"Effective immediately, Jeff Ireland will assume full control over all aspects and decisions in regard to the Miami Dolphins football team and support staff."
That was the first line of a three sentence statement released by the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, just days before the 2010 regular season kicks off. The rest of the statement simply reads, "This was the intent of the structure put in place in the past. Bill Parcells will remain with the club on a daily consultant basis."
And with that, a mini firestorm was started in South Florida. Fans and media alike began making assumptions about what caused this sudden change and what it might mean to this organization. Is Bill Parcells unhappy with the direction of the team? Did owner Stephen Ross force Parcells out so he can bring in his own guy? These are just some of the questions that have been raised over the past several hours.
Here's my question, though. What the hell is the big deal here? As the release from the team states, part of the plan put in place when Parcells came to Miami was for him to groom somebody to take over for him. As Jeff Darlington reports on Twitter, this is nothing more than the first step towards "kicking Ireland out of the nest." Darlington points out that Parcells told him a year and a half ago that he wanted to do what Al Davis, Tom Landry and Chuck Knox did for him - molding his successor and leaving him on solid ground.
Some might be thinking that Parcells was forced out by Ross. That is clearly not the case. Peter King tweeted that Parcells was fired "only if he fired himself," adding that Parcells "has been aiming to do this as soon as he felt Ireland was ready."
"I could be dead wrong, but I don’t think there’s going to be that much of a change," the team source said. "If he’s not on the golf cart tomorrow (watching practice), I’ll be surprised."
The timing of the move has come under fire, too. And I agree that it could be a minor distraction for a day or two - especially if the media keeps making this a bigger story than it really is. But the fact of the matter, as pointed out by many sources, is that this is the slow period of the NFL personnel calendar. Scouting for the draft won't begin just yet. Free agency is as slow as it can get now after the final wave of cuts this past weekend. Now is the time for a change on the personnel side of things. And that's why this move was done today.
Meanwhile, head coach Tony Sparano has been and will continue to be the face of the team from training camp through the playoffs. The players will take the field on Sunday to begin the 2010 season. And all of this Bill Parcells nonsense will draft away into obscurity until next offseason.
In other words, there's nothing to see here. Let's move along.