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Will stadium vote cause the Dolphins to have more urgency this offseason to impress fans, voters?

This morning the Dolphins will make official what the Miami Herald confirmed on Saturday, namely that the team's attempt to secure hotel bed tax dollars and other tax breaks to help finance half of a $400 million upgrade to Sun Life Stadium would be put before the voters of Miami-Dade County in the next few months.

It's a gutsy move by the team. It's also something of a Hail Mary because even though local taxpayers are not generally having to fork over the money themselves, asking voters to  approve any tax increase of any kind (even when it's on tourists) is often not a winning proposition.

And it doesn't help that the county's elected officials did such a horrible job vetting the Marlins and dealing with that rogue organization as they negotiated a deal for the new Marlins Park. Public monies beyond bed taxes were used in that deal because the Marlins were losing money and promised to field a great lineup in exchange for their deal.

Except it was eventually learned the Marlins were making money. And the politicians never got the team to open its books before or after that fact came to light. And after one season of upgrading the roster, the club conducted a fire sale and will field a glorified Triple A team lineup this coming season to save money.

So the Marlins and the politicians that voted on their behalf screwed Miami-Dade.

And the fallout from that bomb threatens the Dolphins in this upcoming vote.

But ...

This vote also offers the Dolphins a grand, awesome opportunity. And, if embraced by the club, it can mend the recent narrow but apparent fissure between the team and its fans.

As you know, Dolphins' fans have not been thrilled with the recent direction of the team. The last four years of 7-9, 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9 were not great, but this break was coming well before that with Nick Saban lying and Bill Parcells splitting and Cam Cameron stinking.

So the love affair has been a little rocky and the historically low attendance last season was proof.

But, as I mentioned, this offseason, this vote, this time in team history is a grand and golden opportunity. Think of it, if the team reaches for greatness and that lights a fire under the fan base to turn out to the polls, we could go to August with:

1. A better team filled with promise and some actual proven stars.

2. A team whose house will be modernized.

3. A team that actually seems exciting to its fans.

4. A team that will remain in South Florida for a long, long time.

5. A team whose fans backed it at the polls.

And all this without winning a game. Indeed, all this without even playing a game.

So how does this happen?

Remember right after the season when I suggested the Dolphins handle this offseason in the fashion the Miami Heat handled the offseason in which they got Dwyane Wade re-signed, and added Chris Bosh, and LeBron James and Mike Miller?

Remember the offseason the Heat went big?

That's what the Dolphins have a chance to do this offseason with $46 million or so in salary cap space and five draft picks in the first three rounds.

And so that is the opportunity. The Dolphins can tilt the offseason, the roster, the fan base and the vote in their direction if they simply have the, um, fortitude to go big this offseason as the Heat did three years ago.

Get a bigtime playmaker or two in free agency. In other words, win in free agency. Then add talent in the draft that doesn't suggest you're going to be the same team you've been for a decade. Get that seam-threatening tight end. Get a promising safety to team with Reshad Jones. Get us some corners that knows how to do this thing recently foreign in Miami, what's it called? Oh yes, intercept the football.

Add a running back if you have to.

Hey, how about checking out the trade market, too. Percy Harvin might be out there. Explore, it! (I'm not ready to push for that move per se. But at least explore. Don't sit in a dark film room studying tape of the right guard from New Mexico, when freaking Percy Harvin is dangling out there.)

Dare to be great. And let your fans know as much.

Now, all this sounds like fanciful sportswriter mumbo jumbo, right? It's just a columnist with a vivid imagination sitting at his computer, eating twinkies and filling space.

Well, it would be that if I was lazy.

I'm not lazy.

I texted several of my Dolphins sources about this very subject Sunday. I asked if the team welcoming a vote would cause greater urgency to do something exciting?

The resulting answers were mixed.

First, the topic has not been discussed internally. Remember, the announcement is today. So there has been no grand strategy session within the organization to see if football operations can be helpful to the business side.

This, by the way, has to fall at the feet of owner Stephen Ross. He knows the business side has agreed to take the issue to the voting booth. He had to approve such a move. So once he got done with that conversation, why didn't he pick up another phone (my understanding is billionaires often have multiple phones) and call the football side and say, "Hey, general manager Jeff Ireland, we're doing this presser on Monday. We've got $200 million on the line here. The vote will likely be in May. I want to hear what you're going to do to help. And, you better help!"

