The Miami Dolphins fan base is becoming disenchanted to a degree and it was prevalent during this past Sunday’s victory over the Texans.
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins raised their proverbial glass and toasted and to a degree hosted Dolphins fan clubs from around the world. The groups that descended on Hard Rock Stadium included many fans who were attending their first game.
It wasn’t all roses and attendance was significantly down. Empty blue chairs could be seen everywhere and making it worse, fans were leaving the game during the game. Many in the first half.
We sat in section 319 which provided us a full view from the 45 yard line from the visitors side upper deck. For most of the day, the sun stayed out of our faces but that wasn’t enough to keep the four people to our left longer than the first half. Or the family of six in the third row directly in front of us from departing in the 3rd quarter.
With a close game entering the 4th, the five or six guys behind decided they had seen enough and one quipped, “I’m not sitting here to watch them fall apart, again, or even win like this.” The rest of his group followed.
Miami of course won on Sunday and the loudest the stadium got was on a late goal line stand Miami made. The crowd roared to their feet but for most of the game, it was more or less a group here and there that you could hear. The video board operator displayed a throbbing “GET LOUD” blinking sign around the stadium or on the big screens but even then, the noise only rose a bit. This is far from the screaming fans I have witnessed in year’s past, even during losing seasons. This felt, different.
Following the game, I didn’t have to wait for the crowds to dissipate. I didn’t have to wait in a long line to hit the bathroom before making my way to the corner helix to walk the spiral down. At halftime, the lines for food were considerably less than normal.
As we walked the helix down, a few bellows of “Let’s go Dolphins” tried to catch hold but the loud echoing chorus that permeated the concourse in previous years was met with spattering of shout backs that echoed and disappeared like those in a canyon.
Towards the parking lots, fans silently walked or made idle chatter but it lacked the enthusiasm of previous wins. Fans didn’t seem to really care all that much and it was disheartening. It was like the game was something to do because they had nothing better planned for the day.
The lower bowl which typically swelled with sound seemed localized. At the top, even the canopy had nothing to redirect towards the field.
Why? We theorized of course. From the recent treatment of Tua Tagovailoa, the pursuit or non-pursuit of Deshaun Watson, the lack of an exciting offense, and of course a 7 game losing streak all contributed and in the end, a victory that netted the Dolphins another paltry 17 points against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Naturally, that comes with the fact and realization that the Dolphins too, are one of the worst in the NFL and this week did little to convince fans otherwise.
Winning will change it all and the excitement will return but Miami fans need consistency in that department without the associated drama that has surfaced over the last few months. The real question is when will it return? That is up to the players, but also up to Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, and Brian Flores.