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(Photo by Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

The type of season the Miami Dolphins just wrapped up wasn’t for the faint of heart from a fan perspective.

After a decisive road victory over the New England Patriots in Week 1, the franchise’s expectations to build on the division’s victory were justified.

Those dreams quickly faded, as Miami would go on to lose seven straight games, perhaps none more humiliating than a loss in London to the Jacksonville Jaguars without a win.

However, rather than giving up, the Dolphins rallied to win seven straight games and actually put themselves in a position to control their own destiny for an AFC playoff berth.

The team didn’t take care of business in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans, which ended their chances of making the playoffs.

It seems clear now that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was not happy with the end of the season, despite the positive momentum building up in the middle of it.

He may have viewed the 2021 campaign as a playoff or franchise failure opportunity, regardless of which route the team takes to get there.

After three seasons, head coach Brian Flores was surprisingly removed from his post, which called the franchise’s leadership into question.

Unpacking the Flores cooking

Many positions were expected to be vacant on “Black Monday” in the NFL, but the Dolphins’ position was not one of them.

This was due to the team’s impressive resurrection in November and December, albeit against less competition.

This wasn’t the first time Miami has shown noticeable determination under Flores’ leadership.

After an abominable start to the season, where the team was thought to be “Tanking For Tua Tagovailoa”, the team continued to compete and ended up with victories.

Granted, it’s not ideal for a team to dig such a deep hole for themselves, but in two of the three campaigns with Flores at the helm, the team could have filled it, but didn’t.

After Flores was fired, Ross spoke about collaboration and how an organization needs to be in sync to be successful.

One could reasonably deduce from this that he thought Flores left something to be desired in this area.

Stephen Ross’s achievements

Unfortunately, Ross’s comments on this organizational functionality issue ring a bit hollow given his history.

Since he first invested in the Dolphins in 2008 and became their Managing Partner in 2009, there has been a revolving door in the head coach position.

Tony Sparano coached more than three seasons, followed by Joe Philbin who was the chief man for the same length of time.

Adam Gase followed Philbin, who spanned three seasons in South Florida, and the recently deceased Flores was around for the same amount of time.

There’s something remarkably consistent about Ross’s desire to employ the leader of his franchise for three years, before inevitably taking a step.

For fans, this pattern is just as disturbing.

Ross talks about the value of internal partnership, but he hasn’t been able to find anyone at the head coach who reaches his level in this regard.

Is this more a testament to his inability to hire the right person or his personality that apparently hasn’t followed every coach’s footsteps?

Regardless of the answer, or it falls somewhere in between, it doesn’t bode well for the Dolphins’ long-term prospects for success.




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