Another year, another awkward press conference starring Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Last winter, Ross sat next to Tony Sparano and G.M. Jeff Ireland to try to explain to the media why it made sense to give Sparano a contract extension despite openly going after Jim Harbaugh for the team’s head coach. (The picture of that day is above.)
On Monday, Ross sat next to Ireland once again to announce the firing of Tony Sparano. Interim coach Todd Bowles was nowhere to be seen. Some takeaways from the session:
1. Ross said he wanted to find a “young Don Shula” and that firing Sparano was largely made now to give the team a head start on finding that coach. Ross’ description indicated the team wanted a young coach.
2. G.M. Jeff Ireland sent a different message. He said he wanted a coach with experience that had been “in the trenches” and had knowledge of offense and defense.
3. Ross insisted that Ireland isn’t going anywhere. Ireland will remain the G.M. and help pick the new head coach. That would seem to eliminate candidates like Bill Cowher that would want to bring in their own personnel people. Ross said he hasn’t spoken to “friend” Carl Peterson.
4. The Dolphins think they are close to winning. Ireland: ”"I feel there’s a foundation here. I’m saying its a perfect team.”
Ross: “Finding a quarterback is essential. But everyone can agree we have a great foundation.”
In other words, it was Sparano’s fault. Not Ireland’s fault.