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Fins must turn their house into a home [Update]

Have you looked at the Miami Dolphins' schedule lately? They play the Chargers this weekend and eventually follow with the Patriots, Broncos, Ravens and undefeated Bills within the span of the next eight weeks.

And this is the easy part of the schedule.

It's supposed to be easy because Miami plays six of its next eight games at home. Aside from the fact Dolphin Stadium will finally start looking like a full time football facility again -- with the Marlins infield finally sodded over starting this weekend -- the Dolphins have to find a way to turn that place into something of a home field again.

Miami is 1-9 at Dolphin Stadium during the last 10 games. The rest of the NFL wins approximately 70 percent of its home games. Sooo, it's kind of important for the Dolphins to turn things around at Dolphin Stadium if they hope to turn things around overall.

"Taking care of home field is something that needs to become more important to us," Coach Tony Sparano said. "We talked about winning on the road last week and how important going on the road and winning games are. That’s over. That’s in the past. Now we have a home game. If we’re going to be where we want to be, we need to play well at home.

"We need to take care of home court here a little bit. I think that’s something that we’ve talked an awful lot about this week. We know we have a hard challenge. We know we have a great football team coming in here. They’re playing really well right now. But we’re playing at home.”

And they need to start winning at home.

[Update: I am told several thousand tickets remain available for the game as of this writing. That is bad because, unlike past years when the Dolphins had a season ticket base of about 54,000 and could sell the rest on a walkup basis, this year the season ticket base is less than 50,000 -- the lowest in mark dating back to 1994. Logically, it takes greater effort to sell out when the Dolphins find themselves in a 4,000 ticket hole from where they usually are.]

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The Dolphins, even with Shula and Marino, were never the same team after leaving the Orange Bowl. God Bless him, Joe Robbie's stadium sure is pretty on Monday Night, and it can get loud, but games never seemed the same.

And that's my impression, and I'm up here in NC and have never seen the Dolphins live except against the Carolina Panthers!

I have to agree with Matt in N.C. Dolphins Stadium is a heck of a facility, but it's not conducive for the fans to be part of the action like at the Orange Bowl. Aside from the end zones, the sideline stands are just too far away from the field. I'm sure this is because this place was designed to host baseball as well. Once the Marlins bolt, I'm hoping that the Dolphins management will turn its attention to making Dolphins stadium a place that opponents will fear.

I still remember that Monday nighter against Chicago in 85 at the Orange Bowl were the crowd was so loud at the closed end of the stadium that the Bears couldn't run a play. That was awesome. Of course, that can't happen at Dolphins stadium due to its design.

Matt in NC, I had season tickets for 10 years in the Orange Bowl and then 10 years at JRS before work moved me away. Your perception is correct. In the nasty old Orange Bowl the seats were on a steeper angle and closer to the field. We could generate some serious noise especially when the fans started pounding on those metal seats. During the Bears Monday night game in 85 I thought the place was going to fall down. At JRS the seats slope at a less steep angle and because it was built for soccer as well the seats are father from the field. It is much harder to generate as much noise.

Also the fan base has changed over the years. Back in the day more of the common folk could afford to go to the games but today the crowd is much different. I try to make a couple games a year now and it always kills me when I stand to try to get the crowd going and they start yelling at me to sit down. It’s more like a social gathering for the upper crusty. The scenery at the games is still amazing if you know what I mean but the crowd does not get into the game anywhere near like they used to. Putting a good product on the field will help but the design of the stadium itself is not as conducive to making as much noise as the OB.

The answer is for the crowd to get rowdy and some of them do but the fans as a whole need to get more into the game. There is nothing that can be done about the design. I wish I could be there more often to lend my voice!

H.C.D. I will never forget the Bears game! My seats were on the 50, upper deck, right on the rail. I swear the place was actually moving. It was kinda scary.

Well I don't think Joe Robbie was designed to host baseball (I could be wrong, but it was built ages before the Marlins existed), and I remember going to games there in the early nineties and it was a very good place to see a game. But that was back when games were affordable and the stadium was always near capacity or sold out. I remember watching the Dolphins trounce the Chargers in the pouring rain and the stadium was full of drenched, committed, and soon to be pneumonic fans.

