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The Saturday meeting with the media (w/ audio)

The so-called round table the Dolphins planned for Saturday is over. The idea of the thing was to set the record straight on what happened over the past week and announce coach Tony Sparano's two-year contract extension, which is worth approximately an extra $6 million

It had its moments. But it was not the Dolphins' finest hour, I'm sorry to report.

As a synopsis, I would tell you:

Club owner Stephen Ross says he never contacted either Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden. Jeff Ireland said he "never wavered" on his opinion of Tony Sparano and that he told Ross "Tony was still the right man for the job."

"In the beginning and in the end of all this, I believe Tony Sparano is the right football coach for this football team," Ireland said. "I've always felt that. That has never changed."

Ireland, however, was on that flight to California to woo John Harbaugh. And he never communicated to Sparano that he was going or what was happening. He did not address those specific facts. But did admit, "I was in a tough spot. And I put Tony in a difficult spot as well."

Ireland read his opening comments from a piece of paper. So did Ross for the most part. (You'll be able to tell in the audio.)

"I was asked by Steve if I thought Harbaugh was the right coach for this team. I told him Tony was still the right man for the job."

Ross did his predictable (read my previous post) admonishing of the media. We're evil and often wrong. He corrected the fact Carl Peterson was not on the flight to California to get Harbaugh -- which was reported by ESPN, NFL Network, The Miami Herald and practically every other media outlet out there. Guess everyone had the same wrong source.

Ross did admit some mistakes of his own. He said he should have told Sparano he was flying to meet with Harbaugh. "I shouldn't have been talking to coaches and seeking a replacement until I decided that I should make a change," he said.

Now, let me take you back a second. Despite saying he only talked to Harbaugh, Ross did talk to more than one coach and every time he spoke on the topic he used the word "coaches.' He "talked" to Eric Mangini when the former Cleveland and Jets coach called him about something or other.

And while Ross said neither he nor anyone in the organization ever spoke with either Cowher or Gruden, sources close to both men continue to insist he spoke with their representatives.

That doesn't make Ross a liar. But if that's how it happened, it makes him a master of nuance. When you speak with someone's agent, folks, it's like you're contacting that guy in my book. Anyone that doesn't understand that needs to go back to working with crayons. It is, in fact, the first or second step of trying to hire that guy.

Then there is something that wasn't asked thus not addressed: Suppose Ross is completely accurate here and everyone else is wrong. So Ross, who said he was trying to explore all avenues of improving his team, was doing so by flying across the entire span of this nation, but he completely ignored the two most accomplished and decorated unemployed coaches on the market?

Ross is clearly thinking of replacing Sparano but doesn't pick up a phone to talk to two former Super Bowl winning coaches, one of which has put your team on a list of teams he'd love to work for?

Sorry, you cannot have it both ways. Either the Dolphins did contact Cowher and Gruden (at least through their agents) ... or they really are inept about getting the best coaches possible.

If Ross maintains the media -- all of us -- were wrong about contact with Cowher and Gruden and if that is the actual case, then he is totally clueless about which coaches need to be contacted during a search. Wonder if he would be so eager to say the media was wrong when presented with that choice?

The Dolphins need help upgrading the offense and don't even reach out to Gruden? Really?

Ross also said he didn't think his search for a new coach would be a big deal. "This was my first time I interviewed and I never thought this would be national news," he said.


Sparano agreed with Ross and Ireland that mistakes were made -- by them.

"The communication problems, I felt like at the time, had it been said right away, that would have been fine and I would have been able to deal with it," Sparano said. "I do think the communication end of things that both Jeff and Steve alluded to could have been handled different."

