« ESPN: Harbaugh not so likely to Miami | Main | Dan Henning takes another step in his career »

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.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Ross to make last-minute pitch to Harbaugh:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

This is like Deja Vue? Nick Saban come to mind?



DM...funny! Yeah Tony's press conf and every time he speaks he has that same roll around approach.. He just could never answer a darn question, it sounded like a class full of preschoolers whom were just told that it's brownie time. I think Tony threw two golf balls in his mouth before each speech

I forgot the dis & dat's! No coffee yet!

I actually like what Ross is doing. He wants a winner and he's gonna do whatever it takes to get that. And I bet if he falls back to sparano he'll give him and Ireland both 1 year extensions. ANd if not he'll just promote Nolan. Ross is smart and has smart people advising him.

Kyle Orton is under contract, he signed a year extension before the 2010 season, the Broncos want a 2nd pick for him! Please quit with Sign Orton.

I've got no problem with keeping Sparano on as the fallback guy. At least he's a known commodity. If you fire him then can't get Harbaugh or Cowher, you're screwed. What would Ross do then? All coaches and players in the NFL are only valueable to the team until they find someone better, or in some cases cheaper. Go Ross!

Aloco..com on man...McD for HC?? Nahh no thanks. Maybe a smaller roll but not HC man



Agreed. Ross is willing to spend money and wants to put a good product on the field. I don't get why so many people get bent out of shape because of the celebrity prescense. Ross showed he is willing to do whatever it takes by spending money on free agents, coaches, celebrities at the games and so on. He wants the team to be both a winner and entertaining.

Harbaugh is who he wants to bring this team to the next level and I am all in.

I am with Armando on this one.

Very absurd move.

The Dolphins need new ownership more than new coaches. We may become the Redskins of the south with this owner.

Harbaugh = another Saban debacle.

Boulder, would you admit this team looks ridiculous right now? Can you recall a team EVER holding onto a coach while they explore other options like this?

It's amateurish & an embarrassment. This is all on Ross. He is showing an ability to not be able to make a tough decision. We were the laughing stock of AM sports radio here in northern NJ this morning. WFAN & ESPN radio stating how ridiculous it is with the Dolphins right now.

Aloco..are you permanently plugged into the Internet, kinda like a matrix type situation? Is your body full of cat6 cables plugged into all of your orifices?


I'll respectfully disagree with you on Peterson. I'm not so down on him as others. But finishing touches? Like Cassel?....and all the rookies who have contributed this year? Pioli gutted Peterson's roster. You're right about Bowe and Charles and I think Derrick Johnson was his draft choice too but Pioli and Haley have been a nice combination to date.

BoulderFinFan, like I said earlier, no matter what Ross does, people will biatch about it. He's trying to get the most popular choice. I just don't quite understand the way the whole Sparano thing is getting handled... Whatever.

@ AndyNJ

IN too. gotta be.

Hey Mando...has your red phone rang yet?


Whatever, it is what it is. Let the radio queens say whatever they want, it doesn't hold water anyhow..

Joe, just like I said the other day. This team looks like a Three Ring Circus Sideshow now. Ross equals Sideshow Bob except Sideshow Bob at least has CLASS. Nuff said

Aloco..nice! Do it up my friend

when ross became the owner he let parcells/ireland/sparano run the show. they made all the football decisions and ross paid them and their mistakes millions of dollars. parcells quit and wants his guys to remain in charge. ross woke up and got involved because he's not satisfied with the regimes results. i dont worry about sparano dangling because he cut good players every week of the year. we should clean house;ireland too!

I see no problem with the way Ross is handling this. At the end of the day Sparano has to go as while the roster on paper at least has got better over the 3 seasons the performances on the field have got worse. As a supposed OL expert he has overseen the taking apart of that unit and left us with the poor excuse of an OL we had this season. What is happening to Sparano now he has brought onto himself, and let's be clear TS will have been told by Ross what was happening.

As for getting Harbaugh, yes he is a college coach, but he played at a high level as a QB in the NFL. He excelled as a QB coach at Oakland the year they won the Superbowl and he has turned around 2 college teams, turning Stanford from a 1-12 wannabe to a 12-1 Bowl winner. He has shown an ability to find the right players for what he wants to achieve and then coach them. Plus don't forget the scheme he runs at Stanford is closer to an NFL one that most colleges. Is $8 million a lot of money? Yes. But we have an owner willing to spend the money to get his man, and in not firing Sparano has also shown he likes to keep all options open and have a backup plan.

