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Seahawks, Dolphins on similar paths until they weren't

Today's Miami Dolphins?

The Seattle Seahawks have been there, folks.

When Stephen Ross took over full control of the Dolphins in 2009, bringing one of the biggest wallets to the fraternity of NFL owners, it was only a coincidence that at league meetings the only other NFL owner with more billions to his name was Seattle owner Paul Allen.

Upon closer inspection that coincidence of resources would be only a foundation of similiarities we'd start to see between the Seahawks and the Dolphins. The very rich owner of the Seahawks, you see, faced similiar situations and initially took similar steps to what Ross has faced recently.

And while there were mistakes made, the Seahawks obviously corrected course.

Which begs the question ... Can the Dolphins correct course?

As recently as 2008, Allen had what he believed was a winning combination at the helm of his franchise. Well-regarded Mike Holmgren was his coach and unquestioned football authority. Holmgren had won a Super Bowl in Green Bay and wanted more power at his next stop. Allen, desperate to breathe life into his franchise, hired Holmgren and gave him all the power he wanted.

Holmgren was basically Seattle's football czar, as all the power on the football side of the organization belonged to him.

And it worked at first. Holmgren even took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl early in 2006. But soon things went south. After the 2008 season in which Seattle finished 4-12, Allen decided he needed to go in a different direction.

So Holmgren was gone. But general manager Tim Ruskell, who had become a favorite of the owner, remained. Fans wondered why Allen was so loyal to Ruskell after a 4-12 season, but the owner appreciated what Ruskell had done earlier in his stint under Holmgren. And, again, the owner liked Ruskell.

And this is the part where I remind you that in October of 2010, Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells left the franchice. He had some success in Miami. The Dolphins won the AFC East and went to the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2008. You people would often write, "In Parcells we trust," in the comment section here.

But things took a step back in 2009 and 2010 was no better. And yet, after Parcells departed, Ross kept the GM and the coach the former football czar had hired.

Back to the Seahawks, Allen in 2009 went out to hire a head coach to team with his well-liked GM. And he handed the keys to the football team to Jim Mora who the owner believed was a rising talent in coaching circles. Mora was no fledgling coach. He'd been fired after a couple of seasons as the Falcons head coach. But he was young, and bright and well prepared.

So Mora, the new coach, and Ruskell, the previous GM, were teamed together.

The Seahawks made a big free agency splash (sound familiar?) with the signing of Edgerrin James and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The team picked a pass rusher with the fourth pick of the draft (coincidence again?).

The team was in the playoff hunt for much of the season, but collapsed at season's end -- with four consecutive losses in which the offense failed to perform up to expectations (crazy, right?). Mora claimed progress had been made as the 5-11 record was slightly better than the 4-12 the year before. At one point before the season-finale he actually said, "... We're not that far away."

And that's where owner Paul Allen found himself in pretty much the same position Stephen Ross found himself in after 2012.

With a big-time football czar in his rear-view mirror (Holmgren rather Bill Parcells), with a general manager he admired and kept on from that czar still on staff (Ruskell rather than Jeff Ireland) and with a young, unproven but still promising and respected coach under contract (Mora rather Joe Philbin), Allen had a choice. He could clean house or keep everyone or fire the GM and keep his new coach that had shown he couldn't milk wins out of his team late in the year to make the playoffs. Allen in January 2010 found himself n the same situation Ross would be in January 2013.

(Let me rephrase: Allen got himself into a similar situation as Ross did. These guys made decisions that put them on the road they were on. These billionaires made choices that put themselves in their spots.).

It gets weirder. Allen liked Ruskell but didn't want to give Ruskell a contract extension. So the GM saw that as a show of no confidence on the owner's part. So he resigned.

Well, as you know, Ross liked Ireland but actually wanted to trim back his power for 2014. The GM saw he had lost the owner's confidence and the two mutually agreed to part ways.

So now Allen had no GM but a coach he thought had promise although the record didn't bear that out. Just as Ross had no GM but a coach he thinks has promise, although the record so far does not bear that out.

What happened next?

Allen fired the coach.

After one year.

He went with the option to clean house.

And he went out and hired the hottest coaching prospect he could find in Pete Carroll. And a couple of weeks later general manager John Schneider was hired.

And while it wasn't until this year that Seattle's success reached championship levels, the seeds for that title were sown immidiately. The new management drafted Russell Okung and Earl Thomas and Golden Tate that first year. They traded for Marshawn Lynch. And although they only managed a 7-9 record they also went to the playoffs and won a wild card game.

After a subpar 2011, the Seahawks changed their uniforms and logo in 2012. They drafted their quarterback of the future in 2012.

