Hard Rock Stadium Gets a Bad Rap in The Athletic's New Rankings | Miami New Times


How the Athletic's Writers Got It Wrong on Hard Rock Stadium's Stank Ranking

The renovated home of the Dolphins wound up ranked 28 out of 30 on the Athletic's stadium rundown.
An aerial view of Hard Rock Stadium on March 14, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
An aerial view of Hard Rock Stadium on March 14, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
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The Athletic's 30 NFL writers recently decided to embark on the task of ranking all 30 NFL stadiums. And somehow, the writers placed Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, in the bottom three — putting them in a select group of curmudgeons who appear to dislike trips to Miami every fall and winter.

While we don't normally overreact to offseason rankings or lists seemingly designed to drive outrage or debate (see: clicks), this one doesn't pass the sniff test, so we need to talk about it.

To each their own, but the evidence shows an unbiased attendee should be ranking Hard Rock Stadium damn near the top of the pack, all criteria considered. Recent renovations and the stadium's versatility as an event venue are among the reasons the Athletic fumbled the ranking in its new list.

Here are five reasons Hard Rock Stadium isn't just any stadium – it's one of the National Football League's best.

Super Bowls Don't Lie

The Athletic's NFL writers don't particularly enjoy Hard Rock Stadium, but the evidence shows the NFL certainly does. 

Miami has hosted more Super Bowls than any other city, with 11 of the NFL's marquee events held in the 305. Six of those have occurred on the grounds now named Hard Rock Stadium, with the Orange Bowl hosting the other five (R.I.P. Orange Bowl). What's more — most of those games took place before the stadium's recent renovations, which makes the ranking of the current world-class building even more perplexing.

The NFL keeps returning for more Miami magic, but the stadium sucks? The B.S. detector is in rapid-fire mode.

Hard Rock Stadium is a glittering stage for the NFL's biggest showdowns. If it's good enough for the NFL's crown jewel event, it's not in the "bottom three."

Major Renovations

The Athletic might be dazzled by shiny, recently constructed venues, but Hard Rock Stadium has undergone its own significant transformation. Maybe some of these writers haven't been back since. Otherwise, the ranking confuses anyone who has set foot in Hard Rock Stadium in the past seven years.

The upgrades included a state-of-the-art, open-air canopy, new seats, revamped concourses, expensive suites, and colossal high-definition video boards, making Hard Rock Stadium the definition of "new and improved."

Plus, the renovation did not directly use taxpayer money (though it wasn't for a lack of trying). Bonus points for not bankrupting local government.

Are You Not Entertained?

We would be remiss if we did not point out that referring to Hard Rock Stadium as just a building where the Miami Dolphins play is like saying championship UFC fighters are pretty good at punching people in the face — yeah, but they're great because they do so much more than that.

Hard Rock is the ultimate multipurpose venue. It's like the Swiss Army knife of NFL stadiums. It hosts an eclectic assortment of events, from F1 races to the Miami Open tennis tournament and world-class concerts. It's even home to the Miami Hurricanes.

Hard Rock Stadium is the MVP of billion-dollar concrete and steel structures in a world where versatility counts. If an NFL writer is mad at the game-day buffet options, that's on them.

Supernatural Intrigue

Here's a curveball for all the NFL writers from the Athletic: Hard Rock Stadium was built on an Indian burial ground, which might make you think twice about writing it off.

We're talking about a stadium with supernatural powers that may or may not be to blame for casting an unrelenting curse upon the home team's Super Bowl prospects. Does any other stadium bring that backstory to the table? We'll wait while you Google it.

You can spend time debating nacho quality and the bounciness of the cushions in the press row. Meanwhile, New Times will continue covering the actual news — Miami Dolphins play on haunted land.

Best Sponsor

Let's face it: Hard Rock Stadium has a solid moniker among NFL homes. The 49ers play in a stadium named after denim jeans – seriously? Some other stadiums have names like Allegiant and Acrisure.

Hard Rock is catchy and conveniently located just a quick trip up the highway. Something must be said for being entertained in a building named after what amounts to an entertainment company, not an insurance broker or bank.
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