After spending Thursday out west in California, reportedly attempting to woo Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh to Miami, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross touched down back in South Florida late last night - without Harbaugh. We don't know for sure how far these talks with Harbaugh went. But what we do know, courtesy of a number of credible reports, is that Tony Sparano will remain the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for at least one more season.
While this means the end of one bizarre saga has finally come, this is only the beginning of another bizarre saga within the Miami Dolphins organization.
Part of me is glad that owner Stephen Ross didn't throw even more money at Jim Harbaugh in hopes of bringing the Stanford coach to Miami. We've seen what happens when this organization begs somebody to be the head coach. Jimmy Johnson back in 1999. Nick Saban in 2005. Neither was particularly excited about their new position with the Dolphins. Neither had their heart in it. And neither of them achieved any kind of real success in Miami - departing suddenly and leaving a mess behind.
If Harbaugh's heart wasn't going to be in it here in Miami, it's best for all involved that he did not come here.
The joke's on us
You can already see the reaction around the league to this mess down in Miami. Just head over to Twitter and you can read opposing fans as well as players from other teams making jokes at the Dolphins' expense. And I don't blame them one bit?
This entire situation was poorly handled from the get-go by Stephen Ross. It was the first time Ross was asked to make a major football decision and he failed miserably. It's that simple.
Now Tony Sparano has to go to work every day and face his boss - GM Jeff Ireland - knowing Ireland was actively looking for his replacement? Is this really happening?
Talk about an uncomfortable situation.
How this affects the players
Everybody (players and fans) now knows that the team's owner and GM flew across the country hoping to find a new head coach. They were unsuccessful in doing that. So now these players are actually expected to buy into Sparano and play for a man that was very close to losing his job?
Going one step further, how will this team be able to attract free agents? What player will want to come to Miami and play for a head coach who was very nearly fired and who has only one year remaining on his contract? Would you come to Miami under these circumstances if you were a free agent?
In need of an offensive coordinator
With Dan Henning stepping down as offensive coordinator, Sparano now must find a new offensive coordinator. And considering the offense's regression in 2010, finding the right offensive coordinator is critical.
But what potential candidate for the job will want to come to Miami knowing the head coach is on his absolute final chance and could be gone after the 2011 season?
Despite knowing who will be the head coach of the Dolphins in 2011, there are still more questions than answers. And while one saga has come to an end, another is just beginning.