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Ross blames Sparano for Dolphins dysfunction

Developers And City Officials Break Ground On New Hudson Yards Project Getty Images

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is clearly feeling good about things right now.

Not only was he crowing about getting a half-price deal on the third pick in the draft, now he’s blaming former coach Tony Sparano for the hard feelings that followed when Ross interviewed Jim Harbaugh while Sparano was still on the job.

During an interview with Dan Le Batard on 790 The Ticket, Ross said the grudge Sparano held “damaged the whole organization.”

“He could never put it behind him,” Ross said, via the Miami Herald. “I don’t think he was the right head coach for the Miami Dolphins. I didn’t hire him. We’re a much better organization today than then.”

Imagine that, Sparano didn’t play along while his boss interviewed someone to replace him while he was still working.

The nerve of that guy, not being happy about being cuckolded on the job.

Ross said he felt used as leverage by Harbaugh’s camp, and talked about the bad relationship between general manager Jeff Ireland and Sparano after word got out. He talked about the trust he had in Ireland, and said the team was heading in the right direction.

“This organization is functioning the best since the [Don] Shula days, [because] I picked the head coach with Jeff Ireland,” Ross said. “People see this organization is really on the uptick.”

Actually, what most people see is a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008, the year he bought the team. That’s when Sparano led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record, or 10 wins better than the year before.

But to Ross, apparently, the 27-37 record since then is clearly on par with Shula winning two Super Bowls.

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55 Responses to “Ross blames Sparano for Dolphins dysfunction”
  1. mdev1987 says: Apr 27, 2013 10:57 AM

    Sperano, henne, wildcat whatever. Point is they sucked. Let’s hope we can win 9 games this yr

  2. flamethrower101 says: Apr 27, 2013 10:58 AM

    He must’ve added 2 and 2 and gotten fish

  3. matth3w420 says: Apr 27, 2013 10:59 AM

    That was a dick move by Ross and Sparano should have been let go prior to the job search. Do you blame the guy for holding a grudge? Ross facilitated the dysfunction. I agree though, Sparano is not right for a HC job, damn good Oline coach.

  4. drtharrison says: Apr 27, 2013 10:59 AM

    Well Ross, I think you are half right. Sparano should have never been hired as head coach. But instead of just firing his ass, which is what you SHOULD have done, you were cute and interviewed people while he was still around. So half of this blame is on you sir. Thankfully things are looking up.

  5. rodge1 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:00 AM

    Dolphins are going in the right direction. But Ross should not have said that about Sparano whether it was true or not.

  6. mazblast says: Apr 27, 2013 11:00 AM

    This is just one more owner who really needs to be way in the background. Hire good people, pay them well, let them do their jobs, show up on game day to wish everyone well, and, if the football gods are kind, pose with the Lombardi Trophy.

  7. questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:01 AM

    Uptick?
    You could a got a third rounder for Bess, but stood your ground. Still a dolphin fan, but I been in the closet since Montana beat Marino…

  8. jax9113 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:01 AM

    Actually, people do see this team “on the uptick.” We were three extremely close games from making the playoffs last years and have a very strong foundation of young talent to build off. And our 11-5 year? We had by far the easiest schedule in the league. That wasn’t Sparano, that was Pennington controlling the ball against extremely weak defenses. Sparano( and Chad Henne, the QB he championed) held this team back for awhile.

  9. ampats says: Apr 27, 2013 11:05 AM

    Being a Patriots fan, it is great to have owners like Stephen Ross and Woody Johnson making football decisions in our division.

  10. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Apr 27, 2013 11:05 AM

    Ross felt leveraged by Harbaugh’s camp? Baalke’s offer to JH was 5 mill per for 5 yrs. Ross was willing to pay 8 mill per. Harb’s took the 5 mill/5 yrs offer. How is that leverage?

    I’ve always liked the fish. Stephen Ross not so much

  11. MichaelWrites says: Apr 27, 2013 11:06 AM

    Don’t blame Ireland and Sparano, blame The Tuna. He never met an organization he couldn’t trash.

  12. greenngold says: Apr 27, 2013 11:06 AM

    Like the spoiled brat who breaks a new toy and blames someone else, Ross appears to be just another billionaire who is in way over his head in a business he knows little about. The NFL is not real estate, or tax law. You don’t publicly throw people under the bus in sports management, because it will eventually come back and bite you right in the arse.

  13. pinion8ted says: Apr 27, 2013 11:07 AM

    If by “on the uptick” you mean still well below the Patriots, but not as tragic as the Yets”, then yeah, I guess that’s on the uptick.

    They still are a laughingstock, though.

