Thursday, March 22, 2012
Why The Miami Dolphins Need to be on HBO HARD KNOCKS this year
While many members of the national media did pile on and go way over the top in their reactions this week to Miami not signing Matt Flynn, the fact of the matter is the Dolphins have a image problem not just in South Florida but across the country. The easy fix is just win more games and offer top free agents more money and guess what, all of a sudden people will like this franchise again. But this problem goes much deeper than that and "hoping" for wins to turn around the culture is a risky proposition. There is one thing the Dolphins can do which will clear some things up and help speed up the PR nightmare they are currently in. That thing is to be on this upcoming season of HBO's HARD KNOCKS!
Normally I would be dead set against something like this, especially with a rookie NFL head coach who is just getting his feet wet in his new position. But drastic times call for drastic measures. This franchise needs a huge platform to sell themselves and their brand. They need to let players around the league as well as people across the country see who they really are. They need to put themselves in a positive light. These second and third hand stories of partial truth's are killing Ross and Ireland. Changing the Dolphins image (as well as Ross's and Ireland's) isn't going to happen by signing a big-named free agent like Peyton Manning or if Drew Brees hits the market in a year or two. Those "quality" of players refuse to come to Miami because the brand is so damaged they want nothing to do with it. They view the situation as "toxic."
By the Dolphins doing HBO Hard Knocks here is what they can accomplish.
-Let the country meet Joe Philbin. The biggest asset the Dolphins have on their payroll is their head coach. I mean this guy, from everyone who talks about him and from all reports, is liked by all. Yet, most people across the country couldn't pick him out of a police lineup if he was standing next to the Harlem Globetrotters. He looks like an accountant. And the story he has to tell is amazing! His English teacher is Mike Sherman. The same Mike Sherman who also gives him his first big break in coaching. And the same Mike Sherman who Philbin then hires to be his offensive coordinator when he gets his "dream job." Then you go into how Philbin gets this job in the wake of his son Michael tragically dying. You don't want to "exploit" the death but its a story worth telling that pulls on the heart strings.
-Jeff Ireland's "image" needs an EXTREME MAKEOVER! And that is understating it in many ways. From his Dez Bryant debacle, to backstabbing his friend Tony Sparano, to reports he low-ball's people on contracts and sends insulting offers, to Matt Flynn taking a cheap shot at him in the press without mentioning his name, to ex-players like Joey Porter and Channing Crowder who just destroy him every chance they get in the media, and to cutting a team and fan favorite like Yermiah Bell one week into free agency screwing him over. Jeff Ireland comes off as someone who is anti-player, yet if you talk to people close to him and even reporters who cover him daily they say he is the nicest guy in the world and misunderstood in some ways. Look I am not here to tell you Ireland is perfect nor am I defending him, but something is getting lost in translation here. The only way to fix it is for Jeff to go directly to the people. How does he do that, let HBO Hard Knocks show the world Jeff Ireland. Let the cameras do the work. Let the cameras show Jeff interacting with players and others in the organization. Let the cameras show he isn't footballs version of the anti-christ. Let the cameras show Jeff Ireland in a positive light for once. And its easy to do, because the Dolphins control the environment of which HBO is shooting this footage! Hell show him helping old lady's cross the street, show him buying the team ice cream after practice, show him buying a box of girl scout cookies, anything to fix his image.
-Last but not least, Stephen Ross, much like Ireland, needs to talk to the public directly. Like him or not, this man is a billionaire business mogul who isn't a fool. When it comes to football he has been a fool thus far, but he is far from an idiot. He has made his mistakes, and many of them and has admitted such, but he needs to show the world who he is when he isn't the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Re-brand himself as an owner. Show the world he is just the rich guy who writes the checks and stays in the background, which for the most part he has done. That the celebrity owner thing gets blown way out of proportion. Explain the thought process behind it and what they (the celebrities) "really do," which is as we all know, nothing! Every sentence written about Ross these days has the word "WHIFF" or "LOSER" in it. Lost out on Harbaugh and Fisher. He whiffed on Manning and Flynn. He needs to face the camera, admit his mistakes, tell people his "mission statement" for this franchise for lack of a better word and let the world get to know him. Doing it with a couple beat reporters in Miami isn't going to cut it anymore. This is a national problem that needs to now be addressed on a national stage.
Bottom line is this, HBO HARD KNOCKS is a show I enjoy but always thought of as a show for "other teams" and not the Dolphins. Now, in the Dolphins current state it is a show they need to be on badly. The Dolphins can re-brand themselves and shape their image by winning more games, but that might take years to do and could be a slow and painful process. The short-cut to this is to go on HBO Hard Knocks and be an open book. Dispel misconceptions and untruth's. Let not just fans but other players around the league get to see who the Miami Dolphins coaches, front office, GM, and Owner really are.
The Miami Dolphins need Hard Knocks more than Hard Knocks needs the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins should be on the phone to HBO ASAP.