For the first time in four years and only the third time in 10 years, the Dolphins will open the regular season at home when they face the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
It should be pointed out the Dolphins' 2017 season opener was supposed to be at Hard Rock Stadium also, but the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to be postponed because of Hurricane Irma. The season opener then became a Week 2 game at StubHub Center against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The game Sunday will be the Dolphins' fifth season opener against the Titans, who of course used to be the Houston Oilers and then the Tennessee Oilers. The last opener against Tennessee was in 2004 when the Titans won 17-7 in a game that was moved from Sunday to Saturday because of the threat of Hurricane Ivan. The Dolphins won at Tennessee in the Sunday night opener in 2001, and they lost openers against the Houston Oilers in 1968 (24-10) and 1985 (26-23).
This game will mark the first time the Dolphins are scheduled to open against an AFC team since 2014 when they defeated the New England Patriots, 33-20, in Miami. Before the Tampa Bay game last year, the Dolphins faced the Washington Redskins in 2015 and the Seattle Seahawks in 2016.
The victory against the Chargers last year marked the third consecutive year and the fourth time in five years the Dolphins held their opponents to 17 points or less in a season opener. The one exception was that New England game in 2014.
The Dolphins will go into the game Sunday with a 28-23-1 record in season openers; their winning percentage of .548 in those games is good for sixth among AFC teams.
There have been nine Dolphins season openers played at times other than Sunday afternoon. Those include five Monday night games, including the 1992 game at Cleveland that became the opener after the scheduled opener against New England was pushed back to October because of Hurricane Andrew. The Dolphins also have opened once on a Thursday night, once on a Sunday night and twice on a Saturday, including that Tennessee game in 2004.
The Dolphins own the second-longest opening-day winning streak in NFL history with 11 consecutive victories from 1992 to 2002. Dallas owns the NFL record with a 17-game run.
The Dolphins' 33-20 victory in the 2014 opener stopped New England's 10-game winning streak on opening day.
As Dolphins fans likely recall, the Dolphins overwhelmed New England in the second half to overcome a 20-10 halftime deficit. On their way to outscoring the Patriots 23-0 over the final two quarters, the Dolphins outgained them 222-67 and had a 14-5 edge in first downs.
It was the 12th time the Dolphins had reached 30 points in a season opener and the first time since 2005 when they beat the Denver Broncos 34-10 in Nick Saban's debut as head coach. The Dolphins are 11-1 in those 12 games, the only loss coming in 1991 when they dropped a 35-31 decision at Buffalo.
The Dolphins have played 19 openers decided by seven points or less, and are 9-9-1 in those games. The only overtime opener came in a 16-13 loss at Washington in 2007.
Breaking down their opening-day record by home or away games, the Dolphins are 11-8 in Miami and 17-15-1 on the road.
The Dolphins haven't played consecutive season openers at home since a four-game stretch from 2002-05 against Detroit, Houston, Tennessee and Denver. That stretch tied for longest streak of season openers at home.
By contrast, the Dolphins played 13 consecutive regular season openers on the road between 1976 and 1988, going 7-6 during that time.
Since they were selected as the opponents to visit the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2006 regular season, the Dolphins' only season openers at home have come in 2008 against the New York Jets, in 2011 against the New England Patriots and in 2014 against the Patriots.
The Dolphins' top individual opening-day performances for rushing, passing and receiving yards all have come against the Patriots.
Dan Marino passed for 473 yards and Irving Fryar had 211 receiving yards in 1994, while Sammie Smith rushed for 159 yards in a 1990 game at New England.
The Dolphins have had four 300-yard passing performances on opening day, two by Marino, one by Bob Griese (1969 at Cincinnati) and one by Chad Henne (2011 vs. New England).
There have been 13 100-yard rushing performances, including a 122-yard effort by Jay Ajayi last season. The only two Dolphins players with two 100-yard rushing games on opening day are Karim Abdul-Jabbar (1996, 1998) and Larry Csonka (1972, 1973). The other opening-day 100-yard rushers are Knowshon Moreno (2014), Ricky Williams (2002), Lamar Smith (2000), Mark Higgs (1991), Sammie Smith (1990), Andra Franklin (1982), Delvin Williams (1978) and Norm Bulaich (1976).
The Dolphins have had 14 100-yard receiving performances on opening day, the last being Brian Hartline's 114-yard day at Cleveland in 2013. Irving Fryar, Mark Duper, Mark Clayton and Paul Warfield each did it twice; Brandon Marshall, Chris Chambers, Marlin Briscoe, Marty Booker and Tony Martin each had one 100-yard opening day for the Dolphins.
Defensively, Doug Betters holds the Dolphins opening-day record for sacks with four against the Buffalo Bills in a 12-0 shutout victory in 1983. Charlie Babb has the mark for most interceptions with three in 1975 in a 31-21 Monday night loss against the Oakland Raiders.