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Ross to make last-minute pitch to Harbaugh

I've seen many strange situations with the Dolphins. I call it the theater of the absurd. This one ranks right up there.

Imagine Dolphins billionaire owner Stephen Ross, general manager Jeff Ireland and former Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson on the same private jet pointed toward San Jose, California. All of them are of so vastly disperate backgrounds and experiences. All of them are convinced they are like-minded in their purpose.

And their purpose?

Hiring college whiz kid coach Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford University -- out from under the nose of the San Francisco 49ers.

By offering him around $7 million. At least $7 million.

All this while incumbent coach Tony Sparano, apparently out in the cold despite previous assurances from Ross, waits helplessly  back in South Florida for a fate that seems more likely to include a firiring than a reprieve.

That's how it looks if this ESPN report from late Wednesday is completely accurate.

The report gives me a strange feeling because it shows to what extreme Ross is willing to go to get the coach he clearly has targetted as of 7 o'clock hour (EST) Wednesday to become Miami's next head coach. (That is not a bad thing, by the way, but the timing is intriguing considering his search began Monday.)

Ross would be making his second run at Harbaugh because I have confirmed the Dolphins spoke with Harbaugh already and he wasn't all that impressed with their first pitch. The fact is the Dolphins felt they had other options than Harbaugh after that first, failed pitch because I have confirmed the Dolphins were planning to make a run at Jeff Fisher.

But Fisher is apparently staying at Tennessee -- although not official. Harbaugh, meanwhile, wasn't totally blown away by the San Francisco 49ers in a meeting he had with that team Wednesday. So both sides are giving each other another chance Thursday morning.

This bothers me.

It bothers me because Ross is trying to create a monster. 

Some background: I have confirmed Ross met with Dolphins consultant Bill Parcells over the weekend as my column last Sunday said he would to discuss the state of the team and gain advice on a next move. And a person whose been told some details of that meeting tells me Parcells told Ross the team is capable of getting into the playoffs if he's patient and stays the course for 2011. Ross indicated to Parcells he was going to give both Sparano and Ireland one last year in 2011 to turn the Dolphins into a playoff team.

But on Sunday, the Dolphins got pummeled by the Patriots and, as this ditty said, that seemed to change everything for Ross. Ross decided to keep Ireland but try to upgrade from Sparano.

So where's the monster?

Continuity and change are opposites. Ross is trying to make them brothers.

Ross is effectively trying to put a new coaching head on the remnants of the personnel department body Parcells left him in Ireland. He is trying to match Harbaugh with Ireland. He is trying to make the new coach the face of his franchise and putting him atop a personnel department that gave the Dolphins a 7-9 record in 2010.

Here's a question: How is it Jeff Ireland has been completely spared of review but not Sparano? How is it the coach is up for being replaced because he didn't get enough out of the players, but the general manager who provided the players that didn't deliver gets a vote of confidence?

What about Ireland made Ross tell Bill Cowher -- BILL COWHER! -- "we want you but only if you accept coming with our general manager already in place."

Are you kidding me?

There are, of course, no sure-fire moves. You should remember there has been no Super Bowl winning coach who won another Super Bowl with another organization. But, you should also note that not too many college coaches, which Harbaugh is, have made the successful leap to the NFL lately.

At any rate, Thursday should be interesting.

Ross, Ireland and Peterson will make their pitch to Harbaugh. Ross will offer to throw gobs of money at Harbaugh, certainly more money than either San Francisco or Denver are likely to offer. Ireland may promise to get Harbaugh the type of talent he failed to get Sparano. And all of them will try to Harbaugh a comfort level with a club structure that seems strange perhaps only to me.

Ross is on the line here. He's picked his sword. He has decided to listen to Peterson and not Parcells. He has annointed Ireland while casting down Sparano. And now he has one last hope of luring the attractive coach he covets.

We'll see what happens.


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Of course Parcells tells them to stay the course with the guys he picked. Wouldn't want to tarnish his reputation.

Ireland had constraints with Parcells around and it sounds like many of our bad decisions (White especially) were stamped by Parcells.

Ireland has drafted and signed several players who have panned out and deserves another chance.

Are the Dolphins associated with the Mafia?

Armando, I dont understand this love affair Ross has for Harbaugh. He has no NFL coaching experience what so ever. He was a very averge quarterback in the NFL like Jim Zorn. And why keep Ireland? Dosen't he only talk to the press once a year? Ireland and Sprano are not nice guys to the fans or the media. I know Parcells loves that, but as a big Shula fan I don't.