And there are other coincidences.

But it's impossible to get over the fact that while Allen and Ross's first instincts were similar -- have a big-name guy atop the organization, keep his GM when that big name was gone, hire a young, promising coach to pair with that GM the owner really liked  -- the Seahawks didn't really take off until Allen hit the brakes, turned the steering wheel and pointed the franchise in a totally different direction.

Now look at the Seahawks.

They're where the Dolphins long to be.

The Dolphins, as you know, veered from the Seahawks course this offseason. While Allen made the mistake of not cleaning house the first time a group failed him, he did so the second time. Ross declined to clean house after Parcells left and again in 2011 after he fired Tony Sparano. He kept the same GM both times. And now, he's fired that GM, but kept his coach thus declining to clean house for a third time.

That's where the paths have separated.

We know Seattle followed its course to the Super Bowl. The Dolphins? We'll see.


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Here are some of the perks that are being offered:

- Discounts at restaurants and local businesses

- Free on-field movie night

- Food truck and photo booth party at Sun Life Stadium

- Kickoff yacht party

- Dolphins Day at Sea World in Orlando for suite/club level package buyers (the amusement park is about four hours away from Miami).

- The opportunity to stage a fantasy football draft in a stadium suite with food and beer provided, plus Dolphins alumni available to give advice on your draft picks.

Hey, it is hard to blame Miami’s sales department.

Miami’s last playoff appearance occurred during the 2008 season. The team has not finished over .500 since that year. Last season, Miami finished 8-8, but the season was overshadowed by the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito fiasco. It is not like the sales department has anything else to offer right now.
how about a football team on game days
4 1nce u clown ross

...You are never going to win in this league until you are settled at HC-QB. We are far from settled at either spot. Until this happens(and it could be Philbin-Tanny, or Philbin-who knows) The team is just going to be blah.

Its really simple.

DD, I'll add to that the GM and HC being on the same page. Doesn't work if they are antagonists, working against each other. They need to be of 1 mind.

The Seahawks knew when to toss Holmgren and move on, the Dolphins bowed and obeyed Parcells into complete DOOM!

Raises the question. Not begs the question.

Still hoping the kickstarter campaign to buy the team from Ross plays out.

Joe Philbin > Pete Carroll

- Said nobody ever.

..DC..Your right. The GM-HC relationship is a big part of it.

As far as Mike Sam goes...The dude was the SEC co-defensive player of the year..Again. The SEC co-defensive player of the year. I get it that the college game doesn't always translate into the pro game. And I am not saying this guy deserves to be a first day pick..But round 5? I doubt it. Some teams may shy away. But I would make a bet this guy goes to team that is a solid franchise, contender.

That eliminates our squad.



It also helps that the Seahawks play in a state-of-the-art facility in front of the NFL's loudest and most raucous fans.

The Dolphins play in an aging facility with seats too far from the field in front of some of the most apathetic fans in sports---fans who couldn't create a true home field advantage even if the Dolphins were winning consistently.

Maybe it's because Miami is basically a Third World city masquerading as something else.


Straight up for the player in the same position.

No one.
Thought so.

Of course, Ross should have cleaned house. He has had three chances. This year was the worst and now DawnJoeHickey is in charge, perhaps for two years given Ross's loyalty.

Some of the top GM and Head Coach candidates will not consider Miami as a result of Ross's incompetence.

The Dolphins will be lucky to be 6-10 in 2014.

All Philbin did this year was demonstrate he is way, way, way out of his league. This is why a team should not hire a coach whose primary work was 'pass quality control' for a team with an elite QB. He called no plays and probably just put air in the footballs and tied Rogers shoes. Ireland and Aponte contributed to the failures of the past two years.

Hickey was the choice number eight and comes from one of the worst teams in the league. But they all get along with each other, so they will lose happily together.

The Dolphins lack talent throughout the team and have drafted quite badly for many years.

Nothing is going to change under DawnJoeHickeyRoss.


If Dion, Davis, Jamar & Dallas are legitimate NFL quality starters then that means that Ireland had a great draft and Philbin refused to play the players for personal reasons.

If that is the case then Philbin deserves to be fired and excoriated.

DD, I thought Mark was predicting he'd go quite low too. Reports were saying he was going to go in the 3rd round. But he is smallish (for a DE), so maybe he'll move to LB. I've never seen him play, but if he's good (which sounds like he is if he was Def Player of the Year in the SEC) then I imagine he'll go around where he's projected as long as he does well in the Combine/Pro Day.

Cool analysis, Mando, but you should try to write an article who's thesis isn't "Fire Joe Philbin" for once.

