As little as a year ago the Miami Dolphins were one of the top franchises that came to mind when the word “dysfunction” comes into play. As “goofy” as owner Stephen Ross sometimes appeared to be, he is the same man who turned this “dysfunction” into something else.
PFT asked its readers what franchise is the most dysfunctional and again, had this been last year the Dolphins may have been on this list. The Jets, Bills, Browns, Chargers, 49’ers, and Rams all made this years list. The 49’ers and Browns are running away with the poll.
As for the Dolphins this really doesn’t matter unless you put this into more perspective. It was six years ago that Ross boarded a plane for San Francisco to lure Jim Harbaugh, a year later he fired Tony Sparano, then he hired Joe Philbin after Jeff Fisher turned him down, fired Mike Sherman as the OC, a day later fired Jeff Ireland, couldn’t find anyone to take the vacant G.M. job and handed it to Dennis Hickey when no one else wanted it.
If that wasn’t enough he kept Philbin a year too long, fired him after four games, and headed into last off-season looking once again for a coach and a G.M. But Ross did something different from what he had before. He got organized.
While many scoffed at the idea of Mike Tannenbaum, Ross gave his football operations over to him. He trusted a friend with changing his organization. Ross and Tannenbaum promoted Chris Grier and all three went after one guy. Adam Gase. And for the first time as the team’s owner, Ross got the man he wanted. And it has paid off in spades.
Gase has turned heads in 2016 by taking a six win team and turning it into a 10 win team with almost the exact same roster. Internally the team is working well together which makes it all more important.
The Dolphins are heading to the playoffs and will play this Sunday for the first time since 2008 and while Adam Gase is the man who is coaching up his team, credit should also go to the man who waded through criticism to find his way in a league he had no experience with. Ross stayed the course and hired people he could trust and together, so far, it’s working out. Now he has to keep it that way.
Ross is still as goofy as he was when he first took over the team. A team he grew up watching and rooting for. Ross is still a kid in a candy store where the candy is his passion. He is going to give the media sound bites and someone will inevitably snicker but his team is no longer mired in dysfunction and much like his first year head coach who has taught his team to never give up and never quit, Stephen Ross has done just that.