(A little aside here: I was not at this meeting. I was not allowed in, in part, because the Dolphins limited media presence to two people per outlet. The Miami Herald in an epic failure of wisdom, in my opinion, decided it would use its slots on a reporter and videographer/photographer. The Herald offered me the one reporter chair. I turned down that reporter chair because I am not the beat reporter. I am a columnist that specializes on this beat so I wasn't going to ask someone not at the meeting to write the lead story while I wrote my opinion. I also am the morning show host of Armando and the Amigo on 640-Sports here in South Florida and that station had two slots. I could have used one of those. But the Dolphins forbad that, saying I would be taking advantage of a "loophole." Thus I was locked out. I heard the entire meeting on a speaker phone, instead. Not the best way to do it but did what I could with what I had to work with. You might be asking why did the Dolphins conduct this meeting in a room so small they would have to limit media access. They do, after all, have a team meeting room that seats about 100-150 people. I'm told some of the folks speaking at the meeting aren't comfortable getting up in front of large groups.)

And with that ...

The thing that intrigues me most is the relationship between Ireland and Sparano. These two guys have to work together if the Dolphins are going to have any chance of winning going forward.

Ireland said Sparano would probably still have questions about what exactly happened this week. But he also said he and Sparano had a great conversation to discuss everything and that hard questions were asked and answered.

"... He knows how I feel about him and I know how he feels about me," Ireland said. "We've worked together for nearly seven years. We have a great working relationship and more important we have a very close personal relationship." 

Sparano put a good face on the relationship as well. He didn't say he loves Jeff Ireland but neither did he mention leaving a bloody, sawed-off horse head in Ireland's bed last night. 

"I tell my players we don't place blame, we solve problems," Ireland said. "The three of us are trying to solve problems and move forward."

Sparano on the offensive coordinator search: "We're going to open this thing up and try to be more explosive. We're going to hire the best man for that job."

The time frame for that?

"We're going to move forward as fast as we can," he said.

Ross ended the 40-minute meet by saying, "I will deliver a winner."

I was listening on a speakerphone. Maybe he said he will deliver a wiener.

Anyway, if you got an extra 45 minutes or so to spare, you can listen to the entire meeting. Just click here. There are a couple of seconds of empty background noise to start and at the end. If that link doesn't work, try this one:

Download Ross_Roundtable_Herald




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Ricky Williams, Jason Taylor, others, how much did they pay you to talk crap about Tony Sparano? Enough?


You will get little argument from me...Tony has more than his share of stuff to answer for...but now the bleeding heart sheeple feel sorry for him so now he smells like roses....GIMME A BREAK!

My only issue with this post is that I think Ross tried to do everything in his power make this team better

Best WR in FA

Best ILB in FA

and tried to get us the best coach available.....I don't think we can fault Ross for trying to make his team better...maybe we don't LOVE the way he did it...but it still shoudn't give TS a pass

Armando "He "talked" to Eric Mangini"?
I would rather he talk to Rob Ryan, make the battles against the jets even more classic.
Since Mr. Ross is pro entertainment, having Rex's twin brother coach this team would be just the circus Ross desire.

A decent OC will NEVER want to come to this godawful franchise. Quit talking about McDaniels. He refused to interview for the 49ers HC job. Why would he want to come here and work with Nolan (with whom, by all accounts, he does not get along with) or BMarsh (whom he shuffled out of Denver as fast as he could)? Moreover, what about this organization would make McD want to come here? For that matter, what about the Fins would make any good FA player or ST coach want to come here. They better draft well. At least those guys can't tell them to shove off.

Sigh. Nevermind. Same old, same old, coming to Joe Robbie Stadium in Fall of 2011. Rated NC17 because it's too horrifying for anyone under the age of 17 to watch.

Angry Elf, your assessment of Sparano and Henne (and of course Henning) are CORRECT. Some people just don't seem to see the truth when it is presented week after week on TV.

Or like they played for him aginst the Browns.

Or was it the Bills. That was inspiring. Tonys not the man.


Not coaches...that stuff ends when you graduate High School

sick of fareweather fans is Steven Ross's boy-toy.

You are a tool to think even 40 percent of the words that came out of Ross was the truth.

He didn't contact nobody but Harbaugh? Are you stupid?

Do you believe in Santa too?

Tony has become Vince Lombardi to some bleeding hearts....This stuff is to much

Unfortunately when it comes to FA "wanting" to come to Miami, they have already failed in the court of public opinion.

No matter who they go out and get, it will be compared to last years FA acquisitions and everyone here will compare this year to last and assume it was because of what transpired this last week.