Forgetting the part where Homlgren didn't have to take over a 1-15 team. That had ZERO talent. And the part where P.Carroll failed with 2 QBs before hitting on R.Wilson.

About a week off and this is what you hit us with. I'm disappointed. This is something you type up before the Superbowl. Or right after.

Right now we just want to know what Hickey is doing.

Franchise Tag
Free Agents

Heck, for as much as most want to rag on this team. This is the first time in a long time that it is February and we aren't knee deep in draft talk.

I tell you this, I didn't have Mr. LB on any of my mocks.

Miami isn't even a football town anymore. Of 56 metered markets for the Super Bowl, guess which one had the LOWEST ratings? Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

The demographics have changed to the point that the NFL is just a marginal sideshow in South Florida. There's more people watching Spanish-language soap operas than football down there.

The old days are gone, and they are not coming back...ever.

We are just part of a shrinking fan base that will only grow smaller as the years pass, regardless of how the team is doing.

Miami is part of Latin America now.

..@ 11:03...

There is no doubt that Seattle has a tremendous home field advantage. There is no secret that the Phins come up short in this category. The Phins are never going to draw like the Seahawks. Maybe in good years if the team has a nice run. The stadium may fill up. But it is night and day between the passion of the football fans in the Pacific Northwest, and the fans in SFLA.

First..The Seahawks are drawing from a much larger area. 4 states. Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington. The reach of that team is much larger in the scheme of people going to games. Yes the Phins have fans that are all over the country, and some of them even fly to a game or 2. But I am talking season ticket holders with nothing better to do in the fall-winter months.

Miami will always fight the draw of other things better to do besides spend a Sunday in boiling heat in a stadium, when you could be doing something different. In Seattle. What else is there to do on a Sunday in Novemeber? Go to the market? Find some smack, an hole up at the Fairmont Olympic?

Add that the growing demographic in the Miami area could care less about American football(we will see the difference when the soccer team comes to town about what people in Miami care about) It makes it difficult to draw when team and stadium both stink.

CBS, who was spot on last year in their draft grades (so much so that I will trust them again) has Sam as a 5th round prospect - so he is a middling prospct - 4th to 6th.

Philbin's background is in administration and has nothing to do with leading men. His highest level of coach was as an O-line coach.

As we all know he never called plays for the Packers and more or less prepared Rogers. Rogers has done just as well without Philbin and as yourselves this question. If Philbin was fired tomorrow. who the hell would want him as a HC ?

Sorry, I misread - rounds 3-4. Must've been before I had my coffee...


Anyone else wondering what is happening with Matk Domenik or whoever Hickey hires. The combine isnt that far away

Good stuff. Scary. But good.

I truly wish Steve Ross would read your blog. Things would be better around here.

Let me say this in response to La Verdad, I am Hispanic and while I USED to attend games I haven't been to a game in two years because I decided I wasn't buying tickets until Jeff Ireland was gone. Now I've decided I'm not spending money on this team until Joe PHilbin is gone.

When the Dolphins hire a GM and HC that can instill confidence and leadership -- which neither Ireland nor Philbin proved they could do -- then I'll invest in them again.

Meanwhile, I'll sit home Sundays and watch for free on my big screen TV.

My decision has NOTHING to do with me being Hispanic. It has to be with me being smart with my money.

The major difference here, is that Paul Allen is a business man while Ross peddles real estate deals. It's toe completely different mindsets.

With real estate deals, a large part of the process is building relationships, particularly for larger deals with multiple people/groups involved. The other main part is being patient, waiting for the market to turn so you can maximize your profit ect.

With business, it's all about the bottom line. relationships don't matter as much. It's extremely cut throat. If you are not producing, if you are not making money, if you are not successful in your position, you'll be out of a job.

Both of these men are running their franchises closely to how they run the other businesses they have. In the NFL, the owner with the business world experience is IMO better prepared to run a successful franchise.

London phinz

...Marco @ 11:17...The Oakland Raiders...They would love Philbin. They would have no issue with a HC that allows an inexperienced quarterback to throw it 588 times..They would embrace that madness. He would get a raise.


Mr. LB was a borderline 3rd round pick before this, at best he is a 5th rd pick now. He is 6'1" 250lb DE that will have to play OLB in the NFL. And even then he will be undersized to play OLB in a 3-4.

He reminds me of J.Worilds. It took him a couple years to transition into the pro game. Similar motor.

Now Sam needs to test out well at the combine if he is to be drafted in the 3rd to play OLB. His Agility test better come out top notch.

College and Pro game are two different games. You can be small and still play in college. You are still playing against 18-20 year old kids. The NFL is a grown mans game. No Midgets and weaklings allowed.

