I long for the glory days of the Miami Dolphins. I’ve only ever read about the J.F. Burns Elementary library. The school I attended first through third grade had a collection of books about each of the Super Bowls, I through XXV. I read them all—multiple times. I knew of Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Kiick, Paul Warfield, the No Name Defense, Dan Marino, Marks Brothers before I ever watched the Dolphins play a game.

My first time seeing the Dolphins was November 25, 1993. Thanksgiving. Dallas Cowboys. Leon Lett. You know the story. My dad let me stay up to watch them on Monday Night Football against the Chargers a few weeks later. The Dolphins got blasted 45-20, but the colors, the team, the history that my 7-year old brain could grasp. Dan Marino’s return and the shootout over Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots to begin the 1994 Season hooked me. I was in—a Dolphins fan. I still am. I always will be.

I turned 36 a few weeks ago. The last Dolphins playoff win was December 30, 2000. A sophomore in high school. The team hasn’t won since. They’ve only made the playoffs three times: 2001, 2008, and 2016. It’s been a rough 20 years. Really rough. The past 12 of those years have come under the stewardship of Steve Ross.

Dysfunction. Ineptitude. Losing. The three words I think that are most synonymous with Steve Ross. So much so that you may as well call him Steve “Loss.” Under his guidance, the Miami Dolphins franchise that we – I’m assuming if you’re reading that you’re a fan – all love has perhaps suffered through the worst part of its history.

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I’m sure you’re read into the Brian Flores lawsuit, so I’ll skip details on that for now. I figured the Dolphins would regret firing Brian Flores. But I just thought that’d come from the wins & losses standpoint. Not the for the allegations which Brian Flores has levied toward the Dolphins, namely Steve Ross. If he actually offered Brian Flores $100k per loss AND Brian Flores actually has evidence proving that, then the NFL needs to step in and remove Steve Ross as owner and insert Bruce Beal – Ross’s NFL-approved successor. This provided that Beal is not a party to the money being offered (Typically, an “escrow” owner like this wouldn’t be involved in the team’s decision-making processes, though Beal is listed as a Vice-Chairman by the team’s website). But beyond the allegations made by Brian Flores, during Ross’s tenure as the owner, we as fans have been subject to a myriad of other embarrassing missteps:


Orange Carpet.

Florida Gator Day.

Jimmy Buffet’s Fight Song.

The failed pursuit of Jim Harbaugh in 2010-11 coupled with Ross NOT wanting to be the guy to lure him back to the NFL from his alma mater, Michigan.

Three winning seasons in 12 years. That’s one every presidential term.

Zero playoff wins. In a league that’s parity-driven, that’s pathetic. Only two teams, the Broncos (6 seasons) and Jets (11 seasons) have had longer droughts since their last time making the playoffs.

It gets worse though. MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

Since Steve Ross became the majority owner of the Miami Dolphins in 2009, the Dolphins are one of just four teams without a playoff win, joining the Washington Football Team (2005), Raiders (2002), and Lions (1991), during Ross’s tenure.

It’s been 21 years since Miami last won. Twelve presided over by Ross. Only the Detroit Lions’ streak of 30 years is longer. Dolphins fans would always joke during the 6-10, 7-9, 8-8, 9-7, 10-6 years that “at least we’re not the Bengals or Lions.”

The Miami Dolphins have become that. The Dolphins are 96-103. That’s a .482 winning percentage. Again, that’s ONE playoff appearance with ZERO wins. THREE winning seasons and you just fired the guy that got you TWO of them. Disgrace abound.

Somehow, despite Ross’s contemptibly bad tenure, the Dolphins franchise maintains a historical record of 476-385-4 or a winning percentage of .550. Incredible, given the last 20 years. It truly is a testament to Don Shula’s era, and too much, much lesser extents, Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt.

The platform I have here, thanks to Mike, at DolphinsTalk, and the platforms I’ve had thanks to my time writing at Locked on Dolphins, and the Phinaylsis Podcast at Perfectville, thanks to Sam, Chris, and Travis, have brought me many, many things. What I’m most grateful and simultaneously most thankful for are the interactions I’ve had with you. The readers. The listeners. People who actually care what I wrote or say. To me, that’s 1) really cool and 2) shows me what a rabid fanbase the Dolphins have. Not to single out a segment of the Kingdom of Dolfandom, but one of the things I enjoy most is talking to fans older than I am. Fans that got to experience the 1972 Undefeated Team, Dan Marino’s entire career, especially that 1984 season. I was born in ’86, so I’ve only seen the highlights.

Three fans in particular – Marvin, Raul, and Pat – have told me what it was like in Miami during the height of Don Shula’s days as head honcho. Being from Cincinnati and having lived in or very near to Ohio all but one of my 36 years (New Jersey for a year being the outlier), I’ve never really experienced my hometown team, the Bengals, being really good until this year. Cincinnati’s always been a hotbed of high school football. But hearing some of the fans, including the three mentioned, tell me about how virtually all the high schools in South Florida adopted Don Shula’s style. A strong run game. Great Defense. The ability to mix it up in the air when the god named Marino arrived. That mentality. That culture permeates throughout a city and a region. I’m jealous I’ve not gotten to feel what that’s like. Seeing that spark in the Cincinnati and Tri-State (Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana) regions this year has made me feel exceedingly jealous in a short period of time.

Now, as a girl dad with another on the way, I wonder how I’ll explain to them about my love for the Dolphins. How do I explain to them that for more than half my life, the Dolphins have been a disappointment? I don’t know where to begin. Send me advice if you’ve had to do this with your kids—only half-kidding.

As I type this on Friday night, it looks like the wheels might be in motion for the Dolphins to hire San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel. It’s probably appropriate that I’m literally sipping on Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey as my night-capper (Stranahan è Shanahan, you get it?). While certainly not my first choice, I’m fine with him taking the keys to the franchise. I just can’t help, but we’ve seen this movie over and over again under Steve Ross, all with the same results. Joe Philbin, Adam Gase, and Brian Flores were first-time coaches. Philbin and Gase were both offensive coordinators. Now, it appears whether it’s McDaniel or Kellen Moore, Steve Ross is ready for the third installment of the OC to Head Coach trilogy. Remember how bad The Godfather: Part III was? I hope this isn’t that. Mike McDaniel, if he’s the guy, seems too smart to let that happen. But I have to wonder if he’s being set up to fail in a major way, especially if Ross and/or Grier are proven culpable in Brian Flores’ allegations of bribery. That surely won’t sit well with the Jerry Joneses and Robert Krafts of the NFL ownership circle, especially with league gambling partners now in tow. That’d be an extremely bad look for Ross, not that he hasn’t already accomplished that feat many times himself.

I want to see the Dolphins return to their glory days in the worst of ways. Whether it’s Mike McDaniel, Kellen Moore, or someone else three years from now, as per the cyclical nature of Ross failing, I doubt we see any such return while Steve Ross is the owner of the franchise. The proud, once-flagship Miami Dolphins have become nothing but a moribund joke under the control of Steve Loss. Enough is enough.