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Patriots can sometimes erase homefield advantage

The stands will be filled at Sun Life Stadium Sunday for the first time in long time. The game is sold out. And barring a late wave of no-shows, the Dolphins are expecting up to 71,000 people in the seats.

Yep, New England at Miami is a big deal down here.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, about 20,000 of those seats will be filled by Patriots fans. The Dolphins expect their fans will fill approximately 50,000 of the seats while the rest will go to New England fans.

Let's face it, the weather is beautiful in South Florida this time of year so some Pats fans have obviously made a long weekend out of this game. And, of course, their team is really, really good, not to mention very entertaining.

But before you out-of-town guys that only rarely attend a Dolphins home game start calling out local South Florida Dolphins fans for their inability to fully fill their own stadium, please stop.

Think about this:

The video below shows it could be much worse.

The video below also shows that sometimes local fans that actually do pay to go to the games feel they have a right to get their money's worth. And when they don't get their money's worth, they can get very angry and even turn on their team.

The video below was shot at Met Life Stadium, home of the New York Jets. The video was shot at halftime of the Thanksgiving Day game between the Jets and Patriots.

The Patriots basically dismantled the Jets. And Jets fans, expecting a good performance from their team, turned on the players they had spent money to see. The Jets were down 35-3 at halftime and as they headed to their locker room to regroup, the locals ripped into the players. The Patriots eventually took home a 49-19 victory.

It was ugly. (It was also beautiful, in my opinion, if you get my drift).

Anyway, the point is the Patriots are a dangerous team. They travel well, especially this weekend. They can play so well that the locals turn on their team.

So the Dolphins have to be wary of this Sunday. Playing well would obviously be a cure for such behavior in the stands so maybe the Dolphins can deliver that and make the point moot.

Here's another thing: The idea of opposing fans making up a big chunk of the crowd at Sun Life is not new. I remember during the early 1990s, Bills fans would travel in droves to Sun Life for late-season meetings between the Bills and Dolphins.

It got so obvious and the Bills would play so well at Sun Life that Buffalo players started calling it Rich Stadium South.

And that was during much better days when the Dolphins were in the playoffs practically every year and even went to the AFC Championship game. So this is not a new phenomenom.

As to the anger and vitriol spewed by Jets fans against their team, that has happened here also. Think back to 2007. The Dolphins were 1-15. Folks were very, very angry.

What we have now is not anything like that. Many fans have moved on from that kind of reaction. Many are simply staying home and waiting for the team to start winning again before returning to the stands.

At least that's more pleasant for the players than what you see below:

 

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