“Overcome with anger; extremely indignant.”
That’s what the word apoplectic means. Per a league source, that’s what Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is.
Ross, whose only comments since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team 13 days ago related to the league’s hiring of Ted Wells to investigate the situation, finds his team getting plenty of national attention for the worst possible reasons. It’s unclear who will get the blame and, more importantly, the boot when the dust settles, but the final report from Ted Wells could have a major impact on the decisions made by Ross.
There’s a growing belief in league circles that both coach Joe Philbin and G.M. Jeff Ireland will lose their jobs. If, however, the team rallies and wins games and qualifies for the playoffs, what seems to be a done deal could become harder to do.
Despite the short-term embarrassment, business considerations become critical to the final outcome. Will fans support the Dolphins through this episode, or abandon them? Will losing make it worse? Will winning make it better?
Despite the current anger Ross is experiencing, he wisely has resisted doing anything rash. His team still has half of its schedule remaining. The outcome of the next eight games necessarily will become a big part of the final analysis.
Right or wrong, owners want coaching staffs and front offices that can win. That’s why the Patriots never considered firing Bill Belichick in 2007 after Spygate, and it’s why the Saints gave Sean Payton a big raise in 2012 during Bountygate.
For Ross and Ireland, staying employed could hinge on winning enough games that it becomes impossible for Ross to fire them.