the stars in sunglasses and walking with entourages don't get in the way of the real show.
[BLOG NOTE: I saw former receiver Nat Moore and safety Shawn Wooden at the event today. We talked for a while and out of those conversations I will tell you on this blog on Saturday the importance of veteran leadership and how a lack of that hurt John Beck and continues to hurt Ted Ginn Jr. So check back Saturday for that insight from two men worthy of respect.]