Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has spent millions of dollars to recruit players to the team, restructure the front office, and renovate the stadium. He has repeatedly spoken about returning the Lombardi Trophy to South Florida as his ultimate goal. He has made mistakes, but he has also never shied away from spending the money his football decision makers have requested. Now, he is also taking the first step to ensure the future of the team.
Ross, according to a report from CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, presented a succession plan to the league during the NFL owners meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, that would give Bruce Beal, Jr., the president and general partner of Related Companies, the New York-based real estate company founded by Ross in 1972, the right to the first option to purchase the team should Ross pass away or choose to sell the franchise. Beal was promoted to president of Related Companies in 2012, when Ross stepped down as the CEO. Ross still serves as the Chairman of the company. Beal first joined Related Companies in 1995.
Beal and Ross are extremely close, having worked together for years. According to a La Canfora source, the move to put Beal in the succession plan for the Dolphins is "essentially akin to 'keeping the team in the family.'" The right to the first option to buy the team does not mean Beal would necessarily utilize that option, but it does put a plan in place should something unforeseen happen in the near future.
According to the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley, "Other owners privately complimented Ross for the decision, particularly in light of the chaotic situation in Tennessee, where the Titans have been rudderless since the death of Bud Adams in 2012."
Ross, who will turn 76 next month, first invested in the Dolphins in 2008, buying a 50 percent stake from H. Wayne Huizenga. He purchased the remaining stake in the franchise the following year. Multiple reports have indicated that Ross has no plans at this time to sell the team, but having seen some of the drama of sports franchises without a clear succession plan in place. According to NFL rules, teams are supposed to update plans for succession once a year.