This was an hour after the season ended, which meant Steve Ross already was thinking about his decisions, about who stays and who goes, even as he left the locker room with his entourage under Sun Life Stadium.
"I've got a lot to think about," the Dolphins' owner said after the Dolphins' latest disaster, a 20-7 loss that ended their season after two tries to enter into the 2013 NFL playoffs.
"We're going to look at everything,'' he said. "When you're disappointed, you don't make decisions on the fly. Give a lot of thought. Got to look at everything."
There is no team besides the Dolphins that could have a season like this, a season of bewildering underachievement on the field and staggering embarrassment off it, and not expect a change at the top.
At a time the Dolphins were asked to play their best football, they played their worst for the second straight Sunday. They scored one touchdown in the final two games with the playoffs shimmering before them.
They lost to quarterbacks named Thad Lewis and Geno Smith. Their defense was chained to an opposing running game and dragged up and down the field to the tune of 203 yards in Buffalo and 154 by the Jets.
And, once again Sunday, the Jets looked like the team in the running for the playoffs with their body language, while the Dolphins again played like the team with no motivational hope.
Ross was asked if anyone was definitely out or surely invited back, meaning the lead dominoes of General Manager Jeff Ireland or coach Joe Philbin.
"I'm making no comments on anything like that,'' Ross said. "We're going to look at everything."
That's what most every owner says on the last day of a disappointing season, though the scene in the Jets' locker room with a similar 8-8 record was different. Team owner Woody Johnson announced coach Rex Ryan was returning due to a buoyant year leading to an offseason with grand possibilities.
The Jets have collected draft picks and free-agent money in the manner the Dolphins did last offseason. The Dolphins improved one game. That's not really improvement in the NFL. It's certainly not the "progress" Ross mandated at the start of the year.
"To have something like this, these last two games, you're disappointed for everybody," Ross said.
Say this for Ireland: The Dolphins had more talent than the Bills and Jets these past two weeks. No, the rookie class hasn't helped, the offensive line is a minefield of problems and the expensive free-agent linebackers were exposed against hard-running teams.
But how did Philbin and his coaching staff get schooled so completely against limited Bills and Jets teams? If coaching wasn't an issue these last two games for the Dolphins, when will it ever be?
Philbin seems a decent man and his players genuinely like him. But there's a Dave Wannstedt-ian (another ex-Dolphins head coach) quality about him in that you're not exactly sure what rare talent he's bringing to the job.
He's not an defensive guru or a quarterback whisperer. He's not a personnel yoda or a force-of-personality coach. He doesn't have a great hold on the locker room as the Jonathan Martin issue — if not directly responsible, it happened on his watch — and these last two flat-lined performances say.
His staff developed some talent, though defensive line assistant Kacy Rogers is the only one who consistently spits out developed players. And he was inherited by Philbin. So after two years, what exactly is Philbin's strength?
Ross has two paths to take now. One would be to sit Ireland and Philbin in a room, tell them he's giving them one final year to make the playoffs or else they're fired next season.
You can make a case of patience and organizational stability. Really, starting all over is in some ways the last option. But what do you do when the last option is also the necessary option? When your season underachieved because the names at the top of the flow chart did?
Ross went walking down the hallway under Sun Life Stadium late Sunday and into the offseason. Another chance was lost. Another Groundhog Season is done. And unless he starts all over at the top, unless he gets a better general manager and coach, it's hard to see anything significant changing a year from now.