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Ross to consider many things, including $$$$$

The Miami Dolphins are not a disaster. Let's get that clear right from the top.

The team was a disaster three years ago when Bill Parcells was hired and he, in turn, hired general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano. In the last three years, Miami hasn't won a championship, but neither has is it become a stagnant organization.

The Dolphins are probably four or five starters from being a Super Bowl contender -- a quarterback, a running back, someone in the defensive backfield that is a dynamic playmaker, a speed receiver, and probably a really good interior offensive lineman.

[UPDATE: Some of you are noting that four or five starters is a lot to ask. Really? Miami's defense this year has a new NT, SOLB, MILB, WOLB, and FS. It would be five new starters if first round pick Jared Odrick had not been injured, which would have put him at RDE and Starks a first-time starter at NT. And the defense went from tied for 25th in the NFL in points allowed to tied for No. 9 currently. Miami's offense is 29th in the NFL in points scored now.]

It is against that backdrop that owner Stephen Ross will decide in the next couple of weeks whether to retain Ireland and Sparano or cut ties and search for a "star" head coach. A "star" coach, by the way, almost certainly comes with his own choice for a general manager, which is why Ireland is in play in this scenario, and his own staff.

Ross would fire Sparano only if he believes he can improve the situation with that star coach, I'm told by one person familiar with the owner's thinking.


Because, at its roots, this decision on a coach is a money decision. Ross hates losing, which is good reason enough, but beyond that, he is bitterly disappointed his grand plan to make Dolphins home games an experience and an event has been spoiled by the fact Miami finished 1-7 at home this year.

It doesn't matter how many concerts, celebrities and face-painters you have at the stadium on game days if the team on the field doesn't win. Fans cannot go home happy without victories. And those that go home frustrated, upset and angry are apt not to come back.

Beyond that, the fans Ross wants to attract who now have reasons to stay away are likely to continue finding other activities to fill their game days.

So Ross is apparently under pressure from within his own circle to make a change.

Those people are telling Ross that a star coach will reinvigorate the fan base, increase season ticket sales, and ultimately help Miami win. Notice the order I just gave you. Some of the business-marketing-partnership people talking to Ross see the business side of changing a coach first and the on-field result as almost secondary.

Money is first in their minds.

So, again, money is a major variable in this coming decision. Well, here's a money matter Ross should weigh before he makes his decision:

If he fires Sparano and brings in a "star" coach who then brings his own general manager type, the cost is going to be exceptional. Ross will be on the hook for paying the final year of Sparano's contract (approximately $3 million), he'll be on the hook for Ireland (approximately $2 million), he'll be on the hook for Bill Parcells ($4 million), he'll be on the hook for assistants (including Mike Nolan), and he hasn't even started paying the folks that will be actually working for him.

Ross will have to pay that "star" coach and that will cost approximately $6-$8 million. He'll have to pay for the new GM, which will be another $2 million or so, and of course, he'll be paying for a new coaching staff while stay paying off the contracts of the assistants still under contract that the new coach does not retain.

Do the math. Changing administrations could cost Ross between $18-$24 million.

No big deal, you say? Really?

Are you aware Ross moved heaven and earth to try to work a $7.9 million relief on his stadium debt payments recently? I'm not saying he's counting his pennies, but I am saying he's not going to dismiss having to possibly pony up $24 million to make a change without some serious thought.

The argument from the business people might be that Ross will make back the money in season-ticket sales. The Dolphins were slightly over 50,000 season tickets this year and believe a new "star" coach could push them another 6,700 to 10,000 more, depending on who it is and what moves the new guy makes in free agency and the draft.

That is, of course, a short-term view of the situation.

It should be noted when Jimmy Johnson took over from Don Shula in 1996, season ticket sales jumped by about 7,000. And the next year they fell back by about 5,000.

When Nick Saban, the hot coach at the time, took over in 2006, season sales actually fell by 2,000. And the hiring of Parcells as the Football Czar didn't help one iota, as sales fell off the table after 2007 from 54,646 to 46,131.

The point is the hiring of a big name doesn't come with a guarantee that ticket sales will soar. And when they have soared in the past, they have leveled off the following year.

So the season ticket argument is a short-sighted one, if history is to be believed.

Think about that. Stephen Ross probably will.


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who cares, ross sucks as an owner

Just get the right draft picks and free agents and not the Wilforks, the Smiley's, Groves, and so on and so on. The problem I see is not taking chances. Look at NE they got rid of Moss and everyone thought wow they are crazy and look who is crazy now. They always seem to make the right moves. They have a those draft picks coming up and always seem to get more for less....we always seem to give up high picks for less players that don't even make the team at times. I wish the fix the issue of picking personnel and not making the team. It just makes things more difficult.

