The Miami Dolphins are a team in flux in many ways in the NFL. They have a second year head coach and young quarterback in Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill. They signed some of the marquee free agents in Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Brent Grimes and Tyson Clabo. They even changed their logo and uniforms after many years, which has been received with mixed results. But now, through all of the changes the franchise has undergone over the past few months, could the next one be the biggest?
Following the rejection of a new stadium bill, could the Miami Dolphins be on their way out of South Florida, and perhaps on their way to Los Angeles?
Scoff if you will, but you may want to start preparing yourself to hearing the L.A. Dolphins. It may become a reality.
Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in an interview Sunday his team won’t pay for any renovations to Sun Life Stadium after the Florida Legislature ended its session without passing any funding plan that would assist the team’s quest to refurbish the stadium.
“We cannot do this without a private-public partnership,” Dee told WFOR-TV in Miami. “At this time we have no intention of investing more.”
They can thank Jeffrey Loria and his Miami Marlins for that, as he fleeced the taxpayers into believing that he was actually going to build a consistent winner if the state would help him build a new stadium. Loria went out and signed some top players, gave it a whole four months, and then traded them all away as he has reverted to his typical self of screwing the fans and the game and keeping all of the money for himself.
This, of course, has led the state of Florida to be a bit hesitant to build yet another new stadium for one of its’ teams who continue to struggle with attendance.
When asked about the long-term future of the Dolphins in South Florida, Dee said: “I wouldn’t want to prognosticate what the future holds, but it’s clearly bleak.”
Dee said that 73-year-old owner Stephen Ross has no intentions to move the franchise, but at some point he’ll sell the team and the aging stadium will be an issue confronting the new owner. That is partly due to the fact that the Dolphins are one of the only teams in the NFL without a long-term lease. That never bodes well for the future of a franchise in that location.
The Dolphins have already said that they will not put up any more of their own money into stadium renovations. The state is holding firm in saying they will not ask taxpayers to fund any repairs. This has already likely cost the Dolphins and the city of Miami any chance of hosting a Super Bowl in 2016 or 2017, which will cost the team and the city millions of dollars.
According to ESPN, the Dolphins wanted both state and local help to pay for $400 million worth of renovations to 26-year-old Sun Life Stadium. The team also wanted $3 million a year for the next 30 years from the state. Dee said Ross was committed to funding 70 percent of the cost, but would not go any higher. The fact that Miami featured the worst attendance percentage in the entire NFL in 2012 is not helping their cause.
Los Angeles is one of the biggest markets in America. They have been seeking an NFL team for years now. Ever since the Raiders returned to Oakland, L.A. has been working feverishly to secure an expansion team or work to gain a relocated franchise. If Miami is unable to procure the necessary funds to make the improvements to the home of the Dolphins, we may just see those Dolphins swim all the way out west and call Los Angeles their new home.
The Los Angeles Dolphins. Get used to hearing it, folks. It may just happen.