The Dolphins today are hopeful of announcing a sellout to Sunday's game between the Raiders and Dolphins.
Today is the deadline for that sellout to come in time to broadcast the game locally. So you'll get that update here as soon as I get it.
Meanwhile, this home opener is a great opportunity for the Dolphins both on and off the field. It is an opportunity to win and even the record at 1-1. It is also a chance to set the tone for 2012 home games.
The club has gotten it right in some respects already in that this game is being played at 1 p.m. That should be good for the Miami players who are as acclimated to the local heat and humidity as one can get and much more than the Raiders are. In past years, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross petitioned the NFL to play early-season games either on the road or at night. The idea was to make the weather more bearable for fans but in doing so it eliminated whatever weather advantage the Dolphins enjoyed on the field.
So that is no longer an issue. Good.
Here are some more suggestions for the Dolphins:
- Ross should bite the bullet and play the old fight song more. Early on in Ross's ownership tenure it became clear he doesn't like the song. He tried to replace it with a T-Pain version. Fans hated it. Then he grudgingly played the old fight song only to start the fourth quarter. My idea is play the fight song every time the club scores ... just like the old days. I understand you don't like the tune, Mr. Ross, and it is your team and your stadium. But you have often said the Dolphins are a public trust and the public likes the song. So play it!
- Increase the distance from the so-called celebrity owners. Look, having Marc Anthony implore the fans to "Fins Up!" is not motivating to anyone. Gloria Estefan is so 1980s it's not even funny. And Jimmy Buffet tunes make people want to go lay in a hammock. Fans don't connect these people with Dolphins dominance. Spare us!
- Show highlights of the good old days. The truth is the freshman entering college this year never saw Dan Marino play during his prime. Can you believe that? Show highlights of the Marino years on the HD big screen. Show us Don Shula barking at referees. Show us highlights of the Perfect Season. Artificial? Not at all when you consider this year marks the 40-year anniversary of the Dolphins 17-0 season. Remind people that things didn't always stink.
- Spare us the Orange Carpet interviews. The club played them during pregame in recent years. I admit I've seen it much less lately. Shut it down altogether. I don't care what Fergie has to say as she walks in the building. She doesn't know squat about football that I want to hear!
- Keep the volume LOUD. I must admit Ross has done a great job of making the football experience at Sun Life a much louder one. That's very good. OK, keep going.
- Flyover. Everybody loves a flyover. They inspire. They awe. They get the crowd going. It's impressive to see F-15s buzz the stadium. Do it every game.
- Prayer. I've been around a long enough to remember when every sporting event began with an invocation and the national anthem. But in today's increasingly Godless society, many sports teams have gone away from the opening invocation. Well, maybe it's only coincidence but the Dolphins haven't played all that great since the invocation at home games stopped about a decade ago. There's nothing wrong with having God on your side. There is freedom of religion in America. Use it. Folks that want to pray can pray. Folks that don't want to pray can drink their beers for 30 seconds. Also, who is going to be offended by asking God to keep players free of injury and fans free from harm as they enjoy the day and then travel home afterward?
- Give out free swag! The Dolphins are doing a great job of that this Sunday, as every fan in attendance will get a free Dolphins hat celebrating the Perfect Season. Do it every week. Give out white hankies, bringing back a tradition that faded in the 1990s. Give out noise makers. And, by all means, if people are showing up wearing Raiders, Jets or any-other-opponent gear, don't even give them the time of day.
- Cheerleaders in the stands. I am not kidding. These women comprise one of the better units int in the NFL. Well, get them more up-close-and-personal with the fans. Have them file down aisles and onto the field for one of their timeout routines. Have them do some routines in the aisles in different sections of the stadium. Yeah, I think that'll get some buzz going.
Well, those are my suggestions for improving the Dolphins home field advantage and getting folks more into the games. Feel free to leave some I may have missed.
And, smartalecks, spare me this one: Win more games.
Everyone knows that, ok?