If you are undersized in the NFL you better be twice the athlete that others are. I.e. B.Grimes, MJD, Woodhead.

I am already tired of the media surrounding this decision to come out. He is a hero, he is so brave, blah blah blah

Rdubs take:

He likes the kock

Dashi all you do is whine like a little biatch about the posts but you never say anything worthwhile to advance the conversation here.

Don't like the post, talk about something else. Or go somewhere else. My God your bellyaching has gotten old.

he's ghey and he
ain't in the nfl yet



USC was 112 out 114 in turnover ratio before Carroll took over.
Carroll drove them to become #1 in that category and was the top college team for 5 years.
Same philosophy at Saettle.

u'll c ro$$ will
make hix pix sam
in the 1st
so the qweers will
fill his
dwindling seats

This whole notion about "more things to do" in South Florida is nonsense.

There's just as much to do in ANY big city. And has anyone ever actually met someone who "went clubbing" or "went to the beach" INSTEAD of going to a football game? I sure as hell haven't. It's just something we repeat as if it's a real thing...when it actually isn't.

And let's be honest. South Florida is a freaking blast furnace 8 or 9 months a year and one of the rainiest places in the country. The weather really isn't all that great much of the time and we spend a LOT of time indoors seeking relief from the heat and rain.

Hey, Miami is just a genuinely shi**y sports market with apathetic fans, and it's only going to get worse in that regard. The TV ratings for the Super Bowl make that clear as day.

I love it when people clamor for Ross to 'move the team.' Got some news for them: The NFL would NEVER come back if that happened.

Hate to break it to you. Just because you are Hispanic doesn't mean you like Soccer. And Beckham and crew will see that. A soccer franchise already failed once in Miami. It will fail again.

Central and south Americans love soccer. And here is a hint. Most Hispanics in Sfla aren't from Central and South America.

rdubs, haha, trash talking will go toa whole new level if Sam goes on to become a "sack-master"....

guy proud
day at 1/2 x's
u'll c

Great to you have back, Mando.

One thing I want to point out: The difference between Pete Carroll and Joe Philbin could not be more obvious. Carroll is a leader. He inspires. He riles up his players. And, IMO, they play pretty much in a reflection of his personality. They play fired up, with passion, not always smart but with urgency.

The Dolphins have a coach that wants his team to not get too high or too low. And what do we see on the field?

We got a team that doesn't get up for big games. We got a team that plays to the competition. We got a team that doesn't show a lot of emotion. That can be OK sometimes, but football is an emotional sport.


I was at the Beach this weekend and it was packed.

Why you mad?

I decided I wasn't buying tickets until Jeff Ireland was gone. Now I've decided I'm not spending money on this team until Joe PHilbin is gone.

Posted by: FLPD | February 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Why is it so hard for you to say the obvious: That you aren't going to spend any money going to games unless the team is winning?

If they brought in another coach and were still mediocre, you wouldn't go. What would be different.

You're a fair weather fan, dude. Nothing wrong with that but why not just say so instead of tap dancing around it?

wtf r u talkn 'bout
Colombian etc
all over the place
in so flo

...Dashi..I'll make you a friendly wager. For a week straight I will open every one of my posts with a quote or phrase of your choice. The bet is that Sam gets picked before round 5.

The guy dominated against the best competition. I think his coming out is going to effect his draft status for some teams. Other teams aren't going to care. My point is that I bet he goes to a solid team that can handle whatever distraction(I don't even think it is that big of a deal) may come their way.

So..What do you say? I think there is no way this player makes it to round 5.


He can always try out a tight end? I mean try out AS a tight end LOL

Coaching has been a much bigger problem than GM / players since Parcells came here.
People didn't like Ireland personally, but he built up the talent base on this team. His players were scattered all over playoff rosters this year.
While like everyone else, he did pass on players and miss on picks, you always had the feeling coaching didn't get the most out of a top 10 - 15 ish roster.
Sporano / Henning were horrible with the offense. Probably wrecked Henne's mindset before he even got in a game.
Philbin and Coyle are ruining a defense with top 5 talent. Changing from a 34 w press coverage to a 43 w off coverage will continue to get worse. Eventually will remind us of the dreaded Tom Olivadotti bend but don't break D's that made Thurman Thomas famous. Our best D's have been when we had press corners.. and So we let 2 go in the last year so we could start Nolan Caroll who's afraid to tackle??
Talent wise, this D would have more of its best players on the field in a 34. Starks, Odrick, Soilai, Shelby at D line. Ellerbe, Wheeler, Misi at LB.
Wake, Dion, Vernon could move around and play a Joker type position to keep offenses guessing.
This offense has been a joke all year. Hartline on the left, Wallace on the right every time. No Motion, no moving Wallace around like Percy Harvin, or letting him run through screens like Patriot or Bronco WR's. Go Go is a joke.
I could go on, but whats the point??

