DAVIE, Fla. -- When it was all said and done, the aqua and orange in Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross' blood was thicker than the maize and blue of Michigan as he chose to stick with his current head coach, Tony Sparano, rather than further pursue Michigan alum Jim Harbaugh.
Ross gave Sparano a two-year contract extension, locking up through the end of the 2013 season as he already had one year remaining on his original four-year contract signed back in 2008. He announced the deal during a 35-minute round table discussion with select members of the South Florida media, during which he also explained the events of the previous days and clarified that he never made an offer to Harbaugh or reached out to Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden.
"You've got a coach whose players love him and want to play for him. He motivates them. He knows football and he is a great head coach," Ross said. "If you look at his record over the first three years (25-23) and you look at the other great coaches, he's as good if not better than most of those great coaches who have had a lot of longevity with their teams and that's what I'm hoping for with the Miami Dolphins. And I think that allows us to put our best foot forward."
Sparano sat to the right of Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland sat to his left, and after Ross gave an opening statement that lasted around 18 minutes he turned the floor over to Ireland, who emphasized his commitment to Sparano.
The three then answered questions for the next 10 minutes, with Sparano revealing he received 45-50 supportive text messages he got from players while the story played out in the national media and while Ross was in California talking with Harbaugh.
"The contract extension means a lot to me personally because it shows the commitment that Mr. Ross does have and the confidence that he and Jeff (Ireland) have in me," Sparano said. "And I know this wouldn't have been possible without Jeff as well. To know you have that type of commitment to your coach is important."
It was also confirmed by the trio that Dan Henning has moved on and they will hire a new offensive coordinator, with designs on bringing a more explosive and aggressive offense to Miami. Ross admitted he was just as frustrated as the fans at how the 2010 season ended up, with the Dolphins going 7-9 overall and 1-7 at Sun Life Stadium.
That was why he impulsively looked at other viable options at head coach, beginning with Harbaugh because Ross also is a Michigan alum and his name is on the university's school of business. He had a conversation with Michigan AD David Brandon, who told him Harbaugh wasn't coming to Michigan from Stanford, and Brandon encouraged Ross to talk to the former Wolverines quarterback.