Miami Dolphins explore future of practice site beyond 2019

The Dolphins’ future in Davie is undetermined. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — As the Dolphins continue working through possibilities for their football headquarters, they’ve reached a straightforward conclusion: Their current setup is unfit for an NFL team.

The organization has done the best it can to modernize the practice facility in Davie, located on Nova Southeastern University’s campus, but isn’t content to leave it as is. The decision now is whether to embark on a major modernization and expansion of the current facility or build a new one elsewhere.

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“Nova Southeastern is a fantastic partner to us, but there are some things about this facility that are dated and that need to be improved in terms of the amount of space that we have,” team president Tom Garfinkel said today. “The players walk across a hallway to take a shower, you know? It’s not ideal from some of those standpoints, so I think we recognize it’s time to upgrade some of the things in the facility.

“We’ll either do that here or build a new one. We’re weighing our options.”

Garfinkel spoke primarily to address news that the North America group won the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup. Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is one of 17 sites in the United States under consideration for games and has an excellent chance of being selected when FIFA finalizes the 12 cities it plans to use.

While the Dolphins are highly active in that process — Stephen Ross owns the stadium and has pumped millions of his own dollars into recent renovations with the ambition of transforming it into a world-class entertainment venue — it has no bearing on their plans for a practice facility.

The team will remain at its current location through the 2019 season at a minimum. While Garfinkel did not give a timetable for opening a new or revamped facility, documents submitted for the World Cup bid indicate the Dolphins intend to have something completed no later than 2022. That was included because soccer teams will be able to use it for practices.

Garfinkel joked that in a perfect world they’d figure out what they’re doing “tomorrow,” but added there’s no deadline forcing the Dolphins to make a decision.

“When it’s time to go, I like to go,” he said. “We’re working hard on it right now. Once we make that decision, we go.”

He reiterated multiple times that this is rooted solely in the desire to build a better practice venue and there are no issues with Nova.

“We have a great relationship with them; Everything’s been fine,” Garfinkel said. “It’s just the facility itself, compared to other NFL facilities, is a little small. We have some space constraints that we want to improve on.”

The only alternative that’s been made public is Miramar, where the city has already held a town hall to discuss a proposed site.

It’s also possible for the team to build one on Hard Rock Stadium’s property, where it’s currently constructing a tennis venue to hold the Miami Open beginning next year. The stadium’s grounds are more expansive than many people might realize and certainly have enough space for a practice facility.

The organization has also looked into several other potential sites around Broward and Dade Counties.

As for Hard Rock Stadium, it’s already hosted many international soccer events and wouldn’t necessarily need any noticeable alterations to be in play for the World Cup.

“The stadium is really well-suited to it now,” Garfinkel said. “I don’t know that there’s big changes that’ll go into place for the World Cup, but that’s 2026, so that’s a ways off. We’ve got some time to figure that out.”

The Dolphins have been based on Nova’s campus since 1993 and seem amenable to staying there if they can build the facility they want.

All football staff work out of the Davie facility, which has two outdoor practice fields, the indoor practice bubble and training equipment. The business operations are housed in Hard Rock Stadium.

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2018 Dolphins schedule: Miami hoping for ‘normal’ season after last year

The Dolphins are hoping for a “normal” season in 2018. (Bill Ingram/The Post)

The travel won’t be as brutal as last season, but the Dolphins’ degree of difficulty will still be high in 2018.

The NFL released their schedule for the upcoming season tonight, and it includes no games outside of the Eastern and Central Time Zones, no international games, no crazy road swings and, wonderfully, an actual bye week.

Now Miami just hopes the plan doesn’t get reshuffled like it did last year, when Hurricane Irma’s approach changed the course of the season.

“We’re just looking forward to, hopefully, just having a normal season,” team president Tom Garfinkel said recently.

The upcoming campaign begins with a rarity. The Dolphins will host the Titans on Sept. 9 for their first home opener since 2014. Thanks to last year’s Week 1 game against Tampa Bay being moved to November and the team starting with trips to Los Angeles, New York and London, Miami opened on the road in five of the last six seasons.

This season the team gets its bye in Week 11, giving it a rest before the final six games.

It’s a balanced schedule in terms of home and away, with the Dolphins playing only one stretch of back-to-back weeks on the road.

Seven of their first nine games are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year, which could be important for a roster that needs time to solidify itself. The flip side is that Miami faces a three-game run in December against teams that were in the conference title round last season: home against the Patriots in Week 14, at Minnesota in Week 15 and home against Jacksonville in Week 16.

The exact date of the Jaguars game is yet to be determined. The Dolphins will host Jacksonville on Dec. 22 (a Saturday) or Dec. 23 depending on television considerations.

