Stephen Ross Admits “The Criticism Does Sting”
Miami (CBSMiami) – To say Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has had a rough go of it since taking over the team would be an understatement.
Ross first tried to attract celebrities by building a nightclub at Sun Life Stadium and actively seeking out celebrities to buy a small portion of the team from him.
When that didn’t work, he finally started to focus on the on-field product that had been in decay since the days of Dan Marino and Don Shula.
Part of Ross’ problem was that of his own creation. Being a new owner, Ross was to a degree tone-deaf to the ways of the NFL and displayed some poor decision-making with regards to his head coach. He tried to apply the lessons he learned as a powerful real estate magnate to football.
“I’m a developer,” said Ross. “So I”m looking at property and I have to have a vision. In football, it’s a lot harder to do.”
Ross originally went all-in to try and lure then-Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh to Miami to take over the team, while he still had Tony Sparano under contract as his head coach.
The move undermined Sparano and created a rift in the organization that carried over to last year as the Dolphins struggled to win any games. As the season went on, Ross became vilified and in a rare sight, protesters picketed the Dolphins’ facility. Yet, Ross decided to remain dedicated to his plan.
“You’ve got to believe in yourself… anything in life. However, the criticism does sting,” he admitted Ross.
As the offseason began, Ross started a complete makeover of the franchise. Gone were the days of being rude and standoffish with the press and the team decided to start revamping a roster in need of help.
Ross’ first move was to bring in head coach Joe Philbin, who had previously been a coach with the Green Bay Packers. Philbin also made a quick move to get Kevin Coyle to be his defensive coordinator.
Still, fans were still stinging from the high profile swings and misses of trying to hire coach Jeff Fisher and trying to lure quarterback Peyton Manning.
But then, one draft class started to give fans a glimmer of hope. The Fins finally spent a first-round pick on a quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, and then picked up a solid offensive lineman, solid running back and a potentially steal of a defensive end.
Most of the optimism centered around Tannehill and his potential in a West Coast offense. Ross, who has longed for a franchise quarterback, is trying to temper fans’ expectations in Tannehill’s first season.
“This is a guy that might take some time as one would expect,” he told CBS4’s Kim Bokamper.
Ross also said on NFL.com earlier Monday that he expects Matt Moore to be the starting quarterback in Week 1, but that he doesn’t know that for sure.
The 2012 season is the start of an era for the Dolphins Ross hopes will finally give Dolphins fans something to cheer about and be proud to be a part of.
“You know, you go through life once, and if you can afford to do something you have great passion to do, you go for it,” Ross said.
Ross has gone all-in with the Dolphins. Now it’s time to see if his bet was a winner, or if he will come up with aces and eights.