It certainly has been one interesting off-season. It’s really starting to play out as though I were entering an MMA fight with no training. Me, not some dude that is all jacked up. The Miami Dolphins entered the 2011 off-season by hopscotching across the country to woo Jim Harbaugh. Punch number one. They then sell NY Jets merchandise in their own team pro-shop. Punch number 2 lands just below the belt. The team announces they are going to celebrate the 2007 Florida Gator National Championship team the week that Denver and Tim Tebow are in town. Punch three lands in the gut. Now, with only a couple of days left until the Dolphins open their season. A fourth punch is being thrown.
Where will it hit?
It was reported yesterday by Dave Hyde that the Dolphins’ Tony Sparano was piping crowd noise over the practice facility speakers. Crowd noise. When asked, he said something to the affect that in Miami there are a lot of New England fans. So he anticipates a lot of noise. Reality? Yes. Smart move by Sparano? Probably. Shameful? Without a freaking doubt.
I honestly can’t think of another stadium in the NFL where the home team needs to worry about the visiting teams fans creating enough noise to cause problems for the home team offense. Not one. Cincinnati? Nope. Cleveland? Nope. Oakland? Nope. Not even Jacksonville. Miami is apparently a different story.
The team is already becoming a joke to the national media and before you bite down hard on that statement, it’s true. No one is giving Miami a shot this year let alone against New England. But here is my real problem with this. The Miami fans. It’s amazing to me that anyone really could call themselves a “die-hard” fan and then turn around and quit on your team. I know. That is really going to create a stir and I can already feel the barbs, spears, and downright personal attacks coming my way. I have even created more Email space. But it’s true…and you know it.
Miami has beautiful beaches, fantastic weather, gorgeous women, and a million other things to do than sit in a hot sticky stadium paying for over priced beer, food, and 20 dollar parking. To watch the team lose. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We all know what excuses are like so you choose. The fact is this. Regardless of how the Dolphins play on the field, if you are a fan, you should be supporting that team. You should be cheering them on.
Yes, the play over the last two years has been miserable to watch. Aside from the Wild Cat led playoff season, the Dolphins have been in a major funk the better part of 15 years. So has Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Three teams who have no problems selling out their stadiums. Before you blame the weather being too hot, try sitting in the open air stadium of Cleveland in mid-December. I have, it sucks. I’ll take the 98 degree heat and humidity in Miami every September.
The reality is the fans are tired of the losing so they stay home, they cancel their season tickets, they go to the beach or bar to watch the games and bitch because there is no one in the stands. I hear it every year and see it first hand once a year when I make the trek down from NC. The stadium has a lot of empty seats.
The game against New England wasn’t sold out as of yesterday that I am aware of and there are over 12,000 tickets left for the Houston game. The stadium hasn’t grown seating over night. That stadium used to be packed with fans rooting for the Dolphins, now we have to pipe in crowd noise for own damn home games. I am aware that the economy sucks right now. It does in every other U.S. city as well. My brother just bought two tickets for 35 dollars each for the Texans game so there are varying price points. In other words, more excuses from the Miami home crowd.
We get it, you’re unhappy about the state of the team. Gotcha. I am too. Without question. You want to send a message to owner Stephen Ross that you are not going to take this kind of losing anymore. Gotcha. Completely agree with you. But don’t spend your time complaining after the fact that the stadium is half empty or that a third of those in attendance are rooting for the other team. You give up that right when you decide you’re not going to the game.
Sparano may be doing the right thing by piping crowd noise onto his practice field but it sure does make you want to hang your head in shame. Or maybe it just makes you want to stay home instead…oh, a lot of fans already are.
O.k…let me have it…