The Miami Dolphins have played in Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Sun Life and now, Hard Rock Stadium since leaving the Orange Bowl following the 1986 season.
Although the stadium has undergone many name changes and high-priced renovations in the past, Thursday night’s re-opening of the 29-year-old facility feels much different.
Maybe because the stadium looks so different.
When the Dolphins play host to the Tennessee Titans Thursday at 7, it will be more than just the final — and mostly meaningless to the average fan — exhibition game of the preseason.
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Thursday’s game will also mark the opening of the Dolphins’ almost new stadium. Instead of starting over, Miami owner Stephen Ross spent $500 million rebuilding the Miami Gardens facility. Last summer was Phase 1 which included gutting the lower bowl and building it up fresh.
Phase 2 came this offseason with the canopy placed atop the facility and four large HD replay boards placed in the corners.
The Dolphins will break in the new joint tonight against the Titans; the Hurricanes get their first game in their new-look home Saturday against the Florida A&M Rattlers.
Plenty of tickets are available for both either at the Miami box offices or on the secondary markets.
Thursday night’s Dolphins game won’t feature many of the usual starters as the fourth preseason game is usually reserved for the, well, reserves.
That means Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore get the night off; Zac Dysert and Broward’s Brandon Doughty get the bulk of the offensive work.
Thursday night’s game will be broadcast locally on CBS-4 with Dick Stockton, Brian Griese and Nat Moore in the booth with Kim Bokamper on the sidelines. Joe Rose, Jimmy Cefalo and Jason Taylor have the radio call on WQAM-560 and 99.9-FM.
The game will also be broadcast nationally on NFL Network.