Reading Between Lines in Stephen Ross’ Letter to Fans

Stephen Ross: The owner who never learns from his mistakes begs you to indulge him yet again

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross issued his annual year-end mia culpa to ticketholders in an attempt to equate the expense with entertainment value.

If you love inner-office intrigue, angry player wives right out the HBO series “Ballers,” and a season full of “how are we going to fail?” drama, then the Dolphins offer excellent value. If quality, winning football is what you seek…well, you’re S-O-L as they say.

Some Miami Dolphins fans might know the name Nick Forro. Besides general manager Dennis Hickey, Forro just might be the most nervous person in the Dolphins organization because he’s the “VP of Ticket Sales and Services.” If the Dolphins fail to sell tickets in 2016 because of repeated mistakes on behalf of Ross, Forro could end up serving as the fall guy.

But hey, it won’t be Ross’ fault, afterall. He penned this letter to let fans know that he and his crack staff — aka former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum — are working hard to find you a good coach. Or, in other words, finding a coach who wants to take over a dysfunctional team with pending salary cap issues, major holes on both sides of the ball and Tannenbaum calling the shots.

Let’s play the role of wise-guys and add some between-the-lines commentary to Ross’ letter.

Dear (Insert Fans’ First Name):
Translation: I personalize this to make you feel less like an account number, but thanks to decades of technology, you already know this is automated.

As we enter our final game, I want to simply say, thank you.
Translation: You haven’t rioted, asked for refunds or staked out the team facility to call for the firing of staff, so thanks for being so civil.

I had high expectations headed into this year and the on-field results have been disappointing… for you, our staff, our coaches, our players and alumni players, and certainly for me. Through it all, your support has been unwavering. We had capacity crowds at every home game and thousands of you joined us on the road. Everyone at the Dolphins appreciates your consistent loyalty and support.

Translation: Once again, I thought the formula for winning during the regular season involved throwing around huge sums of money to win the off-season. We really thought Ndamukong Suh would do for us what Reggie White did for the Packers.

This team belongs to you. It belongs to each one of you who has been here through it all; both our celebrations and our challenges.
Translation: I don’t really believe this. If I did, I’d show some good will by listening to my fans and doing two things — dumping our crap logo and uniforms and firing the entire front office including Mike Tannenbaum. But I own the team and I make the rules. It’s really only your team if you buy tickets and even then, I call the shots.

There are no shortcuts or magic formulas to winning. I know it will take hard work for us to get where we want to go and I can assure you that everyone at the Dolphins is working hard to honor the proud winning tradition of our great franchise.
Translation: I’m going to continue to use the same formula over and over again — alternating a head coach or GM refresh every other year while ignoring a “wipe-the-slate-clean” philosophy. Sooner or later, like monkeys eventually typing out a Shakespeare play, the combination will click and we’ll make the playoffs.

We are going to conduct a thorough process led by Mike Tannenbaum to select our head coach that will not be constrained by convention in our approach. This search will be thorough and we will take it wherever we need to go. I appreciate everything Dan Campbell has done this season and he has earned the opportunity to be considered for head coach. We’ve also identified several promising candidates and will begin work immediately.
Translation: See, I told I was stubborn. Mike Tannenbaum is my man and he’s the right man even though he traded for Tim Tebow and put the Jets salary cap in need of FEMA assistance. We’re going to do our best to find a coach who will actually consider working for the most dysfunctional team in the NFL.

We will have more to say on that topic following the season. Your support is a critical element to our efforts to build a winning team and we all appreciate you. I look forward with optimism to more celebrations in the future together.
Translation: Get ready for a ton of media spin on how great our new head coach is and why you should re-new or purchase season tickets. We’ll also get you excited about any players we acquire in the off-season as they get ready to live out “Ballers.”

​Stephen Ross
Miami Dolphins

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