Dolphins' Ross wants transparency in Miami
The Sports Xchange
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is driven to change the perceptions
of his franchise, one step at a time.
To address the many issues -- perceived or real -- facing the Dolphins
and Ross, the embattled owner and real estate mogul embraced the
fan-friendly approach he's demanded by holding an hourlong conference
call with season-ticket holders this week.
The conference call is another step toward full-fledged organizational
transparency, ending the cold war the Bill Parcells regime started with
the local media.
Instead of allowing, if not inviting, rampant speculation, and media
biases to shape public opinion, Ross said he realized he needed to open
"I hated reading in the papers, 'sources say' and everything being
speculative in terms of what the Dolphins were doing or weren't doing
or what they might do,"
Ross said. "I want to let the fans know what to expect, what we're
doing and why we're doing it."
The Dolphins have hosted similar calls with general manager Jeff
Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin this summer.
The change is palpable after drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and
with news Monday night the Dolphins had signed six-time Pro Bowl wide
receiver Chad Ochocinco.
Those moves, in addition to a more fan friendly environment and the
decision to appear on the HBO training camp documentary "Hard Knocks,"
have helped smother public outcry for change.
Ross, who bought the team and the stadium for $1.1 billion in 2007,
acknowledged being an NFL owner is more difficult than anything he's
"It's a lot easier to build a great organization in business than to do
it with the football team," Ross said, referring to the NFL's rules,
like the salary cap. "There are so many rules!...You can't control it
as much as you'd like to."
Ross consistently stressed he's not the type of owner who micromanages
his employees. He insists he never has, and doesn't intend to take that
approach with the Dolphins.
"You let the football people run the football team," Ross said when
asked what his role would be throughout "Hard Knocks."
"I'm not looking to be out there running the team, evaluating players,
or telling the coach who to play."
Ross wouldn't put a number on wins, and predict a playoff berth like
past years. He talked about being patient with the new coaching staff.
When addressing the team's infusion of talent, Ross was cautious with
his expectations of Tannehill, the team's first-round pick, saying he
"hopes" the former Texas A&M star can become a "franchise
"He's a fantastic kid, who is a great athlete," Ross said. "We think he
has all the makings of a franchise quarterback."
Ross wasn't so guarded with praise for former University of Miami
tailback Lamar Miller, whom the team traded up for in the fourth round.
"Lamar Miller is an unbelievable steal in the fourth round. We had him
so much higher," Ross said. "(He dropped) probably because of his
shoulder (issues). We're excited about him."
The Dolphins are exploring moving the seats closer to the field at Sun
"With the Marlins moving out we have the ability to unwind what was
done to the stadium," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said, referring to the
baseball retrofitting that was done in the early 1990s.
The Dolphins also have plans to put a canopy over the seats, but are in
the planning stages of that project.
However, Ross said the Dolphins have no interest in enclosing the
Ross admits his goal is to make enough improvements to Sun Life Stadium
that South Florida gets the rights to Super Bowl 50.
"I hope we can hold that in Miami with an improved stadium," Ross said.
Ross also said his goal is to bring some of the best soccer matches in
the world to South Florida. Sun-Life has already hosted a few elite
Ross said he talked to Philbin about the HBO show Hard Knocks when the
NFL and the producers approached the Dolphins about the project.
Ross claims he tried to convince Philbin "we can do it next year, or
the year after." But Philbin told him "I want to do it now....He wanted
people to know what he's about."
Ross said doing Hard Knocks in Philbin's rookie season as a head coach
was a bold move by the coach, and "sets the tone for what we'll see
from him moving forward."
Ross labeled Philbin a "bold" and "unique" coach.
Ross also admitted from Day 1 he did not like the Dolphins fight song.
He had two popular music artists redo it, but fan outcry prompts him to
green light its return this season
According to Ross, the Dolphins are looking into logo and uniform
enhancements in the near future
Ochocinco Helping The Dolphins Change?
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