On the same day that Peyton Manning was being introduced to the Denver media and fans as the new “savior” of football in the Mile High city, about 50 fans showed up to the Miami Dolphins offices to protest the direction of the franchise. Manning spoke of his selection process through his 2 week free agency. Meanwhile the Dolphin fans stood across the street from the Miami facility and yelled “FIre-land! FIreland!”. After Manning spoke, VP of Football Operations John Elway took the podium and answered questions on what it took to get Manning and what is the direction of the franchise. After the protest in Davie, Dolphin GM Jeff Ireland released a statement basically declining to say what happened with the pursuit of Manning or Flynn, but that new acquisition David Garrard and current roster qb Matt Moore would compete for the starting job.
All of this, after promises and talk from owner Stephen Ross that the team would be aggressive in obtaining a quarterback this offseason. Was David Garrad the one they were looking for?
Around South Florida and around the nation, people are ripping the Dolphins for a bunch of miscalculated moves and disorganization. Players, former and current are ripping the team and General Manager Jeff Ireland. He’s being painted as a guy you cannot trust and not a people person. Unfortunately, he doesn’t help the perception when he cuts fan favorites and great team guys like Yeremiah Bell, after specifically telling him that he wouldn’t be released or cut. Sure the NFL is a business and things change, but there had to be other options. They traded away Brandon Marshall. Fine. Did they sign another WR in free agency? No. Well maybe they will have to address that need in the draft. We can only hope and think.
But things have gotten to a level never seen before with this franchise. Fans are mad. Not because they didn’t land Peyton Manning who was a long shot to begin with. Yes partly because Matt Flynn didn’t sign here (if the team had no serious interest, why bring him in?). And definitely because they signed David Garrard. But they are definitely mad because they are being told one thing, and the team does another. Wait, backup. They are mad because they are not being told the truth. Stephen Ross says one thing but Jeff Ireland does another. They are mad that when the administration swings for Harbaugh and Fisher and Manning and Flynn (sort of), they settle for Sporano and Philbin and Moore and Garrard.
They are also mad at the fact that the man in charge of obtaining talent right now, is being roasted around the country. He’s being roasted on Twitter by Ryan Clark, who made a visit here but then quickly decided to go back to Pittsburgh. He’s being roasted on the NFL Network by Joey Porter who played here and ultimately left, maybe because of a run in with Ireland. And he’s being roasted by media, some local but more national, about his lack of people skills and communication weaknesses. All of these things makes the beloved franchise of so many fans upset and fed up enough to do what they did yesterday. Protest.
While the Denver Broncos introduce a future Hall of Famer as their new quarterback for the 2012-2013 season and their franchise is headed in a definite direction, the Miami Dolphins have Matt Moore and David Garrard as quarterbacks, and the direction has yet to be determined.
Seems protest worthy to me.