A couple of days ago, Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano made himself available to the media. During the press conference, Coach Sparano several topics were discussed, but none so as much as the "home field advantage" a Miami Dolphins crowd would bring in if the Miami fans could fill the stadium.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the Dolphins' sell out streak, and how to ensure that home games aren't blacked out for the first time since 1998. Everyone says the Dolphins need to win to get fans back into the stands, the Dolphins are looking for ways to entice the fans (see this story about the Florida Gators National Championship Team Reunion if you missed it previously). No matter what brings back the crowds, the simple fact is, Miami home games miss that...well...home game feel.
And, this is what Coach Sparano wants to change. Sun Life Stadium needs to be the home of the Miami Dolphins. Sun Life Stadium needs to be loud, be supportive, and be there. Sun Life Stadium needs to have a home field advantage for the Dolphins.
The coach brought that point up when he was asked about the recent playing of crowd noise at Dolphins' practices:
"Never did it before and, I think, one of the reasons that we do it here is that we are in South Florida, and the New England team and New York teams, there's a lot of fans out here. They have a good fan base themselves. Somehow, they make their way into our stadium. With that being said, we have to prepare for it. I mean, you're preparing for it two-fold. In other words, our people being loud and enthusiastic when we're on defense, which is important - those guys do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage and we want our fans loud. And, I would imagine, that however many fans they have here, that would be the case too. I wanted no surprises for our football team."
Sparano continued, turning his attention to the team having to win the crowd:
"I think we want to go out there - we want tp play well for the guys in the locker room there. I mean, they want to play well for one another. They want to play well for the fans, and it's a home game. The way we drew it this year, we're at home in Week 1 and Week 2, and certainly no bigger week that this week. We want to win, and I think with that comes excitement, enthusiasm, and all those good things. That's a away to help win the fans.
"I think it's important for Chad [Henne] to go out there and do what he's done the last several weeks of training camp; which is, we run our offense with the confidence he has. [He] is playing with great confidence right now and just continue to do that. If he does his job well, we won't have any problems."
Finally, when asked if he thought Sun Life Stadium was capable of having a home field advantage, Coach Sparano replied:
"Yeah, there should be an advantage. It probably is more at one o'clock in the afternoon, but should be an advantage. We're playing a game at whatever time, seven o'clock at night. It'll be hot for both teams, but it won't be one o'clock hot, so that's part of [it], I think, that should be an advantage too. And, it's true anytime you go into your place, your crowd, there should be an advantage there. Now, I'm not naive, I know there's gonna be a lot of other, New England, fans there are well - but I think our fans will be louder."
As the Dolphins look to turn around after a 1-7 record at home last year, the team is really hoping the fans return to the stadium. The need the help of the fans, but, as Coach Sparano said, the need to win to being back the "excitement, enthusiasm, and all those good things. That's a away to help win the fans."