Dolphins Look Forward To Playing At Home Sweet Home

Posted Sep 19, 2013

Players and the coaches have had their fill of plane rides and hotel rooms.

ASince the first weekend of August, the Miami Dolphins have been on the road for five of the seven games they have played counting the preseason. Their last appearance at Sun Life Stadium was three weeks ago against the New Orleans Saints in the fifth preseason game.

Needless to say, the players and the coaches have had their fill of plane rides and hotel rooms by now, which is why this Sunday’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons is so highly anticipated. Thanks to a 2-0 start, the South Florida fans are just as excited to see their team and a big and energetic crowd is expected at Sun Life Stadium, which will be a welcome sight to the Dolphins.

“We’re excited,” said second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, "I think that we had a lot of fun going on the road, it tough playing on the road and winning in the NFL. To be able to come out 2-0 after two road trips is very exciting for us, but to be able to come home and play in front of a home crowd with a lot of buzz in the air and hopefully in front of a lot of home fans, it’s a lot of fun.”

Tannehill enjoyed a 5-3 home record last year as a rookie, which also happened to be Head Coach Joe Philbin’s first season roaming the sidelines in that position in the NFL. So both of them learned quickly about the importance of protecting your home field.

The Atlanta game begins a stretch of four out of six home games for the Dolphins, which means emerging with a victory is even more imperative. Miami’s perfect start on the road now has it positioned to further separate from the pack in the AFC East and in the conference playoff race as a whole.

“To be a great football team in the National Football League you have to have an identity at your home stadium,” Philbin said. “It’s important for us. There’s been a great tradition of success that the Miami Dolphins have had, that we’ve had as an organization, playing home games here, especially in September, and we want to keep that up, no doubt about it.”

Wide receiver Mike Wallace has played in Sun Life Stadium twice before in the regular season as a visitor with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a rookie in 2009 when he caught a 54-yard touchdown pass in a narrow 23-22 victory, and the following season in the final game, a 30-24 win for the Steelers. Now he gets to come out of the home tunnel.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited,” Wallace said. “I love playing here even though I’ve only played here twice. I love the atmosphere and I love playing on this field so I’m really excited.”

All of the returning veterans for Miami know how much a vocal home crowd can raise their game and how the hot South Florida sun can wilt visiting teams not accustomed to it. They silenced the home crowds in Cleveland and Indianapolis and now they want to give their own fans a reason to get loud.

“It’s great to come home because Miami’s always supported us,” said Pro Bowl left guard Richie Incognito. “It’s nice to come home with two wins. Road wins are hard to get so it’s good to come home with two of them in our hat and to have a tough challenge at home. It’s nice to have them home, outdoors in a hostile environment.”

That’s precisely what these Miami Dolphins of 2013 are trying to create, a hostile and intimidating home environment. Atlanta will be the first test.
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