A Disastrous Year For The Miami Dolphins Management

Story posted October 4, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Owen Gelber

Over the past year, it has become apparent that controversial management issues have been plaguing the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. Several Dolphins’ personnel have made recent headlines for all the wrong reasons, including their owner, their former head coach, and the medical staff.

As kickoff to the 2022 NFL season was nearing, news broke that Dolphins owner, Stephen M. Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended through October 17 due to violating the league’s anti-tampering policy.

Ross was investigated by league officials and found guilty of attempting to lure in hall-of-fame bound quarterback Tom Brady from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and renowned coach Sean Payton. As a result of the tampering violation, the Dolphins were forced to forfeit their first-round pick in 2023, and a third-round pick in 2024.

At the same time of Ross’s investigation, the league launched an investigation into the front office of the Dolphins after former head coach, Brian Flores claimed that he was offered $100,000 for every intentional loss the Dolphins had, claiming Ross wanted a higher pick in the next year’s draft.

Flores’ claims were eventually deemed false, but this amount of media attention in a short amount of time was not a good look for the ‘Fins. 

After such a turbulent offseason, the Dolphins were eager to quiet down the media with their performance on the field. Following a stellar performance by Tua Tagovailoa the previous two weeks, Miami wanted to go a perfect 3-0 in an AFC battle against the Buffalo Bills.

Just before halftime, Bills linebacker Matt Milano pressured Tagovailoa and threw him to the ground, causing him to hit the back of his head against the turf. Tagovailoa was visibly shaken from the hit, and stumbled and fell back to the line of scrimmage, where he was pulled from the game and sent for concussion screening.

Much to the surprise of everyone, Tagovailoa trotted out of the tunnel with the Dolphins for the start of the third quarter to carry out business as usual. Despite his visible discomfort, the Dolphins’ medical team insisted that Tagovailoa’s injury had nothing to do with his head, rather it was a back injury as result of the whiplash from Milano’s tackle.

Though the Dolphins came out with the win, confusion ran rampant over social media as fans were questioning how a player with such obvious signs of a concussion was allowed back into a game.

Later that week, the Dolphins were set to play in another AFC matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals as part of Week 4’s Thursday Night Football game. Reporters and insiders publicly raised their suspicion of Tagovailoa not being placed into concussion protocol, and being considered eligible to play in the game.

During that game, as the first half neared its end, the Dolphins looked to mount one more scoring drive. Tagovailoa snapped the ball and dropped back from center and was quickly met by Cincinnati’s nose-tackle, Josh Tupou who violently threw Tagovailoa to the ground in an eerily similar manner to Milano’s tackle from four days prior.

Tagovailoa, once again, slammed the back of his head onto the turf, sending him unconscious. He was stretchered off of the field and immediately taken to a local hospital for evaluation where he was treated for a concussion.

Assuming Tagovailoa suffered a prior concussion in the game against the Bills, two concussions in back-to-back weeks can lead to serious brain damage, known as Second Impact Syndrome, which could not only affect the rest of his career, but his cognitive function for the rest of his life.

If the medical staff followed league guidelines and held Tagovailoa out for the remainder of the Bills game and the entirety of the Bengals game, following what appeared to be an obvious concussion, he would not be out long-term and the Dolphins wouldn’t find themselves on the league hotseat, yet again.

Owen Gelber is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email omg5144@psu.edu.