  14. 2slick60 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:11 AM

    Just a few things that were left out of thia brilliantly written commentary:

    1) We’re not even going to MENTION Parcells? Tuna set this team back 10 years. 2008 was an absolute fluke that happened because Favre went to the Jets which allowed the Fins to benefit from Pennington’s last good year.

    2) How many seasons did Sparano last the Jets OC? Sparano was great at fist-pumping after field goals…not much else.
    I’m no Ross fan, but he’s right about everything he said. He got screwed by Harbaugh and Sparano was awful.

  15. dmp5687 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:12 AM

    This guy is low-class….you should never bad mouth former employees, I don’t care what business you are in!

  16. logisticalvoices says: Apr 27, 2013 11:14 AM

    Ross: almost as much of a tool as Snyder

  17. DonRSD says: Apr 27, 2013 11:17 AM

    Worst ran franchise in professional sports.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  18. ravensrooster94 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:18 AM

    Darin, you have real talent for sarcasm and understatement. And Ross shouldn’t even mention the name of Don Shula in association with the organization he owns and mismanages.

  19. raiderapologist says: Apr 27, 2013 11:22 AM

    Ross is making lots of friends this weekend.

  20. kenstabler says: Apr 27, 2013 11:24 AM

    I wonder who is the best man here? I never heard Sparano say a bad word about Ross. Ross is clearly the one with the chip on his shoulder, and a totally underhanded stab in the back to your head coach at the time.

    God, gloating about a player who has never played a down in the NFL, and you passed on a great left tackle, when you sent your other one packing. What a curse you have put on yourself. Idiot.

  21. mbhcu98 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:24 AM

    He should’ve kept his mouth shut, yes. But, he didn’t say anything wrong. We all know Ross was wrong for trying to hire Harbaugh while TS was still coaching this team. That being said, TS should’ve let those hurt feelings go if you are still coaching this team. To allow those hurt feelings to ruin your team is a sign you are not ready for the business of the NFL.

  22. barkleyblows says: Apr 27, 2013 11:25 AM

    Of course… It’s always somebody else’s fault!

  23. tfaulk says: Apr 27, 2013 11:31 AM

    “But to Ross, apparently, the 27-37 record since then is clearly on par with Shula winning two Super Bowls.”

    Umm, the majority of that was with Sparano. You seem to be completely missing Ross’s point. Not that last season is clearly, markedly different, but it’s pretty f’in obvious that Ross isn’t saying the last 3 years of Sparano as head coach represents the high point of the Dolphins since Shula was coach.

  24. bmoreravens1012013 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:35 AM

    This franchise is a joke. No class at all. Regardless if Sparano was a good coach or not (I mean he did win 11 games so he couldn’t be that bad), there is still a such thing as respect for your employees. All the money they overspent for free agents, I hopes it bites them in a** big time , which I believe it will based on their recent history of ineptitude. They have a young unproven qb with all the pressure to win now…lol…good luck with that fins.With Philbin’s no nonsense , military-like style, after a few losses he will b on the hot seat within a year and they will be drafting another qb in a couple years because that’s what losing, poorly run franchises do.

  25. snnyjcbs says: Apr 27, 2013 11:37 AM

    I believe Joe Fortenbaugh put it best in an article he wrote,

    “…of that aforementioned trade stands the Miami Dolphins, who acquired Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan with the third selection in the draft. I’m all for being aggressive when it comes to making your team better, but here’s what I found amusing in the aftermath of Miami’s deal with Oakland.

    “There’s nothing better than when you get … [the] guy who you really loved,” Ross said. “It’s a great day. The value of the kid, with as little as they had to [give up] for him … is incredible.”

    That’s a quote from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald regarding Dion Jordan.

    Ross clearly feels that his organization got the better of the Raiders on Thursday night.

    I’d advise a slight pumping of the breaks. The Dolphins haven’t gotten the better of anybody in over two decades.”

  26. tfaulk says: Apr 27, 2013 11:41 AM

    Also, all this nonsense about “crowing” about the trade is just that, nonsense. I’ve watched the interviews. Both Ireland and Ross are providing standard answers to questions posed to them by journalists about how the trade went down, how they felt about it, are they happy, etc.

    There was no major backslapping, insulting the Raiders, acting like they swindled anyone… They were simply surprised at the value of the trade and that they could get the guy they had as the highest value (after Fisher and possibly/possibly not Joeckel).

    Reading the actual quotes rather than the PFT story this sounds much the same: Ross supporting Ireland and his current coaching staff and acknowledging the disarray created by the previous regime of Parcells/Sparano (yes, Ross does mention Parcells)… Which is what you want and need from an owner: facing the past mistakes and difficulties and getting past them.