I have read elsewhere that Hue Jackson was going to be interviewed for the HC position (This may or may not be true) which would satisfy the Rooney Rule.

It is great fun to speculate and I would be chuffed if we got him, until something becomes official I will just hold fire as it is only then that the whole story of what did and didn't happen will come out.


I'm not surprised that you're taking the negative spin on this thing. Are you even a Dolphins fan? I don't remember ONE positive thing that you've ever said about this team. Seriously man, you need to find another team. It's just NEGATIVE....NEGATIVE....NEGATIVE with you. You've riden Sparano like crazy for weeks, calling him things like MORONO and now you're not happy with how he's been treated. when did you start caring about how things were done and how people were treated. All you've want in this guy out....why the change in tune? Looks like you might get your wish. i thought you'd be enjoying this.

Is anyone really going to care how all of this goes down if this all works out and our team gets back to winning...nope. Lets do what we got to do. It is weird but I've seen stranger things I guess

Miami is nothing like the Redskins. Miami signed 2 star players in their prime both in production and age with Marshall and Dansby. The Redskins sign the big name has beens o f world like Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, McNabb, Larry Johnson and so on. Miami has signed guys with injury historys but they were offensive linemen that Parcells wanted. Stephen Ross don't know who offensive linemen are. They aren't stars. He signed them and gave the money to make the team better.

In my opinion if your doing all of this fire Sparano, this just looks stupid. If w dont get our guy promote Nolan and end this fiasco. I have never in my life heard of a team searching for a new head coach publicly while keeping the current guy there just in case... I mean it happens but the owner endorses the current guy in case things go wrong. there is not endorsement for Sparano here at all. I guess that is why it looks so stupid to me. Just my opinion...

Can anyone tell me why Ireland is getting a free pass in all of this???

I still don't get the Ireland connection....does he have nude photos of Ross slapping a naked tuna or something??

Unless Ireland is banging Ross's daughter or something like that

Greg Z,

Your post at 9:36 is one of the best post I have seen on this blog. You said it all right there. There is nothing I can even add to that. AGREED, AGREED, AGREED!!!

Ross's interview with Hugh Jackson if his meeting with Harbaugh goes well-

Ross - "So Mr Jackson thank you for coming to meet with me this morning."

Jackson - "It's my pleasure Mr Ross."

Ross - "I think I've heard enough. Have a nice day Mr Jackson."

I think that rule, while good intensioned, is kind of a farse.

I have no clue why we are sticking with Ireland either... Something goofy there also.

Ireland should go too. WTF. That's why Cowher said NO. Who the hell is Jeff Ireland and what makes him so competent in Ross's eyes. Ireland is a jerk who is no good at this job.

I can't complain how things are being handled, at least something is being done. We can question how things are being handled and every one has their opinion, but you can't win the lotto if you don't play the game! It's just a gamble, win or lose, and Ross is playing with his own money, not mine.

Craigm, I'm not surprised your taking the positive spin on this thing. Are you never not a doilphins fan? I don't remember ONE negative thing that you've ever said about this team. Seriously man, find another team to love. It's just POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE WITH YOU. You've defended Sparano like crazy for weeks, calling himthings like "A MOTIVATOR", & now you're happy with how he is being treated? When did you start not caring about how things were done & how people were not treated. All you've want in this guy in. Why no change in tune? Looks like you may get your wish. I thought you'd be enjoying this.


On a serious note, you continue to be a fool. I DO want him fired. His failures, that you ignore, are seen by everyone EXCEPT YOU. Just because I don't want him to be coach doesn't mean I'm not worried that our team looks like a laughing stock. I also think as our coach, he deserves some respect. You take everything above & beyond normalcy. Get a grip Barbara.

We have an owner afraid to make tough choices. Either fire the guy or you dont.

Now please, as you promised me and everyone else the other day, IGNORE ME. Are you not a man of your word? You are such a sissy ninny it's absurd. Just because you disagree with the FACTS I throw at you about this regime's failures, doesn't give yo a right to tell me to leave or try to diminish what I say.

Because I live in the real world, my statements on this board have more credibility & backing than yours. I see things for what they are, you see things for how you wish they were.

Tha's the difference between a realist(me) & an optimist(you). If you hadn't noticed, you're in a minority on this board with your opinions. Wake up son, you're missing the real world. Now, if you are gonna ignore me, do it. I'd love nothing more.

Andy, agreed. Miami doesn't waste money like the Redskins (or should I say to the extent of the Redskins).

