Miami Dolphins

It's time to see what a YAC-friendly scheme can do for Tua Tagovailoa.

“Not two. Not three. Not four. Not five. Not six. Not seven.”

—LeBron James at the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh “Heatles” pep rally


Since Stephen Ross became the majority owner in 2009, the Dolphins have jumped from one fad to the next. In 2012 and 2016, they hired quarterback whisperers Joe Philbin and Adam Gase fresh off their coordinator roles with Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, respectively. In 2019, they followed the Sixers’ example of a total teardown with the “fish tank.” And this offseason, they mirrored the Rams’ stockpiling of blue-chip players with their additions of Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead.

At first blush, the quick pivots suggest a lack of focus and may offer a more innocent explanation for the wrongful termination that former head coach Brian Flores asserts in his class-action lawsuit against the NFL, the Dolphins, and a series of other teams. Three years into his coaching tenure, Flores was no longer a shiny new toy. But the timeline of Ross’ purchase of the Dolphins implies a different and local source of team-building inspiration that connects the seemingly disparate recent eras of the franchise and explains their lack of success to date.

Ross was just a year into his majority ownership when LeBron James brought his talents to South Beach and kicked off the modern era of star obsession in sports. James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh weren’t natural fits. James and Wade both preferred to have the ball, and Bosh preferred to play in the post where his 6-foot-11 frame earned him easy points on offensive rebound put-backs and free throws. The Heat’s four trips to the finals in four years and pair of titles taught a lesson that talent was more important than team, a lesson that recent basketball history has only just started to question with a realization that Bosh’s “sacrifice” to play on the perimeter promoted spacing, the heart of most offensive schemes a decade later.

There is little doubt the “Heatles” offered an alluring template for Ross, who quickly demonstrated his interest in celebrity when he brought in Serena Williams...