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Miami owner not predicting Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS -- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan compared himself to Babe Ruth, calling his shot.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wasn't about to pull a Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali or Mark Messier.

A year after Ross made a Super Bowl prediction for the Dolphins, there was no such bravado while speaking to a quartet of reporters Monday in the Huey P. Long Executive Boardroom at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Ross flatly stated his expectations for the Dolphins in 2011 were "to be better than we were last year." The Dolphins went 7-9 a second straight season after winning the AFC East title in 2008.

"Last year you guys quoted me; I said something that I'd probably be [in the Super Bowl]," Ross said with a snicker. "I had to read it all over the papers everywhere I went.

"But I think that we have a great nucleus. We look to really improve that. Unfortunately, people haven't seen anything because we can't sign free agents and the draft hasn't occurred. You'll have a better idea, as I will, of who we'll be able to draft and end up with."

Ross has been learning on the job how to deal with the media. Ross publicly embarrassed head coach Tony Sparano by unsuccessfully pursuing Stanford's Jim Harbaugh with Sparano still in place.

"I realize how public it is," Ross said, looking back on how he handled that situation. "I wouldn't want to do anything to really compromise my relationship with Tony. I wouldn't want him to be surprised and read the paper he's following my journey across the country."

Back to his expectations on the field this year, Ross was circumspect.

"We have a very young squad, one of the youngest in the league," Ross said. "We're building it from the ground up. I think the whole idea when I first bought the team was we wanted to be consistently playing in the playoffs, year in and year out, where people can expect a good, exciting product on the field."