That's the owner's job. He has business interests that represent $200 million dangling on a vote, it should automatically dawn on him to rally every asset within the organization to make sure the team does what most professional sports teams are in business to do: Win.

Win the offseason.

Win the fans over.

Win the vote.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But, Mando, we want a team that wins during the season, not the offseason.")

Shaddup, ya foofs.

There are no games available to be played now, okay? And to win in the regular season, you have to build a team successfully in the offseason.

Anyway, I call on Ross, the head of the Dolphins organization, to get his business side hand and football side hand to speak to each other -- one hand working with the other -- and come up with a strategy that willl make the entire organization emerge from this victorious.

Is the business side into the idea?

Heck yes. In talking to a couple of people on that side, they completely agree that if football operations makes some significant advances or moves that convince fans the team is clearly going to be better, they are more likely to win the election.

"This would seem to be the time to make a statement," one source texted me.

That same source asked if signing a particular player would get fans fired up. I cannot divulge the name of the player used because my job is not to get sources in trouble for tampering. But suffice to say the player is a looming unrestricted free agent who makes plays.

I told the source it would help. But I believe it will take more than one player to light the excitement flames for Miami fans. Also, and more importantly, it's going to take adding more than one player to make the Dolphins much, much better. That's the beauty of all this. The business side would love signing several talented players because it helps them. The football side should love the idea of adding gobs of talent because it helps them.

Synergy!

So the business side would be pleased if this was the approach.

But, and here comes the newsy part of this post, the football side doesn't seem too excited with the idea at this point. I texted a couple of folks on that side, too.

I asked if the vote would bring greater urgency to get bigger name players.

"Nope," was one response I got.

"Doubtful," was another response. "We make football moves for the longterm well-being of the franchise, not to please fans."

Alrightie, then.

So, the football side is not on board at this time. It is going about things like this is another offseason that brings opportunities to improve. But it is not approaching this like it's make-or-break and $200 million and the long-term viability of the team in South Florida are at stake.

Do I agree with this?

Yes. And no.

I agree that winning rather than pleasing fans should be the goal. Always. But some people act like winning and adding bigtime players are mutually exclusive. BREAKING NEWS: Adding great players is what brings winning.

Also, if you're telling me that despite the need to please fans with a big name addition you would, as a hypothetical example here, refuse to pay Mike Wallace $15 million per year, I agree with you.

But, on the other hand, if you're saying you'd refuse to go to $10 million per year because you want to also add the $4 million per year guard, I'd think you're a certifiable dunce.

Deep threat. Imperative.

Guard. A grunt that isn't going to win you games.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But Mando, you need good interior players too to win big in the NFL.")

Shaddup, ya twits.

You can't name the four guards that started in the Super Bowl and even if you could, you can't name one occassion when a guard scored in the NFL this season. And teams must score points to win. Also, the Dolphins have guards on the team already.

So where does this all leave us?

We have one side of the organization hoping the other side gets on board while the owner is in the middle having not yet broached the topic with either.

Let's hope this changes. There is still time before free agency. There is still time before the draft. There is still time before the NFL trade period opens. There is still time before the Miami-Dade County vote.

Most importantly, there is still time for the Dolphins to become a synchronized organization with all sides harmonizing toward a common goal. 

 

Comments

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True Dusty and he was undrafted because of an injury, not because he couldn't perform. And RBs are typically not overdrafted anyway. It's a lottery ticket I guess.

i love miller also, let bush go

Dolfan Rick@3:34, my emphasis is on TEs for 2013, acquiring 2-4 yr vets in FA. Jennings is an alternate choice. Wallace, his high $ demands and 8 TDs for 2012 is NO choice. Look at the type of production Miami could shoot for with less money spent on Wallace alone: (Gronk & Hernandez were each injured for about 6 games in 2012)

Rob Gronkowski 2012 - 55 catches - 790 yds - 11 TDs
Aaron Hernandez 2012: 66 catches - 651 yds - 5 TDs
Rob Gronkowski 2011 - 107catches - 1585 yds - 20 TDs
Aaron Hernandez 2011: 98 catches - 1093 yds - 9 TDs

These guys are worth more than 1.5 TDs/game for NE!

id still trade for harvin. also sign finley if hes cut. resign starks and hartline. go after osi for other side of wake

dusty,

You won't be surprised. We don't agree on ANY of those moves. Like none.

