Jeff Fisher is going to coach the Rams now. Fine. So the Dolphins lose in that chase. Owner Stephen Ross is left with a black eye because it's the second time he tries to land a coach and fails. So he loses, too. Dolphins fans wanting the certainty of having a tried and experienced head coach also lose.
So the winner in all this?
Ireland has emerged from a 6-10 season and a coach search in which the team's leading candidate went elsewhere more powerful than ever. Ross picked Ireland while dispatching Tony Sparano. He picked Ireland over Carl Peterson -- because he said Peterson would not join the team to oversee it and Ireland. And Ross picked Ireland over Fisher, keeping the GM as the unquestioned decision-maker over the club while stiff-arming Fisher's desire to have that power.
Jeff Ireland won.
Recognizing this, I asked Ross about Ireland Friday and the owner's words were glowing:
“I think he’s done an outstanding job of creating the team we’ve put on the field the last four years. We’ve got a lot of capability going forward, and I believe we will win moving forward. He has a passion about it. I enjoy working with him. He’s ambitious. He’s bright. He’s a very good GM.”
Ireland's foundation is stronger now than it has ever been. He is stronger than when he answered to Bill Parcells. He is stronger than when he and Sparano were in the proverbial cone of uncertainty after the 2010 season. He is even stronger now than he was in the spring of 2011 when he got a contract extension. I've been telling you for some time that Ross truly does appreciate Ireland. But now there's tangible proof Ross prefers Ireland to a star head coach wanting power over personnel.