The Miami Dolphins do not play at Hard Rock Stadium until a Week 5 contest against the Tennessee Titans. Between now and then, they will be at the Los Angeles Chargers this upcoming Sunday, at the New York Jets in Week 3, and in London to host the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. The question that still has to be answered, however, is if Hard Rock Stadium will be available for the Dolphins.
During Hurricane Irma, there were reports of a tornado near the Dolphins’ home stadium, and there have been some reports of damage to the stadium. However, no one knows to what extent any damage was actually done to the recently renovated site. Was the new canopy roof damaged? Was there any other area that did not withstand Irma? According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Chris Perkins, the Dolphins are waiting for structural engineers to be able to get into the stadium and check out the entire site.
The Dolphins have plans to practice next week in West Virginia if the team’s practice facility was damaged in the storm. They are spending this week in Oxnard, California, utilizing the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp facilities.
According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Dolphins did try to change the date for their true home opener, with owner Stephen Ross requesting the NFL move the team’s Week 4 game in London back to Miami. Ross emailed Jackson, writing, “I asked. It will be played in London.”
There has been a lot of speculation that the league should move the game back to Miami after the league moved the team’s Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Week 11, essentially taking the bye week from both teams. However, the league has to consider the costs incurred by fans planning to travel to London from the United States, as well as from across Europe, as well as the sell-out crowd for the game. It never seemed like a real possibility to bring the game back to South Florida, and the league turned down any possibility immediately.
There is no word on when the engineer’s report is expected, with Miami still trying to return to some form of normalcy after the storm. With the London game staying in London, the team has until Week 5 to figure out if the stadium can be ready.