By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
By Frank Owen
By Allie Conti
Ever wonder what it looks like to sell your soul?
At Dolphin Stadium, it looks something like this: A white guy in a pink sombrero and plastic lei jerks spastically to the grating jingle of "Margaritaville." Three young men covered head to waist in blue paint awkwardly bob to the faux-Caribbean beat. A man adjusts the foam cheeseburger on his head.
On a stage in the plush VIP lobby, Jimmy Buffett is tanned and dancing before a huge banner for LandShark Lager, the latest money machine in his corporate empire.
But based on the gala kickoff, all the Dolphins got for their deal with the Devil are a few Buffett concerts, an atrocious new fight song, and the most ridiculous corporate sponsor in pro-sports history.
Welcome to LandShark Stadium, Miami.
"This is all such a farce," says Richard Penders, a gray-haired retiree in a Dolphins jersey. A lifelong fan, he sadly shakes his head as he surveys the roomful of Parrotheads who have invaded his pigskin cathedral.
Fins boss Stephen Ross takes the stage after a three-song Buffett set and hails a "unique branding opportunity." He won't say just how much cash Buffett — or his friends at Anheuser-Busch — sent his way. "I'm just a lifelong fan," he gushes.
As the Parrotheads file out, Penders stands off to the side, looking surly. "His music is just not my style," Penders says. "It's always about the cash for these guys. Can't we just play some football?"