Once considered one of the premier franchises in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins have now become the punchline of a joke that no one in the organization is laughing about.
After losing out (badly) in the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes and failing to lure former Packers quarterback Matt Flynn, the Dolphins continue to be left without the franchise quarterback they were determined to sign in the offseason.
But what's worse is that the national reputation of the franchise has gotten so bad, it may be difficult to recover anytime soon. In fact, you know things are bad when other NFL players are making fun of the organization.
Steelers safety Ryan Clark tweeted that no one in the league wants to play for the Dolphins and that general manager Jeff Ireland could be the reason why.
"To believe I almost went there but it was easy decision not to. ... It's my honest opinion. Not a good guy making decisions ... Done w talk of the Dolphins. Good luck to their team. Their are some good men working hard to win games ON the field. ... After having so much interaction w Phins fans today I am even more excited that I was blessed to stay in Pittsburgh. God knew better than me"
But the criticism doesn't end there.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King, one of the most connected people in the NFL, also piles on Ireland.
"In the history of NFL general managers, Ireland is on the coldest streak ever. He needs to do something right. Ireland may have to do what he loathes -- overspend for an OK player -- just to deodorize the stink of the last few years in Miami."
ESPN's James Walker believes that getting turned down by Manning, Flynn and head coach Jeff Fisher is downright humiliating.
"This is another big blow to Dolphins ownership and the front office, which thought it could make a splash this offseason. Instead, the Dolphins have been turned down by veteran coach Jeff Fisher, Manning and now Flynn in a short span. Each decline adds further humiliation to the Dolphins, who were already viewed as a shaky organization at the top to begin with."
Aaron Nagler, from the popular fan site Bleacher Report, can't believe that Ireland and owner Stephen Ross have allowed this negative perception to continue.
"Whoever the quarterback ends up being, Ross and company have a real issue when it comes to the outside perception of their team. Right or wrong, to the outside world it certainly seems coaches and players want to avoid being Dolphins. (I mean, how hard do you have to work to make South Beach unattractive?)"
And finally, it wouldn't be a big South Florida story if Uncle Luke didn't chime in. In a blog posting in the New Times, Luther Campbell expresses frustration with his hometown team.
"One of the most successful franchises in of all sports has become the laughing stock of the NFL. If owner Stephan Ross doesn't fire Ireland soon, he's better off selling the team. Every day Ireland remains in charge, he makes Ross look foolish."
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