How much are they paying you, kris. By the way, the name is oscar.


For all I care he COULD have contacted Santa Clause...if he felt it would make the TEAM BETTER....

Is case you guys didn't know....people lie...there i said it. Now the world will never seem the same...sorry

Nice to meet you Oscar...you sound very naive....

OSCAR...you also sound alot like Aloco...

In the Audio, Jeff Ireland asked Stephan Ros, if he was a prostitute.

It is NOT Oscar, kris, it's oscar.

sparano says i will do the best i can to make this team better. well your best will be your team will be even worse than they were this year. these jokers should be embarassed, that all the other teams in the nfl think they are a joke too.


I have been in Sparano's corner since day one. I thought after the season he should be retained for one more year to see what he could do with a more aggressive offense.

With this whole process I thought he was a good coach, but was he the right coach. Never did I feel sorry for him as my allegiance is to the Miami Dolphins and getting back to the glory days.

We have differences of opinion on TS, but I belive we both agree on do what is neccesary to make us relevent again.

Ok Oscar....find yourself another toy to play with and amuse yourself....My New Years Resolution is to not talk to Idiots who only want attention...

SO say something intelligent football wise...or...


Again kris, I agree, people are so focused on Tony begin such an "good guy" and not what the way that he coaches an NFL team that he gets paid MILLIONS to do. He does NOT do it well, at ALL. And as for the way that Ross did this, I'm sorry but I don't feel sorry for Tony at all, it NO different than he does with ALL his players, he will look, talk and try to sign anyone (and should) to make the team better while still having another man in that current position.

Seems top me "COMMUNICATION" between Ireland and Sparano was never as great as we thought. There may have even been "DELIBERATE" attempts to take "SMALL" sabatouge snipes at each other that had stalemated progress at being a successful team.

Publically having no choice but to air out thier dirty laundry to Ross maybe the breath of fresh air this franchise needed.

You really don't know Virtual Space, kris, do you? Now, who is being naive?

Mando thanks for the great report.
Dont worry by the end of next week it will not be the media's fault anymore but the blame will be completely thrown and the Dolphins fan.
How we do not fill the seats, do not want to vote for tax breaks for the stadium etc. etc etc.

All I know is that these are three complete incompetent idiots who think all of us will drink the coolaid.
We will be eyewitness to this train wreck that's coming in the next two years.

McDaniels hasn't done a damn thing since he left New England except make an ass of himself.

And in case you missed it, the Patriots offense hasn't missed a beat without him.

It's comical how some people think this guy is some kinda offensive guru. His "magic" was called Tom Brady, folks.

Miami can find a just as good or better OC out there and it doesn't have to be a "name."


Agree 100%

Thoughts on Mike Leach?

I also think Tony is an extremely loyal guy and his greatest fault of all maybe not wanting to be a "TATTLE_TALE". He didnt want to go to "daddy" Ross and tattle, "Dad Jeff Hit Me!" LOL..........


We do differ in opinions....I tried my best to back Sparano.....through all of the...

wasted time outs
getting Long hurt in pre-season
no 2 min offence
no offence period
calling timeout to see if he wanted to challange a play
have delay of game penalties after timeouts
no adjustments...(that I could see) during games

Somewhere along the way He lost me......and I realized he is not the man for this job...and I want to like him...but I LOVE the Dolphins more....I know if we had won a few more close games we could be 11-5...but if we lose a few more we could be 4-12....and I'm tired of that type of football


Geetah @5:16....we are on the same page...I coudn't agree more...




Man, Leach would be an interesting hire that's for sure!

If they pick from the pro ranks, I'd have ZERO problem going with a hot young assistant ready to make the jump to coordinator.

The "names" are often that simply because they have the best talent to work with. Doesn't mean the most creative ones aren't out there doing just as good or better a job with lesser talent.



I now believe unequivocally Tony Sparano is the man for the job and will become the nfl's next Bill Cowher!

