By Martyn Standering
The popularity of the NFL is growing at an alarming rate in the UK. As well as the annual game being played at Wembley Stadium in London, the amount of games being shown live on TV here is increasing year-after-year. But when two friends and I booked a flight over-the-pond to Miami, we wanted to experience a game at pitch-side rather than on our sofas, to see if America’s Game could really live up to the hype.
As soon as we’d booked our flights and arranged accommodation on South Beach, our next priority was to see if the Dolphins were playing while we were in Florida. Thankfully we saw that they were entertaining the Rams during our visit and so we didn’t hesitate in purchasing tickets.
Admittedly our knowledge of the Miami Dolphins was limited to Dan Marino, yet we knew
We wanted to standout for the occasion, and also do something to cheer on our newly adopted team. Therefore, on the morning of the game we painted our faces as the English flag, but in the famous green-and-orange of the Miami Dolphins. We also wore our hometown Soccer team’s (Sheffield Wednesday) jerseys to highlight the fact that we weren’t from around here, hoping to get these shown on the big screens. However, despite jumping around like crazy men for three hours we didn’t see ourselves unfortunately.
We arrived at the Sun Life Stadium one hour before kickoff and the first thing we noticed was just how much energy was already flowing outside of the venue. Tailgating parties, live bands, and fans playing games was something not usually witnessed before a sporting event in our own country, but it was great to see and it certainly added to the day.
After entering the stadium we took our seats which were on the 20 yard line and fairly close to the front. Needless to say we had a great view of everything, including the famous Miami Dolphins cheerleaders!
The game itself was a fantastic spectacle. Not only did the Dolphins win in a tense finale, but we were entertained from start-to-finish, from the humour of the Kiss Cam, to Reggie Bush leaping like an Olympian in a desperate attempt for a first down. And In the excitement of the Dolphins recovering a fumble at a pivotal point in the game I passionately screamed “that one was for The Queen” which soon created a flurry of hi-fives in my direction from the Dolphins fans.
We were most surprised by just how much entertainment was on show between plays and during halftime – there was always something happening that kept the fans energetic and in good spirits. You don’t realise the extent to which this occurs when watching on TV as commercial-after-commercial is instead shoved in your face as an inferior alternative.
As we exited the stadium after an exhilarating end to the game, we joined in with a chorus of ‘let’s go Dolphins’ and passed numerous people doing the Conga - It was definitely a good day to be supporting the Dolphins!
Overall, it’s fair to say that our expectations of the Miami Dolphins were far exceeded. The game was fantastic, the fans were electric, and the cheerleaders were everything we’d hoped for! Thank you to all associated with the Miami Dolphins for making our day a roaring success: you’ve just earned yourselves three new fans...