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Ross denies contacting Cowher

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Predictably, reports have surfaced that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has contacted former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.  Even more predictably, Ross denies that he has contacted Cowher.

Not true,” Ross said Friday, via David Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  “I’m not going to reach out to anyone while Tony [Sparano] is the coach.  I hope he wins and stays the coach.  Neither I nor anyone involved with me has contacted [Cowher], his agent or anyone around him.”

It’s hard to accept that one at face value, for several reasons.  First, it’s hard to accept pretty much anything anyone connected to an NFL team says at face value.  When it comes to on-field and off-field football tactics, the truth often is told only when it happens to mesh with the strategically prudent explanation.  Second, Ross already has shown a willingness not only to contact “anyone” (cough — Jim Harbaugh — cough) while Sparano is the coach, but to fly across the country with the team’s General Manager to meet with said “anyone.”  Third, in this bizarre separation dance between Ross and Sparano, where Ross possibly has decided to stay the course (at least for now) in the hopes of racking up enough losses to get Andrew Luck and where Sparano possibly sees that and wants to get fired, admitting to conduct that undermines Sparano could give Sparano enough ammunition to claim that he has been constructively discharged, which would allow him to quit — and also to pursue a buyout of his contract.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, what else was Ross going to say?  “Yep, I contacted Cowher.  And Gruden.  And I tried Vince Lombardi but they keep saying the number is disconnected or no longer in service.”

Despite these obvious reasons for Ross to deny, Hyde chooses to knock down the reports from guys like Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com (who reported that contact had occurred through intermediaries) and Albert Breer of NFL Network (a league employee with an impeccable reputation for accuracy who reported that Ross has contacted Cowher’s agent).  Hyde wonders why Ross would contact Cowher at this stage of the season, given that Ross isn’t competing with anyone for Cowher’s services — and given that contacting Cowher now could offend him.  “Make[s] no sense on a lot of levels,” Hyde writes.

Actually, it makes sense on every level.

It’s called gauging interest.  If Cowher, via his agent, says that he’s interested, Ross can put Cowher on the wish list and wait until Sparano is fired to make a move.  If Cowher, via his agent, says that he’d never be interested, Ross can remove Cowher’s name from the list.  If Cowher, via his agent, says that Cowher could be interested if X, Y, and/or Z were to happen, Ross can commence the process of deciding whether he can and will make X, Y, and/or Z happen.

Given the extremely clumsy manner in which the Dolphins pursued Harbaugh in January, it makes sense that the Dolphins would begin lining up potential candidates now, and that they would do so in a somewhat clumsy manner, allowing word of the courtship to make its way to the media.

Here’s what Ross should have done.  He should have limited the information regarding any contact with Cowher’s agent to only a handful of people — ideally, only one person other than himself.  And the message to Cowher’s agent (or whomever has been contacted) should have been clear and direct:  If word of this gets out, we’ll deny it, and we’ll remove you from consideration.

But the Dolphins are both clumsy and desperate right now, so they won’t be doing things discreetly and they won’t be issuing the kinds of ultimatums that ensure complete discretion.  As Ross essentially admitted when the Harbaugh fiasco blew up in the Fins’ faces, Ross isn’t schooled in these nuances of NFL teams.

And it shows.  On every level.

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31 Responses to “Ross denies contacting Cowher”
  1. joetoronto says: Oct 29, 2011 6:31 AM

    Ross then went on to say “I did not have sex with that woman.”

  2. fin72 says: Oct 29, 2011 6:34 AM

    Ross should make no apologies for trying to turn his team in the right direction. At this point Sparano has no rights and is in no position to demand any explanations or anything else. In fact, he should be thanking Ross for handing him free money before this season that he obviously never deserved in the first place. If it weren’t for Parcells, this guy had no credentials to be Division III head coach.

  3. mrjnumber1 says: Oct 29, 2011 6:45 AM

    No coach or player should ever want to work for this man. He is openly grossly negligent in regards to his team employees on a level I’ve never even heard of any business doing before.

    He really deserves it if every person working for his team acts the same way and his team is forced to fold, because that is seriously pathetic and horrible behavior.

  4. wryly1 says: Oct 29, 2011 7:02 AM

    What Ross and too many fans seem to overkook is that the Steelers didn’t skip a beat when they transitioned from Cowher to Tomlin. Without taking anything away from Cowher, the undeniable reality is that the Steelers, win first and foremost, because they are a solid football organization from top to bottom.

    As long as Ross deludes himself he is qualified to make football decisions – including hiring coaches and making draft picks – the Dolphins will, as Reggie Bush put it – stink!

