|Hello Mr. Ross!|
Gruden went out of his way to mention that the Dolphins are a great franchise and he wants them to return to their glory years. And they need to get things turned around and fill up the stadium with fans. For a moment I didn't know if Gruden was calling a game or on a job interview.
It may seem like a throw away statement, but it isn't. First off, lets be frank here the odds of Tony Sparano returning next season as the Dolphins head coach are slim. I'm not "giving up" on this season after 1 game, not by any means. Let me be very very clear about that, but odds are the Fins are at best a 3rd place team in the AFC East and NOT a playoff team in 2011. You don't need to be a psychic to realize that. Of course if Sparano does win this year and does lead this team to the playoffs, he keeps his job as he should. But lets live in reality here people and odds are this isn't a playoff team. So lets just say its about even money, if not better than even money that the Fins are in the market for a new head coach next year. Hell, they tried to get one last year and came up short.
Now put yourself in Gruden's shoes for a minute. He has been out of the league for a bit and probably is getting the itch to come back. Looking around the landscape of the league, where would you want to go. Well he was in Tampa, so he likes Florida. See's Miami as "most likely" having a job opening soon, its a realistic option.Gruden has turned down numerous college jobs and refused to interview for the Browns job last year with his buddy Holmgren running the show. You have Bill Cowher who will be on the market as well. Where are the potential job openings next year? The biggest job will be in NY with the Giants. Most money, biggest market, QB who has already won a Super Bowl. That job has Bill Cowher's name written all over it. Not to mention Cowher to Miami is a bad fit. Cowher is cut from the same cloth as Bill Parcells. Cowher won't like the whole "orange carpet" and the "celebrity owners" and the pomp and circumstance Ross is bringing to the Fins. Other logical job openings in 2012 as of now will be in Cincy, Jax, and Buffalo which are 3 small market teams who won't spend big bucks on a head coach. That leaves MIAMI as the most logical landing spot for Jon Gruden.
And lets be honest, Gruden has a little "HOLLYWOOD" in him. This is a guy who loved being called "CHUCKY" and played up that role when he was given that nick-name in the press. He loved playing around with the fans in Oakland in the Black-Hole. Gruden would relish the atmosphere the Fins have created. Rubbing elbows with Marc Anthony, The Williams Sisters, J-Lo, Fergie, Will Smith, Gloria Estefan..etc. If there was ever a coach and an owner who were meant for each other; Ross and Gruden might be it!
So, lets look at this a little deeper. If we assume Gruden has the Fins as a potential target, how do you float it out there that you are interested without violating NFL rules in anyway. Well, Gruden has a platform every Monday Night and last night he used it. What does every NFL owner who is struggling to sell tickets want to hear? I want to see this stadium filled up! Why the hell would Jon Gruden care if the Dolphins have a filled stadium? Seriously, it is a non-factor in his life and has nothing to do with the game he is broadcasting. Last nights game was sold out, so why bring it up? Why, because he knows its an issue and a sore spot with Ross right now.When Gruden said what he said last night he wasn't talking to "JOE FAN" at home about the game. Oh no, he was talking over you to the big rich billionaire in the luxury box named Mr. Ross. When Gruden said he wants to see the Fins return to their glory days he isn't talking to "JOE FAN" in Oklahoma or Idaho who could care less if the Dolphins are good or not and just wants to watch football after a long day of work, he is talking over you and to Mr. Ross once again.
Look you might think I am reading too much into this and I am creating some conspiracy theory or something. You are entitled to feel that way, but what Gruden said and did last night is not typically done on NFL broadcasts. It was orchestrated and done on purpose. And if Sparano turns it around and the Fins win 11 games and stays on as coach, this is all a big waste of time and a non issue. But, if this is a 3rd or 4th place AFC East team and the Fins are shopping for a head coach in a few months, remember last nights broadcast and what was said.
The Fins travel to NY next month for a Monday Night game vs the Jets and it will be interesting to hear what Gruden says on that night. Will the verbal love letter continue? If its a rocky season for the Fins at that point, my guess is YES!