Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Jeff Fisher announced Friday afternoon that he was going to coach the St. Louis Rams; it reiterated just how bad the Miami Dolphins organization had fallen in the world of the National Football League.
Breaking down Fisher’s decision, he chose to go to a team that has gone 27-80 since 2005 and has gone through four coaches during the same time.
He chose that franchise rather than a team with a storied history, better roster, and much better climate.
Dolphins sources told Mike Freeman of CBSSports that “Jeff Fisher used us.”
However, multiple reports said Fisher was leaning towards the Fins until Ross wouldn’t give the head coach more power in the organization.
The Dolphins must look at themselves before they blame anyone for losing Fisher.
The Dolphins’ franchise has fallen in league circles and amongst fans thanks to continually bungled coaching searches, a lack of ability to find a franchise quarterback, and having one of the most underachieving franchises that at one time commanded undying love from local fans.
In the past decade, the Dolphins have become almost comical when it comes to putting together a winning product.
Since 2001, the Dolphins have been to the playoffs a grand total of one time. During that time the team has compiled an 81-95 record, or a winning percentage of 46 percent.
But it’s not just on the field failures that have led fans and those around the NFL to see the Dolphins as a second-class NFL franchise.
After the 2010 season, Stephen Ross had Tony Sparano under contract as his head coach.
Still, Ross chose to fly himself and Ireland out to California to try and coax then-Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh into becoming the new Fins head coach.
Harbaugh declined and Ross had to come back to Miami with his tails between his legs and say he always wanted Tony Sparano as his head coach.
He then handed Sparano a contract extension and summarily fired him with three games to go in the 2011 season.
The Fins have had six coaches since the 2001 season: Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates, Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, and Todd Bowles. The worst of the bunch was, by record at least, Cam Cameron.
Cameron led the Dolphins to a 1-15 record and without an overtime victory; the Dolphins would have become the first team in league history to lose every game in a season.
The NFL Draft has also become an Achilles heel for the franchise. The worst of the bunch came in the 2007 NFL Draft when the team used a top 10 pick on kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr.
Fans immediately revolted and it would cost Cameron and the general manager their jobs.
When Ross took over the franchise, instead of focusing on developing a quality on field product; Ross decided to try and increase the celebrity factor of the team.
Ross’ efforts failed as celebrities quickly tuned out the franchise.
But the move left the real fans of the team left asking what about us?
Ross built a nightclub at the stadium, and did it all as the overall stadium was falling into disrepair and the team on the field was showing no signs of growth or improvement.
All of it led to fans leaving the team in droves during the 2011 season. The attendance got so bad that local businesses had to buy up tickets to ensure the team’s games could be shown on local television.
Now, the Fins have to start trying to rebuild without a big name coach and they have a much harder time trying to capture the hearts of South Florida fans.
As the Dolphins have faded, the Miami Heat has brought in the Big Three and is the hottest ticket in town.
The Marlins invested hundreds of millions into their roster in the offseason and have a brand new stadium to debut this year.
Even the Florida Panthers have become Stanley Cup Playoff contenders in the 2011-2012 season.
The Dolphins franchise has fallen hard in the last decade. The team has to recover quickly from the Fisher debacle and find a new coach as soon as possible.
The potential leading candidate among other coaches the team has interviewed has to be Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
The only thing that can cure the ills of the Miami Dolphins is winning and doing it on a long-term basis. Until then, they will be relegated to mediocrity and be an afterthought in the NFL.