  5. quittsburghstoolers says: Oct 29, 2011 7:07 AM

    Ross probably “looked into things” to gauge interest and found out that old “ass-chin” wants a better roster already in place than Miami has, he wants more money than Ross is willing to give him, and he wants unlimited power to do what he wants with all aspects of the team, which few (if any) billionaire owners would be willing to give up.

    Bottom line is Coward ain’t coaching the ‘Fish…

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Oct 29, 2011 7:18 AM

    All of us want the Dolphins to get the top pick by any means necessary. The only down side of that is that media can’t just write about how bad the Dolphins are for 4 months. They need something else to spice things up.

    Cowher talk, Gruden talk, it’s all BS. Just leave us alone. Let us suffer through this year alone and in in peace. We’re like family of a dying famous relative. We’d appreciate it if you respect our privacy at out time of mourning.

    We’ll be happy to let you back in after the season. But for now, there’s nothing to see here folks. Just move on.

  7. lawyermalloy says: Oct 29, 2011 7:41 AM

    Another amateurish, meddling owner who’s well on his way to ruining a storied franchize.

  8. dolfan72 says: Oct 29, 2011 7:50 AM

    Ross has to be at a LOSS for the way he has conducted this fiasco that is this group of POWDER PUFF PANZIES! FIRE TONY SPARANO! BUT I WOULD HIRE JEFF FISHER! TRADE MARSHALL THE BUM! It gets to the point every third down or red zone possession, I scream, “DO NOT THROW IT TO BRANDON MARSHALL!” Brandon “THE SAMMIE SMITH OF WIDE RECEIVERS” is a BUM!

  9. hwentworth says: Oct 29, 2011 8:04 AM

    He denied it because Bill Cowher didn’t want to go on a date with him.

  10. promickey says: Oct 29, 2011 8:17 AM

    I understand all the speculation but Mike you seem more like a futures stockbroker in this post. Ross inherited the mess in Miami and spent a lot of money to get the Miami franchise. He’s frustrated with the total failure of the Parcells-Ireland -Sparano regime. Ross is certainly not politically correct. However being politically correct can be overrated at times. Offenses are dominating todays NFL. Ross made the correct decision trying to get an offensive guru and replace an old school Coach Sparano. The current won-loss records of both the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins reflects the whole story. Offenses due to rule changes etc. will continue to dominate the NFL. Teams with strong passing offenses that can run the ball just enough to keep a defense off balance will win. SanFrancisco, New Orleans, Green Bay, SanDiego and New England all lead their divisions.

  11. justentertainingthestupid says: Oct 29, 2011 8:20 AM

    God I miss Wayne Huizenga.

  12. waccoforflacco says: Oct 29, 2011 8:29 AM

    What about the “Rooney Rule”? Are Denny Green and Art Shell on the list?

  13. jagmania65 says: Oct 29, 2011 8:47 AM

    I think you meant that it’s hard to take anything connected to Mike Freeman at face value, since he got run out of Jacksonville for making things up in his columns…

  14. FinFan68 says: Oct 29, 2011 9:03 AM

    justentertainingthestupid says:
    Oct 29, 2011 8:20 AM
    God I miss Wayne Huizenga
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I miss Joe Robbie. Huizenga started the slide–he just wasn’t as shady/classless as Ross appears to be.

    I sincerely hope Ross is not asking around about potential coaches yet. Sparano may not be the best coach, but his loyalty to the team is unquestionable. He deserves better treatment from Ross AND Ireland.

    I think the best thing for Ross to do is to fire Ireland and begin the search for a GM immediately. Line up a short list of candidates that are interested but do not hire yet. Get their coaching recommendations during the interviews. After Sparano is fired–mid season or end–look for a new HC. Hire the best pair available or the one guy as the all powerful football guru. Two different guys would be better than a coach with additional duties IMO

  15. drkknght2000 says: Oct 29, 2011 9:14 AM

    I have said it a thousand times, we have talent on this team. We are not playing to their potential. Our vanilla offense and not using all our speedy weapons to stretch the defense is costing us games. Why we are not throwing this playbook out the window is beyond me. Yes Marshall has been dropping the ball, but defenses still have to account for him. Hartline on the other side, with Bess and Bush in the slots. You mix Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore and Clyde Gates in there (all speed) you keep things fresh. Fasano is no slouch and Clay is a beast. This will stretch defenses, LBs will have to play more outside and they will get gassed. This also opens up the ground game for Daniels and Clay. Allows our defense to stay fresh and Trent Dilfer could win again in Miami. We have talent, play calling is the problem it was last year and we changed for this guy who Cleveland didn’t want. That is a HC decision not an owner’s one. So Ross doesn’t know what he is doing he is making us look bad, but he is only trying to make us look good. Someone probably told him we would have a better shot at this with a strike year than starting fresh. After he talked to Harbaugh, or whatever. I think this team has quit because the HC and OC are completely clueless at this point. Everyone knows it except them and that is total frustration. Sparano believes his plays work, but how long do you keep trying something over and over and over before you realize a square wheel just does not work. That is the true definition of insanity to continue to do something over and over and expect different results. I will keep cheering for my team because I a true fan. Maybe that is the insanity, but I was raised on this team and I have no choice.

