Last night at about 7:00 p.m., my son-in-law sent me a brief text message which read: "Ireland Gone". I text back saying: "Finally, greatest news yet! About time, congratulations". I believe our brief exchange may have very well summed it up on behalf of hundreds of thousands of fans, who like us, had been clamoring for Mr. Ireland's departure as General Manager of the Miami Dolphins.
Hired in 2008 by then Miami Dolphins' Executive Vice-President and Dolphin's "czar", Bill Parcells, yet another one of the franchise's greatest flops ever, Ireland's six year stint finally came to an end last night, Tuesday, January 7th, following another disappointing 8-8 season; this one marred by one of the most embarrassing performances in the history of the franchise ever, as the Dolphins, while still under control of their own destiny in making the playoffs, managed, instead, to lose two critical games against the Jets and the Bills, whipped by a combined score of 39-7. The Dolphins humiliating performance came in spite of owner Stephen Ross' 100 million dollars fruitless spending during the preseason in upgrades to the roster, including a whooping 60 million dollars on newcomer receiver Mike Wallace, who had a career low of five touchdown catches.
Ireland' departure announcement came only hours after offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's own firing news had been made public and to be perfectly candid, all along, I thought of Sherman, as the lone scapegoat, amidst the ever-present hypocrisy that abounds the game of football today, albeit one strictly governed by economic endearments. I thought of Sherman as the ideal "fall guy" - one capable of ameliorating the public's uproar caused by the unprecedented losses seen in the last two games of the season, if yet only a minor patch to the Dolphins' greater woes.
Notwithstanding the fact that Ireland's firing, had proven me wrong in my presumptuous blunder of Sherman's isolated firing, my very first thoughts after learning of Ireland's news, were of total bewilderment. Why, had Ross, if truly committed to making major changes and turning this franchise around once and for all, as hinted in the Ireland, Sherman firings, stopped short in firing the greatest culprit of them all: Joe Philbin. As far as I am concerned, and with all due respect to the world, Mr. Philbin's had to conspicuously share the most prevalent portion of blame in this whole debacle, considering that in this game, coaches are ultimately responsible for what happens in the field; for a team's performance in critical moments when everything is on-the-line. It is the coach's responsibility to motivate his team and/or, for that matter, discourage them by showing a total lack of leadership such as that exemplified in the last two games of the Miami Dolphins season. I don't mean to be apologetic for Ireland or Sherman. I think, for that matter, that both firings were well in order as part of the "cleaning-house" excercise that was long over-due in this franchise, yet, I truly feel the franchise would be better served still by firing this great character person but miserable football coach in the person of Joe Philbin.
In a recent interview, Stephen Ross referred to Philbin as: "probably one of the most organized people I've ever met," Ross said. "When I interviewed him that stood out, but what also stood out was his character. I don't think there is a better person, a more respected person, a more caring person in the National Football League than Joe Philbin." With all due respects to Mr. Ross, I wonder what being "organized", "respected" and "caring" person have to do with winning football games in the NFL? While I do not question Mr. Philbin's character, or otherwise his integrity, nor do I dare demean these great qualities in any human being, I do question the meaningfulness of some of these traits as far as the makings of a good football coach. While great to possess them, I can think of yet many other traits to look for in a winning coach, none of which, I am sorry to say, I can find in Mr. Philbin.
I truly hope I am wrong, but Ross' decision to keep Philbin is yet another blunder, sanctioning us the fans to continue drinking the "hope" Kool-Aid, we have had for years. Par for this organization, if you ask me. Imagine, if you will, what the new GM will be faced with - before he has even started his tenure, he has already been imposed with someone else's choice of a coach - one keen to losing crucial games. Sorry, but that is a bad start. That is a dam bad start. More of the, let's wait yet till next season deal. It is always next season. It has been more than ten seasons, since we have all been waiting for that "turn-around" cliche. As far as I am concerned, kudos to Ross for firing Sherman and Ireland and, "shame-on-you" Ross for leaving Philbin.
And...last but not least, talking about cleaning house, how about some of the Miami Dolphins underperforming players, both in the offensive as well as the defensive squads. They too should be relieved. And, that, my friends includes your loving quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Enough of him too. I keep hearing all the apologists asking the die-hard community of Dolphin fans to just be patient. I keep on hearing that Tannehill's talents are slowly coming of age. Its a matter of maturity and time. How many losing seasons will it take for Tannehill to develop his skills. For God sake, enough of the recycling. If we are cleaning-up house, let's do just that, let's clean-up completely and start all over again. We would all be better served by starting from scratch than continue with the recycling.
I close with my thoughts on some of our sportscasters' continued sale of the "Continuity" banner as the main reason for keeping the old foes around. May I remind these scholars that, indeed, continuity is healthy exclusively in a prosperous environment as a means of preserving the goodness of years past. Vis-a-vis, continuity, given a season as our Miami Dolphins 2013 season, is merely a way to propagate chaos and preserve adversity - it is a means to continue basking in wishful hopes of non-truths; of better things yet to come that never will.