Hard Rock Stadium is home field for the Miami Dolphins
By: Andy Kent
History of the Miami Dolphins.
Founded in 1966, the Miami Dolphins are the oldest professional sports team in the state of Florida. Original owner Joe Robbie, along with his partner, television star Danny Thomas, were awarded the American Football League franchise for $7.5 million and began a meteoric rise to success both on and off the field.
Playing their games at the Orange Bowl near Downtown Miami, the Dolphins developed an immediate bond with the city and its eclectic mix of cultures, embedding themselves in the community despite holding the first four training camps up in Boca Raton at St. Andrew’s School. Robbie moved team headquarters to Biscayne College in North Miami in 1970, the same year he hired Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Don Shula.
Shula, fresh off of coaching the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III against the New York Jets at the Orange Bowl in Miami, enjoyed immediate success with his new team by going 10-4 and reaching the playoffs in his first season. That was the team’s first winning record after combining for 15 victories from 1966-69 and the beginning of a streak of 14 out of 16 winning seasons, which included three consecutive Super Bowl appearances from 1971-73 and back-to-back wins in Super Bowls VII and VIII.
The Perfect Season of 1972, which saw Miami finish 17-0 after beating the Washington Redskins, 14-7, in Super Bowl VII, produced the only unbeaten team in NFL history and cemented Shula’s place among the all-time great coaches. He retired in 1995 as the league’s all-time winningest head coach with 347 victories.
The Dolphins called the Orange Bowl home for their first 21 seasons before moving northwest to Miami Gardens into what was formerly known as Joe Robbie Stadium, the first professional sports venue to be funded entirely by a team owner. Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino would play the final 12 of his 16 seasons in that stadium and owned every meaningful passing record in NFL history by the time he retired in 1999.
Miami’s training headquarters moved north from St. Thomas University into Broward County on the campus of Nova Southeastern University on July 11, 1993, helping to expand the core fan base beyond the Miami-Dade County borders.
Wayne Huizenga officially became the second owner of the franchise that year and held that title until current owner Stephen Ross completed his purchase of the team and the stadium in 2009. Ross put up $400 million of his own money tocompletely renovate the stadium, complete with a canopy to protect the fans from rain and intense heat and sunlight, with the renovation scheduled to be complete by the start of the 2016 season.
The Dolphins became one of the most successful franchises in all of sports over their first 50 years in existence and between the Orange Bowl and Joe Robbie Stadium hosted 10 Super Bowls. As a result of multiple modernization projects, the venue has provided valuable fan experiences not only at Dolphins home games, but also as home to the University of Miami football team since 2008 and Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins from 1993-2011. The stadium has hosted four BCS college football national championship games, two World Series, the 2010 Pro Bowl and WrestleMania XXVIII.
In February, 2020, the Hard Rock Stadium, as it's affectionately now called, will host Miami's record-breaking 11th Super Bowl after being awarded the big game in 2016.
There is a variety of season and single-game ticket options available to fans, from luxury suites and boxes to reasonable general admission seating and all of that information can be obtained by calling 1-888-FINS-TIX (346-7849) or by visiting the team website at www.miamidolphins.com.
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