Stay the course Mr. Ross. I said yesterday we are around 5 players away, Armando said the same thing today. Our defense is solid, the offense can be fixed this offseason.

NICE UNBIASED ARTICLE .i am glad armando put all these numbers for us to think .

I'm sure it will be a fascinating discussion with J-Lo, Marc Anthony, and Fergie. What a joke we have become.....

Here's a secret on how to sell season tickets: Win. Plain and simple. This team hasn't been to the Super Bowl since 1985 and hasn't won one in 35 years. This team/this product is no longer relevant and hasn't been for a long time. I would argue Sparano and Ireland are the perfect fit for this organization mired in perpetual mediocrity. They're just a couple of guys, nothing special. The Dolphins have been average or worse for many more years than they were ever any good. Even with Marino, the Dolphins were exciting, but they were never really a threat to ever win a championship. For many years now, the Dolphins have simply filled a front office and simply fielded a team. They haven't been a "threat" to win a Super Bowl in over a quarter of century.

Why start now????

As far as the thinking of the owner is concerned and who might have his ear, he recruited Mike Dee. He inherited Bill Parcells........a guy who has taken Ross's money and run. Uhhhhhhhh, who do you think he's going to listen to?

Yes, stay the course. Improve the personnal on the field and make better decisions like NE and this team can be good next year. Better decisions will equal a better team.

A good QB could make this team 2 or 3 games better, which would have this team in the playoffs.

"The Dolphins are probably four or five starters from being a Super Bowl contender -- a quarterback, a running back, someone in the defensive backfield that is a dynamic playmaker, a speed receiver, and probably a really good interior offensive lineman."

Couldn't you say that about 90% of the teams in the league...?

Bring back Joe Robbie from the grave.

"The Dolphins are probably four or five starters from being a Super Bowl contender -- a quarterback, a running back, someone in the defensive backfield that is a dynamic playmaker, a speed receiver, and probably a really good interior offensive lineman"

Waw...great analysis...every NFL team is 5 starters away from being a contender...

Nice article Armando.

FYI, Armando.
Nick Saban became the coach of the Dolphins in 2005, not 2006.

The only thing I can say about Amando comment is that ROSS owns half of Manhattan he is worth millions or even billion dollars so 24 million dollars can be a lost of business write tax write off, wouldn't loose all of it he get some back! So money I don't think is a problem! If he wants to hire a top notch coach he can offord it! Come on he is going to build a water park that's millions of dollars!! Money is not a problem!!!

"The argument from the business people might be that Ross will make back the money in season-ticket sales."






Stay thursty my freinds

No SB winning coach has ever won a SB with another team. To make a splash with a star coach (Gruden or Cowher) does not guarantee anything. The majority go on to be mediocre.

It's fools gold. Better to stay with Sparano given the league CBA situation and get a new OC.

The bottom line is that Ross needs more than 1-2 years of excitement. You want excitement? Build a team that can win. Miami is among the worst NFL cities in the league, to be honest. It's fan support is terrible. But, the only way Ross is going to draw fans is to both build a top 5 franchise (not a top 15 or borderline playoff team) and then revamp the stadium.

The Dolphins right now, are a dog as a franchise.

Darn Yann....you beat me to it....I had already copied that exact paragraph....there are so many things wrong with this article its not even funny.....like the part where Armando at the end of one paragraph tells us "ROSS HATES LOSING"....then to start the next paragraph he list Ross's priorities with WINNING BEING THE LEAST IMPORTANT.....

If this isn't a keep TS columun I don't know what is.....

did FAT TONY put you up to this?

Leave Sparano and Ireland. I can't take another coaching change and another year of rebuilding. Change the QB coach, and OC. Give Henne and Rookie QB a competition for starting job next year.

I agree with Mando, we are 4to5 players from being very good.

Oh one more thing, KEEP MIKE NOLAN as DC. This is a must.

Somebody please explain to me how Josh McDaniels fits with Mike Nolan and Brandon Marshall....since he fired one, and ran the other out of town

we have seen Marshall is prone to bouts of being less than a Professional....so that argument is out of the window.....but i would love to here how these guys are gonna co-exist


we stay with the current regime we need to look for someone with offensive draft experience.

Or offensive experience period.

Looking at this groups draft picks on that side of the ball only Jake Long stands out as a solid pick. Then others are either gone or mediocre at best.

