Earlier today, we took a look at the idea of the Miami Dolphins bringing Dan Marino back to the franchise, hiring him to be the Vice President of Football Operations, a position he once held for three weeks in 2004. The idea was immediately hit with derision, with people pointing to the lack of experience Marino has at evaluating talent as to why this move would fail. Which brings up one question: why does he need that experience?
The Dolphins would not be making him General Manager. They would be making him an executive to run the football operations. Essentially, he would be the CEO of the football side of the house, while Tom Garfinkel, the actual CEO of the team, would work the administrative and business side of the club. Marino would manage the personalities under him. Do you really have concern about Marino managing people?
Marino, or any other person in the position Bill Parcells once held as the “football czar,” could be put in place, not with the power to make personnel decisions in the sense of a GM, but could direct the direction of the team, be the mediator between the front office and the coaching staff if needed, and, most importantly, use the chance to learn the talent evaluation side.
The idea that was floated earlier today was to promote Assistant General Manager Brian Gaine, a man who is expected to garner GM attention from other teams in the near-future, to the General Manager position, with Marino serving over him in the VP position. Gaine has the talent evaluation experience that Marino lacks. Marino can lean on him to make those decisions. Marino can read the scouting reports and give input, but allow Gaine to make the ultimate decisions.
Marino does not have experience with negotiating contracts with players, but could use Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte to handle that role. Assuming Aponte does not move to the NFL this year, allowing her to continue the salary-cap management she is already doing would give Marino a chance to learn the role, and keep someone with experience within the Dolphins’ organization.
Concerns yesterday stemmed from a report that Aponte and head coach Joe Philbin were making a power play, forcing general manager Jeff Ireland out and looking to control as much of the team as possible. Putting Marino into the top executive position would be able to eliminate that issue. If Marino comes into this position with the same fire and determination that we all saw from him on the field during his Hall of Fame career, Aponte tell Philbin that Ireland was losing confidence in the coaching staff would not have the same impact since they are all still answering to Marino.
Finally, and maybe the most important reason for hiring Marino for the team right now, would be the public relations boon Marino’s presence within the organization would bring. Dolphins fans would be excited to have the team’s best player back in some role within the franchise. While Marino may be frustrated at first serving in primarily a figurehead role, he could see the immediate benefits of his presence in the ticket sales, while still being able to learn the more complex aspect of his job.
Marino has enough contacts, including Denver Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, to be able to get advice whenever it is needed. Yes, it would be a learning experience for Marino, but it could be exactly what the team needs get moving in the right direction. Everyone says Dolphins owner Stephen Ross needs more football people around him, able to advise him and guide him. Marino could be one of those people. Marino could be responsible for making sure that all of the operations within the team are operating, even if he is not doing the talent evaluation, contract negotiation, coaching, field maintenance, or any of the other multitude of responsibilities himself.
To be clear, there has not been any indication from the team or Ross that Marino is even on the radar. But, it is an interesting idea to consider.
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