The Miami Dolphins search for a new general manager has made them the butt of many jokes around the NFL this week. Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross has especially come under fire for the way he has structured the organization. During their search for a new general manager, it was discovered that the Dolphins organizational structure is a bit different than many other franchises.
The majority of NFL teams are structured in such a way where the general manager tends to have control over players and personnel, including the teams coaching staff. Under this structure the head coach more or less answers to the general manager who in turns answers to the owner. The Dolphins structure has both the head coach (Joe Philbin) and the general manager (newly hired Dennis Hickey) both reporting to owner Stephen Ross. This structure also has Dawn Aponte (organizational executive and Philbin’s right hand helper) reporting directly to Ross.
Now, I will be the first one to tell you that this structure negatively affected their GM search. Heck, I’ll be the first one to tell you that structuring any NFL team like this doesn’t make much sense. Those things aside, Miami should not be taking the slack that they are receiving from the NFL world.
During their interviewing process the Dolphins interviewed nine prospective general managers. Of those nine candidates; Ray Farmer, Dennis Hickey and Brian Gaine were originally considered to be finalists. Farmer declined a second interview and as a result Lake Dawson was added to the finalists pool and received a second interview. During their second interviews New England Patriots personnel man Nick Caserio (who originally declined the offer to interview) asked to interview for the position. Caserio received a pair of interviews and joined the pool of finalists.
This is where things become a bit ridiculous.
The Dolphins offered Caserio the job but he turned it down to stay with New England. The Dolphins then offered the job to Dawson, who also turned it down siting issues with the structure. Finally, Miami offered the job to Hickey and he accepted it. Essentially the Dolphins were turned down three times before finding someone to accept their general manager position.
Cue the ridicule and laughter? Not exactly.
These initial interviews with candidates lasted for hours upon hours. One would have to assume that the structure of the organization was discussed at some point during those hours. The second round interviews also lasted for hours upon hours. If you were interviewing for a job and did not like the structure or direction of it, then why agree to a second interview? Not only did these candidates agree to second interviews, but they left those interviews under the guise that they still were interested in the job. This was clearly evident by the fact that the Dolphins offered them the job.
Why didn’t these candidates back out after the first interview or even the second one? Why did these candidates go through the entire process knowing full well how the structure was without providing any indication that they were unhappy with it until they were offered the position? It’s not even as if they were offered the position directly following the second interview, days passed before offers were made.
Is the structure of the Miami Dolphins broken? Quite possibly.
That being said, you cannot criticize the organization for having a failed interview process when half of the interviewees wasted the organizations time. If these men knew they were not going to take the job because of something that was surely discussed in the first interview, then they should have said something much sooner then days after the second interview as they are being offered the job. If anyone deserves to be criticized in this situation it should be the men that strung Miami along and ultimately hung them out to dry.