Monday, July 16, 2012

Taking the bait in Miami



It's high time somebody called out Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, firstly, for whatever role he played in the signing of Chad Johnson, but mostly for turning the Fins into his own personal PR project.

Miami, one of the NFL's great clubs by any measure - wins, memorable games, legendary players, iconic branding - entered the league just when things really started sizzling. It was 1966, and the NFL and AFL rivalry was so hot, a merger of frank and mustard proportions was inevitable. The likes of the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers were burning up gridirons in the new league, and the only thing left to do was expand. Where? Why south! South Beach to be exact, where talents have been taken and defining the landscape since Sinatra and the boys threw back Jacks at the Fountainbleau.

And yet, after all the history, the martinis, the thrills and throws, showman and showoffs, from Dino to Marino, we have a tax accountant cum millionaire real estate man calling the shots in Miami. How does this happen, you ask? Commerce friends. It's a powerful thing and it often knows very little about the hook and ladder.

But perhaps the last straw, the whittled and worn thread remaining after the penultimate twig, is that now there are rumors that Ross wants to change the Dolphins logo. First LeBron James betrayed Cleveland for the palm-lined paradise, now this. What's next, Fergie at quarterback?

It's truly hard to like the Dolphins during this bizarro phase. They're not Kramer - they're Feldman. They're not Buzz Lightyear - they're a mindless preprogrammed clone hellbent on more than infinity. And with a new logo, purportedly something you'd see imprinted on the glass doors of a pastel shaded Fort Lauderdale resort, they further run the risk of alienating fans. That is unless they're keen on filling seats with Mr. Ross' vacationing buddies.

I can't really see them dancing to Enrique Iglesias pre-game, can you?