You might not know it, but the Jeff Ireland makeover is underway. The Dolphins general manager, the most vilified current figure in South Florida sports, is seeing his public brand gradually refashioned, the persona of incompetence fading by degrees.
Let me pause now to give you time to shred your newspaper in incredulous anger, punch your computer screen or yell at the dog what an idiot I am.
I grant you that supporting Ireland in this market ranks up there on the popularity scale with loving Fidel Castro or advocating the Heat trade LeBron. I get it.
And I know it was just a month ago that Irelands image hit a new nadir when a fan confronted him with the suggestion he fire himself and Ireland maybe understandably but nonetheless unwisely called the guy an ahole.
I also understand that Ireland will never win over all his critics. The infamous Is your mother a prostitute question of 2010 Draft prospect Dez Bryant alone echoes in infamy as a default go-to for anyone determined to attach Irelands name to buffoonery.
The anti-Ireland crowd in turn has become a cottage industry steered less and less by rational thought, a stubborn mob bound to carry on undeterred by nuisances such as victories, draft picks borne out or other indications of success.
So in the spring somebody hacked Irelands Wikipedia entry to describe him as the most incompetent human being in the history of existence.
The recent exchange with the fan spawned Fire Yourself T-shirts. You might even see some Sunday as the Dolphins host St. Louis.
Miami New Times has a regular feature it calls the Fire Jeff Ireland Watch (because there is no law against pandering).
And now on YouTube appears a new video excoriating Ireland to the tune of Eminems My Name Is a parody somewhat clever but containing all the truth and fairness of a political attack ad.
Well, timeout, people.
Is Irelands Miami track record really that bad to deserve all this animus?
No. Can you handle the truth? Or, allowing for honest difference of opinion, can you at least handle an interpretation of the truth that invites a fresh look at Ireland?
Start with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This was Irelands huge gamble with the No. 8 overall pick, and the kid looks like he will be really good for a long time.
Remember when Dolphins fans were chanting Kyle Ortons name? Ireland could have bowed, been popular and signed the then-available free agent. And remember when later so many fans clamored to sign Matt Flynn?
Well, Flynn went to Seattle and couldnt beat out rookie Russell Wilson. Orton is a backup in Dallas. And Tannehill looks more and more like the right choice for Miamis future in what was the biggest decision of Irelands four years as GM the last two-plus with final say over personnel.
Coach Joe Philbin a gamble in that he had never been a head coach also looks increasingly like a solid hire. Thats Ireland, too.
Free agent running back Reggie Bush, in his second season, unquestionably has been a smart signing. Thats Ireland.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby and guard Richie Incognito have been productive additions. Ireland.
Sacks leader Cameron Wake? The GM had a hand in mining him out of Canada.
Center Mike Pouncey, the not altogether-popular 2011 top draft pick, is gradually supplanting Jake Long as the most consistently dominant force on the line. Ireland.