SBD/September 17, 2012/Franchises

Dolphins Draw Smallest Attendance For Home Opener In Last Thirty Years

Only 201 fans reportedly were in the entire midfield Section 415 during the first quarter
The announced crowd of 54,245 yesterday for the Dolphins’ 35-13 home-opening victory over the Raiders marked the “fewest number of tickets distributed for a Dolphins home opener since 1982, when 53,823 were distributed” for a game against the Baltimore Colts, according to Hal Habib of the PALM BEACH POST. It also “likely was the fewest number of bodies in the stands for a home opener at least since 1991.” The figure was “an alarming 18 percent smaller than the worst-attended Dolphins home opener in the 2000s.” Habib notes Sun Life Stadium has a capacity of 75,540 for NFL games. The Dolphins used “creative ways to fill seats Sunday, with club owner Stephen Ross helping to give fans free caps commemorating the 1972 undefeated team.” But only 201 fans "were in the entire midfield Section 415 during the first quarter, for example, leaving more than half empty." Most suites "appeared to be half-full; some weren’t in use at all.” On the club level, "perhaps 10 percent of the seats on the entire east side of the stadium were in use, and roughly 40 percent of all club seats were filled.” Only the lower bowl, which “appeared to be 80 percent full, would have had a fan … feeling cramped” (PALM BEACH POST, 9/17). In Miami, Andre Fernandez notes, "Only one home game last season (Houston in Week 2) drew fewer fans than Sunday’s turnout” (MIAMI HERALD, 9/17). 

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS: In Boston, Greg Bedard noted to a recent report citing a friend of Ross' as saying that GM Jeff Ireland “could be in serious trouble if the team really bottoms out.” Bedard asked, “Is Ross completely insane?" Ross "decides that Ireland is worth keeping on after Tony Sparano fizzles out as coach." Ireland is then "allowed to pick the new coach, Joe Philbin, who then hand-selects a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who successfully ran the scheme of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman in college." Then after one season Ross "might fire Ireland?" Bedard: "Might as well chalk up the Dolphins as being terrible for another four years” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16).
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