The future of the NFL may eventually include the Los Angeles Dolphins.
While it is difficult to imagine this historic team calling anywhere but Miami home, recent comments by Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee force us to contemplate the possibility.
After the Florida legislature's most recent session failed to produce public assistance to refurbish Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins' home, Dee painted a grim picture for the future of the Dolphins in Miami.
In comments made to WFOR-TV in Miami (via ESPN), Dee said: "I wouldn't want to prognosticate what the future holds, but it's clearly bleak."
Sun Life Stadium is 26 years old, and the Dolphins clearly feel the building badly needs massive renovations. According to ESPN's report, the franchise is looking to make $400 million in renovations to the aging facility.
Owner Stephen Ross committed to providing 70 percent of the cost, but he would need assistance on the rest. ESPN further states that the Dolphins were hoping to get $3 million a year for the next 30 years to provide the other 30 percent and that the money would come from the state.
There was a massive Florida Senate proposal that would have given the Dolphins access to this money. The proposal called for a pool of $13 million a year to be created that would be available for Florida's professional sports teams to compete for.
With the massive amounts of annual cash this was setting aside, lawmakers were clearly hesitant to give it the OK. In fact, the house and speaker Will Weatherford didn't even bring up the legislation.
ESPN offered up this quote from Weatherford:
You had five or six different franchises that were looking for a tax rebate, and that's serious public policy. You're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, and I think the House just never got comfortable there when the session ended.
As a result, Dee issued his warning.
Now, the Dolphins certainly didn't come out and threaten that Ross would move the team to Los Angeles. Dee was specifically asked about moving the Dolphins to Los Angeles, and as ESPN notes, Dee said Ross has no intention of relocating the team. However, he will sell the franchise if the stadium issues are not addressed.
Still, Dee had some harsh words for Weatherford. ESPN passed along this quote from Dee:
"We suspect that it's a pure political decision, that [Weatherford is] choosing politics over the right for the voters of Miami-Dade County to decide this issue, and that's a shame."
Obviously, there will be future legislative sessions for the Dolphins and the state to come to some kind of solution.
This problem has huge financial ramifications for the state. Besides the revenue the Dolphins generate, Miami is a popular site for the Super Bowl, as it has hosted the epic event 10 times.
The financial possibilities of having an adequate NFL stadium suggests that something will ultimately get done. However, with lines being drawn in the sand with the ensuing comments, this is certainly no slam dunk.