Sparano is not very good at what he does. He is certainly not one of the 32 best in the world at it.

Assuming he's fired, he's going to receive 3 million dollars from the Dolphins to go away and do nothing.

I don't feel sorry for the guy.

Tearing down and starting all over again, I'm getting jaded with the wholesale change at the Dolphins every couple of years. Nothing is certain in life, but the odds will be against Harbaugh making any impact for his first couple of years in the NFL. So if he ends up a Dolphin, there's a couple of more seasons being a losing organisation. Being a Dolfan is a long and unrewarding road it seems...

I feel bad for Sparano, the poor guy doesn't deserve this kind of treatment... Mando you should say something at the press conference if we hire a new coach i think its bad business...

Quite a gamble, I have to say... quite a gamble.

Lots of noice and praises to Harbaugh, but he was 8-5 with Stanford as he reached the Orange Bowl. Come on! It's College Football, where there's a Bowl for every to players!

I really liked Sparano. I liked his working ethics, personality and character. Perhaps he lacks a little bit of experience, but he has coached in the NFL 3 years more than Harbaugh. We'll end up seeing how he becomes a great coach, perhaps a title wining one with another organization.

As I read all the news generated in recent days, I always wonder how Sparano must be feeling. He is a good human capable of stress, suffering, sadness, If he's fired, I'll be sad for him. Honestly.

wow,what a mess.maybe its not the players,maybe its not sparano or ireland that was the problem.i think it was the oc,because as an armchair qb, i sat in my living room & could predict almost every play we were going to run, not because im that good but because we were just so predictable on offense.sparano is either loyal to a fault to his staff or he didnt want to admit what the problem was.im a sparano fan,but i do think we need a breath of fresh air,& maybe harbaugh can bring that.i dont want chower,gruden,or fisher.either get harbaugh,keep nolan or stay with sparano & get an oc that will mix things up & throw a few deep passes in the game.henne may be a better qb with a new qb coach that will untie his hands a little.

With the rout on Sunday, the comments from Ricky on Monday and now this desperate reach for Harbaugh on Wednesday, can we say this is the craziest week in Dolphins history?
And it isn't over.
Here's why I like Harbaugh, he played 15 years in the NFL, his players know he's been through the grind.
Being a former NFL QB, he's well qualified to know if Henne is salvageable, or to draft a new one or sign a FA.
If he can take Stanford to 11-1 and develop Luck, he can coach in the NFL.

hey ellutzzzo get ur facts right...he was 12-1 this year going into the orange bowl...he was 8-5 last year and went to the sun bowl, the year before he started head coach which was about 3 or 4 years ago, the team was a 1-12 team...who knows if he will translate into a good head coach in the nfl but hes a damn good coach nonetheless. i will for sure take my chances with him over sparano who we can all agree on doesnt have the best coaching strategies

according to Adam Schefter the 49ers have backed off Harbaugh.

O' Cry me a River...I wanna puke. Please tell me what Sparano has accomplished? Lets all remember when Sparano had his best season...his first season...Tom Brady became injured and missed the season, what has happened ever since...two losing season's. Lets all remember that Henne was their selection to be the future QB...has that worked out? Sparano's speciality is suppose to be the O-line...how many players have the Dolphins changed in the last three years and how much money wasted on just five players? Have the Dolphins progressed or have they fallen back? The ONLY issue is winning...and Sparano has failed!

Feel sorry for Sparano???

He toys with and cuts people every day-(see ZT, JT,David Martin, Benching Henne, etc etc.

Produce-show improvement-or get the hell out of the way!!! Mr. Fist Pump!

Feel sorry for us for investing our Dollars every year to watch a team SUCK!

I think Ireland saved his job by delineating between the draft picks, free agents, and roster moves he wanted and the ones that were forced on him by Parcells and Sparano.



I don't feel sorry for Sparano. He could always quit, but then he wouldn't get paid, would he? That's why he is willing to sit tight and wait out whatever happens. He's going to make Ross fire him, and get paid to do nothing next year.

FP way to call it out.nice post

No Guts! No Glory!

Should have gone for it in the Red Zone on some of those 3rd and 2s, 3rd and 4s?....Fist Pumper!

Great 2:00 minute drills too!

Oh but I know...We'll get dat cleaned up...and doz type a tings...

He is in way over his head. I liked him but grew tired of the "play not to lose, don't make a mistake philosophy".

