The readers’ forum

Sun Life Stadium: A promising outlook

 

In all the news about the proposed modernization of Sun Life Stadium, there was one piece of information that jumped out at me: Dolphins owner Steve Ross is willing to sign a 30-year agreement to keep Florida’s first professional sports franchise right here in Miami-Dade.

The Miami Dolphins has been a big part of my life for more than 40 years now, so you might expect that I’d want to the team to stay here for 40 more.

In recent weeks, Ross has made clear that he has no intention to move the team, win or lose on the modernization campaign. Ross loves Miami and has worked hard to put a winner on the field, as demonstrated by the hiring of coach Joe Philbin and the recent player moves that have given us all a sense of optimism for the season ahead. I firmly believe in Philbin and his ability to motivate these young men on and off the field.

But sports is big business, and the NFL is no exception. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Dolphins have agreed that voters should decide this issue.

That makes sense. We all have a stake in the future of our community — and our team — so we should all get a vote. But like a well-run pass route, timing is important, too. We have a chance to bring the Super Bowl back to Miami-Dade when NFL owners meet in May, but we must hold the referendum first.

There will be plenty of time to debate the merits of any partnership, but we must give ourselves the best opportunity to win the Super Bowl bid competition. For me, bringing Super Bowl 50 to Miami-Dade concurrently with the 50th anniversary of the franchise would — like our 17-0 team — be perfect.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. As we learned, Steve Ross is committed to bringing several Super Bowls to Miami-Dade, along with other big events over the next 30 years.

And in a truly unprecedented move, he has now put that commitment in writing, with the Dolphins guaranteeing multiple marquee events to ensure a sustained and significant return on investment — an investment that will not increase taxes on Miami-Dade residents or put county funds at risk.

As every Miamian knows, the Dolphins have been part of my family for decades.

We are a proud franchise that has grown up with our great community, and I — like many others — believe that the outlook is promising, both on and off the field.

Don Shula, Miami

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