SBD/January 8, 2013/Franchises

Ross Feels Dolphins "On The Right Track" Four Years Into Ownership

Ross (l) says he is willing to spend whatever is necessary to build the Dolphins
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross yesterday said that he “feels good about his team and where it's headed,” according to Chris Perkins of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Ross said, "I feel we're on the right track, we're moving in the right direction." Ross said that he believes building the team is “best addressed through the draft.” He said that he “wouldn't get involved in personnel decisions but said he'd provide financial support with almost no limitations.” Ross: "I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to build it. I think sometimes people look at spending as a way of winning. In business it isn't money that solves problems, it's brains that solve problems, and using your abilities. But certainly all my resources are there. If the right players are there I don't care what it costs. We'll go after them." He added, "This is really the first time I've really gotten involved. I didn't select the people that were here before” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/8). Ross said, “I think the day I bought the team I said that I shouldn’t be the one making the decisions of who we pick, who we play or what the plays are. You want to have the best people doing that. This is a much more sophisticated game than all of us fans think it is and the more you get inside it you really find out how sophisticated it is in the football operations.” He added, “The end game really over 5-10 years is what was your won-loss record over that period of time and how many Super Bowls did you win? That’s how you’re going to be judged so I’m prepared for that” (Dolphins).

LESSONS LEARNED: Ross said that the way he built his real estate firm, The Related Cos. “shaped the way he wants to run the Dolphins.” Ross: “It’s not like a day trade. You have to have patience and you have to look at things with a vision and a long-term aspect.” Ross said that one of the “main things he has learned in his four years as owner is the importance of stability in the football operation.” In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin notes Jeff Ireland “will be back for his sixth year as general manager (his contract runs through the 2013 season),” and coach Joe Philbin is “expected to bring back most, if not all, of his coaching staff.” The Dolphins will “investigate the free agent market and could sign a player or two." Ross said he "doesn’t want Ireland to sign free agents to just to create buzz that might help sell tickets” (PALM BEACH POST, 1/8).

ATTENDANCE AND UNIFORM: In Miami, Adam Beasley notes the organization drew “meager attendance last year (its average home crowd was just 57,379, the smallest since 1989).” Ross said, “I can understand if you’re not winning, why people might not want to show up. When we put a winning team on the field, people will fill up that stadium. I really believe how important the Dolphins are to people of South Florida.” Ross declined to speak “about the team’s plans to make a push for tax dollars for stadium renovations.” But news “should come very soon.” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee six weeks ago said that the team’s plans “would be made public in 30 to 45 days, and on Monday, Dee stood by that time frame” (MIAMI HERALD, 1/8). The PALM BEACH POST’s Volin reported Ross “made it official on Monday, saying that the Dolphins plan to unveil a new logo before the NFL Draft on April 25-27.” The new logo “coincides with Nike taking over the league’s uniform and apparel contract.” Nike made “minor tweaks to several teams’ uniforms in 2012, including Miami’s, and several teams are supposed to have significant uniform changes in 2013.” Ross said, “We’re looking at it, finalizing it, but I’m excited” (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 1/7).

HOLD THE PHONE: In Miami, Armando Salguero writes Ross, briefed “on the coming offseason’s direction by his head coach and general manager, should be able to easily give us the talking points of how his team will turn perennial failure to success.” But in this “seemingly easy exercise, Ross struggled.” It is “interesting to know Ross actually believes after four years as owner, 2012 was truly his first year.” Salguero: “All I know is he didn’t answer this simple question: What is the Dolphins’ offseason plan for 2013?” That is the “question fans want answered,” and the answer will “help fans decide whether to buy tickets or continue to watch on TV.” Salguero: “We don’t have that answer now, because what we got Monday was a jumbled message” (MIAMI HERALD, 1/8). MIAMIDOLPHINS.com’s Andy Cohen wrote there is “now a real sense of commitment within this organization to maintain a sense of stability from the top on down.” Ross said, “When you change all the time, you don’t know where you stand. You have to have a plan to be consistent and it is important that the right mix is part of that plan.” Cohen wrote, “Give Ross credit for seeing the light” (MIAMIDOLPHINS.com, 1/7).
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