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No news, no excitement here: Just same old Dolphins

The Dolphins on Monday put in a waiver claim for wide receiver Taylor Price ...

... and didn't get him.

That's it. That's the big excitement on the Dolphins front today. And with all respect to the current five-game stretch during which the team has won four games -- a stretch that came too late to mean anything in a conversation that includes the word playoffs or postseason -- this team isn't exactly exciting.

And that's going to a be a problem for the Dolphins. Seriously.

You see, here in South Florida, the Dolphins are definitely not the talk of the town. The Marlins are about to open a new stadium, hired Ozzie Guillen, just signed Jose Reyes, added a closer, and are chasing Albert Pujols. The Heat is three weeks from opening its high-wire act on Christmas Day on national TV and play out a rapid-fire 66-game season that is supposed to end in the Finals.

Oh, yeah, the Florida Panthers are in first place, too.

The front page of today's Miami Herald sports section reflects what is currently happening in this community. There's a Marlins story, a Heat story, and a couple of Panthers stories. The Dolphins story is on page 5D.

Weeeeee

So why is this a big deal?

Firstly, the Dolphins are in competition with those other teams. They are vying for the same disposable income of the same sports fans that now have a choice of where to spend their money -- be it on the all-star basketball team, the new-stadium-having and new-lineup-having baseball team, or the same old Dolphins.

That may not matter to Tony Sparano, who determines what brand of football and at what pace the Dolphins play. That may not matter to GM Jeff Ireland, who has continued to bring the same kind of players to the roster that mentor Bill Parcells brought.

But it definitely matters to CEO Mike Dee and owner Stephen Ross. They want an exciting team on the field. They want big names on the roster. And mostly, they want to sell tickets and make money by having lots of people in the stands!

And that desire to not only win, but win in exciting fashion, and that need to keep up on the excitement and buzz scale with their in-town bretheren might color some of the decisions they have to make soon. I've already written how much Ross wants the Dolphins to add a franchise quarterback. He is going to play a role in that search, believe it or not.

The idea is not only to get a top-caliber quarterback that will help the Dolphins climb to contender status, but indeed, be able to throw the ball well enough to win games and draw fans.

Here's another thing to consider: The University of Miami football program made no secret of the fact it replaced coach Randy Shannon, in part, because fans had stopped coming to games. Well, as the Dolphins' style has failed to capture the imagination of locals, would ownership consider having to compete with the excitement factor as a variable when deciding Sparano's and Ireland's future.

After all, keeping the coach and or the general manager would require Ross to do some serious explaining to a crowd that is now used to exciting changes and additions from their local sports teams. 

Finally, there is this to consider: The Dolphins are a team that must do something interesting and exciting and successful pretty soon. Because of its last decade of mediocrity, the team must be careful not to lose an entire generation of fans to other franchises.

Remember, kids that were 10 years old when Dan Marino retired are 21 or 22 years old now. To those fans, the Dolphins haven't been elite like they were for people in their 30s and 40s. Those people enjoyed championships from the Heat and Marlins in the last decade.

That's dangerous for the Dolphins.

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