The Miami Dolphins right now are in the midst of a crisis. A crisis of losing the popularity they once enjoyed in South Florida, a crisis of not acquiring top-notch free agents like they once did (both free-agent players and coaches) and a crisis of confidence.
Ask any Miami Dolphins fan why their confidence in the Miami Dolphins is so low and the answer will be as simple as either general manager Jeff Ireland or owner Stephen Ross. While Wayne Huizinga had his fair share of lack of success while he owned the Miami Dolphins, he always got his man when he pursued him (Jimmy Johnson in 1996, Nick Saban after the 2004 season and Bill Parcells after the 2007 season).
Ross, on the other hand, has been known for swinging for the fences—and missing.
His first big swing-and-miss was Jim Harbaugh after the 2010 season, followed by the decision to give Tony Sparano a contract extension. His next big swing-and-miss was Jeff Fisher earlier this offseason when Fisher decided to become the next head coach of the St. Louis Rams. This finally culminated in Miami being looked at as the front-runners in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes when he was released by the Indianapolis Colts, followed by Manning signing with Denver after meeting with Arizona, Tennessee, San Francisco and the Broncos in their facilities.
Ross was able to get the Dolphins a meeting with Manning; however, unlike the other teams, they wound up meeting Peyton in Indianapolis instead of South Florida—because it's not like Peyton Manning owns a condo down here or anything like that.
Then you have Jeff Ireland, who is a whole different story. The Parcells protege is known around NFL circles mostly for asking Dez Bryant if his mother worked the streets, and is someone who simply isn't trusted in NFL circles. But we'll get to that later.
The question is, how did we get to this point? Is it all on Ross and Ireland?
Some of it is, but the deconstruction of the Miami Dolphins from being one of the NFL's premier teams to becoming a laughingstock actually started quite a while ago. This is why Dolphins fans are so unhappy with the team's fall from grace: not the fall itself, but the fact that since their fall they have had a habit of taking one step forward in the right direction, followed by taking a few steps back.
Here's a timeline of how this all went down, starting in December of 2002.