Had a chance to catch up with Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga. Here are his views on some issues facing his team:
On his optimism for the 2007 season: "I was optimistic about last season, too. You get shell-shocked after all. We’re trying hard and I hope this guy’s the guy. I like what I see so far. We haven’t kicked the ball off in the season. I like his thinking, like his style, like his demeanor with the coaches and the players. So as far as I’m concerned he’s been executing his plan perfectly."
On making predictions: "You’d like to make predictions, but you don’t dare anymore."
On complaints about ticket price increases: "Our prices go up every year and they have to go up every year, because of the labor contract. This year, the new labor agreement ... wasn’t a good agreement. It was good for the players, but it was not good for us. The player costs jumped substantially this year."
On complaints about large club seat price increases: "What’s happened is some of these guys had tickets for 20 years. When they got club seats, they had no price increases for five years, then they had minimal price increases. At the end, they were way behind, we re-upped them again, they again got no price increases for five years. So out of 20 years, they only got price increases for 10 years ... They look at it like it’s a big increase, but look they didn’t have an increase for 10 years, so what ... are they complaining about?"
On Dolphin Stadium, which is undergoing a $213 million renovation eventually being on par with Wembley Stadium, which he visited last week during a visit to promote the Oct. 28 game against the New York Giants in London: "When we finish our construction at the stadium, our remodeling, it definitely will be in that class. Right now, what’s happened, we’re working hard on the club level, that’s disrupted the Marlins a little. We can’t start on the 100 and 400 level during Marlins season because that would really be disruptive. We’re working on the club level now. After the Marlins season, we’ll work on the 100 and 400 before the Marlins begin to play again. We’re even going to work on the 100 and 400 during the football season. You play home one week, then away for 14 days in between. You can get a lot of work done then go away for another week. We don’t want to lose that time. We’ll be working during the football season."
On playing the game in London: "The Dolphins have a lot of fans in the UK ... so the league talked to us about going over there, asked if we would do it. One of the reasons they asked and this is a big picture thing for the NFL as much as it is about the Dolphins, it’s not only the NFL. A couple weeks before our game, the NHL is playing regular season games there, before that the NBA is playing. Everybody’s doing it. The NBA is going to China, trying to build their brand. Soccer in England is going to China. Everybody is kind of looking more global than what they did before. We’re not the first one to start it, we’re the last one to do it. Now it’s a fight for who can keep up their brand image on a not only a nationwide basis, but on a global basis. We’re trying to test the waters. Will our game travel? It’s a big step for the NFL. When the NFL asked us, we felt an obligation to do it. I can understand why fans might be disappointed. They can still see it on TV and a lot are going, by the way."
On season ticket-holders, who are upset the NFL is requiring them to pick up tickets in person in London, the week of the game: "The intent is not to have people buy tickets for the game day price and sell to a broker and make a couple of grand. For a fan to complain he can’t broker tickets, that’s not right."
On coach Cam Cameron and the draft: "Our new coach is a great guy ... He’s got the right approach to what he’s doing. On the draft, some people didn’t like the way he handled the draft. I give him 99 percent. He told me on Wednesday [before the draft] what he was going to do and he got 9 out of 10 out of his guys. And the one guy he missed it, he missed by one, the team just before us took his one guy. He got 9 out of 10 guys. So to me, when a guy lays out his plan, you may not like his plan, but I give he and [GM] Randy [Mueller] all the credit in the world."
On Cameron not drafting Brady Quinn: "I knew on Wednesday [before the draft] he wasn’t going to take Brady Quinn. He told me why he wasn’t going to take him, but he said, 'if you tell me to take him, I will.' I said, 'No I’d never do that. You guys pick the guys.' That was their plan. I've got to give him all the credit in the world. They could have taken the easy way out and made the popular decision. He had the courage and nerve to stand up and do it. I think that was an aggressive thing to do. He knew they were going to get bashed. He did the right thing, rather than the popular thing. It takes a lot of courage, I wish some of our political leaders would do that. … I give him all the credit."
On his patience: "I’m very impatient when it comes to winning, but I’m patient with Randy and coach and their plan."
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