The opener is usually the No. 1 concern when the schedule comes out. After that comes the fretful search for cold-weather games.

The Dolphins’ three AFC East road games set up reasonably well for them with a visit to the Jets in Week 2 and Patriots in Week 4. Likewise, those teams don’t come to Miami Gardens in the first half of the season when the local weather is at its muggiest.

Their annual trek to Buffalo comes in the season finale, Dec. 30, in part because Miami asked to close the season on the road. The Orange Bowl is a college football national semifinal this year and will take place at Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 29.

Last season, the stadium hosted the Orange Bowl the night before Miami’s Week 17 home game against the Bills, and the tight turnaround is something the organization would like to avoid if possible—especially it being part of the college playoffs this year.

The Patriots come to South Florida on Dec. 9, the Jets arrive in Week 9 and the Bills get off easy with a Week 13 trip.

Then there’s the rare appearance at Lambeau Field, which falls in Week 10. The Dolphins will play at Green Bay in mid-November, which isn’t the worst outcome, but it’s certainly late enough in the year for it to be nasty up there. The average low in Green Bay that time of year is 29 degrees.

The only other outdoor road game is Week 5 at Cincinnati, which should be comfortable. When the Dolphins play at Minnesota (Week 15) and Indianapolis (Week 12), both of those are dome teams. The Houston game in Week 8 will also be indoors.

The matchup with the Texans is also the Dolphins’ only planned primetime appearance. They’ll play in front of a national audience as part of the NFL’s mandate that each team does one Thursday night game. Their Sunday games can be flexed based on how compelling the matchups are late in the season.

Miami gets some nice perks at home with Oakland having to travel cross-country in Week 3 and a back-to-back against the Bears and Lions (Weeks 7 and 8). Chicago and Detroit will learn the hard way that October is still considered summer down here.

If South Florida has hurricane issues in September and October, it won’t be as easy to reschedule as last year. None of the four teams the Dolphins host in the first half of the season share their bye week.

Here’s the Dolphins’ full 2018 schedule:

Week 1: Sun., Sept. 9, 1 p.m. vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 2: Sun., Sept. 16, 1 p.m. at New York Jets

Week 3: Sun., Sept. 23, 1 p.m. vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 4: Sun., Sept. 30, 1 p.m. at New England Patriots

Week 5: Sun., Oct. 7, 1 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 6: Sun., Oct. 14, 1 p.m. vs. Chicago Bears

Week 7: Sun., Oct. 21, 1 p.m. vs. Detroit Lions

Week 8: Thu., Oct. 25, 8:20 p.m. at Houston Texans


Week 9: Sun., Nov. 4, 1 p.m. vs. New York Jets

Week 10: Sun., Nov. 11, 1 p.m. at Green Bay Packers

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: Sun., Nov. 25, 1 p.m. at Indianapolis Colts


Week 13: Sun., Dec. 2, 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo Bills

Week 14: Sun., Dec. 9, 1 p.m. vs. New England Patriots

Week 15: Sun, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings

Week 16: Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 17: Sun., Dec. 30, 1 p.m. at Buffalo Bills

The Dolphins also have a tentative schedule for the preseason:

Week 1: Aug. 9-13 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2: Aug. 16-20 at Carolina Panthers
Week 3: Aug. 23-26 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 4: Aug. 30 or 31 at Atlanta Falcons

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2018 Miami Dolphins schedule: What requests did they make?

Just a normal day in Green Bay. (Getty Images)

All teams are welcome to submit scheduling requests to the NFL before it finalizes its plan for the season, but it’s unpredictable whether any of those can be accommodated. Mapping out 256 games in 32 cities (plus international games) is difficult enough without taking into account any potential conflicts with baseball or other events, let alone team preferences.

Understanding that, the Dolphins generally try to ask for as few considerations as possible, saving their requests for when they’re really necessary.

“Competitive factors come in first,” team president Tom Garfinkel said. “You want to have a bye week in the middle of the season. You want the games equal so you don’t have to play all your games in the snow in December and you don’t to miss out on the chance to play at home in September.

“If it’s an equal distribution and a fair schedule, you just go play the games.”

With that in mind, here are some notes on the Dolphins’ 2018 schedule, which will be released in two weeks:

–They’ve asked for a few years to open at home, something they haven’t done since 2014. Miami has started out on the road five times in the last six years.

The Dolphins were supposed to open at Hard Rock Stadium last season, but the game was postponed to November because of Hurricane Irma.

–The Dolphins asked that their Week 17 game, the final one of the season, be played on the road. That week is designated for divisional games, meaning Miami could play a significant AFC East road game in cold weather to close the year.

