Dan LeBatard wrote:
A few years ago, owner Stephen Ross put Ireland in an impossible, unfair position. Ross has admitted to botching this and says that he didn’t know what he was doing at the time as a new owner. He forced Ireland to choose between his new boss/job and his friends and mentor. Ross wanted to go court Jim Harbaugh to be his new coach, but couldn’t do so by himself, not knowing enough football or his organization, so he had to bring his football guy. And Ireland got on that plane to court Jim Harbaugh. Ross was so naive at the time he actually thought agents would keep this quiet.
All it did was fracture the entire relationship Ireland had with his long-time friend, Tony Sparano, and his mentor, Bill Parcells — and with a betrayal so public and embarrassing that Ross tried to fix it by throwing a bunch of money at a sour Sparano, who hadn’t actually done much to earn it other than be betrayed in a humiliating fashion.
Ireland chose self-preservation over his friends. Ireland chose his family (four kids, two with special needs) over his friends. Ireland chose his one big shot at this kind of job of a lifetime over his friends. A lot of people would have done that. Not a lot of employees getting their big chance would have said, “Um, no, new boss, not getting on that plane.”
A lot of people would have made the mistake Ross did there, too, needing someone in his organization to come with him and talk football with Harbaugh. If Ross goes with someone outside the organization other than Ireland, then he has lost his coach and his GM once it leaks. All of this is easy to see now, with the clarity of retrospect, but “treasured experience” is just another phrase for “I made huge mistakes.”
Ireland doesn’t speak with Sparano and Parcells anymore. The friendships are broken. During the last season of this dysfunction caused by Ross, even the wives of Sparano and Ireland didn’t speak, Sparano’s wife asking that her skybox be moved so she didn’t have to be near that family. If Ross admits he is wrong for how he botched that, and if Ireland showed allegiance to the organization and Ross (and, yes, himself) over his friends, that buys you something with an owner who fancies himself loyal. It buys you, it would appear, more time and rope than most owners would give.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/05/v ... rylink=cpy