If you grew up in the state of Florida in the 1980s and 90s, there was one professional football team to root for: the Miami Dolphins. Sure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers existed - but from Miami-Dade County to the panhandle, the Fins were like Gods to those that bleed aqua and orange.
From the legends like Dan Marino and Don Shula on the field, Miami went to the postseason 12 times in the 20 seasons from 1980 to 1999. Off the field, owner Joe Robbie kept the Dolphins out of the national headlines for scandals that would've embarrassed the team.
The same can't be said for the last 13 seasons since Stephen Ross became majority owner of the Dolphins.
On the field, the Dolphins have had eight losing seasons and made the playoffs just once. Miami's seven season span of no postseason from 2009 to 2015 is the longest in franchise history and Mike McDaniel will become the fifth full time head coach in the last 14 seasons when the Dolphins open the regular season on September 11th.
Off the field, that's where it gets worse. Ross was the owner of the franchise during the infamous Bullygate scandal and investigation into it. Last week, Ross was suspended for his role in tampering by speaking with players and coaches were were still under contract with other NFL teams.
The tampering allegations were made in a lawsuit filed by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who also alleged that Ross had tried to bribe him to intentionally lose games in 2019. Flores was fired after two straight winning seasons - the first time Miami had accomplished that feat in nearly 20 seasons.
No one is saying that Ross has to be held responsible for every issue that goes on within the franchise. But, at the same time, it should be more important to make sure things are done properly with the Fins than to see what's the next big name event they can have take place at Hard Rock Stadium.
The main problem? The Dolphins don't have a majority owner who is a primary South Florida resident. Robbie lived down here full time and, while Wayne Huizenga was the reason both Shula and Marino left when they did, he at least was a stable presence in the area. Ross has a home in Palm Beach, but spending most of his time in New York City means he doesn't know day-to-day what's going on.
Ross is nothing more than a businessman who, while highly successful at his craft, is turning the Dolphins into just another money making venture. He has every right to do that, but with the tradition of the franchise it feels like they deserve more.
The Dolphins have had just three different majority owners in their first 56 seasons. After the latest incident, it may be time for number four.