The arrival of Bill Parcells four years ago as the V.P. of football operations in Miami brought with it Parcells’ notorious say-as-little-as-possible strategy for dealing with the media and fans. The approach works well when a team is winning. When a team has become regarded as one of the worst franchises in the NFL, it’s time to change things up.
And that’s exactly what the Dolphins will be doing.
Speaking to the media at Monday’s league meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, Ross said that the Dolphins will be more accessible moving forward. The disclosure comes only a few days after Ross called a disgruntled fan. On the telephone.
Though it’s no replacement for winning football games, it’s a smart way to persuade the fans that the organization cares about them, and that the organization wants them to be aware of the team’s efforts to improve.
The challenge, of course, is to say enough without undermining strategic objectives. That’s why guys like Parcells and Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli opt to avoid accidentally sinking the ship via a loosening the lips. (Pioli, to his credit, seems to be changing his ways.)
A separate challenge, apart from giving up sensitive information, is using the platform to provide a clear and consistent message that inspires confidence. On Monday, Ross said in one breath, “I think we have a fine nucleus . . . Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and in another, “I want to win today, not tomorrow.”
The way things currently are going, the Dolphins won’t win today or tomorrow. A willingness to be more open with the media and the fans may make them more sympathetic, but it won’t change the bottom line.