http://sports.yahoo.com/news/dolphi...ir-top-head-coaching-candidate-021752712.html MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The three men stood and smiled at halftime for fans, each likely thicker around the midsection than most of the Miami Dolphins' faithful remembered. Bob Griese grinned and pointed at the Hall of Fame ring that Don Shula was slipping onto his finger. Dan Marino steadied the iconic coach with an extended arm. The stands showered applause onto the trio that had created so many indelible Dolphins memories. It was a touching moment, this halftime celebration with the cornerstones of one of the NFL's crown jewel franchises. But halftimes end, and what came after this one was Miami's disappointing 24-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Missed opportunities and a mediocre offense gave Dolphins fans their latest dose of the reality that has taken root in Miami. Much like wrinkles digging into the faces of the franchise icons, the best days of this franchise are looking older and more weathered by the year. All of which leads Miami to this offseason, and one of the most important decisions since Marino was plucked in the 1983 draft. With a talented roster that is largely set and a salary cap that is showing stretch marks in the near term, team owner Stephen Ross can't afford to miss on his next coaching hire. Not after a deacde of resets by the team – from Cam Cameron to Tony Sparano to Joe Philbin. This time, Ross needs the proven commodity. He needs the Super Bowl winner. The quarterback whisperer. The visor. He needs Sean Payton. While there may be other job openings on the horizon with younger quarterbacks or better short-term cap situations or better stadiums, none of them have the big stage potential of Miami. None of them are as ready to win in 2016 with the right tweaking. And none of them have an owner with the ear of Bill Parcells, who remains a close friend and adviser to Payton. Of course, this would cost. After reporting that Payton could be exiting the franchise this offseason, someone from the Saints reached out to tell me it would be "comical" to suggest New Orleans would let him leave for nothing. So there would be compensation involved in reeling in Payton. But in this case, with the personalities on this Miami roster, it makes the investment worthwhile.