I don't think the design of the stadium has anything to do with the lack of home field advantage. I think it's a) they don't practice on that field, and last time I checked, Davie facilities don't have the orange and teal backdrops or baseball diamond and b) the fans of today just aren't interested in sticking around for the whole game, or if it rains (let's face it, it always does on late summer/early fall afternoons), or if the team goes down in points, because unlike the days of Marino, we simply are not a team that comes from behind.

Yes the Orange Bowl was louder, but it was not a LOUD stadium. It had a giant hole in it for starters, and the last time I was there, the rusty bolts in the bleachers were louder than the fan noise.

JRS was originally designed for baseball. It just took 6 years to get a baseball team in it.

I agree with all that say the OB was a better place to watch football. It was. Multifunction stadiums make for lame venues, and IMO JRS made too many compromises to support second class sports.

With that said, I'm not sure the stadium has anything to do with the fact Phins are have only won 1 of their last 10 home games. Me thinks the culprits are Nick Saban and Cam Cameron. Just a guess.

Found this in wikipedia... Pretty much say it all.

The stadium was designed at Joe Robbie's request to have a wider than normal playing field in order to accommodate soccer and to serve as the home of a potential Major League Baseball franchise in South Florida. Because of this design decision, the first row of seats is 90 feet (27 m) from the sideline in a football configuration, considerably more distant than the first row of seats in most football stadia (the closest seats at the new Soldier Field, for instance, are 55 feet (17 m) from the sideline at the 50–yard line). While the decision to employ a wider playing field resulted in a Major League Baseball (MLB) expansion franchise for Miami (see below), it resulted in a less intimate venue for football when compared to other contemporary football facilities.

I think if we start winning at home again, all this animosity toward JRS will go away. That place was pretty loud and bumping when Feidler scored on the bootleg to beat the Raiders, or when we blanked the Chargers 31-0 in the pouring rain, or when they unveiled Danny's WALL OF FAME with all the stats. Either way GO FINS!!!!

I wrote somewhat faceciously in earlier blogs that the stadium became cursed when they changed the name from Joe Robbie... I still think there is some truth to that. Robbie was a great man and he made Miami a football town. His name should be on the stadium, he earned that when he built it compeletely with private funds.

Yeah, I with the JRS vs Orange Bowl take. The Dolphins really haven't had a home field advantage since the move. It's not just the building, which puts too many fans indoors...the fan mix changed as well.

Quick question. When are the Marlins suppossed to move into their own stadium? At least I think they are moving from what I thought I heard a couple of years ago. I may just be imagining this.

I think it is too bad that the design of Dolphins Stadium was for multiple sports, the sidelines are way too far from the stands! That is the one thing that I don't like about the stadium... Otherwise I think it is a great place to watch a game. I do think that it is too bad that there tends to be too many fans pulling for the opposing teams... more so when the Fins play the annoying Jets and their loser fans.

I don't know about anyone else but on Monday after the game, I sound like someone is strangling me. Probably vocal cord damage due to screaming, usually when the enemy has the ball. I try to do my part to make a lot of noise.
They need to encourage fans to do the same on the PA or jumbo tron.

When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I had season tickets at the Orange Bowl and at Joe Robbie Stadium (yes, that was its name at the time).

I can personally vouch that the Orange Bowl was much, much, much louder than JRS. At the Orange Bowl, I knew that if I yelled to help the defense, it mattered. Like several fans noted, the 12th man (and the 12th woman) caused more "delay of game" penalties than could be counted, especially in big games like against the mighty Bears.

JRS was lovely and full of amenities, but by building it to service more sports made it less fan friendly. I never, ever felt like that I, as a fan, could affect a game with my rooting loudly. And the move to the new stadium also changed the face of the audience. The ordinary fan became increasingly replaced by the corporate perk fan, who are less loyal and less likely to vocally root for the Fins.

Robbie got a new stadium and all the new streams of revenue, but he sacrificed "home field advantage" by pushing the fans so far away from the field.

To me, the Orange Bowl was the model for home field advantage. Long live the 12th man.

I've had season tix for a couple years and the issue isnt so much the stadium, the issue is the fans. Often, the stadium has been half filled with the opposing teams fans and not Dolphin fans. More Fins fans in FL need to make an effort to get to the games and start making some noise!

The Orange Bowl was always a tremendous home field advantage for the team. They also played there during a time when the Dolphins were the only pro sports team in Miami.

The stadium needs to go back to being Joe Robbie Stadium. He built it with private funds, something that is unheard of these days. No tax payer $$$, personal seat licenses, or other forms of making people pay for it.

