PHOENIX -- Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has had time to talk to other NFL owners about Miami’s chances of landing Super Bowl L next May, and it has become clear to him there is only one way that’s going to happen:
If the Dolphins win approval to upgrade Sun Life Stadium.
“The question is can we get approved,” Ross said Monday. “I do know without a renovated or modernized stadium, Miami is not going to get Super Bowls. And I don’t want us to become another San Diego where people love going to San Diego.
“They didn’t do anything to the stadium, and they haven’t had a Super Bowl there in what, 15 or 20 years even though they love the experience there. I do know that I think Miami if we modernize the stadium, and I feel excited about that because being a real estate developer and going through the plans it’s going to be a new stadium.”
A vote on the issue will come in May. Ross obviously believes the Dolphins deserve to win voter approval to fund approximately half the $400 million upgrades through an increase to the hotel bed tax for landside Miami-Dade hotels.
“We’re the only team in the country that doesn’t have any public dollars with our stadium. We pay full real estate taxes. We’re the only team in Florida and the only team in the NFL that pays full real estate taxes,” he said. “We’re not looking to be relieved of that. We understand what’s good for the local community. And Miami where it is and the deal we’re offering would be a setback for the whole community.”
Ross, a real estate developer, said the upgrades to Sun Life Stadium would make the facility feel like new. He definitely thinks South Florida will get more bang for the buck than New Orleans got from its post-Katrina upgrades to the Louisiana Superdome.
“It wasn’t any great shakes between you and I,” he said.
Bess still in plan
The addition of receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, as well as the re-signing of Brian Hartline and availability of Dustin Keller as a slot receiver, seems to make receiver Davone Bess an odd man out, but general manager Jeff Ireland said that is not the case.
“Davone is an excellent inside slot receiver,” he said. “Gibson can play inside or outside. Brian can play inside or outside. Mike Wallace with his speed can get vertical. Obviously, with Dustin Keller at the tight end position. Our depth right now is exceptional. We’re not making any bold predictions, but we certainly have a vision for Davone.”
Panic at corner?
The Dolphins lost cornerback Sean Smith to free agency last week and that means the team has now lost both its starters of 2009-2011. So where do the Dolphins fill the void?
“I like some of the players we currently have,” Ireland said. “Picking up Dimitri Patterson last year was a good complement to us. Richard Marshall was hurt a majority of last season. He looks like he’s in great shape at this point. There’s still an acquisition period we’re going through. We’ve got a couple of players we’re looking at.
“We knew where we were if we lost Sean. We’re not panicking. We’ve got a great plan in place.”
With the loss of leading rusher Reggie Bush, the question has been what will the Dolphins do at running back in 2013. The answer seems clear because Ross in naming the team’s many expected playmakers added a running back’s name. “ Lamar Miller,” he said unsolicited.