Doesn't long-term well-being of the franchise and pleasing fans sort of go hand-in-hand?

Craig Maggot, Thats because all your moves all suck buddy. If it was up to you the Dolphins would constantley be in the cellar

With a 2nd year QB and a 2nd & 3rd year RB tandem, now's the time to spend the cap money before you have to pay your starting QB (if he pans out) and possible star RB the bigger dollars.

If they don't go for it with the Bills and Jets not looking to good next year, I will be greatly disappointed and I'll go back on my Ireland must go tirade.

go finsssssss

Doesn't long-term well-being of the franchise and pleasing fans sort of go hand-in-hand?

Posted by: GT | February 11, 2013 at 04:39 PM

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Not necessarily. "Pleasing fans" would have also entailed brilliant moves like trading for Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb, too. Or drafting Brady Quinn.

It can also mean "pleasing them" by spending money wildly in free agency without any semblance of reason or regard to future cap problems---you know, exactly what successful franchises like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, etc. do NOT do. Ever.

So, no, "pleasing the fans" is really not always the smartest move.

Ross needs to grow up and fix his own stadium.

Any good businessman knows listening to his customers(fans) is the key to success.

I see.

So when Patriots fans were howling about what a lousy hire Bill Belichick was after his failed stint in Cleveland and his initial 5-11 season in New England, Robert Kraft should have canned him.

After all, 'the customer is always right.'

Right?

Ross is turning out to be as classless as Irescum.

Trying to hire a new HC before firing the existing HC was a doozie!

I think ecvenb and then probably let Bush go inbbd as Miller showtr plenty of skill also uoppl with the 2nd round pick hnngf

Ignoring the fans about Ireland has already come back to bite Ross in the ass with an empty stadium for most games. So he ignores the fans and then asks for support for his businees he's ruined?? Hilarious!

Huh??

Ross, honoring the opponent Tebow was a doozie too.

Its Tim Tebow day at dolphin stadium!! YIKES!!

Posted by: billcale | February 11, 2013 at 04:07 PM

I get what your saying about the TE's value wise and TE's are big in the WCO but I don't think thats the way Ireland/Philbin and company are gonna approach it.

I think their going to try to get a wr in free agency. Thats what they've said more than once. Possibly a TE but they didn't really say via free agency or the draft. They also said they would like to see a better pass rush but didn't really say where they would get it from.

Speculating is fun but I like to stay in the realm of what might actually happen. What works for the Pats may not work for us.

And Ross proclaimed Chad Henne as the 2nd coming of Dan Marino. lol

I agree, will never support a team that has Ireland. This owner does not care about what the fans think. If he did, he would fire Ireland. We have allot of cap space because the Dolphins don't spend big money in Free Agency. We never have and never will.

And Ross proclaimed Chad Henne as the 2nd coming of Dan Marino. lol
Posted by: Phinmanski | February 11, 2013 at 05:32 PM

Its no wonder Parcells couldnt stand Ross.

When the Dolphins were drawing 29,000 fans versus the Seahawks in the supposedly 'rabid' Orange Bowl during a season (1977) they went 10-4, was Jeff Ireland even born yet? And, yeah, you can look that up. The next week versus a good Chargers team, Miami drew a paltry 40,000.

The attendance problem isn't Jeff Ireland. It's YOU PEOPLE. Miami SUCKS as a sports town and people only go to games when they think it's the 'in' thing to do.

I spent years denying it myself, but why bother. It's the damn truth.

Ross doesnt care about the fans so why should the fans care about Ross?

The Ireland hate definitely has killed the attendance.

Get (NO) Sense, I have a feeling you don't even live in Florida. You are a fool. We are supporting the local business who make loads of money off a SuperBowl. Go shovel snow fool.

Fans are using their ticket money to fund Fire Ireland plane signs.

bobby, Ross doesnt deserve a SB. Who wants a SB if the Fins arent in it?

What killed attendance is mediocre teams, not Ireland. If this team starts winning, people will buy tickets and show up. Ireland being here makes ZERO difference if this team wins.

Zonk, ask local business owners. Millions of dollars are infused into the economy down here. That's shortsighted if you believe no one cares.

