Reporting Tim Kephart
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – In some of his first public comments since the planned Sun Life Stadium renovation plan was killed in the Florida House, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he wants to turn the Dolphins into a consistent winner.
“Miami has a reputation. It’s a tough sports town,” Ross said, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. “You have to win. You can do all those things but they’re looking to see if you’re winning. You have to start first. First, we’ll be winning then I know we’ll get the proper response from there.”
While the stadium may not be up to the level Ross and the NFL want, fans can’t blame Ross for not being willing to cough up the money to put a good team on the field. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland handed out nearly a quarter billion dollars in contracts in the offseason with more than $100 million guaranteed.
“I think you make moves to really bring back the winning tradition to Florida,” Ross told the Herald Wednesday. “You can’t make moves and not want to and hope to make the playoffs and see where we go from there. But you want to see progress and that’s the most important thing. I’m looking to bring a team to South Florida to win consistently and that’s the most important thing.”
Ross purchased the Dolphins in 2009, paying more than a billion dollars for the franchise and Sun Life Stadium. Since Ross took over, the Dolphins have posted a record of 27-37, have gone through three head coaches, and a near complete roster overhaul in the last two years.
The one constant has been general manager Jeff Ireland who has been at the helm of the Fins’ ship since 2008 when he was hand-picked by Bill Parcells. Ireland has drawn much of the fans’ ire for the team being mired in mediocrity for the last five years.
But Ross has stood by his general manager and continues to do so.
“I’m committed to him,” Ross told the Herald Wednesday afternoon. “I think he’s doing a great job and I’m committed to Jeff Ireland.”
Ross also said that he believes the moves the team made in the offseason, primarily the free agency spending spree, has the team heading in the right direction.
“We didn’t try to sign players who had already reached their potential and were just a name,” Ross said, according to the Herald. “We had a plan and we’re following a plan to really create that winning tradition.”
A winning tradition is something fans hope Ross’ millions will finally be able to bring to South Florida. The last time the Dolphins made the playoffs was in 2008 and the team has only had a winning record twice since the 2004 season.
During that nine-year span the Fins have been outscored by an average of 21-18 by their opponents, a trend Ross hopes the Fins will finally be able to reverse this year.