  16. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Oct 29, 2011 9:20 AM

    Reporters and bloggers never lie ;-)

  17. cantonbound13 says: Oct 29, 2011 9:34 AM

    This is the biggest joke of an owner I have ever seen. That’s saying a lot since I am also a Knicks fan and watched James Dolan almost destroy the franchise.

  18. snarkzilla says: Oct 29, 2011 9:38 AM

    Based on what I’m seeing in that photo, Ross should suit up and play QB.

  19. melikefootball says: Oct 29, 2011 9:50 AM

    I wouldn’t trust a word this owner says…. he has been so willy nilly . He totally #2 all over his team last week.

  20. waxedagain says: Oct 29, 2011 10:30 AM

    “Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been in contact with Bill Cowher’s agent about making the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach the next head coach in Miami, according to a league source.”

    This is just a rumor spread by Albert Breer, not a fact. Journalists report factual news. The new media aren’t traditional journalists – they are rumormongers competing to ‘break’ the latest rumor.

  21. deadeye says: Oct 29, 2011 10:35 AM

    Ross is a buffoon.

  22. oldhamletman says: Oct 29, 2011 10:45 AM

    again… Ross is a proven, olde time, back room, back stabbing businessman… who has proven repeatedly in the very tough Manhattan real estate scene that he can make Billions…..

    the moves that he’s attempted to make seem smart to me, he’s just not used to national media scrutiny because of where he came from so it looks awkward…

    Are you guys actually saying :
    -you wouldn’t have tried to hire Harbaugh or Cowher?
    – Or that those weren’t probably the two best guys available ?
    – Or that he’s over managing the ops of the team and he, not Sparano is responsible for the current state of the team?

    seems like the guy is trying to do the right thing, he’s just been fouling off so far as he’s getting used to the NFL back room game….

    He’s a top flight biz guy… my bet is he’ll get the Cowher thing done and Cowher will get complete team control because Ross is smart enough to give it to him, and there will be a major housecleaning and the Phins will be a contender possibly as soon as next year….

  23. backindasaddle says: Oct 29, 2011 11:15 AM

    Ross is a clown running a circus.

  24. fumblenuts says: Oct 29, 2011 11:35 AM

    Go get Jeff Fisher next year and be done with it.

  25. Robert says: Oct 29, 2011 12:11 PM

    Coaches that fit the Dolphin franchise:

    Pete Carroll: Taken
    Andy Reid: Taken
    Jim Harbaugh; Taken
    Jeff Fisher: Available

  26. phinfan says: Oct 29, 2011 12:11 PM

    Ross is a clown running a circus of idiots. Mark Cuban please buy miami!

  27. waccoforflacco says: Oct 29, 2011 12:33 PM

    The luckiest teams are the ones that have Miami, St. Louis, the Colts or Minnesota on their schedule near the end of the season….all will be tanking to get LUCK.

  28. jcampol says: Oct 29, 2011 12:42 PM

    cantonbound13 says:
    Oct 29, 2011 9:34 AM
    This is the biggest joke of an owner I have ever seen. That’s saying a lot since I am also a Knicks fan and watched James Dolan almost destroy the franchise.

    I’m in the same boat, and to top it off I’m a Mets fan as well. It’s a crazy day when you stop and look at all your favorite teams and the Knicks are the most stable franchise at this point!

  29. rasalas says: Oct 29, 2011 12:54 PM

    Your second and third reasons make no sense.

    2) Yes, Ross went after Harbaugh while Sparano was the coach, but that was in the off-season. This is still during the season. Huge difference. He also later admitted it was a huge mistake after being embarrassed by the media. Seems unlikely that he’d do it again — at least, in the manner you claim.

    3) If Ross gets rid of Sparano in any way before his contract is up (thru 2013), he’ll have to buy out his contract regardless.

    Also, your whole scenario for how it should have been done: How do you know that’s not how it was done? If it’s true, why couldn’t Cowher’s agent be the source of the leak?

  30. bsizemore68 says: Oct 29, 2011 1:20 PM

    Think about 1964, think about Bob Dylan, think about ” The Times They Are A-Changin ” its coming, won’t be long now, I say about 3 months and a week. Bill

  31. nfloracle says: Oct 29, 2011 1:32 PM

    “And I tried Vince Lombardi but they keep saying the number is disconnected or no longer in service.”

    That attempt at humor is older and more stale than last month’s loaf of honey wheat bread forgotten on top of the cupboard.

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