Ross of the Dolphins unveils new training facility, establishes win-now demand

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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross unveiled his new $ 135 million franchise improvement on Tuesday and, looking at the crowd of guests, spotted and mentioned general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores. .

What Ross said then was meant to be light-hearted, was delivered as such, and even made the crowd laugh.

But words also had an advantage. A point. It was a moment of truth in humor.

“Now the pressure is on them,” boss Ross said. “If you can’t win with a setup like this, you’ll never win! “

And that’s how. The Dolphins now have one more reason to win, and one less excuse if they don’t, as the players report next Tuesday for training camp which will usher in the club’s 56th season.

Costumed team executives who were not used to shovels wore hard hats to dig up dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony for this facility on August 20, 2019.

On Tuesday, not quite two years later, it was with comically oversized scissors that Ross and his management team cut a ribbon at the dedication ceremony for the new Baptist Health Training Center in what was once a parking lot just northwest of Hard Rock Stadium. .

It was a big deal. This is only the Dolphins’ fourth training camp in their history, after St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton (1966-69), St. Thomas University in Miami (1970-92) and University Nova Southeastern to Davie (1993-2020).

The Dolphins wanted a new “best in class” training site and now appear to have one in a 217,200 square foot facility larger than the previous facility of over 50,000 square feet.

In addition to the usual stuff – two full football pitches with shaded seating for 2,200 fans, an indoor training site, changing rooms, weight room, auditorium, meeting rooms – the new digs’ amenities include a “Innovation center” for new technologies and space computing, a “fuel bar”, a recovery area with cryotherapy and isolation tanks, a huge dining room and a hall with a “grand staircase “.

Oh, a slide! Players will be able to access the second to first floor of the weight rooms by descending a 30-foot stainless steel slide.

(by the way, Google headquarters has one).

Dan Marino, Jason Taylor, Larry Little and Dwight Stephenson were members of the Dolphins Hall of Fame among the many ex-players in attendance.

“It must remind you of St. Thomas,” I joked Marino.

“This location!” the old quarterback laughed. “Chicken wire and outdoor weight room.”

Former wide receiver OJ McDuffie: “I thought Davie was cutting edge when I got there. But it blows it out of the water. It is incomparable at the moment.

But McDuffie added (rather shrewdly): “Buildings don’t win championships. They won the Super Bowl in St. Thomas.

Ross’s willingness to spend big on his franchise and his stadium has rarely been questioned or questioned.

The new training center brings to over $ 600 million what it has spent on capital improvements since 2015. This includes massive improvements to the stadium itself, the new tennis stadium adjacent to HRS which has attracted Key Biscayne’s Miami Open, and now the shiny new toy.

Ross also opened the portfolio on the list with a notable free agent having spent the past two years.

Ross’s question: When will generosity and the willingness to spend translate into lasting gains?

It was a question he sort of asked in Grier and Flores’ rounds on Tuesday, no matter how playful he is.

“We want to win a Super Bowl in a short period of time,” Ross said. “Emphasis on short. “

This is what matters most to fans, and should.

The giant state-of-the-art video screens inside the stadium, the new training center – everything is cool … but all on the front.

Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins and the stadium in 2008 and owned 95 percent of them in 2009.

Despite the expense, the Ross Dolphins were 87-105 in his 12 seasons as majority owner, with just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance (a quick exit in 2016).

At the end of the day, it’s not very good, although last season’s 10-6 record sowed some optimism. Grier / Flores are just the latest iteration of the men Ross hopes he can overthrow the franchise, his championship glory days now almost 50 years in the rearview mirror. Second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa proving himself this season and silencing all doubters would be a huge and necessary step.

The imperative of winning a Super Bowl in a “short period of time” is that Ross says he wants to win one on his watch; frankly, during his lifetime.

The owner is 81 years old now. TIC Tac. He doesn’t have all day.

“We are delighted to start,” said Flores. “We know there is a lot of excitement for the season. We will be ready to go.

His Dolphins will leave with a new “best in class” training facility and one less excuse to fail.

Greg Cote is a Miami Herald sports columnist who, in 2018, was named one of the Top 10 Columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Greg also appears regularly on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and ESPNews.


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