  27. riverhorsey says: Apr 27, 2013 11:44 AM

    Ross set the whole Dolphin circus motion when interviewed Harbaugh. He has no one to blame but himself.

  28. fdugrad says: Apr 27, 2013 11:44 AM

    Typical management/boss outlook…”How DARE that employee take umbrage at me pushing him, his coaches, as well as ALL the involved families out of their current lives!” Talk about out of touch and callous!! The worse part is they do not care! Ross must be the schmuck of ALL TIME!!

  29. beachsidejames says: Apr 27, 2013 11:49 AM

    Sometimes its just better to say nothing. Did sparano suck as head coach? Probably. Any upside to throwing him under the bus now? I don’t thinks so. Sure Sparano made mistakes but also worked hard and deserves respect. Even rich smart guys like Ross sometimes say the dumbest things.

  30. deathspiralx says: Apr 27, 2013 11:50 AM

    There’s no value add to talking about Sparano by Ross. Makes him look petty and insecure.

    Really should keep his yap shut until he does something.

  31. facebook.com/joesimmonscomic AKA Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: Apr 27, 2013 11:52 AM

    My last girlfriend got all pissy and always held a grudge when I was asking out other girls during our relationship.

    Obviously, she was the problem.

  32. realfootballfan says: Apr 27, 2013 11:54 AM

    This, Dolphin fans, is one of the reasons you will continue to lose.

  33. tfaulk says: Apr 27, 2013 11:54 AM

    “I’d advise a slight pumping of the breaks. The Dolphins haven’t gotten the better of anybody in over two decades.”

    The Dolphins are 12-3 against the Raiders over the last two decades.

  34. omikeyboy says: Apr 27, 2013 11:57 AM

    Money does not buy class evidently.

  35. bigal1952 says: Apr 27, 2013 11:57 AM

    Mr.Ross, if you have nothing good to say, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. First you gloat about getting the best of the Raiders in the Dion Jordan trade, and now you throw your former head coach under the bus…twice.

    Have you heard of bad karma?

  36. finsfrenzy says: Apr 27, 2013 11:59 AM

    They need to be in playoff contention THIS year….with all the additions and picks….it’s do or die. Unfortunately it’s mostly all on Tannehill now too….

  37. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 27, 2013 12:07 PM

    So to what level do the Dolphins need to continue to struggle before Ross will realize that Ireland is a success distraction of bigger magnitude than Sparano?

  38. hehateme2 says: Apr 27, 2013 12:10 PM

    DonRSD says:Apr 27, 2013 11:17 AM

    Worst ran franchise in professional sports.

    Your ignorance is beyond reality. The Dolphins (with a bad decade of personal moves) STILL rank in the top 3 franchises in lifetime winning %.

    You must either be very young or uninformed.

  39. annes22 says: Apr 27, 2013 12:15 PM

    Sparano was the problem with the Dolphins, he was a terrible head coach. Last year showed his true colours with the Jets, they were hopeless.
    He is no more than a co ordinator. Good luck to the Raiders.

  40. paleandpasty says: Apr 27, 2013 12:17 PM

    What about the couple million reasons ross gave sporano, that couldnt make him happy.

  41. cantonbound13 says: Apr 27, 2013 12:25 PM

    Sporano clearly was not the right head coach for the team, however, Jeff Ireland is not exactly irreplaceable.

  42. weareluckytohavemikeflorio says: Apr 27, 2013 12:32 PM

    stephen ross and jeffrey loria.
    Both own Miami based professional sports franchises and both have about as much business in pro sports as they do as being striping pole dancers at a gentlemen’s club.
    27-37 as an owner
    and the other has
    blown the franchise up not once but twice since he slid down I-95 from Montreal.
    Both clearly have the clearcut ability to run a sports franchise like its a toilet flushing entity.

  43. brassknuckles47 says: Apr 27, 2013 12:36 PM

    PICTURED ABOVE:

    DUMB and DUMBER.

  44. pinion8ted says: Apr 27, 2013 1:03 PM

    MichaelWrites says:
    Apr 27, 2013 11:06 AM
    Don’t blame Ireland and Sparano, blame The Tuna. He never met an organization he couldn’t trash.
    —————————————————————
    So you think he leaves teams “trashed”???

    Parcells made the Giants better, the Patriots better, the Jets better, the Cowboys better, and took the hapless Dolphins from 1-15 to 11-5 in a single season, winning their division, before Stephen Ross bought the team.

    Come back when you understand football, Bunkie.

    Ross chased Parcells off, and the ‘Fins have been a joke ever since.