The offensive woes, it was not Henning, it was not Sparano, it was not Brandon Marshall, it was Henne. The offensive game plan had to be very limited, specially inside the red zone, as the QB did not understand and could not carry out most of the plays(no audibles, wrong checkdowns, very inaccurate since training camp). OK, kris?

In retrospect:

1. The fall guy since the end of the season is clearly Ross. He showed his out of his league in this arena. Does anybody really buy his lame excuse he never expected the media to be on this? I agree, as an owner and can do what he wants, however embarrassing the organization to the point of scaring away future talent is not in the teams best interest.

2. The fall guy during the season is TS. When an employee (Henning) makes a mistake, its the employees fault. When the boss (TS) permits the mistake to repeat itself endlessly, its the bosses fault.

3. The fall guy pre season is BP. He may not be in violation of his contract, but common courtesy would be at least to show up once every few months and speak to the media. Just because you have personal gripes with the boss doesn't mean you can't show a little respect to the fans by offering a little clarity on how and why we are where we are now, and just what exactly is he still doing, if anything at all. Arrogance at its finest, he and Ireland are a pair indeed.


Yes he has made mistakes. His game management needs to improve.

He has his strengths and for our sake I hope he gets better at his weaknesses through his experience.

Everyone loved him in 2008, I just hope we can get back to winning football on a consistent base, then hopefully you can get back into his corner.

I don't think Armando owes Ross an apology but he also shouldn't be so thin-skinned and defensive.

He went with some info (such as Peterson being on the trip) that turned out to be completely bogus. He should fully own up to that and vow to do a better job in the future.

The Seahawks are trying to make a game of it.....

Good for them...especially since the 49ers just became my least favorite team in that conference

KJ - It cannot be a "name" because a "name" wouldn't consider coming here. So it has to be a no name guy. Unfortunately it will probably be the equipment manager, who Tony will promote because he can't quite get the cleat issue right but Tony's loyal so he doesn't want to fire him and , heck, there's an OC position open and al you have to do is call for a Wildcat play and then a run on 3rd and 14. Then, if it's 50 yards or more, try a field goal. If it's less, better punt. Simple philosophy, really.


I have 0 respect for Ross or Ireland

no qbs on dolphins radar. sparano- henne is still my guy. i know he will be better than ryan or flacco or bress. this is your leader ross. losers!

Conversely, if an OC came in and oversaw a big turnaround he'd get strong consideration for the HC job in Miami or elsewhere.

Not really interestd in the "name" guys anyway. I think that crap is always overrated by fans.

Give me the hot young assistant ready to MAKE a name for himself.

What this new "GANG OF DEFEAT" doesnt realize is the so little control Sparano actually had. You guys obviously not reading the excerpts of today's presser, skipping over the most important parts, or your perception of things are a little warped. Which ever it is more power to you.

Sparano's been given more decision making power and we'll first have to see how that works out before adjudicating him great or bum. Still despite the criticism, as loyal fin fans I'm sure we're all hoping for the best!

JB...I credited Tuna with 08....i'm serious....i gave him credit for everything...make it was wrong but I did....

I figured that next year would be the true test for this staff because the "mystique" of Parcells would have worn off.....



now that this pathetic soap opera is over, i hope the organization gets back to the business of addressing the qb issue. i believe kolb will be an excellent starter, and could certainly be had for the 15th pick. in my view, it would definitely be worth it, considering that sparano and co. cannot develop a qb, and that kolb has been developed by andy reid, maybe the best in the business.

NOBODY can escape the Truth(EVERYBODY knows It).

I think everyone, including the Media (and that means you Mando), should let this thing go and move on. Stop whining about rooms too small and how many seats were made available and defending your poor reporting over the last week, these guys decided this was how they were going to present it and they do not need to consult with the press as to whether it met their approval. COME ON MAN!! It is not all about you in the media. I guess you in the FINS media would get real mad at the President because he only makes ONE seat available for every news outlet.



DB, We are all hoping for the best.....we can all agree on that....were I will disagree with you the press confence conference...I think the whole thing was a sham...and Ireland and Tony are fired next year anyway

On the topic of "names" I can think of an obscure, young assistant who was hired by the Colts years ago. A guy who had a thoroughly unremarkable career as a player and had fans scratching their heads saying "who?" when he was hired.

