What Is That Something Special?

The Miami Dolphins opened up training camp 2009 to more than just a simple raucous crowd.  They opened their 2009 season to a 3100 plus crowd of cheering fans.  The Dolphins admitted 2000 early visitors to the stands and the rest found seats on their feet peering over the adjacent parking garage and standing along the fence perimeter.  So many that the Dolphins had part of the fence block removed so their fans could see.
So what is it about this team that has the Dolphins faithful fired up? What is “that something special“?  That something special is winning.  That something special is attitude.  That something special…that’s these Miami Dolphins.
The crowd that turned out for day 1 of the training camp is a direct testament to not only last seasons surprise success but the fans faith in head coach Tony Sparano, GM Jeff Ireland, and of course Bill Parcells.  The Dolphins faithful have been longing for a return to tradition, to winning.  The Dolphins gave the fans what they wanted and yesterday the Dolphins fans gave a little something back.
If the turnout yesterday is any indication, the upcoming season should be loud.  Owner Stephen Ross wants a rock concert ownership group and the fans may just give him that rock concert audience.  The fans are already hungry for the season to begin.  Amid chants of “Pro-Bowl” to Ronnie Brown and loud bursts of applause with the slightest good deed the fans have shown that they are back to supporting this once proud franchise.  The addiction has returned.

Jason Taylor said that he hasn’t seen this kind of turn out since Jimmy Johnson drafted him.  Channing Crowder said he has never seen that type of turn out.  The Dolphins say it was close in that first Nick Saban season.  The question now becomes will this transfer to the stadium when the season and win/loss records count?  If yesterday was any indication the answer is most assuredly yes.

The Dolphins have had sell outs, they have had large crowds, but what they haven’t had is true home field advantage that didn’t start with “the weather”.  These Miami Dolphins are not the same Dolphins that went 4-12, 9-7, and 1-15.  These are a new breed of youth and free agents from winning organizations.  Where the Miami players of the last ten years or so have played more for paychecks, these players are finding and expecting a different reason to be on the field.  The fan support.

Should losing befall the team this season, it’s not likely to take away from the excitement that has been already generated.  That however will depend on how the team loses.  Bad breaks or fixable weaknesses?  Youthful starters or aging veterans?  Or perhaps bad coaching and poor play from those mid-level professionals.  The season will tell.
For now, the Dolphins and their fans regale themselves with chants and cheers, chest thumping and high-fives.  It’s day one and already there is electricity.  Players stopped and signed autographs yesterday, why?  Because they wanted to.  They will take the field today for more grueling punishment?  Why?  Because they want to.  That, is “that something special”.

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