If you're a Miami Dolphins fan, give yourself a round of applause: For all you've been through over the past four decades, you've earned it. Dolphins fans have been through the ringer. It would be one thing if Miami's NFL team were a perennial dumpster fire, but that is not the case. No, life for Fins fans is even worse than that. Every season begins with promise, and each season (for the past 40 years, at least) has ended in grand disappointment. It's the hope that kills you.
Yet as the team crumbles with a spate of preseason injuries and turns its hopes to a guy who looks most at home with cigarettes photoshopped into his mouth, Dolphins fans are pretty chill about it all — totally unbothered even. No team in the NFL has fans like Miami's. In fact, we would argue Dolphins fans are the best fans in the NFL. Here's why:
1. Miami Dolphins fans have the best sense of humor. This isn't a Miami Dolphins fan thing; this is a Miami fan thing. Maybe it's because South Floridians have a different mindset about sports — thanks to our gorgeous weather, abundant beaches, and endless entertainment options — or maybe we're just wired differently. Either way, Dolphins fans know how to handle heartache and disappointment.
You won't find many temper tantrums from Fins fans. You're much likelier to find a self-deprecating tweet. It's tough to cry when you're making yourself and others around you laugh, and damn if Dolphins fans are experts at that strategy.
2. Dolphins fans don't bitch and moan like some other fan bases. It's been four decades since the Dolphins won a damn thing, but you wouldn't know it by talking to Miami fans. They don't sit around complaining about their team not winning a Super Bowl since 1973. You don't hear about how many years it's been since the Dolphins won a Super Bowl like you did years between World Series wins for the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.
Dolphins fans don't ask for much: just a playoff appearance and maybe some football into late January. They would be happy to start there. Unlike Miami Heat fans, who are understandably spoiled at this point, Dolphins fans would be pretty happy with a team that just didn't rip their hearts out for a 12-month span.
3. Dolphins fans have stuck by the team through thick and thin. Whether they were born in 1996 and lived through decades of mediocrity or they were at the team's first game in 1966, Dolphins fans are a loyal bunch. The same fans who have grown numb to watching the Miami Marlins hover around .500 have never turned their heads away from the Dolphins annual hunt to finish 7-9.
Somehow, someway, Dolphins fans have found the strength to continue coming out to games. (The Dolphins consistently finish in the middle of the pack attendance-wise in the NFL, an impressive accomplishment considering Hard Rock Stadium's considerable distance from much of the urban area and reputation — before renovations especially — as a sun-baked heat box.) Turn on sports radio, and people want to talk Dolphins football. Are Miami fans frustrated at times? Definitely. Have they given up on the team? Never. Check the stadium each and every Sunday.
4. Dolphins games are a family atmosphere. Unlike many stadiums in the NFL (we're looking at you, New York), a trip to Hard Rock Stadium to watch the Dolphins on a Sunday afternoon doesn't normally require self-defense classes. Sure, there have been some fisticuffs that have made their way to YouTube, but every team has a few knuckleheads who pound too many Bud Lights on game day. Overall, the Dolphins have a deserved reputation for a welcoming environment. That might not translate to the best home-field advantage, but it does mean Dolphins fans and their opponents' fans can enjoy some entertainment, which is all the NFL truly is.
Dolphins fans are rarely in the news after a game — but like a referee, that's usually a good thing.
5. Dolphins fans are the most diverse in the NFL. This will come as no surprise, but the Dolphins have among the most diverse, inclusive, eclectic group of fans in the NFL. The Magic City is a melting pot, and many Dolphins fans weren't born in Miami. It's a group with so many differences: cultures, races, national origins, you name it.
On Sundays, though, they all come together in teal and orange like no other fan base. Why? Because in Miami, that's what we do. Blending in and respecting one another regardless of differences is a daily occurrence here, so it's especially easy to do when you're united in hoping against hope that Jay Cutler can actually be a good quarterback again. We're in this one together.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.