Stability in the once proud Miami Dolphins franchise is something that has clearly been lacking. At least with Bill Parcells in the fold they were a team to be reckoned with. Remember what happened earlier this year after word leaked out that Jim Harbaugh was contemplating leaving Stanford and going to the San Francisco 49ers?
On January 6, 2011 Dolphins owner Stephen Ross flew clear across the country (uninvited I might add) to beg Harbaugh to come to Miami. Harbaugh shot down Ross and signed with the 49ers, then just two days after begging Harbaugh to come to Miami, Ross sat between head coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland in a press conference with sweat rolling down his face while he tried to put lipstick on a pig for the Dolphins as he gave Sparano a two-year contract extension.
How about during the 2010 NFL Draft Combine when Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant during the interview process if his mother was a hooker. Remember that one? DOH! Perhaps if Ireland concentrated on getting a QB instead of wondering about the Bryant family business, the Dolphins might have a few wins today.
At 0-6 with the Patriots, Jets and resurgent Bills in their division, it’s not a stretch to suggest that Miami won’t win a division game this season. In fact, discussing the possibility of an 0-16 season isn’t the craziest notion either. The Dolphins still hold the honor of being the only franchise to have a truly perfect season in 1972 (remember New England lost in the Super Bowl). As it stands now however, Miami is at seriously risk of holding the dubious distinction to be the only team to go both undefeated in one regular season and winless in another. I’m guessing Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Don Shula and the boys of ’72 won’t be holding any house parties to watch the game against the New York Jets in week 17 if it gets to that point.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Tony Sparano is out after this season. If Ireland wants even a chance of retaining his job ne needs to get rid of him now, but either way, unless the Dolphins make a playoff run after starting off 0-5 (not happening), he’s gone too.
In Jacksonville, owner Wayne Weaver must have the Patience of Job; either that or the 76-year old has early stage dementia because he can’t fill his stadium and isn’t doing anything about it. If Weaver has any clue as to what’s going on around him at all, both Head Coach Jack Del Rio and GM Gene Smith have to go. At this point one can’t go without the other because they are linked to the problem. The situation is stale in Jacksonville and existing stagnation has been the situation for quite some time.
There has been a running joke making the rounds for quite some time that that Del Rio was related to porn star Vanessa Del Rio and that he himself was in the business. I’m starting to think that Gene Smith represents Del Rio’s cinema endeavors finding him work, either that or Del Rio has some dirt on Smith that he’s threatened to release. How else can Del Rio still be the head coach?
Last week I broke a story on this site about the Oakland Raiders contacting agent Robert London with regard to filling their vacant GM position. Let’s face it, if they had a quality GM in place, there’s no way they give up the farm to sign Carson Palmer. Mike Brown was killed for months in Cincinnati for not trading Palmer and getting something for him. As it turns out, he was a genius and no one knew it! Brown may have just pulled off the biggest NFL heist since the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Vikings for three Super Bowls.
As the vetting process in Oakland continues, we now know that NFL teams view the Vice President at Dow Lohnes Sports & Entertainment, an agency that represents some high profile players such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Matt Forte among others, as a potential GM candidate. With that in mind, would the Dolphins or Jaguars be interested? These two teams are both in need of new direction. Considering London for his exceptional football acumen and NFL connections might be the jolt one of these teams needs.
Being involved on the client side of things, London knows football from the player side, but he likely knows the game from the front office side as well. Robert grew up in Elizabeth, NJ and his High School football coach was Atlanta Falcons Director of Football Operations, Nick Polk. Given London’s close ties to Polk, he’s certainly plugged into the workings of an NFL front office.
London also knows first-hand the depths of the Dolphins front office problems as negotiations with Dow Lohnes Sports client client, Miami Dolphins DE Kendall Langford, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent after the 2011 season and was assured by the team that he would get a contract extension, have gone nowhere. This situation of not retaining Langford’s services going forward by extending his contract is but one example of Jeff Ireland’s inability to identify talent.
Former Washington Redskins safety Todd Bowles who is the Assistant Head Coach in Miami and would likely take over mid-season if Sparano was let go is from London’s home town of Elizabeth, NJ and also attended the same high school. If London were the GM in Miami would he keep Bowles as the head coach? That’s not out of the question knowing that he can work closely with him.
In Jacksonville, Dow Lohnes Sports & Entertanment’s highest profile NFL client, Maurice Jones-Drew, has to be unhappy with his prospects for success with the Jaguars. One would think that Jones-Drew has to want a new regime put in place while he’s still in his prime. Who better than London, who is a member of his agent team? Just think about how sweet that would be. Do you think there is some lobbying going on behind closed doors there?
The Rooney Rule is working in London’s favor too as the rule was established to ensure that minority coaches, especially African-Americans, were considered for high-level coaching positions. As of June 15, 2009 however, the Rooney Rule requirements now apply to all ethnic minorities, not just African Americans and to all searches for senior football operations positions within the NFL, regardless of a team’s title for that position.
You know the saying, “where there is smoke there’s fire” and that’s very appropriate in this instance. It seems to me that Robert London is going to get a look in perhaps a number of cities. Don’t look now but you might see Robert London in an NFL front office near you.
The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.