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The football czar approach might be Ross answer

So what does an NFL owner do when he's got a lot of money?

When he needs to make changes to a stagnant NFL franchise but doesn't want to actually fire anyone?

When his general manager and head coach are not BFFs and he wants to keep both?

When he needs to make a splash announcement to sell tickets and try to save his reputation?

Well, that's the situation facing Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. And his answer might just include throwing money and resources at the problem by hiring another football czar.

A football czar is not an official title. It's a term I use to describe that person who reigns over the entire football organization. He's over the coach. He's over the GM. He reports to the owner and is the owner's eyes and ears. He's like a king of football.

For the Dolphins, the football czar should be somebody with name recognition that fans will eagerly receive. It should be someone with football acumen. It should be someone who can get in the gap between Philbin and Ireland (assuming they both stay) and bring them together. It should be someone without an agenda for being power hungry. It should be someone who can report back to Ross -- an absentee owner living primarily in New York -- and let him know what he thinks about what is really going on down here in South Florida.

Those necessary qualifications means there's not a long list of candidates, folks.

Dan Marino is a possibility.

Tony Dungy is a possibility.

Carl Peterson is a possibility.

Eric Mangini is a possibility.

Don Shula is a possibility.

Scott Pioli is a possibility.

Bill Polian is a possibility.

Now, those are just the names. Let's whittle those down.

Shula is a great name, knows football and commands respect of the football people. But he just celebrated his 80th birthday. He's been living a great life for quite a while and managing the health issues that most men his age manage. I don't believe he's want to take on this day-to-day job.

Marino is the biggest name on the board. The Dolphins have discussed him having a role (again) with the organization as recently as last year. Marino never dismissed the idea and indeed embraced it as a future possibility.

But is the future here?

Is he ready to leave TV -- a cushy gig that requires only 25 weeks of work or so per year -- to do a 52-week a year grind? He had a taste of that work a decade ago when then-owner Wayne Huizenga hired him and Marino lasted only a few days before he realized he didn't want to do it.

Has anything changed?

Marino would be roundly received as a coup for Ross. It's a PR win. And he is so secure in his own skin and identity that he wouldn't be playing any political games with Ireland and Philbin to gain power. Moreoever, both those men respect Marino as a football guy for obvious reasons.

Mangini? Ross loves him. Ross wanted to hire him before -- before the 2011 season -- but Ireland and then-coach Tony Sparano presented a united front against the idea.

Now, neither Ireland nor Philbin have the accomplishment capital to keep Ross from bringing him if the owner wants. Mangini knows football. But he has no South Florida ties. Fans would look at him as a failed New York Jets and Cleveland Browns coach.

Dungy? He'd be great. He's a winner with multiple Super Bowl rings. I suggested him as the answer months ago. Ross tried to bring him on board last year -- Ross has been trying and failing to hire a lot of people it seems -- and Dungy declined. Despite this, Dungy has remained as something of an advisor to Ross.

But is he ready to leave his cushy TV job? Is he willing to move to South Florida? Does he want to take on a role as peacemaker for men (Ireland and Philbin) who aren't his guys?

Polian? He'd probably love the job. My sense is Dolphins fans respect his body of work. The problem is he would come in with predisposed ideas about the principals involved. Polian is not a big Ireland fan. And he's 72 years old so there's a question about his desire to do this for a significant length of time.

Peterson? Ross has resisted the idea so far. Maybe he's desperate enough to do it this time. Ross trusts Peterson. Peterson has the experience and credentials to do the job. But he's not a popular answer among Dolphins fans.

Pioli? Makes sense. Knows what a winning organization looks like. His family would probably like it as he is married to Bill Parcells' daughter and Parcells lives half the year in Stuart, Fl. Would he be a PR boon? Probably not. But he's young, he's energetic and if he's empowered he could be a resource.

 

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