His name was Don Shula.

The "name" stuff is completely overrated.


I am a season ticket holder. Here is the letter I received from Ross himself. Make what you want of it. I find it very hard to believe the thinks that Tony is the right man for the job, despite having the need to interview another candidate so hastily.

"Letter From the Owner | Trouble reading this? Click here.

To Our Loyal Season Ticket Members,

The first of the three commitments that I made to all of our fans when I purchased the Miami Dolphins was that I would do everything possible to bring a Super Bowl championship back to South Florida. That, above all else, is what I want for this franchise, for this community and what you, as a season ticket member, deserve.

So there is no confusion about our recent actions, and because you are entitled to our trust and confidence, I want you to hear directly from me about the evaluation process of the past week.

Going into the 2010 season, my expectation was that we had a team and an organization that was capable of reaching the Super Bowl. We fell short of that goal and, furthermore, the season was disappointing for a few reasons. We were very aggressive during the offseason and added players and coaches that we believed were the missing pieces to put us over the top. While many of those new faces were outstanding contributors this season, we still fell short in other areas. Additionally, our performance at home was bitterly disappointing. The reasons as to why we played so much better on the road than at home are hard to figure. As a fan myself, I know how frustrating this season was on all of you.

The results were unacceptable. We hold ourselves to higher standards and have loftier goals for this franchise. We fell short of our mission of returning to the postseason and did not measure up to the high standards we set for ourselves. As a result, I felt it was incumbent upon me to explore options to improve this team.

I met with Tony Sparano on Monday to discuss the season and understand his plan of what needed to change as we headed into the offseason. I told him that I needed time to digest what I had heard and that I would get back to him with my thoughts later in the week. Meanwhile, I received word that Jim Harbaugh made it clear that his intention was to pursue a career in the NFL. As news reports began to surface on Tuesday that Jim was interviewing with other teams, I made the decision to reach out to Jim to see whether or not he would be a beneficial fit for the organization.

General Manager Jeff Ireland and I met with Jim on Thursday. At the end of the meeting, I thanked Jim for his time, wished him well and soon let him know that we would not pursue the discussion any further. To be clear, I made no offer to Jim Harbaugh. Reports to the contrary and the associated outrageous financial terms that were rumored with those reports were completely inaccurate. We never spoke to any other coaching candidates, including Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or any other names that have been rumored to be a candidate.

Tony Sparano is the best person to lead this team. Tony's contract has been extended through the 2013 season, and I wholeheartedly believe that the combination of Jeff and Tony represents one of the strongest organizations in all of football. I remain committed to supporting them in any way possible and will always provide the financial resources to make us a winner.

I am obsessed with winning and will do whatever it takes to make us a perennial Super Bowl contender. Many of the model franchises over the course of NFL history have been built on a commitment from ownership to chart a course for the organization, select the right people to execute that strategy and allow them the time to finish what they started. Stability and consistency are two of the most important virtues of ownership.

I realize your faith in us has been put to the test this week, but I assure you we are well positioned to return to the winning ways that have defined this franchise.

Let me end by thanking you for hanging in there and supporting us throughout the year despite our struggles at home. For that, we are sincerely grateful. You have my personal and unwavering commitment that we will do our part to create a true home field advantage with your help in the future. Rest assured, there are better days ahead for the Miami Dolphins.

With sincere thanks and appreciation,

Steve Ross

If you do not wish to receive future emails from the Miami Dolphins please click here.

This message was transmitted on behalf of:
Miami Dolphins Sales and Marketing
347 Don Shula Drive
Miami Gardens, FL 33056

oscar....I agree with your assement of Henne...but ultimatley EVERYTHING falls on the HC....

Jersey, funny post! Seattle might just beat the Saints btw....they're playing better than I expected.....

DyingBreed, you think Tony has been given more decision making power? Did they mention anything about that in the presser?

Dear Dolphin Fans,

We are now accepting applications for new fans. We would welcome you with open arms.

Robert Kraft.

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