At 74, Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Has No Plans To Step Away Anytime Soon
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is entering his sixth season as the team's majority owner and turned 74 this offseason, but instead of "contemplating retirement, he went back to school," according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. Ross "learned all he could about science-based ways to coax the most out of his players -- from nutrition to buying a massive cold tub to help prevent injuries." He also "opened up the team vault for free agents for a second straight year." If his offseason "sounds like an owner in it for the duration, it should." Ross "will probably own the team for as long as he lives." He said, "I'd like to own it for 50 years and be alive for 50 more years." Ross added that as long as he is "passionate about the organization and in good health, there will be no change at the top." When asked if that meant being in place for the next 10, 15 years, he said, "I would hope so." Meanwhile, Ross also addressed the upcoming renovations to Sun Life Stadium, and said that "most of the construction" will occur in the '15 and '16 offseasons. He added that fans this fall "will notice no real changes, but a year from now, the entire bowl will be replaced, with the old seats gone." Ross said that in the spring and summer of '16, the canopy "will come on and new scoreboards will come in." Ross: "When we get done, it’s going to be tantamount to a new stadium." Meanwhile, the Dolphins "continue to insist that attendance will improve in 2014." Ross: "You’ll see, this year, a lot more people in the stands" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/27).
TURN THE PAGE: Ross said of expectations for this season, "I don’t think I start any season without planning to make the playoffs. I think if you don’t have those expectations you shouldn’t be in the game." He added, "We’re very excited about the things we’re doing, both from the business standpoint in a lot of things and enhancing the environment for the players, and creating a type of environment that we can really outperform other teams. ... I think (President and CEO) Tom Garfinkel has done a great job as our CEO. ... He’s really been out there in the community." Ross said of the effect of LeBron James leaving the Heat for the Cavaliers, "I think (if) we start winning, we’ll have a lot more support. There will be a lot more enthusiasm because I think, as we all know, football is the number one sport in this country and in this area." He added of changes to the organization's culture, "We’re looking to find every little competitive advantage we can. We’ve hired and set up an analytics department. We’re coordinating an effort involving nutrition with psychology, physiology. In every aspect of it, we’re looking to be state of the art in the NFL" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 7/25). Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey said, "This is a new group of players. Last year was last year. ... There’s been great communication, great respect of our team. ... That’s the group of men that we have here" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 7/25). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote under the header, "Have Dolphins At Top Learned To Lead At All?" Hyde: "The Dolphins have a lot of people who legitimately want to win. But do they know how to win? Do they understand what it takes to build a championship organization?" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/26).
THE HAPPY CAMPERS? In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib writes the buzz at Dolphins training camp "isn't quite the same" as it was last year, "at least not yet." Dolphins camp last year opened to an "overflow crowd of 2,700." Through three practices this year, there has not been "a turnout approaching that." The workouts "began with the stands about one-third full Friday, when attendance was not announced." Saturday’s attendance "was a respectable 1,560." Sunday, the stands "were about one-fourth full as the players took the field -- but the mitigating factor is admission for the day was by invitation only to season-ticket holders" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 7/28).