What the hell did he do to the O' Line???

Running game???

Feed The Wolf!!!

I guess Sparano is the meal now!

What happened to this once classy organization? Say what you want about Sparano, Ireland, or whoever. Ross is going about business in a completely classless way.

For all those who instantly love Harbaugh: yeah, he may turn out great. But, he's no better a college coach than Nick Saban or Steve Spurrier. How did those transitions to the NFL work out?

Here we go again, new head coach, new staff, new system, next year SAME OLD TIRED BORING TEAM!!!!!......

After all that's been said the last few days,Ross HAS to fire Sparano or look like an even bigger fool.And he should get rid of everybody else except Nolan.He's the only one who did anything this yr.

I really don't understand why everyone thinks this is weird, and is up in arms over it.

It's NO DIFFERENT than when the coaching staff brings in a potential replacement for another player. They don't let that player go first, because it might not work out. Perfect example would be Ryan Clark last year.

Do you quit a job before you have another one?

Do you fire an employee before you have a replacement?

It's just smart business, and if Harbaugh declines, we still have Tony vs. some new guy off the street that's not the hottest thing around.

Big F'n deal

Bravo Armando!!!! My goodness I have agreed with you four times this week!! I don't think I have in the last years as much as this week.

You took the words out of my mouth, PETERSON is creating a MONSTER! The same one who never won a thing in KC! Has taken his show on the road to Miami and apparently neither Peterson or Ireland are willing to tell the emperor he has no clothes!

How often does this franchise have to go through this crap? Didn't Ross do any homework? Huizenga did the same thing with Saban!!!!!! And look what that got us!!! I wanted Harbaugh, but I am starting to hate the way this is going down. I hope after Harbaugh turns them down, Sparano quits. Pathetic excuse for a franchise! we have become a combination of the NY Jerks and Jerry Jones, although I think the Jerks have a better GM than we do.

ThanX Again Home
Once Again

The Miami Herald Blogger With The Breaking News On Previous Blog:

Steven Ross "ALL IN" on Jim HardBalls

Ross to make HardBalls Highest Paid NFL Coach
If He Signs with the Miami Dolphins

Gotta be making "Fist Pump Sparano" feelin like crap

Home (Your Dolphins news source)

Posted by: Home | January 05, 2011 at 11:34 PM

This Is Why
When U Need Real Miami Dolphin News 1st

Click Your Heels Together 3 Times and Repeat:

There Is No One Like Home

There Is No One Like Home

There Is No One Like Home

Just when HardBalls & The 49ers thought the deal was done for Jim & his family to stay in the Bay area and take over the HC job

BAM! $8 million bucks a year

Tells U
Ross wants nice grandpa & warm soup bellied Sparano OUT


No expect San Fran to counter with more dough

and the beat goes on

... stay tuned Dolfans

Posted by: Home | January 06, 2011 at 12:14 AM

Once Again for helping get the news here 1st, Home


So if he is on a plane to meet with Harbaugh in the a.m., Sparano is still not fired and even if we do get Harbaugh to agree how the heck do we satisfy the Roony rule?

I hope we aren't seeing Dan Sneider reborn in Mia

All I wanna kno is y the he'll is Dan henning still our oc ?? He should of been fired imeditley!! Lol

I have been on the fence all week with this mess. I am not a fan of how Sparano game plans, his philosophies or the way he coaches this team, but I am not convinced bringing in a new coach is the best thing to do at this point. I am more neutral on regarding if Sparano stays or goes, but I don't think anyone deserves this kind of treatment no matter who they are. Regardless of what happens, the longer this goes on, the more it makes Miami look bad.

I just wish that Stephen Ross, Jeff Ireland, Carl Peterson, J-Lo, Joe Blow, whoever... Put as much effort into doing whatever it takes to get Luck as they are doing to get his coach, maybe, just maybe then Miami would actually be going places. A new coach only means that Miami is just that much farther away from being a contender.

Wow, this time I totally concur with what Armando's saying. This is bad business. Ross is going about this the wrong way entirely.

First, let Sparano go now. It's unfair to him and sends the wrong message to everyone. "Well, let's the keep the poor sap around just in case we don't find anyone better."

HORRIBLE Ross! Secondly, this love affair with Ireland and Peterson is lame. Friends can be friends. This is business. If you want to conduct the best search for an NFL coach, but your loyalty lies with the GM, well, guess what, pay the consequences for what you don't get in return.

