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The biggest loser? Stephen Ross

Joe Robbie had issues and some of them came out of bottles of alcohol. Wayne Huizenga was duped by Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Rick Spielman, Nick Saban and then duped Bill Parcells.

Stephen Ross?

He's the worst of all.

In the past week, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has turned the bitter disappointment of a 7-9 season into the good ol' days. He has lacked wisdom. He has misled and deceived. He has overestimated. And those were his resoundingly good moments.

Mostly he has embarassed the Miami Dolphins, his coach, his fans, and himself.

In a nutshell, he has stunk like a skunk.

Ross arrived back in South Florida early Friday morning and landed his private jet at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He had spent the previous 30 or so hours trying repeatedly trying to convince Jim Harbaugh to become Miami's new head coach. By all reliable reports, he failed.

Ross couldn't sway Harbaugh in northern California.

Ross couldn't sway Harbaugh's agent David Dunn in southern California.

Ross took a giant swing and whiffed. He also whiffed on Jon Gruden. He also whiffed on Bill Cowher before that.

So Ross returned to South Florida a defeated person. But he mostly returned to South Florida a reviled person.

Reviled, you might ask? Yup.

Consider:

Remember I have reported to you Ross met with Bill Parcells on Saturday to ask his opinion of what to do with Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano. He left that meeting after indicating to Parcells that he was keeping both the general manager and coach. And then he went about the business of trying to replace the coach.

So Ross has crossed Bill Parcells.

It obviously can be argued Ross changed his mind after that Saturday meeting and reactied to Sunday's 38-7 defeat at New England. That one, after all, could have caused the owner to reconsider what he had told Parcells.

Wrong.

You see, Ross met with Sparano for several hours on Monday. And when he left that meeting, he gave Sparano the strong feeling that he would be retained. And then Ross went about the business of wooing several coaches, particularly Harbaugh.

That's his prerogative, right? He's just doing his due diligence, right?

Well, sure. But why mislead and misdirect? Why give an indication that points north and then go south? Why sully the honor of your word with men who value honor and the bond of one's word, men like Parcells and Sparano?

Ross could have easily left his meeting with Sparano by saying, "Coach, I understand you had issues this year and I understand everything you've just explained, but it's my duty as owner to go look around for the best coach I possibly can. So I'm going to take the next couple of days to do exactly that. I hope you understand and can be patient while that process plays out. If you can't be, I understand that, too."

Sparano would have had no choice but to accept that. And he would have respected the way Ross was handling it. But Ross never uttered words even remotely close to that. He just smiled and glad-handed Sparano and upon leaving his company, went about the business of trying to replace him.

However you feel about that -- even if misdirection doesn't bother you -- the process Ross then undertook was, well, kooky.

He approached Cowher and reportedly offered mega-bucks to get the Super Bowl winning coach. But he wanted to saddle Cowher with an unaccomplished general manager and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Is anyone surprised Cowher turned Ross down? Please speak now if you are suprised. (You are alone if you raised your hand. Go face the wall.)

Ross also reportedly contacted Gruden or his "people" to gauge his interest. Gruden's interest is said to have been located at around the $10 million range. Outrageous, right? Even for a great offensive mind and former Super Bowl winning coach, that price tag is exorbitant.

But Ross is a billionaire three times over. He just offered around $7 millionish to Cowher. What's another $3? That's a total of $12 million over four years. That was too much for a multi-billionaire? That's like shopping for a Rolls Royce but walking away for not wanting to pay extra for the air conditioning.

Then came the Harbaugh debacle. This one makes 38-7 seem palatable.

Ross made a run at him here in South Florida and got rejected. And then Ross flew across country to San Jose, California to make a run at Harbaugh at his home turf. And despite offering more money than anyone else, Ross still couldn't close the deal.

A warning: When or if Ross finally speaks on this topic -- he refused to do that Friday morning when his plane landed -- he will likely say he never really offered Harbaugh a deal. He will probably paint this fiasco of a trip as an exploratory mission to feel out Harbaugh. It was, he may say, an interview of Harbaugh.

In truth, it was a Harbaugh interview of Ross. And Ross failed the interview if nothing changes in the next couple of days and Harbaugh does not run back to the Dolphins to become their coach.

So now Ross goes back to Sparano. I would tell you that was his fall-back plan the whole time. Not true because that would require you to believe Ross had any plan to begin with. I will not insult you with that.

Ross told Sparano upon leaving that meeting that he would get back with him on Tuesday and it would all be resolved by then. Tuesday came and went. Wednesday came and went. Thursday came and went. And the two had not talked.

Sparano was reading accounts of what was happening in the media. Of course, Ross may tell Sparano those accounts were wrong and he never talked to three different potential replacements. The owner may tell Sparano he has his confidence and it's always been that way.

Sparano is smart enough to know better.

And here's the kicker:

When Ross went on his cross-country coach search, even as he hung Sparano out to dry by offering a job that was still filled, the owner was something of a hero to one segment of the fan base. Fans that wanted Sparano out appreciated what Ross was doing regardless of the slimey manner in which he was doing it.

It angered fans that saw it as a classless, low-life, back-stabbing move. But it made fans of change enthusiastic about Ross.

But having failed to successfully make change, Ross has now alienated fans that didn't appreciate the manner he was going about trying to make this coaching change ... and he has now alienated fans that wanted the change he seemed to be working on but failed to accomplish .. and he has now aliented fans that didn't want any change to begin with even though there is no change being made.

He's solidified the entire Dolphins fan base! Everyone hates Ross for one reason or another.

He either embarrassed you or he embarrassed you.

Maybe Ross should offer to sell the team back to Huizenga. Or even Robbie. Either would be better than him. And, yes, I know Robbie is dead. He still had a better week than Ross.

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