  45. mazblast says: Apr 27, 2013 1:10 PM

    hehateme2 says: Apr 27, 2013 12:10 PM

    DonRSD says:Apr 27, 2013 11:17 AM

    Worst ran franchise in professional sports.

    Your ignorance is beyond reality. The Dolphins (with a bad decade of personal moves) STILL rank in the top 3 franchises in lifetime winning %.

    You must either be very young or uninformed.
    ———————————
    As a Steelers fan, I am aware of something you seem to not know–that the 70s were a long time ago.

    Lifetime winning percentages? Get real. It’s all about championships, and your team’s last one happened when Nixon was still President. Your team hasn’t been in a Super Bowl in over 25 years.

    Don’t be like a typical Yankees fan, trying to impress people with titles won long ago, especially since your team has only two of them.

    Don Shula is retired. Joe Robbie is dead. The No-Name Defense is a bunch of old guys making fools of themselves each year with the champagne routine. Dan Marino, Mr. Regular Season, now spouts inanities on TV. The past glories of Dolphinland are long past. Try focusing on now.

  46. mackie66 says: Apr 27, 2013 1:16 PM

    This story written by one of PFTs less gifted writers(if thats what u call ‘em) is nothing but pure crap. Gantt are u related to Sparano? Ross has his opinion, Im not fond of the guy but he owns the Dolphins and has several Billion in the bank, whats your bank account look like Gantt, “All world Writer”? This is the type of story by PFT that smacks of favoritism. Just dont like those southern teams,,,right Gananttiee?

  47. xpensivewinos says: Apr 27, 2013 1:27 PM

    The issue here is Ross’ skills as an owner and how this organization is being run……..it has nothing to do with whether or not Sparano was a good coach or the “sorry I embarrassed you money” he was given.

    Ross is a slimy tool, courted a guy behind his employee’s back, completely undermining his ability to lead the team and is now blaming that employee for the mess it created.

    Sorry folks, but Ross is a delusional scumbag.

  48. mshawn75 says: Apr 27, 2013 1:46 PM

    Funny how no one blames “THE GREAT BILL PARCELLS” for any of the Dolphins woes. Didn’t he hire Sparano, and handle the drafts for a few years.

  49. skylark70455 says: Apr 27, 2013 1:50 PM

    Juvenile writing like this by Mr. Gannt, and his employer (aka the finagler), is this sites stock in trade: taking the work of an actual journalist out of context for yellow emotionally manipulative crap items – barely fit for the line of tabloids at the supermarket checkout, if that.

  50. sampsonswag01 says: Apr 27, 2013 3:24 PM

    Ummm one word….leverage. Harbaugh was NEVER, ever, not in a million years moving to Miami when everything he needed was with the 49ers and he wouldn’t have to move.

    Ross just came across as big D-bag through the whole thing and is coming across as a D-bag now.

  51. chachooga says: Apr 27, 2013 4:38 PM

    Not a huge Ross fan….but Parcells Franklin ruined Miami just like he did Dallas…..why nobody reports that, or chides Parcells every chance they get, I have zero clue.

    Soprano was horrible, his winning season was a gimmick he didn’t even create.

    I am looking forward to improvement this year…..my biggest fear? MIKE WALLACE ugh.

  52. osprey0112 says: Apr 27, 2013 4:52 PM

    Did anyone actually hear this interview? I did and that is not what was said. you can take anything out of context and spin it anyway you want. I enjoyed the interview and felt Ross was forthcoming and look forward to the Dolphins season!
    Ross also talked about the things he has done wrong and said he is a fan with money and learning along the way.

  53. promickey says: Apr 27, 2013 5:27 PM

    Does anyone really think that Sporano was qualified to be a HC. He was fired as the Jets coordinator and may get fired in his current job as a position coach. The only mistake that Ross made was one of protocol; Sporano should have been fired and removed from coaching the team.

  54. kerc1986 says: Apr 27, 2013 6:23 PM

    I dont agree with was ross said, he should have fire sporano right away, before he made the flight, the big TUNA screw miami, he drafted long istead of ryan, because he was scared of his reputation if ryan would have been a bust, and then he kept draftinf like he was on the 80s big slow guys, ireland has been doing an ok job the past 2years as a g.m.

  55. pablotexas says: Apr 28, 2013 2:34 PM

    Looks like Mr. Ross is the one who hasn’t left the Jim Harbaugh issue behind, since he’s the one bringing it up. Tony Sparano was passionate about his job and despite the results, he tried hard and had faith in his players. It’s unfair to say he damaged the whole organization. The Dolphins, however, look much more functional with Coach Philbin and for the first time in years, the expectations for the team are relatively high.

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