Armando... you are nuts. This team was 1 - 7 at home and that is a disaster. You expect this regime to correctly address the QB situation? They are the idiots that drafted the guy whom everyone now wants replaced. Pennington has to be replaced, so where is that veteran starter? Do you trust that tis regime can make the right moves? Do the names Wilford, Green, Grove, White, Henne, Turner, Roth (etc.) ring any alarm bells for you? Throw away every other draft pick and half of the free agent signings and tell me where are the resources to improve this team? They'll pick about #15 and have no 2nd round pick. Saying they are close is like saying we're close to a cure for cancer. I cannot believe you're defending this staff.

"....probably a really good interior offensive lineman".
C'mon Mando, desperately need a pulling gard. Crossing our fingers Incog works out at center. Hope Jerry improves next year and oh yeah, Vernon Carey has not don't squat since his new contract.
What about at least one "really good" TE?

Just sayin

Isn't 7-9 2 years in a row the very deffinition of "stagnant".....8-8 might be consider Molasses flowing up hill, in feburary in green bay

Kris they don't. There is a reason all are no longer in Denver. We'll never know why for sure but the three can't be on the same team.

Great article!!!!!

I think Ireland should go also after how he dealt with Dez.

the worse thing that happened to us was going 11-5 with that giveme season. Which we barely won most of those games. gave us false hope and thought we were better than we were.

This is not a management team that I would bet on to turn things around.
Their decision making has mediocre, 50/50. So today, the team is mediocre. The problem is, they have had 3 years to get it right and have not demonstrated an ability to do it.
If I was going to invest in a company, this is not a management team I would invest in.

Excellent and informative as usual Armando. You put the others to shame.

Ross, please stay out of the football decision making business.

Mando, I love how you ignore the oafs like Kris who act like they know the facts and don't even know how to wipe their butts.

Keep rolling, my man!

i wouldn't be opposed to keeping Tony as ass HC in order to keep the players that are good happy if they truely are behing him

I can't see how we can solve this teams issues in one offseason.

Only with luck.

I think in that mold Ross needs to investigate strongly the aquisition of a new staff.

most of use agree the only staff member that stays 100% is Nolan

Oh, yeah, please Miami Dolphins get rid of Henne.

Please Miami Heat get rid of Arroyo and Anthony.

Please 790 The Tix fire Sedano's tired morning crap. Mando is blowing him away in the mornings.

Mr. Ross,

Forget the fact that our offense is ranked 29 out of 32 teams.....forget that our 4th ranked rushing line has been churned and decimated to a point that we no longer rank in the top 25.....I know your a Michigan guy so its easy to forget that he has thrown a pick in 11 staight games.....


That is pitful, but sums up our team in a nut shell...they can't even find the kamakaze nut-job who flies down the feild and makes a significant special teams play.....not in three years....3 years!!!!!

The fact that we can't master the little things means we can't master the big things

All Ross has to do is find some more minority celebrity suckers to become part owners in the team..let them pony up the 24 million the be part owners of the N.F.L experience...there's gotta be more suckers out there, So Flo is filled with them...

Here's some numbers to consider: 4-12 > Miami's record next year if they keep Sparano....

Phil76 agree with you 100%

A very informative article!

the only thing i know is we've been the same team since 85 no superbowl no real playoffs same hope that next year is ours coach after coach player after player we have to build the team to match who we have instead of trying to make the players into something they aren't

Mando, this was one of your better write ups....lots on great insight and information....

We need someone who can evaluate talent and not pick up free agents that have a history of being injured. We need a new OC and Special Teams coach. If we can't get BC as head coach them keep TS. And, yes wait for it, give Henne one more year with a real OC.

I think we have over done the "star" coach....JJ, Saban, Even Cam Cameron was the "hot" coordinator.....BP was the "hot" whatever the hell his role was....

I know I have stated many times that I am partial to Herm Edwards (he plays to win the game)....but to honest if we went off the grid to get somebody ....a real Xs and Os guy.....I would happy.....If Nolan some how finds himself as the HC...then So be it.....but I think Tony has taken us to his limit...

Most NFL teams are about 5-6 players away from being in the super bowl. But its hard finding those when one of the pieces is a QB. My personal feeling is that Ross will stick with the current regime another year.

its nice to see common sense on this blog today

as for herm never crossed my mind but something has to change or well be where we've been at for the last 25 years

I doubt we get a new ST coach. But you never know.

guess what, money wins championships!!!!!!!!!!!you have to spend money to get the best coaches and players to win you a championship.