Stupid is as stupid does. You're an idiot Ross.

Personally, why should Ross listen to anything Parcells has to say?? The man bailed on him and his proteges. He tells Ross that this team is SB calibur with the coaches they have..lol. Personally I would listen to a good friend over some loser who bailed on me and left me with his garbage to throw out. I do not know why everyone on here trashes Petersen. You all must not know football very well. As a VP and GM, He did quite well. It was Shottenheimer who failed to get the Chiefs to the SB. But atleast the Chiefs were a winning, competitive team. They have quality players and one hell of a defense. Shottenheimer didnt win an SB in San Diego either. Are you going to blame Petersen for that???

I think we are going to hear that Petersen will become the VP and Ireland will stay the GM. I think Petersen will have more involvement with the draft and player decisions than Ireland will. If I were Ross, I would not really trust Ireland either.

I agree that he should have given the job to Cowher and let Cowher have control. BUT, I can understand why he didnt. Look at JJ when he got here and had control, and Chokestedt. What did they do that was relevent???? Nothing. They want a HC. Someone who has experience at that, and someone who is an experienced GM, and VP. Granted, Cowher is a winner, but when it comes to control, the Dolphins will back off from that to avoid another Jimmy/Wanndstedt/Parcells debacle.

Not sure about Harbaugh. I know John is good in Baltimore. But Baltimore also has a great GM in Ozzie Newsome. But John does know football and brought in quality coaches to help him out, and also, has a good young franchise QB as well. We would have to see what Jim can do. I liked him as a player, so we will see.


IMO, Frisco has the far more dynamic young offensive pieces. There's Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore. If I were Harbaugh I would stay in Cali.

It's pretty obvious Ireland threw Sparano under the bus to save his job.

If Ross saw that happening and still kept Ireland he's a bigger douche than I thought he was.

What A no class ball club, you have just sank below the Jets. Show some respect for a man who busted his tail for three years trying to build a winner with the junk he was given. Fire him or extend him and stop making him look stupid. Congrats, you have just sunk to a new low.

I wonder if Ireland threw Tony under the bus in they're separate meetings with Ross. Hmmm....

If Bill Cowher does not end up as the Miami coach, I am officially declaring my free agency as a fan.

Who's with me?

Try not to sway with the media tides here guys... You can read these stories every 6 or 8 hours as they come out and people like Armando will make them sound titillating... That is Armando's job and he does it well...

This thing will not be over until someone say's "Uncle" and I doubt very serious that Cowher's only issue was Ireland... If 1 guy was standing in front of Cowher and head coach NO ONE could make me believe Ross would take that bullet... there is more to that story just as there is more to the Harbaugh deal. They are all trimming the trees and setting the table... MONEY!, Gents... "Never let it be anything less then a wad of fresh bills that drives a good man to do something he doesn't really want to."

I still say we end up with Mike Nolan as HC and a New OC and an entirely new Offesive support staff. PLUS... likely a solid Special teams guy.


Take a good QB... ANY..GOOD QB.. and place them on this team and they are a 10-6/11-5 team... PERIOD. If We had Ryan instead of Long we would be carrying Sparano & his ol'Lady around on our shoulders in wicker chairs feeding them umbrella drinks and chanting their names as Gods.

Instead... Parcells listened to a street Bum and we got a LT instead of a Franchise QB... Ain't life Grand?

When are they going to fire Tony S., after all the other jobs have been filled. Ireland should should walk out the door and give the keys to Peterson if they treat his coach in this manner. Classless! People in the N.F.L.will be shaking their heads at this Crew!

Sorry Alex...

I think Bill Cowher would be more of the same Conservative Football that has bored us all to death for 15 years straight. I think he is a great coach... and a great leader. I also think if he comes here and has no success within 2 or so year he will bolt straight back to a comfy chair on CBS next to Dan Marino.

I want new... I want bold... I want Exciting. I have had it with the... We'll keep it close and take it in the 4th. I have no nerves or fingernails left for that crap...

As far as bailing as a fan... sorry bro, unless you are just kidding... your not the sort of fan this team needs anyway... I am 44 years in and will be here another 44 if I live that long... They are MY team.. The Miami Dolphins, Win, Lose or go broke are my team forever!

Shopping for talent before axing your current leadership is nothing new Bill...

Players do it all the time when they listen to Job offers during free agency. Coaches do it to players when they find someone better to play the position and cut your ass.....

