Steady as a Rock
Engineers determine Dolphins’ home is structurally sound
A team of engineers have inspected Hard Rock Stadium and have determined that venue that hosts Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football games is structurally sound in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Tom Garfinkel, the President and CEO of the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that the stadium, which resides in Miami Gardens on the Miami-Dade and Broward County border, will be able to host the Hurricanes home game against Toledo on Sept. 23.
“After thorough inspection by engineers, it has been deemed that @HardRockStadium experienced no structural damage from Irma,” Garfinkel’s tweet said. “We lost landscaping and a section of roof panels in 1 corner. Engineers believe a tornado touched down. Aesthetic in nature and easy to fix.”
Garfinkel later tweeted that the Dolphins’ practice facility in Davie “also gets the all-clear and will be available to team for practice after LA.”
The team had a contingency
plan to practice next week in West Virginia if the practice facility sustained any significant damage from Hurricane Irma.
The Dolphins play the Los Angeles Chargers on the road for their season opener after having last week’s game against Tampa Bay pushed back to Nov. 19 because of Irma.
Dolphins owner Steve Ross flew many players, staff, coaches and their families to Southern California on Friday night to escape Hurricane Irma. Ross flew another group to Southern California on Saturday. He’ll fly the families back, at his expense, when it’s deemed safe.
Other players, however, with team permission, departed for destinations of their choice.
Meanwhile, coaches and staff in Southern California are preparing to have a normal week heading into the Chargers game.
The Dolphins will begin practicing in Oxnard, at the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp facility on Wednesday.
Players were still arriving in Southern California on Monday, and the Dolphins are hopeful every player will get there in time, but there’s no guarantee each can complete his journey due to Hurricane Irma-related travel disruptions. Players who fled Hurricane Irma and/or used the postponed game as a bye week are traveling from many parts of the country to reach Southern California, but when they arrive depends largely on whether they were able to get a ticket, which airport they’re departing from, and which airport they land.
The Dolphins don’t play a home game at Hard Rock Stadium until Oct. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
The Dolphins inquired with the NFL about moving their Oct. 1 game in London against New Orleans to Hard Rock Stadium, but the league said the game must stay in London according to a source.
The Dolphins, who are hosting Super Bowl LIV in 2020, agreed to play in London this year as part of an NFL resolution that states teams must play an international game within five years of being awarded a Super Bowl.
Ross had more than $500 million of renovation work completed during the offseason and the stadium was said to have been built to withstand a category 4 hurricane. Irma wasn’t that strong as it swept across South Florida on Sunday but the stadium still must be inspected.
If the training facility is damaged, the Dolphins would practice in West Virginia in preparation for their Sept. 24 game at the New York Jets.
If the Dolphins were forced to practice away from home prior to the Jets game they would of had an early-season odyssey that included practicing in Southern California, then playing the Chargers in Los Angeles, then traveling to West Virginia for a week, then going to New York to play the Jets, then practicing back home in South Florida before traveling to London to face the Saints.
“We lost landscaping and a section of roof panels in 1 corner. Engineers believe a tornado touched down. Aesthetic in nature and easy to fix.” Tom Garfinkel, Dolphins president and CEO, announcing on Twitter the results of the engineers’ inspection
Engineers have determined that Hard Rock Stadium, above, got through Hurricane Irma without damage. The Dolphins’ practice facility in Davie was also given the all-clear.