It will become a home field advantage again when the team starts to win on a consistent basis. The last few seasons, who would want to pay top dollar to see a horrible product?

There are lots of reasons Miami doesn't have a home field advantage anymore. First, we haven't been good for a very long time. Secondly, JR wanted a baseball team and made the stadium multi-functional but less intimate. Third, to pay for the stadium(compete with other franchises on revenue, etc), tickets went up and the average joe has been somewhat replaced by a quieter, more reflective audience. Add all this up and the Dolphins haven't had a 12th man for a long time.

Tinshaker, no disrespect, but you're dead wrong. Acoustics play a HUGE role in determining the extent of a team's home field advantage. It's just physically impossible to make as much noise in JRS as we could in the OB(or Heinz, Arrowhead, Seattle...) Noise level is a tremendous advantage, or disadvantage, to the visitors. Of course it's gonna be better when the fins are winning consistently, but mark my words- we're never going to enjoy a 70%+ home field advantage until somebody addresses the acoustical flaws in the stadium.

A house is indeed a home when it has a kitchen, Mr. Salguero. I hope you fans turn dat Dolphin Stadium into a home like mine. A place where players, fans, sportswriters and bloggers alike can come and grab a bowl of Campbell's® Chunky™ Steak & Potato Soup. Just ax my boy Donovan - he one hella good playa who run like a crazed deer on da juice when he eat dat soup and sop da bowll wit a bizkit. Mmm mmm lawdy dat sumpin make a mama proud.

Dolphin Stadium's lack of loudness is surely the result of everything mentioned here ... more expensive tickets mean fewer hard-core fans; the team has been terrible for years; the building was designed to accommodate non-football sports so the seats are too far from the field. As to that last factor, one thing has been forgotten: The seats are so far from the sidelines not just to make room for soccer nonsense and Marlin dirt, but also to create more space for luxury boxes on the two end zone sides. Nowadays, when modern, football-only stadia are designed, they cram in more luxury boxes by building upward, and steeply, as in New England, Philly, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, etc. But the Dolphins might never have benefitted from this newer design anyway, because of course they were worried about making room for soccer nonsense and Marlin dirt. Bummer.

Cant they add seats closer to the field once the Marlins move into their stadium?

I think when the team wins the fans are louder.
I was horse for a week after the Jets game.
The fans need to bring noise makers or something.
I also think miami fans should buy more tickets there were to many obnoxios Jet fans.
It really killed the mood.
Go Phins!

Hammer on the nail with the Orange Bowl. The Fins will never again see a home field advantage like that stadium until they get another venue like that stadium. Had the City invested a paltry sum on a few urinal upgrades in the '70's, Robbie would've stayed, and Dolfans would've had another Lombardi Trophy or two to boast of.

Whitworth, I will take offense to that statement, only because I never said that acoustics and/or noise DIDN'T play a role in home field advantage. I never said that, and that's the only reason I take offense, because what you said in the rest of your comment was true. As for addressing the acoustical flaws of the stadium, unless they're going to somehow shrink it, I don't see it happening. And for those fans who thought the Orange Bowl was a very loud stadium, while it was louder than JRS, it doesn't compare to a lot of the college stadiums around the country.

I totally agree with some of the guys on here. The fan base has changed so much, that its like watching a crowd from Bingo night. Its rediculous how bad it has gotten down there. I try to get down there for at least one game a year. Its nothing like the OB. It will never be. As long as the senior citizens and the business execs make up the crowd there wont be the noise there used to be.

Joe Robbie bolted from the Orange Bowl notwithstanding that he had the best financial deal in all of professional football. He wanted to be closer to the population center of all three counties but more importantly the revenes from sky boxes. JRS (or whatever it is called today) is no match for the intensity, noise, and familiarity of the Orange Bowl. The Dolphins lost home field advantage and examine their record...they have never been the same.

Let's just hope that the Trifecta keeps adding big physical, smash mouth players. Then they will start dominating other teams when they come into the house that Robbie built. Then the fans will get into it and it won't matter how far the seats are from the field.

