After Bill Parcells arrived in Miami as the V.P. of football operations in 2008, he recruited former Dallas lieutenants Tony Sparano to coach the team, and executive Jeff Ireland to serve as G.M. Now that Parcells is gone and owner Stephen Ross is swooning for rock-star coaching candidate Jim Harbaugh, Ireland is angering many in the pro football industry by the manner in which he is handling the situation.
Put simply, Ireland is saving himself — and in turn allowing Sparano to twist in the wind. One league source said that the behavior will stick with Ireland, and that no coach will ever be able to fully trust him again.
We should have seen this one coming. When it was reported by the Miami Herald that Bill Cowher pulled back due to issues relating to power, the message was that someone else with power would otherwise be in the organization. Similar to the Jets in early 2009, to whom Cowher said “no thanks” because of the ongoing presence of G.M. Mike Tannenbaum, Cowher apparently passed on a chance to join the Dolphins because Ireland will still be running the show.
Indeed, Chris Mortensen of ESPN has reported that both Ireland and former Chiefs G.M. Carl Peterson would join Ross in the meeting with Harbaugh. (So much for Peterson not being involved in the football operation.)
Then again, maybe Peterson was there to ensure that Ireland didn’t ask Harbaugh any questions about his mother.