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When I saw this picture in the files, I thought it was from the last time the Marlins were in town. Nope. It was from Sunday's Texans-Dolphins game.
It didn't used to be like this.
The old days of the Orange Bowl saw sellouts every week for the Dolphins. There's the story of the Eagles-Dolphins game in the late 70s where Dick Vermiel wanted a penalty called on the Dolphins for "excessive crowd noise," which is possibly apocryphal, but still funny, and a statement of what kind of fanbase the Miami Dolphins have.
See, my grandfather was a season ticket holder during my childhood, which, thankfully for me, was during the Dan Marino years. I can't think of a game where the Orange Bowl or Joe Robbie Stadium wasn't packed.
This was a great football town. It still is from the bottom to the top. Every Friday night you can see high caliber high school football, where, at every game, you'll see at least 10 or 11 guys who will play big time college football. Usually there's at least one player who will make it to the NFL. Both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have more NFL players coming out of each county per capita than any other county in the country (save for American Samoa, which is a US territory).
Meanwhile, on Saturdays, The U looks to be back, especially after their thrashing of Ohio State 24-6. Sure they're in the middle of having some problems, but they've bounced back from issues like that before. Canes fans have hope in their school.
Go across town to Florida International University and you will see a program that didn't even exist 10 years ago turn into a must-see program. For their UCF game, FIU Stadium was sold out.
Now look at Sundays.
Stephen Ross couldn't even give the tickets away. The Dolphins are being avoided like the plague.
It's not because of bad fans, even though it's now en vogue to trash Miami Sports fans. The Dolphins did sell out as recently as last season. They sold out when they went 1-15. This team has great fans and great fan support.
We're just angry and sick of mediocrity.
Other teams see their teams falter, and they wind up going to games, starting fights with people cheering for other teams, throwing crap on the field and engaging in all sorts of uncivilized and classless behavior.
Miami fans just choose not to show up. If that's being disloyal, then you really don't know business.
You don't send a message to a team by continuing to show up despite years of ineptitude. They still have your money. In the business sense, and remember this is a business as we saw this past offseason, the team is still a success.
Believe me, I would know. I'm a Cubs fan. Up until this season, Wrigley would sell out all 81 games per year. A lot of good that has done the Cubs in the last century.
So we express our anger by not showing up.
So here's my message to Stephen Ross.
Unless the Dolphins somehow manage to go 3-0 on this upcoming road trip (Browns, Chargers and Jets...yeah, sorry, not going to happen), and if you see that there are tickets still available, then don't bother buying them just to have the game shown on television.
Trust me, if we wanted to see bad football that much, we'd go to the games.
The Miami Dolphins fanbase isn't going to make the same mistake that Cubs fans made in the past. No more settling.