The orange bowl had its day,loud and sitting right over the action was nice. Going to the bathroom was a nightmare,huge lines, floor was 2 inches deep in piss by 2nd qtr. Concession stands were terrible. Parking was bad and got worse,not to mention random car break ins. Joe Robbie was welcomed and we saw a lot of good football there. The real problem is ticket prices. My 50$ endzone seats turned into 100$ seats while the quality of dolphiins football dropped. Seemed to me that a con was on,and the loyal fin fans were going to get shilled. Last year was so bad that I could not get someone to even go with me to games if I was giving them the ticket for free. When the powers that be of dolphins football put the team and fans first then their bizness will pick up and fans will be back. You just cant keep expecting fans to buy expensive tickets for a product that is lame and not woth it. I hope parcells will bring us back to those days where dolphin football meant excellence instead of being the joke of the nfl.

Mando,

We do not play the broncos at home!! Thats a road game.

On the ticket update, have Wayne and his 'partner' give the tickets to 'make a wish foundation' for under priviledged kids.

Joe Robbie built the stadium so that international soccer could be player not baseball. The outfield had to be fitted with the retractable seats to make it suitable for baseball long after the stadium was completed.

These are a lot of the same reasons that Canes fans were displeased into moving into Dolphins Stadium. Even when the upper deck of the OB was half full in still sounded loud.

Salguero rocks!!!

The cost to go to a game is outrageous and the regular working guy has better things to spend his money on. ESPECIALLY when a team sucks. That's not band wagon that is getting your moneys worth. Spielberg is a great director but if he makes a stinker no one is going to shell out thirty dollars for a movie out of loyalty. Our economy is in the toilet yet athletes keep getting raises and sooner or later something has to give. Ricky was saying the other day that the bad economy doesn't effect players, they will make they're money no matter what. Well maybe that will change, maybe it will have to because the NFL and other leagues are locking out the fans who made their sport popular. THE BLUE COLLAR WORKER. So sooner or later the regular guy won't be able to afford tickets and they will have to rely on the wealthy people in the country. A lot of people only make $400 to $600 dollars a week and are also trying to raise kids. So are they going to spend 20% of their salary per week to go watch a football team? Well maybe, but spending beyond our means is what got us into this mees we're in. If the team is really good the blue collar fans will bend over backwards to get their hands on tickets. But until then I expect to see a lot more empty seats.

Let me start by saying i like everything Tony Sparano is doing so far, from day one he has shown he is constantly working his ass off and thinking of ways to turn this football team into winners again. The last time i felt so comfortable about our head coaches decisions his name was DON SHULA!! I'm not putting him up there with the greatest ever just yet, after all Coach Shula is a legend and Coach Sparano is just starting his head coaching career, but he reminds me a little of THE JAW!! both on the sidelines and the way he is always ahead of the 8 ball. Kudos coach on putting BELLISUCK to shame!! that confused look on his face was priceless!! Again he proves to me he's the real deal by now talking about how about how important it is to win at home and trying to get his players and fans to take advantage of HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!! Dolphin fans we need to Get LOUD !!! at DOLPHINS STADIUM, not make the opposing team and their fans feel comfortable and at home. These are not tea party's, they're football games. Show some pride and support for this franchise.With our support along with the great coaching and effort from these current players things will turn around you can see it already from the staff and players, now it's time for us fans to step up to the plate and stop acting like a bunch of scared, quiet p@$$y's when we play at home I'll say it once more GET LOUD !!! Another thing that effects our home field is the MARLINS infield early in the season. You mean to tell me with all the $$ in professional sports a baseball team can't afford their own stadium they need to use DOLPHIN STADIUM!! To Wayne and our other owner "Throw Them Out." How many missed field goals and injuries have we had due to that infield?? Anyway to Wayne, Bill Parcells, Coach Sparano all his staff and players Great job and thanks for the effort and hard work. Now it's up to our fans and it all starts this Sunday with the San Diego Chargers, A great football team who we are very capable of beating when i think of San Diego coming to "OUR HOME FIELD" I can't help but think of THE ORANGE BOWL and the loudness of the Dolphins Fans. GET LOUD!!!!

How about Sal Palintonio (sp) Saying that Roy Williams is on the trading block! New GM in town probly looking for a bunch of draft picks for next year... I say give them some and get him in here! Give them Wilfork and a 2nd and 4th... Williams and Hagan on the outsides with Ginn on the inside and Ronnie and Ricky in the back field... That sounds scary to me and Im sure that will fill some seats!

Finsfan, I didn't say the Dolphins play the Broncos at home. I said the Dolphins play the Broncos within the next eight weeks.

