The Miami Dolphins head home for the first time in the 2016 regular season, officially playing their first game in the newly named and refurbished Hard Rock Stadium. The team will take the field for a 1pm ET kickoff against the Cleveland Browns.
“I’m excited,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said about playing for the first time in the new version of the Dolphins’ home stadium. “(I’m) excited to have the opportunity to really play in there. (There’s) nothing like trying to get a W. We get to start the new season with a W at home.”
The Dolphins have completely renovated the stadium, essentially building a new stadium over the last two years around the structure of the old Joe Robbie Stadium. Included in the renovations were completely new chairs throughout the stadium, a canopy over the fan seating areas, new lighting and scoreboards, and the sideline seats being moved closer to the field. There is still some work left to do this upcoming offseason, primarily focused on the suites, but the vast majority of the $500 million renovations has been completed, on time, and the site is ready for the 2016 home opener.
This will be the second game the Dolphins have played in the stadium since the canopy was added this offseason, having played one preseason game at the site. The University of Miami has played at the site as well. The Dolphins started the regular season with back-to-back road games, partially as insurance that the stadium would be ready for when the team returned to Miami.
Miami is sitting at 0-2 after close losses to both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots in the first two weeks. The team will look to turn it around against a likewise 0-2 Cleveland team. Some apathy is starting to set into the fan base, but the new stadium should draw in the crowd today. If the Dolphins can then get that crowd into the game and making noise - using the canopy holding in sound to their advantage - the team could have the best home field advantage they have had in a long time.