Hard Rock Stadium opens in a week, and the field is ready for use.
Inspectors are touring the facility this week to ensure everything is in order for next Thursday’s Dolphins-Titans preseason finale. The team expects no issues; in fact, had the NFL not moved Thursday night’s Dolphins game against the Falcons, the organization is confident that Hard Rock could have hosted the event.
Even still, the Dolphins’ operations staff is closely monitoring two issues — one immediate, and the other more long-term.
The Dolphins, like everyone else, have their eyes on the Caribbean, where a tropical wave has a 70 percent chance of developing into a storm in the next five days. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are in the cone of uncertainty, so if there is a tropical storm or hurricane, odds are we’ll be affected this weekend.
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No sweat. The stadium’s massive shade canopy is held down by a series of cables built to withstand Category 4-strength winds, so even if a hurricane hits the area Monday, the building should be available for use Thursday.
No amount of rain is going to wash away the Zika threat, however. That’s why the Dolphins have blasted the 265-acre property with mosquito-killing EPA-approved pesticide. For weeks now, they’ve targeted larvae in standing water with pellets and also covered high-risk areas with backpack foggers.
The Dolphins have done this despite being a good 15 miles outside the Zika zone. The organization decided proactively to treat the stadium and surrounding parking lots in an effort to remove any fears of those attending the game. The pesticides used are safe for people, pets and aquatic wildlife, the team says.
This and that
▪ Attention Moms: You’re up.
The Dolphins have expanded their local award winners this year to include the week’s top Team Mom — and those selected will be honored on the field at Dolphins games along with the high school coach, high school player, youth player and student of the week.
Each award recipient receives a commemorative plaque, tickets to a Dolphins game, a note in the game program and on social media, plus a Dolphins/RISE T-shirt. RISE is Stephen Ross’ nationwide anti-bullying initiative. Award winners will have a chance to participate in a RISE training program “learning the unifying power of sport to promote unity, equality and inclusiveness as well as address racial tensions in their communities,” the Dolphins said. They will also be encouraged to take a pledge to stand up to racial inequality.
▪ The following Dolphins did not play Thursday: defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf), quarterback Matt Moore (concussion), linebacker James-Michael Johnson (thigh), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (thigh), running back Kenyan Drake (hamstring), cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) and safety Walt Aikens (knee).