Just to digress for a moment to last week, I noticed that NFL Network has decided to replay the Jets' riveting, scintillating 21-point win over the Cards after deciding last week that the Fins' win over the Pats just wasn't close enough for its standards. I guess that 22-point win just barely missed the cut, eh?

Kudos a week later to Armando for calling them on it, but it seems like they just responded by showing the Jets-Cards game out of spite.

I have been saying this for years. once they left the orange bowl they lost that home field confidence and advantage that other teams have. something needs to be done to get the fans closer to the field.

Mando,

Thats funny to me cause every other team you mentioned the fins play at home except the BRONCOS!!

You are one of a kind

I have to agree with several of you, I got my season tickets as a graduation present from high school (MJHS '69). The games were a social gathering back then (although the 'social' was to yell like hell and make the place rock (met my wife at the '85 Chicago game). The group I sat with had effigies (sp) of the team (a buffalo, a jet, etc) and a man with the appropriate uniform on to be dashed and pounded and thrown around.

A lot of visitors sat in our area (SW upper deck) and I once saw one of our fans (a lady less than 100lbs) land on a jet fan like the creature in Alien.. it took three security guards to get her off him.

JRS is just not fan friendly, they took away the 12th man fan...

I now reside in Denver, and the social event for the games is cocktails, sushi, and such instead of beer, hotdogs ...

I go to the local sports bar and watch the 'Canes and 'Fins (rough sacrifice, but necessary)

"with the Marlins infield finally sodded over starting this weekend"

My only complaint about Mr. Huizenga as an owner is getting rid of this damn baseball field! Bob Kraft sure as hell doesn't have a baseball field in the middle of Gillette!

Yes it's true. WE NEED to make some noise and embrace Dolphin Stadium. I hate to say it but we gotta borrow a page from the Raider Nation and become fanatical at home games. ESPN recently rated all NFL fans with the Steelers as #1 and the Fin Fans in the later half of the 32 teams. I believe we were somewhere around #25. Let's change that!

Two comments:

Buffalo hasn't played anyone good yet and will likely get fried in the desert this weekend by Kurt Warner.

The fins lost a huge home advantage when they left the noisy Orange Bowl. The old stadium had much more noise when the other team had the ball.

A sold out Orange Bowl was the loudest stadium on the planet. I had to yell till my voice was horse - if I didn't, my ears would ring for days.

I am a Dolphins fan from RI (patriot nation) and it does seem odd that Dolphins fans are so mellow at the games. I fly down yearly and are stunned how the fans just do not get in to it. winning will change that let's hope.
GO DOLPHINS

You know how opponents will fear you at home? I'm going to use Al Davis motto (that dude looks like he's ready for the convalescent home btw).."Just win, baby!"

Unfortunately, when I lived in Broward county, our local fans have always been labeled "Fair-weather", always need that extra push (Corporate Box-seats, season ticket holders, or local network boy-out of remaining tickets) or intrigue (i.e. like when Brett & Jets come to town) before games need to be sold-out. It has always been difficult to sell-out games at Dolphins Stadium because there's always so much to do in a regular Sunday afternoon.

Winning in a regular basis would change that...Go Phins!!!

"unlike past years when the Dolphins had a season ticket base of about 54,000 and could sell the rest on a walkup basis, this year the season ticket base is less than 50,000"

Maybe they should win more than 1 game.

You know, I kind of like it when the bloggers begin to wax nostalgic for a bit.

My first memories about the OB was whn my dad would take me to games to see the Canes and the Phins. I would always remember coming home deaf and hoarse!

That, and getting my mouth washed out with soap because I repeated the "naughty words" that other fans would say when I got back home. I really miss the OB.

I'm 22 and never got to experience the orange bowl but JRS can get as loud as most when the team is winning,,I was at the Dolphins-colts 2002 wildcard where lamar smith went for 209 yards and a TD in OT to win the game. The stadium was pretty damn loud. As loud as anything I've ever heard in Buffalo or Detroit. Granted those two teams haven't had much to cheer about over the years but JRS has the potential to be very loud when the fins are competitive. I also attended marino's last game in miami, a monday nighter against the jets, and the stadium was insanely loud even though half the facility was made up of jets fans.

Also, I cant stand the dirt. Why dont the marlins just move to some training camp facility in Jupiter to play out the string. It's ridiculous that an NFL team has to play on dirt. Dolphin stadium is the ugliest thing to see on television during the month of september

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