Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins announced the firing of head coach Tony Sparano in a press conference with owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland. Maybe the most important part of that press conference wasn't the firing of Sparano, which was almost a foregone conclusion at this point, but the fact that Ireland was there. With Sparano out, it seemed like a 50/50 chance that Ireland would likewise be show the door - and apparently Ross decided to keep the GM.
But, does that mean Ireland will retain his decision making power, or will Ross look to add a new "Vice President of Football Operations" - the job previously held by Bill Parcells?
And, that's where the Carl Peterson rumors start.
Peterson is the former head man in Kansas City. He had all the power, serving as general manager and team president. More importantly, in this case, he is a close friend of Ross', and works with him on several business ventures, to include the Fan Vision hand-held device.
Peterson even served as the general manager of the USFL's Philadelphia Stars. The owner of that team? Stephen Ross.
The rumors of his impending hiring hit a peak yesterday, with ESPN and multiple local media outlets reporting it as nearly a done deal. Peterson would become the next Dolphins' "football czar."
Then, Peterson himself came out and denied the rumors. Ross told everyone during the press conference that, "Carl Peterson is a good friend. He works for me now in Fan Vision and I haven't had conversations with him with regard to [the position]."
There are complications if Ross does decide to hire Peterson. When Parcells left the franchise, Ross reworked Ireland's contract, explicitly laying out that Ireland would answer only to Ross. A VP of Football Operations, with final say on everything, would violate that contract.
But, this is also the first time Ross has had a chance to put his stamp on the team. Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano were all hired by former Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga (who does maintain a minority owner status with the team). Ross can now find the executives and coach that he wants. He can mold this team into his vision. His friend and business partner seems to fit into that vision. But, can that vision include Peterson and Ireland?
And, what happens if Ireland, who is "leading" the search for the next coach, finds a coach who wants all the power himself? Could the Dolphins end up hiring Peterson, retaining Ireland, and hiring a coach, all of whom answer directly to Ross and have the power? What happens then?
Either way, the rumors continue to circulate around the Dolphins and Peterson. Don't expect this mess to be solved any time soon.