DAN DROPS THE BALL

Dan Marino undeniably is the greatest player in Dolphins history, but the way he handled his resignation as senior vice president was way short of Hall of Fame caliber. In fact, it left a lot to be desired.

Don't get us wrong, Marino certainly is entitled to do what he chooses with his life, and no one can blame him for picking the cushy lifestyle he's been enjoying with his jobs at HBO and CBS. And we're not even mentioning the money issue, which would have had him make significant less with the Dolphins than with the television gigs.

No, that's all fine. In fact, one wonders why anyone in his right mind would give up TV life for the every-day rigors of an NFL team.

But here's the deal: Couldn't have Marino thought of this more thoroughly before he accepted to come on board?

The suggestion has been made that perhaps owner Wayne Huizenga rushed Marino into a decision back on Jan. 12, but knowing how much Huizenga values Marino — the word "worship" almost comes to mind — it's difficult to imagine that Marino couldn't have gotten more time to mull it over had he asked.

Surely, Marino had to be aware of the time demands of being a front-office exec. Or did he actually think he could maintain leisurely hours while at the same time trying to get the Dolphins back into the playoffs to hopefully get that elusive Super Bowl ring he's been wanting so badly.

We're assuming a lot of things here because another Marino failure in this whole episode was the way he dealt with his announcement. It was disclosed in a released statement and that was that.

Huizenga, meanwhile, was left to answer the many questions the media had about the whole thing.

Here's another problem with the whole episode: The Marino statement after the story first leaked out on Sunday that it was not true and that he was looking forward to starting work with the Dolphins.

Guess it was true after all, wasn't it?

Marino has long maintained he is a huge fan of the Dolphins, but he hurt the franchise with his reverse if nothing else from an image standpoint.

The Dolphins were severely questioned when they made the move because of Marino's lack of personnel experience; now they look downright foolish having hired a guy who turned his back on them.

Huizenga insisted he would be open to Marino joining the organization at some point in the future, but you have to wonder just how enthusiastically he would do so after what Marino did.

The effects of Marino's decision shouldn't be significant on the field because it didn't appear he was going to have that much authority over either personnel or staff decisions — at least in the beginning.

It's just that now the Dolphins fans who wanted change after last season after left with Coach Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman in charge, except with a different pecking order when it comes to personnel.

The Marino turnaround comes on the heel of former New Orleans GM Randy Mueller bashing the Dolphins for conducting a GM search which he implied was bogus when they planned on promoting Spielman all along.

Whether that move works out will be played out in the fall, but the only thing that's certain right now is the Dolphins organization, which has so long been praised as being first class, definitely doesn't look overly impressive right now.

And Marino, who made it look so good for so long, is a big reason.


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