Also, guys, think about how Ross was given the team. Huzienga basically said, "if you want this team, you need to promise Parcells you'll leave him alone." Ross had no say year 1, and very little year 2. When he saw things not moving quickly enough (rightly or wrongly), I think he pressured Parcells a little, and of course, being the wacko he is, Parcells ditched.

So, now Ross is left with no Parcells (the ONLY guy out of the bunch we really wanted) and the other 2 screwballs. So, Ross goes to Peterson for help. He probably told him to get a real Coach. But Peterson knows Ireland, and maybe said, "give him another shot, with the understanding of what we want the team to become."

Ross is a victim here too is my point. Parcells held a gun to Huzienga's head, and Huzienga dealt with a terrorist.

Standley, you must not be buying season tickets, miami clothes/gear or anything with a miami logo on it. Just saying.

Joe, I like Craig for that. If I take a position, I'd want Craig to be my #2, or my press secretary. The guy is loyal. Maybe to a fault, but loyalty is something that uncommon in this world nowadays, and it's refreshing to see a guy who still knows what it means.

Stay loyal Craig. If Harbaugh or whomever doesn't work out, you'll have the last laugh next year or the next.

Plus, if we all just agreed with each other, how fun would this blog be? It'd be a d*ck-stroking contest.

Chris 623,

Exactly! That is why I think the Rooney rule is a joke. To interview a minority candidate just for the sake of it is counter productive. It is a waste of time. Ross is willing to make Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL and is the guy he obviously wants but he has to interview a minority candidate because of the "rule". So then the minority candidates bittch and moan they aren't being taken seriously. There are owners in the NFL who want their guy and if that guys is Tony Dungy or any other minority candidate they have the right to say this is my guy and I am not interviewing anyone else because he said yes.

The Rooney rule is more of insult to minority candidates then anything else. There are some owners who I am sure are prejudice and won't hire a minority Head Coach even if the "rule" dictates they have interview one.

They r piling up sooooo much money in front of coach HardBalls
Must be difficult to see over it

Think @ this juncture
Stephen Ross is Not planning on failing in the signing of Jim HardBalls

Initially thought Ross would stay the course with Ireland & Sparano
Interesting that only Sparano is being replaced

No chance after offering his job to a coach 3000 miles away in person, that Sparano has any hope of retaining his job

In fact though that was a humiliating year for All Dolfan Home Fans

Boy did we Suck @ Home

That and the fact the O-Line
Supposedly Sparano`s area of "EXPERTISE"
was more like his area of "SWISS CHEESE"

Add it up and the prudent business decision is definitely to Fire Sparano

Face it with current regime and so many areas of concern on this team
Dolphins were looking at another season of maybe 6 or 7 wins and a few fist pumps

Not much of a product for Miami Football Fans

Go Ross!

Go Ross!

Go Ross!

Yeah, these draft picks like pat white were Parcells and Ireland. Since the Tuna's been out, I say fire Ireland and bring in Cowher or someone else competent to bring the phins back. There is no upside to sticking with Tony

"Get a grip Barbara." LOL. Wasn't that from "Four Christmases?"

@Joe Schmoe

I dont think I would ever say that a self made billionaire owner is afraid to make tough choices. He's prob 'been there, done that' more than this entire blog combined x 1000.

Whomever picked Pat White should have been fired a minute after that pick was made.

They were interviewing Deshawn Jackson on the radio here this morning. He was picked in '08, 2nd round. Who was our 2nd-round pick that year? Oh, yeah, Chad Henne, right?

Hmmm, D. Jackson or Chad Henne? That's a tough one there.

In the Grand scheme of things, it's his money to do with what pleases. Ross did not become a self made billionaire on the account of a closet full of merchandise in my closet.

While Im all for change and feel that we need to fire the head coach, this process just stinks and is making us look even worse. What if the boy wonder says no then how do we look? Do we continue our coaching search or do we fall back to Sparano? This whole thing just doesnt feel right.

DC, he refuses to accept realities I put out there & starts telling me to leave because he disagrees with it. Half the time he doesn't even enderstand what people are saying & he goes off on diatribes about it.

Instead of trying to dispute the things I say, he tells me to leave? Sorry, to me, he's a moron. Now I know why he sticks up for Sparano so much.

Mind you, he is STILL talking to me after he promised me & you guys that he'd ignore me.

