Not just wish­ful think­ing: See why the Mi­ami Dol­phins are primed for the SOD\RIIS WKLS SHDSRQ

AS FOOT­BALL SEA­SON KICKS OFF, MI­AMI DOL­PHINS FANS HAVE A LOT TO LOOK FOR­WARD TO—ON AND OFF THE FIELD.

Ocean Drive - - Contents September 2017 - BY JON WARECH

Every foot­ball team looks like a sure win­ner in early Septem­ber, but the high hopes of Mi­ami Dol­phins fans this year aren’t just wish­ful think­ing. With a 10-6 record last sea­son (end­ing with an in­cred­i­ble 9-2 run), a play­off berth for the first time in eight years, the re­turn of Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry, and the late off-sea­son sign­ing of quar­ter­back Jay Cut­ler, the Dol­phins are poised to make waves in an AFC East that could be ripe for the tak­ing.

With out-of-con­fer­ence home games against the Oak­land Raiders, Den­ver Bron­cos, Ten­nessee Ti­tans, and Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers, this will un­doubt­edly be a fun sea­son, says Ja­son Jenk­ins, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­mu­nity af­fairs for the Dol­phins and Hard Rock Sta­dium. “After our first play­off ap­pear­ance since 2008, fans are ex­cited about the up­com­ing sea­son,” says Jenk­ins. “We have a great home sched­ule and a team that is supremely fo­cused.” Adam Gase re­turns for his second sea­son as head coach, joined by Mike Tan­nen­baum, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions, and Chris Grier, gen­eral man­ager.

WHAT’S NEW Good Eats:

What’s a foot­ball game without sta­dium grub? New of­fer­ings in­clude Coyo Taco, David Chang’s Fuku, Jack­son Soul Food, and Shorty’s BBQ, as well as mouth­wa­ter­ing Hard Rock Sta­dium fa­vorites like Grown and Shula Burger.

Power Play­ers:

Fresh faces on the ros­ter in­clude tight end Julius Thomas, safety Nate Allen, de­fen­sive end Wil­liam Hayes, and line­backer Lawrence Tim­mons.

Can’t-miss Events:

In ad­di­tion to host­ing the Dol­phins, University of Mi­ami foot­ball games, the Or­ange Bowl, and El Clásico Mi­ami, Hard Rock Sta­dium will wel­come Su­per Bowl LIV in 2020, mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the NFL, plus an ar­ray of world­class events.

But the ac­tion on the field won’t be the only thing gen­er­at­ing ex­cite­ment. After three years, Hard Rock Sta­dium is near­ing com­ple­tion of a mas­sive $500 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion, funded by owner Stephen Ross. The big­gest el­e­ments of Phase III are a com­plete re­design of the venue’s land­scap­ing and park­ing lots, as well as mod­ern­ized suites (147 of them to be ex­act), which were fully re­fur­bished with a host of lux­ury ameni­ties—cre­at­ing the ul­ti­mate set­ting to watch not just foot­ball, but any event at the sta­dium. The ex­ec­u­tive suites have be­tween 10 and 50 seats, along with air-con­di­tion­ing, mul­ti­feed sound sys­tems, re­frig­er­a­tors, ice mak­ers, and pri­vate tele­phone ser­vices, while at­ten­dants pro­vide per­sonal ser­vice dur­ing the game.

Join­ing the suite life at Hard Rock Sta­dium is the lux­ury real es­tate firm G&G Busi­ness De­vel­op­ments, which has in­tro­duced an ex­clu­sive space called The Nine, Hosted by As­ton Martin Res­i­dences at 300 Biscayne Boule­vard Way. Fea­tur­ing an open-air suite be­tween the 30-yard lines, ac­cess to a pri­vate club de­signed by the Rock­well Group, com­pli­men­tary car ser­vice, a pri­vate en­trance, and a ded­i­cated game-day concierge, The Nine of­fers guests a one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence—and per­haps the swanki­est way you’ll ever watch a foot­ball game. 347 Don Shula Dr., Mi­ami Gar­dens, 305-9438000; hardrock­sta­dium.com

“WE HAVE A GREAT HOME SCHED­ULE AND A TEAM THAT IS SUPREMELY FO­CUSED.” —JA­SON JENK­INS

Cen­ter Mike Pouncey (51) and the rest of the Dol­phins are fired up for this sea­son, while De­vante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Jarvis Landry are a re­ceiv­ing corps the fans can get ex­cited about.

The Dol­phins will take on AFC ri­val the Buf­falo Bills on New Year’s Eve. riơơt: Mike Pouncey greets a fan be­fore a game at Hard Rock Sta­dium. ƛelow: The team’s cheer­lead­ers are the most di­verse in the NFL, with mem­bers from Ar­gentina, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, the UK, and the US.

Hard Rock Sta­dium will un­veil Phase III of its $500 mil­lion-plus ren­o­va­tion, with a new club level and re­designed park­ing.

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