The reason for they asked for that is because the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium is a college football national semifinal Dec. 29. Last year, the Dolphins hosted the Orange Bowl on a Saturday night and the Buffalo Bills the next afternoon, which put some constraints on them.

“With a college football semifinal, you don’t want back-to-back games at 8 o’clock at night and one the next day,” Garfinkel said. “Those are the situations you try to save the big requests for.”

–Miami doesn’t have any away games west of the Central Time Zone, so there was no need for the organization to ask for any grouping on its road schedule. In the past, the Dolphins have tried to pair West Coast trips together in consecutive weeks so they could stay out west in between games.

–The Dolphins didn’t make any specific requests on their potential cold weather games. In addition to the annual visits to New England, Buffalo and the Jets, Miami will play outdoor games at Cincinnati and, most importantly, Green Bay. Garfinkel said the team didn’t ask for anything as it pertains to the timing of the Packers game.

This will be the seventh game the Dolphins have played at Lambeau Field, and the only times they’ve gone there late in the season were November 2002 (30 degrees) and December 1985 (18 degrees).

The non-division road schedule also includes dome games at Houston, Indianapolis and Minnesota.

–No matter how the schedule plays out, it can’t be tougher than last year. The 2017 season began with the displaced Dolphins opening in Los Angeles, then playing in New York and London the following two weeks.

“A lot of challenging things took place starting with the hurricane,” Garfinkel said. “We’re just looking forward to, hopefully, just having a normal season. No trips over the Atlantic. No big West Coast trips. Hopefully no hurricanes.”

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Miami Dolphins vying to host future Pro Bowls, NFL Draft at Hard Rock Stadium

A view of the 2008 NFL Draft in New York. (Getty Images)

As the Dolphins continue to build Hard Rock Stadium into a premier sports complex, they’ve inquired about hosting future Pro Bowls and getting a turn to hold the NFL Draft in South Florida.

While there is no indication that either event is headed here soon, team president Tom Garfinkel said the Dolphins are pursuing both.

“We want to bring as many great events as we can to Miami, so we’ll bid on everything that’s available,” he said.

The Pro Bowl was in Hawaii for 30 years before the Dolphins hosted it in 2010. That year and 2015, the NFL held the Pro Bowl at the Super Bowl site.

The league moved it to Orlando starting in 2017 and will play the third year of that deal at the end of the upcoming season. There has been no indication what the NFL will do beyond that.

The draft has also been jumping around the country since ending a 50-year run in New York. Chicago hosted it in 2015 and ’16, Philadelphia had it last year and it will be at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium next month.

The NFL has not awarded the 2019 draft, and the Dolphins would like to be considered.

“We put our name in the hat for all those things,” Garfinkel said.

The team is also looking to land 2026 men’s World Cup matches if a North American bid including the U.S., Canada and Mexico wins hosting rights.

That aside, Hard Rock Stadium is already set for several big events in addition to being the home field for the Dolphins and Hurricanes, the permanent site of the Orange Bowl (it’s a national semifinal this season) and the venue for the Miami Open tennis tournament beginning next year.

The 2020 Super Bowl is headed to Miami Gardens as a direct result of the hundreds of millions of dollars Stephen Ross put into the stadium, and college football’s National Championship Game is coming in 2021.

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Miami Dolphins expected to pursue hosting 2026 Super Bowl

The Saints won the last Super Bowl in South Florida, beating the Colts in 2010. (Gary Coronado/The Post)

ORLANDO—Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been open about his desire to bring as many big sporting events to South Florida as he can and it appears as though he’ll get a chance secure another Super Bowl relatively soon after hosting the 2020 game.

A league source said it is likely the next time the Miami area will be considered is 2026, making that year the obvious target for the Dolphins. That would be Super Bowl LX and it’d be a league-high 12th appearance in South Florida if the bid is successful.

The team is currently making plans for Super Bowl XLIV at Hard Rock Stadium, which will be its first time hosting since 2010. That Super Bowl will be of particular importance because it falls at the end of the NFL’s 100th anniversary season.

The most recent awarding of Super Bowls came in 2016. The league owners voted to put the game in Atlanta for the upcoming season, Miami Gardens the year after and Tampa in 2021. The 2022 Super Bowl was awarded to Los Angeles without accepting any other candidates because the area is building what will ultimately be a $5 billion stadium for the Rams and Chargers.

The league has not said when it will start the process for games in 2023 and beyond.

