The Miami Dolphins return to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, which happens to be November 22, and it will be the first time this team beholds that facility since October 25 when it last played a home game.
That's important because the last three games on the road, in which the Dolphins were 1-2, marked the end of the trek around the NFL that stretched beyond this continent. It was a trek Miami agreed to before the season schedule was constructed.
The Dolphins asked for a backloaded home schedule and got exactly that for reasons, they say, include issues related to stadium renovations -- which isn't total logical to me, but whatever.
That meant a front-loaded away schedule. That early portion is complete now.
The Dolphins survived played seven of their first nine games away from home. This included the "home" game against the New York Jets in London.
The Dolphins on Sunday thus embark on a run which will see them play five home games the season's final seven weeks. (I can unpack!)
"It’s great to be able to have an opportunity to be at home, but we need to be able to take advantage of those things and like I said, be consistent and we had an excellent showing the last time we were at home and we should be able to build off of that,” defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said in a run-on sentence Wednesday.
The Dolphins are 1-1 at home this year. They got blown out by Buffalo. They demolished Houston.
What happens Sunday with the Dallas Cowboys may set the stage for the remainder of this homestand. And how fans react Sunday as their team returns home for the first time in a month may also set precedence.
Regardless, the stadium is going to be full.
We just aren't sure how many of those people occupying the seats will be Cowboys fans.
According to SeatGeek, which tracks this stuff, the average price of a ticket for this game on the resale market is at $258, which is the highest any NFL ticket has been in Florida since 2010. And while SeatGeek doesn't make this leap, I would say the reason prices are high is because demand is high.
And if demand is high for a resale ticket, that's because a lot of Cowboys fans are putting in demands on those tickets.
So there's that.
The final seven games, with those five at home, is going to be something of a social experiment. If the Dolphins use it to rally from the AFC East cellar to a playoff spot, there will be those who say backloading a schedule with home games is a wise idea.
If the Dolphins do not, however, take adavantage of the looming opportunity, it will speak to the benefits of a more balanced schedule. And I would hope owner Stephen Ross gets that message because he was the one who more or less requested that backloaded home schedule.
It was Ross, wanting to get a Super Bowl, who agreed to surrender that Jets game to London. And it was Ross who requested to open the season on the road to make certain construction on Phase I of the Sun Life refurbishments would be complete by opening day.
(This is the part I don't get because the Hurricanes played in the stadium before Miami and the Dolphins played preseason games in the stadium in August.)
Anyway, if the Dolphins take advantage these next few home games, Ross will feel more comfortable asking the NFL to again backload Miami's schedule with home game against next year because, that's right, Phase II of the stadium refurbishments must be given ample time to be completed early in the year.
If the Dolphins don't rally, however, maybe Ross will see that a balanced schedule is better for his team and try to get his construction squad working overtime if necessary so they can get that canopy installed without affecting 2016 regular-season scheduling.