All Sparano and Ireland have to agree upon changing philosophy on offense and it's draft picking. Go after a proven 1st round QB. Get a speed runnung back and one more speedy receiver to compliment Marshall. Keep Nolan as DC. Get an OC that understands today's NFL. Look at teams like NE, PITT, BALT, FALCONS, and see how they did it. Why can we do it to ?
Mr. Ross you must demand these changes. If Sparano & Ireland squabble at changing then get rid of them.

Great article Mando, definitely another angle to chew over. That was the only thing that made me think he'd retain Ireland/Sparano (they both had one more year on the contract).

After the last 4 games, however, I thought the decline was so great it might cause a landslide.

Now, I'm not sure again. I'm positive Henning's gone, and there will be a hunt for a new QB, but not sure who the Coach will be.

Armondo, 2 or3 things in this article I posted yesterday. Even if you bring in a big Name coach, does not guarantee success.I also said 3 or 4 players who have heart and desire can make a difference. It's not Sparano, it's the players. My advice to Ross is to keep Tony and Jeff and let them do a draft without Parcells and his prototype player and get some with heart.

Being 5 players away from contending for one thing is conjecture. More importantly though, teams just don't start the next season where the left off the previous one. Every new season, half the teams that were expected to take a step forward end up taking a step back and visa versa. With most of the drafting likely going to be on offense this year, and a new OC, that is a lot to ask to gel in one season. Next season can realistically be another 8-8. Not trying to be a downer, but the teams that play consistently good in the NFL are the ones that have consistent personnel with both players and coaches.

I don't think you can go into this season with a "lame duck" coach....you either have to sign Tony to a incentive laden 1 year extension (which you may have no intention of honoring)....or you have to cut him loose.

Lame duck coaches tend to lose locker rooms as the season progresses....If were losing it can/will go down hill fast....the players will understand the coach has no power....in essence Tony will be as a coach what Chad Henne is as a QB.....in a leadership postion without the tools to properly lead....

This in my opinion will would be detrimental on many levels, not the least of which would be the LOCKER ROOM...If the players rebel against a lame duck coach.....it will fester and boil and that kind of thing can take 2 off-seasons to fix when players are aloud to let thier attitude go unchecked for long periods of time.... We are still feeling the effects of Joey Porter as he channels his foolishness through the vessel know as Channing Crowder

DC...if there is one thing I know can consitently count on you for.....its being inconsistent

if ross really wants to win NOW rather than later then he would do whatever it takes to do so.

Just messing with you DC...don't take it personal....Its good that you have an open mind....it means your a thinker.....

For me court is adjourned and one jurror has already written a book.....I won't be mad if TS is back....and when we start a new training camp He will have MY FULL SUPPORT....but from now until the decision is made...or not made.....i am leaning tward a new HC.....I think Ireland should stay tho

that why clam chowder needs to go he sucks and dont tell me that our run stop d is better with him cancer needs to be cut out and removed

Another thing, stating 5 starters away from being a contender is in itself meaningless. 5 pro bowlers? Sure, that will help any team compete. Where do you just go pick up 5 pro bowlers? Adding 5 average players guarantees nothing. So saying we are 5 starters away is an empty statement.

"The Dolphins are probably four or five starters from being a Super Bowl contender -- a quarterback, a running back, someone in the defensive backfield that is a dynamic playmaker, a speed receiver, and probably a really good interior offensive lineman."

Good assessment Armando, as usual
Think we might need more than one lineman though lol

As far as defensive back dont u think all those dropped interception(like a dozen) by POSER BOY FRAUD CB sean smith will grade him out well to all the ignorant homer Miami Dolphin football Kool Aid drinkers
So then we wont need to get another db, just look at the stats, ROTFALMAO

Kris, don't get me wrong man. If it were me, I'd pay the money and get ride of 'em. Better now than next year. I don't think Sparano's "vision" of a team is gonna get it done in the AFC East.

What I'm trying to "predict" is what the Owner will do. And these guys (especially a new Owner who isn't seeped into the football world) are usually only about money.

Yes, there's bringing in more money on one side (leading towards a new Coach) but there's also stop bleeding money as fast (leading towards letting this Coach finish out his contract).

I'm sure you can see both sides Kris. I'm just going with my gut that tells me the Owner will let the Coach/GM finish out their contracts, which, is the wrong decision in my personal opinion.

5 starters away is hilarious. it takes a whole team to be put together properly to win, not just 5 guys. 5 guys is a start, but they need more than that. matshall is already pleading his case for a new qb.

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