Dolphins Owner Ross Defends Team, Calls Constant Critcism Unfair
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross in a news conference at the NFL owners meetings yesterday said that he felt the attack the team "has been under the past few weeks from the national and local media, and the fan base has been unfair," according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Ross said of the two calls he made to season-ticket holders who participated in a fan protest last week, "You listen to it. That's why I engaged the fans. That's why I made the phone calls. I think it's unfair. But winning resolves all issues." Ross added, "I haven't lost in many things, and I'm not going to lose here" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/27). Ross asserted that "any perception of his organization as a floundering franchise that cannot land its preferred choice of players or coaches is an 'unfair' and undeserved one, and in fact, insisted the team is in better shape than when he bought it" from Wayne Huizenga in January '09. Ross said, "Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have a fine nucleus. I’m excited where we’re going" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27). Ross yesterday said, "We probably have the best organization that the Dolphins have had in a long time." Discussing how much he has learned in his time owning the Dolphins, Ross said, "I've had more owners come up to me and say hey, I didn't know what was going on for four or five years once you step in there. This is a different business. You can succeed in business." On whether he considered trading for QB Tim Tebow when he was made available, Ross said, "He didn't really fit our system and you're not going to bring someone in just to sell seats." Ross also said, "Money will never be an issue for us becoming a winning football team that I can tell you right now." Discussing players' comments about the Dolphins, Ross said, "This is probably the best place in the NFL to play football and it will never stop us from getting another player in this organization. Players will want to play for this organization" (LOCAL10.com, 3/26).
NOT GIVING UP: In Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Berardino notes when a reporter asked what Ross learned after failing to land coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher, as well as QB Peyton Manning, Ross responded, "Know what? I'll do it again and again. I'm going to be bold. And you don't lose for trying. ... And, you, know, if I can find the right guy, I'm going to be bold in getting him and I can't worry about losing. Because nothing ventured is nothing gained." Berardino writes, "Ross was more emphatic than I've ever seen him. Passionate, you might say. Clearly frustrated, as well." Ross said, "One thing I've learned is this is one (heck) of a complex business. ... It's a real experience" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/27).
STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION? WPLG-ABC's Will Manso wrote the Dolphins organization "took a big step Monday in trying to reach out to the fans and media." Manso: "Trust me, it's just a small step, but I must give credit where credit is due." Some of the highlights include both Ross and GM Jeff Ireland "understanding they need to be more open with the fans, and in turn the media." They also both "defended the direction the franchise is taking" (LOCAL10.com, 3/26). The SUN-SENTINEL's Berardino wrote Ross "got a little ticked off near the end" of yesterday's 20-minute media session (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/26). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin notes Ross is "kind of stuck right now." Of course, he "wants his Dolphins to be 'bold' and win more games and sign the best players in the NFL," but he "can't just snap his fingers and make it happen" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 3/26). In Miami, Armando Salguero writes the Dolphins are a "little sensitive these days because they have been taking a solid bruising for weeks." Salguero: "They probably won't get it all corrected next season. But to suggest they will get most everything wrong? That's not fair. Things aren't quite that bad" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27).