Monday, November 10, 2008

Report: 88% Of Dolphins Fans Think Team's Coach Is Tony Soprano

Miami, FL. (Nov. 10) - The surprising Miami Dolphins, just one year removed from finishing 1-15, are 5-4 and are one of the surprises in the NFL. But a recent report revealed that nearly 90 percent of the team's fan base thinks it's all due to new head coach Tony Soprano, of the HBO hit show The Sopranos.

"It's rather shocking," said Richard Lieberthal of the Hansley Institute, which did the study. "Almost nine out of ten fans we polled -- and we polled about 5,000 -- think the Dolphins are coached by Tony Soprano. And they give a huge amount of credit both to president Bill Parcells for hiring 'Soprano', and to 'Soprano' himself, of course."

The Dolphins' real coach is Tony Sparano, hired by Parcells last January.

But the fans clearly are enamored with Soprano, the fictional character played by James Gandolfini, and some samplings of their comments recorded during the study reflect that.

"The Dolphins needed toughness, and they got it with Soprano," one fan said. "There's no better motivator than the threat of being whacked after practice."

Lieberthal said that not only do the fans think Soprano is the coach, they encourage their team's coach's "connections" to organized crime.

"There seems to be a tolerance of what they think is a pipeline to the Mafia in Miami," Lieberthal said. "And after the recent losing, Dolphins fans "welcome any perceived advantage that having a coach with mob connections brings", he added.

Lieberthal said the study also indicated that nearly 65 percent of Dolphins fans believe that Soprano's assistant coaches, or "lieutenants", recruited draft choices by "any means necessary", including kidnapping players' family members and sending them dead rats in the mail. But, Lieberthal said, more than 90 percent of these people also believed these tactics to be "acceptable", considering the Dolphins' recent record.

Fans also believe that banished defensive end Jason Taylor "went for a ride", and has been replaced with an impostor in Washington.

Lieberthal said that over 70 percent of fans believe some of the Dolphins' wins this season have come because of bribes, paid by Soprano and his lieutenants to game officials. Again, these bribes are supported, according to the study.

Despite the winning, Dolphins fans are also looking ahead to a time when the losing might return.

"Nearly three out of every four fans think that if Soprano doesn't take the Dolphins to the playoffs by 2009 at the latest, then his family should be killed," Lieberthal said.

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