If he wants to debate the things I throw out there & disprove them, fine. If he is just gonna tell me to leave because he disagrees & offers not rebuttals, he can just ignore me. I have no need to waste time on that. He likes you guys, he don't like me. :)

I'm not sure if Harbaugh is the same as Saban. Saban would have been a great coach for the Fins, but he just did not have the heart to coach in the NFL. However, Harbaugh does have the heart and desire to coach in the NFL. Therefore, I belive he will be a great coach!!!


there is a difference between loyalty and pure stupidity. between evading the facts and dealing with the facts. nobody here is an expert, heck not even the coaches are experts, but facts are facts, reality is reality. we've never had a coach fail on so many levels as sparano has, there is no argument against that. even cameron with a 1-15 record had a team playing harder, as much as he is mocked here, his lost plenty of starters within the first few games and that was part of the problem too. sparano has managed absolutely nothing well. if you get a really good oc, and you have nolan, then just what do you need sparano for anyway? nice guy, but not competent hc...and only a blind mule wouldn't see he's lost his players.

DC, Frted Claus was Dear Barbara. It just came to me, you can insert any females name.


Im listening to Mike and Mike here and they Mark "Stink" Schlereth is going off and saying Miami is doing bad business practices and they also haven't fulfilled their obligation to the Rooney rule so Miami doesn't plan on giving a minority candidate a fair shot at the job. Also they are doing this with a coach who hasn't been fired yet.

I like Stink a lot but disagree with him on this. Why is it bad business? It's like when looking for a new job. You don't quit you're old one until you get a new one. Or just like any business you don't fire your manager or foreman until you know you have his replacement.

And on the Rooney rule I don't know what to say. It's a no win situation. If you interview a minority and then don't hire him it's unfair. If you don't interview one because you want Harbaugh or Bill Cowher who are big time head coaches then you are wrong. If you do fulfill the Rooney rule "obligation" and do it just to fullfill that "obligation" you are again wrong. So the only way to make it right is to hire a minority candidate?

Standley, My point is he did make his millions, but now as owner of the dolphins, any money that rolls in to the team comes from the money fans pay to be fans or attend games. It all comes full circle. so in a way it is our money in the mix. I did not mean that as it's all our money at all. We do help the pockets to keep this team going year in and year out. without a fan base there is no revenue to keep a stadium or players no matter how much money you have. We make it profitable, that is all i am saying my friend.

Joe, didn't the titans do the same thing kinda? Sparano has no choice. And so what its amatuerish. Its all business :-)

Sorry, and TV and stuff

Ty grego. Facts ARE facts, whether we like them or not. Facts are for 3 years our ST suck. Fact is, for 3 years, our offense has sucked & is now the worst in the NFl. Fact is Our defense was rebuilt because it SUCKED & is still only OK, it is not elite by any means.

So we can let them rebuild every thing every year or we can find someone who might be able to do it right the first time.

I have been a Dolphin fan for 38 years. I am embarassed at how this is all playing out. Ross has taken this once proud franchise and gave it a huge black eye with how he is handling this situation. I feel like Ross is a combination of the worst of Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder wrapped into one. If all he cares about is the money than I hope he loses his shirt. I want an owner that is here to re-establish this franchise to the glory days.

I seem to be in the minority in wanting Sparano and Ireland to finish thier contracts out. I believe that we are on the verge of becoming a powerhouse for a long time. Hiring a new coach will set us back a few years if only if the new coach works out. If the replacement coach fails we are several years further away.

This team had a ton of key injuries. We had an OC that is past his prime and a QB that lacked any real experiance and due to how he was used lost any confidence that he had. Our Defense was greatly improved with Nolan's schemes and with the key addition of Dansby.

We are a few players away - QB, OG or a Center, and a speedy playmaker for the NEW offensive Coordinator.

I just saw tweet from mando that John Fox could be fall back option. He also has nolan to fall back on.

I been threw life experiance's and work for billionaire's, and I seen company's chance ownerships and everytime that has happen they bring their own people in! Now you may agree or disagree.......should anybody be suprise that Mr Ross is making these changes???

It won't suprise me if Jeff Ireland is next to go and brings a friend or someone to run his team!!!! He inherited that staff and if he wants to make changes who in the F U C K ARE WE TO SAY ANYTHING! I will support my team no matter who's the staff is I LOVE MY DOLPHINS IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD TIMES I WILL NEVER DIVORCE MY PHINS!!

Maybe the Rooney Rule doesn't apply if you haven't actually fired the incumbant coach. I mean do we "really" have an opening at head coach right now?

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 15 16 »

The comments to this entry are closed.