Class has NOTHING to do with what Ross is doing... He has a $1 Billion investment to manage and shepherd... I doubt if Tony's feelings are at the top of Ross's flow chart of important factors... After the performance Tony turned in this season "As a coach...Not what the players did"... I would not be very concerned about him either.

Two teams in the A.F.C. East had class, Miami & Buffalo. After this week It's down too one!

I don't care if Ross is the OC, Ireland the coach, and Marc Anthony is the QB! I bleed aqua and orange! Your on your own Alex! Through the good times and bad! You wonder why our stadium is half empty! Get it done with who ever and how ever. I'm ready to start looking forward!

At least Harbaugh has proven NFL experience. I know, as a player, not a coach. But it seems it can work both ways - (or NOT work both ways) - former NFL players-turned-NFL-coaches can fail miserably (a la Mike Singletary) just as easily as former successful collegiate coaches can fail in the NFL ( a la Spurrier, Saban, et al), just as well as former NFL players can become NFL coaches and do well if the team they land on has talent. Cowher was fortunate to have consistent, quality players and a supportive organization. I think you can take your pick of the beast darn coaches around, Belechick, Payton, etc and plop them into our Dolphin situation and you probably will not see results for a couple of years given our lack of offensive talent. Its going to be awhile, folks. The Tuna did us no favors.

I do hope they kept whats his name Dee? In south florida to handle the firing of TS. There is no way he stays and you gotta show the man some respect and let him go. The worst case scenario you hire Nolan as HC and that's really not all that bad is it!?

B Carefull Mr Ross $ Doesnt Buy Happyness

Gotta say Tony brought this on him self. to damn conservative during the season, should've reined in Henning alot sooner.

A bride always looks beautiful in her wedding gown. (Jim H.winning the Orange bowl) What does she look like when she arises in the morning.(Jim H.no pro coaching exp.) Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

The Seahawks gave Carroll $6.5 million to leave USC. Today, 20 something Jed York apparently offered Lil Harbaugh $5 mil...slightly less than Michigan! After saying money was NO object all last month. They are too cheap. Sh#t, Gruden wants $ 7 mil. Ross will have to at least match that Carroll offer to get Harbaugh. He's got 2X the money of Drunky Jones and 4X money of the Yorks...this deal is probably already done. 49ers are outgunned and outplayed.

Bad move!
We should get Brain Billick
And keep Nolan
Fire the GM and many others ASAP!
Pickup Mcnabb in F/A
Draft Newton

This has nothing to do with T.S. coaching, It's about the club showing him no respect as a man. Fire him and then go after a new coach, don't be hoping around the country looking for a new coach while he is still your coach. It's called due respect!

Cowher is the way to go, he is a proven commodity. College coaches don't make it the 1st time around, a.k.a. Pete Carroll with Pats, Nick Saban with Dolphins

Saban don't say that name around here it's Blasphemy!!!!!

Where is DC Dolefan, I'm sure he'll have 7 pages on how to fix the Miami problem. And his little friend Krissy will tell him how smart he is, trying too pump him up! Frick and Frack!

Is there a chance Ireland list faith In Sparano?

Why feel bad for Soprano, or feel this makes Miami look bad !!! Back to back 7-9 seasons already makes us look crap. Harbaugh was a tough tough player who I always loved. We need a football offensive fresh mind to lead this lead who has balls and brains. Saban, Cameron and Soprano may have had a wee bit of one or the other but never had both, Harbaugh has. If I were Ross I would do the same thing.

Will u maroons forget Cowher already? He's an overrated, spitting defensive-minded HC that took 15 YEARS to win a SB (with horrible calls by refs). Tomlin is proof that Pitt has a very good "system" in place. We have Nolan already as DC...assuming he can work with Jimmy.

In SF Bay area, they are freaking out over the prospect of losing Harbaugh to the Dolphins. Hilarious stuff.


Offer 7 mil to gruden and that's it or give cowher the house

I think it sucks that this is all so public. You've got to be feeling like crap if you're Tony Sparano. Why is it owners can go out and look for a new coach, but the coach can't look for a new coaching gig? Also, what if none of this comes to fruition? How is Sparano supposed to feel coaching next year? What about the Rooney Rule? Doesn't Ross have to interview an African American for this position as well? I've not seen that happen. If it does at the last moment, which is obligatory, it will be just that, and a sham. Kind of like when the Fins interviewed Art Shell just so they could hire Nick Saban.

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