Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why Are Tennessee Titans Better to Miami Fans Than Miami Dolphins

Let's start with the obvious: It was painful to watch the Dolphins get clobbered on Sunday. The feelgood season that was tested after a close loss to the Colts unhinged in a hurry. The fans were booing the offense early, and the benching of Reggie Bush for a fumble was inexplicable. A very winnable game turns into a 37-4 rout.

The video that I shot here begins with the final snap of the game. See the near-empty stadium? Don't get me wrong. I've seen teams with even diehard fans largely clear out after a blowout, but I have never seen a stadium as empty as Sun Life was during the last few snaps of the game.

I also want you to keep watching the video to see that even though there weren't any -- okay, not many -- Titans fans around, many of the Tennessee Titans took the time to toss their gloves and wristbands to the fans in Section 156. A few Dolphins did so, too.

I know. You expect Miami -- as a losing team -- to be dejected. They can ignore the fans by keeping their heads down as they leave the stadium, and rightfully so. However, even when Miami wins I've never seen them treat the fans to as much equipment swag as the Titans did on Sunday. I even got a glove from Jarius Wynn, and I was just sitting there with a camera. The glove just fell on my lap.

Well, it was a tough day to be a Fins fan. Let's see what the rest of the season holds.

Monday, August 20, 2012

High-Density Wi-Fi Coming to Sun Life Stadium

My bricked iPhone may have a life at Miami Dolphins games after all!

Speaking on CNBC this morning, owner Stephen Ross revealed that the team is starting to install high-density wi-fi to Sun Life Stadium today. When the process is complete in a dozen weeks, fans will be able to use their smartphones to watch replays, check out other games, and engage in social media.

The Dolphins have achieved the first two parts of that equation through Fanvision, the handheld screens that were handed out to season ticket holders two seasons ago. That has certainly been a neat perk for loyal fans, but my biggest complaint as a fan outside of the on-field performance of the team has been that my phone is useless once nearly 75,000 fans try to make calls, surf the Web, or check email at the same time.

Some wireless carriers may be better than others at the stadium, but AT&T is a disaster.

A lack of connectivity was one of my gripes during last year's Feedback February session, and it seems as if enough fans like myself have been screaming about it to the point where Ross is making it a priority.

Why won't it be ready for 12 weeks, by the time that half of the season is over? Hey. I'm just happy to see it coming.

Ross takes a lot of heat for the orange carpet, spicing up the fight song, and the Club Liv addition, but he gets it. If the team was winning fans would associate these moves with victories and deep playoff runs. However, eliminate the on-field performance and Ross is ahead of his time in understanding that football is bigger than just the game these days.

Ross said this morning that the Dolphins will be the first team to install high-density WiFi. If it means that my wife and I can go to the game and know that our family and friends can reach us -- or that I can check on my fantasy football team -- or physically "check in" to the stadium on Facebook or Foursquare the way that Heat, Marlins, and Panthers fans do -- Ross has a believer in me.

He had me at high-density!

Check out the Ross interview:

Inside the Squawk Huddle: Miami Dolphins Owner

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Open Letter to Stephen Ross

We're now just days away from the 2012 NFL Draft, and I'm more worried than excited.

Everybody has an opinion, and I'll say something that few diehard Miami fans will ever concede: I don't know as much about football as Jeff Ireland.

It felt good to get that off my chest. However, the one thing that I do know better than Ireland -- and possibly even better than you, Mr. Ross -- is what the fans want. I've been a season ticket holder since 1987. I bleed orange. I cry aqua. I was literally the first fan to renew my season tickets last season, and was honored by the team for that. I'm fairly sure that I was one of the first to renew this time around.

My biggest fear is that the Miami Dolphins will compromise its future later this week. In a mad scramble to excite fans after two brutal years of miscues, the team will trade up to select a quarterback that seemed like a reach at the eighth overall spot. I have nothing against Ryan Tannehill. He may be the answer. However, if any move involves sacrificing picks from the 2013 draft it will make it that much harder to attract a magnetic GM next year.

No, this isn't a "Fireland" rant. I'm just being realistic. Despite the somewhat easy schedule, Miami will be lucky to win five or six games this season. The team traded away the Pro Bowl MVP, cut Yeremiah Bell, and was dealt the retirement of Jason Taylor. The pocketful of new free agents that have been brought in during the offseason are either backups or would be backups on playoff-caliber teams. The team isn't likely to be very successful this season, and it will only take a few 1pm home games before the scorched fans begin chanting for blood.

Outside of a Cam Cameron-level fiasco, Philbin will be spared the venom of the fans. It will be a different fate for Ireland, and that's why it's imperative that you retain an attractive assortment of what should be high draft picks for the 2013 season. Fans will want an offensive weapon. Tannehill, Blackmon, or Richardson would be great -- and at least one of them should still be there at No. 8. Floyd wouldn't be a bad backup plan if the other three happen to be gone.

This isn't a fan telling Ireland what to do. Every single GM in this league should know more about football operations than the smartest fan. I'm simply reminding you what fans will want, and what to expect if they don't get what they want. There is no way that an offensive lineman or defensive player -- regardless of how talented he may be -- will satisfy fans that saw the team's only Pro Bowl-worthy skill position player unloaded last month.

I don't blame you for the Harbaugh flap last season. It would've been the right call, and we saw that when San Francisco made it to the playoffs. I trust St. Louis will play well under Fisher, and that Denver will improve with Payton Manning. Your heart was in the right place pursuing all of these upgrades, at least as far as fans are concerned. Coming up short on all fronts was unfortunate, but the aim is true. The execution? Well, that's another story.

So, let's go back to Thursday night. The first round will be about the team's future in more ways than the obvious. Don't let anyone on your payroll mess that up.