@ 11:31 - great post...

same excuse as some people can't bench because their arms are too long

Great, the beaches were packed. I'm sure those are people who would opt to attend football games instead if the team was winning, right?

I mean, the Dolphins target fan base is DEFINITELY Brazilian tourists, lower middle class families from Hialeah, and body-obsessed South Beach-types, right?


Miami is a crap sports market. It really is that simple.

@ 11:36 - exactly - acting like going to a game when you are a local is a big expenditure. A game all in can be less than $100. Smart with your moeny, haha, I feel bad for you is spending $100 once a year is the difference between being prudent or not.

Fair weather fan just like the Heat and marlins have.

Yes, 2 watt.

But all those combined don't add to half the Cuban population in Miami.

Number of countries and number of people are 2 different things.

You have more Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans in Miami than the other 50 countries combined. And none of those 3 play soccer. Hate to break it to you.

This may make your head explode, Verdad, but everything is not black and white. It's not all-or-nothing.

You read one paragraph of what I said and decide I'm a fair weather fan. Was I a fair weather fan when I attended 7 of the 8 home games the year the team was 1-15?

Was I fair weather when I had season tickets the year before that when they were 6-10?

Was I fair weather when I went to 6 home games the year they went 4-12 in 2004?

I am not a fair weather fan. What I am is a fan who has decided that this franchise does not deserve my money until they actually PROVE to me again they deserve my money.

I believed in them and sunk money in them for a long time and they betrayed that trust time after time after time. Now, I still love them. I still watch them. I still root for them and feel ill when they lose.

But I don't open my wallet to them just because they hold out their hands and say trust me. Trust is earned. After hearing what I did about the 2012 team and seeing how they finished, I was glad I had not trusted them.

That doesn't make me fair weather. That makes me smart.

it's a 20 g
it will b packed
every game

Dashi, also with soccer fans, supporting a soccer team is part of a gang or belong ing mentality. it has nothign to dow ith teh sport. if you support Santos in brazil - that is your team and you better not talk ill of them or there will be problems.

The passion associated with the logo and the historical significance is what sells. cna hardly see the ultras forming for the Miami Salsa or whatever they will be called...

And it's failed more than once before... hope Beckham isn't putting his own money in it.


I'm just answering your question about thing to do. Why get mad?

And most tourist are from up north at this time of the year.

Remember, it is Summer in the Southern Hemisphere right now.

u ain't
a smart

Here's another thing:

I see lots of folks here pining for a new owner....someone like a Mark Cuban or whoever with the 'vision' to fix things.

Hey, sounds great to me, too except for one little problem:

Why the F*CK would any member of the billionaire club looking to run an NFL franchise want anything to do with such an apathetic market and one of the oldest stadiums in the league in such woeful need of repair or replacement?

What? You think there's just some magical new owner out there who is going to see all this and come swooping in just to do you a favor?

Please. They'd wait for a better opportunity in a place that still cared about pro football.

The Miami MLS team should be called "The Miami Sound Machine"

I am not a fair weather fan. What I am is a fan who has decided that this franchise does not deserve my money until they actually PROVE to me again they deserve my money.

Posted by: FLPD | February 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM


You're not a fair weather fan, you're just one who will not return until the team is winning again.

Like I said, that's fine. It's also the very DEFINITION of a fair weather fan regardless of whether you accept it or not.


I will take your friendly bet.

I like M.Sam as a player. I have seen him play a ton this past year. Mizzou had some real good games this year you just had to watch.

As a pro prospect he is a 3rd-4th in my book. He will drop because of the news. Agreed it isn't a big deal, but they will make it a big deal.

I will go as far as to say one team might draft him early because he was gay.

I could see the Ravens drafting him in the 3rd. They have had gay players in the past.

..LV..Every warm weather-coastal team is going to struggle with drawing fans on the reg. It is a different attitude then say fans in Green Bay, even Seattle. You are out of your mind if you can't recognize that people that live at the "beach" have better things do then care about a football team, a bad one at that.

I have been to Miami a dozen times, Seattle 40-50. If you think the 2 cities are even close as far as what each has to offer. Well. I don't think you have ever been to Seattle. It's a great city, but it is not Miami. Ask yourself this. A football related question. Seattle has always drawn well. Even when the stunk, even when they played at Husky stadium they drew well. Why then do thy hold Super Bowls in Miami, and not Seattle?

1 city is desirable for the event..The other?

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