Ireland is not capable of winning. He's already proven that.

Yeah, some hotels and restaurants may benefit for a week. Ross would benefit the most so let him pay for upgrades.

re-signing hartline would be catastrophic. HE CANT GET IN THE ENDZONE. HE TRIPS OVER HIS OWN FEET WHEN HE TRIES TO MAKE MOVES. HE HAS NO MOVES! we need guys who are big, strong, and fast who can catch. Hartline can catch, thats it. we need guys that are threats. nobody is scared of brian hartline. nobody game plans for this guy. you guys must be crazy!


And Ross proclaimed Chad Henne as the 2nd coming of Dan Marino. lol
Posted by: Phinmanski | February 11, 2013 at 05:32 PM

Its no wonder Parcells couldnt stand Ross.

Posted by: Zonk | February 11, 2013 at 05:34 PM

I think that was Tannehill.

"According to General Manager Jeff Ireland and owner Steve Ross, the team plans to be aggressive in free agency and other avenues like trade in their effort to produce a winning franchise."

"The goal was to use 2013 as the launching pad to rebuild the Dolphins' roster. But to do so the Dolphins might opt to let some of their own free agents sign elsewhere."

Hmmm some of us on here including me may wrong. Just adding a free agent or 2 doesn't "rebuild" a roster. Maybe they have 4 or 5 in mind.

Za

How about working something out with the Giants for Victor Cruz? He is quick AND fast, works well underneath and can also stretch the field. Plus, from a PR point of view, he has a Latin name and might get us some new Fans.

We are just throwing ideas here. The more varied the better to choose from.

"The Miami Herald reports the Dolphins have held "extensive discussions" with free agent FS Chris Clemons about re-signing.
Clemons, 27, started all 16 games in 2012 and recorded a career-high 99 tackles, while being above-average against both the pass and the run. Clemons and Brian Hartline are the only two players out of a slew of their own potential free agents that the Dolphins have had substantive talks with about coming back."


I'd like to see Starks back too but we definitely need Hartline & Clemons back.

Saw Greg Jennings on ESPN32 today & he said he would like to play for Philbin again. Said Philbin was a 'great guy.' He also said he knows the system & sees a lot of upside with Tannehill. In short--if the Dolphins want Jennings, he's ours.

Can the NFL gaurantee Miami will get the 2016 SB if the vote is YES on the referendum?

I don't think so.

Same as with Emmanuel Sanders, Dennis Pitta ?

Clue,

'Craig Maggot'? That's the best you can do?

Come on, man.....thought you were better than that. Obviously not.

WNP..one of the things some FA's forget. They can let their agents talk them right out of town with ridiculous demands. What's Hartline want 7 mil? Would Jennings take that to come play here?

Yea, well, I guess I'm wrong about Clemons not being solid, but he no Playmaker.

oscar,

I don't want him back either. Looks like the team values him more than we do. I don't get their thinking.

The stadium contract should stipulate that the DOLPHINS team name stays in Florida assuming Ross gets the funding and LATER decides to move the team to another city.

Foot the bill then leave to become the San Diego Dolphins or LA Dolphins?

Should not happen.

I don't claim to know about it all but from what I read, with RFAs you have to tender them an offer high enough that their Teams will refuse it. Otherwise they match it and they keep them.

Firing Ireland = Pro-Improvement Landslide

The San Diego Seals. howbout that?

I think a hard look at Harvin is a great Idea, I believe he led the league in all purpose yards before the injury. Wouldn't give up the farm but he is electric when he is on the field.

A 24 y/o ultratalented WR being shopped around? HMM,HMM,...... The hard look at him has to be thru a great Scope.

But eventually some Team will offer something for Percy. Might be Us, might not be.

Percy was born with migraines and attitude problems.

A double no no despite the talent.

Wallace isn't exactly cuddly either.

Most bloggers here have a dull marriage or are a bunch of lonely jackoffs with low paying jobs. They come here to spout their opinions trying to imnpress or find others to agree with them because there really have nothing else to do. No hobbies. No interests. No attention span to read booiks.

Dolfan Rick,

Zonk was right. Ross said Chad Henne was the 2nd coming of Dan Marino. About Tannehill, Ross said he hoped to retire his number. LOL Ross is football clueless.

Monte = Zonkscum.

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