In 2005, then Miami Dolphins principle owner Wayne Huizenga renovated "Dolphins" Stadium. During those renovations, many items were stored away from the stadium itself to make sure they weren't damaged or lost. Now, six years later, one of those items was rediscovered.
An 11-foot, 7-inch statue of Miami Dolphins founder Joe Robbie was discovered in a crate, inside a storage unit in Sun Life Stadium's parking lot.
"We broke open the tomb, and it's a beautiful statue," Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said. "We were literally out there with a crowbar, chipping through the wood. Our parking lot guys had been out there and discovered it. We didn't know it existed, and very few people who worked here knew it was there.
"It was a hidden treasure, almost like it landed there. We were talking about doing something, and sure enough, there it was."
The Dolphins had been looking for a way to honor Joe Robbie, who built the stadium that used to bear his name with no public funding, since the end of last season. The decision to find a way to honor the team's first owner was made after some focus groups realized a common feeling among Dolphins fans that the team has been losing its past and that Joe Robbie had been pushed aside for part-owners like Serena and Venus Williams, Gloria Estefan, and Marc Antony.
"Joe Robbie was the pioneer of professional sports in the state of Florida," Dee continued. "That's why this was a no-brainer. We were really excited to do something big, and lo-and-behold, we didn't have to look very far to make it happen."
The statue, which current majority owner Stephen Ross did not even know existed, will be placed outside the main entrance of the stadium at Gate C. It will be rededicated during a ceremony that will also establish the "Joe Robbie Alumni Plaza." The plaza will include the names of notable former Dolphins inside the Dolphins logo, located around the statue.
The ceremony will take place on Monday at 4:30pm and fans attending Monday's game are welcome to attend. The attendees at the ceremony will include Ross, Dee, Robbie's son Tim, along with some of the first inductees of the Alumni Plaza, Hall of Famers Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Larry Little, and Dwight Stephenson.