“When you look and see what we’re doing at Hard Rock and the events we are bringing, I mean certainly we recognize the importance of what it does for the community by bringing events to South Florida,” Ross said this morning. “I think that’s very important. I’ve always mentioned that and that’s why we renovated the stadium.”

Construction at the stadium has been a constant the past few years since Ross sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into a revamping it. It hosts the Orange Bowl every year, which will be a national semifinal this season, and recently won the rights to the 2021 championship game.

Ross also broke ground last week on a tennis venue that will be built on the south side of the property and be the permanent home of the Miami Open beginning a year from now. That project will add an elaborate promenade to the stadium grounds and a multi-purpose grandstand facility that will be used primarily for tennis but can be reconfigured for concerts and other events.

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Hard Rock Stadium enhancements add to Dolphins’ future Super Bowl bids

Hard Rock Stadium will host Super Bowl LIV. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS—When the Miami Open and Crandon Park arrived at an irreconcilable dispute over renovating the facility, it looked like the tennis tournament would be leaving after more than three decades as a premier sporting event in South Florida.

That was the genesis of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ dream, though. He’s always been intent on expanding Hard Rock Stadium into more than a football venue, and he hated the idea of the tournament relocating to another area. It didn’t take long for him to combine those two interests and pitch the Miami Open on moving to his property.

“I thought Steve was crazy,” Serena Williams said. “But Steve is a visionary.”

Ross, Williams and other key figures in the project were at the stadium this morning for a ground-breaking ceremony, and the tournament will debut on Hard Rock Stadium’s premises next March.

The main court will be a temporary structure on the football field, but the rest of the design is the real gem of the project. Everything Ross plans to build on what is currently parking space could make the stadium even more attractive as it bids for future Super Bowls and College Football Playoff games.

The Dolphins are already scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2020 (Super Bowl LIV) and the National Championship Game in 2021 and will continue pursuing those events as often as possible.

The Super Bowl is of the utmost importance and almost certainly wouldn’t be returning to South Florida if not for the $500 million Ross put into stadium renovations. This will be the first one since 2010, when the Saints beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

“We’re working on it, yeah,” Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel said of chasing future hosting rights. “We want to get one every chance we get. It’s very competitive, and we’re going to work to get as many as we can. We hope that everybody has such a great experience in 2020 that they want to bring more back.”

The upcoming Super Bowl will be in Atlanta’s new stadium, and the game goes to Tampa in 2021 and Los Angeles the year after. The next Super Bowl open for bids is the February 2023 game.

The next opening to host the college title game is 2024.

From 1968 through 2010, the Super Bowl was in South Florida on average about every four years and the next one will give the area an NFL-high 11 times hosting the game. The current gap between Super Bowl XLIV and LIV is the longest since the ‘80s.

The Miami Open might help. The tournament’s move necessitates a 6,000-seat grandstand and 28 other permanent tennis courts being built on the south side of the property. There are also plans for a large promenade that connects to the stadium and can be used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment and dining.

In addition to those more involved projects outside the stadium, the Dolphins are still tweaking the inside of the building. There won’t be any hugely noticeable renovations for the upcoming season, but the team still has subtle upgrades on its to-do list.

“There’s a lot of little things that we’re doing to continue to improve on, so I wouldn’t call it one big thing to showcase, but as we go around, people will notice a lot of little improvements,” Garfinkel said. “We’re fine-tuning a lot of things.”

“Steve really wants—If you walk around the stadium and see things that still don’t look like they’re brand new, we want to make them look brand new. There might be a floor that didn’t get redone and still looks old. Certain things that still look old, we’re gonna enhance them.”

The construction of tennis-related features could be an inconvenience during the upcoming season for the Dolphins and Hurricanes, but the team expects to smooth all of that out by early next year. The overall plan also includes resurfacing and upgrading the outer parking lots and putting in pedestrian bridges and tunnels connecting them to the stadium block.

The promenade has the versatility to accommodate all kinds of advertiser and fan needs for big events, and the grandstand stadium can easily be reconfigured for concerts and other activities.

All of those amenities could be a selling point for the Dolphins when they present plans for Super Bowls, and they’ll get a chance to put all of it on display two years from now.

“For sure,” Garfinkel said. “If you look at the south plaza that’s being created with fountains and landscaping, the whole area, the actual competition court… There’s a way to use it for Super Bowl and other big events like that that enhances the whole experience pre-game.”

That’s the coalescence Ross imagined when bringing the Miami Open to Hard Rock Stadium first became a possibility.

“What we do here in Miami, I think, will set the tone for the future of great sports,” he said. “It’s really about how you treat the fans and giving the great experience that they’re looking for.

“My objective was really to make Miami the sports capital and bring great events to Miami. We have all this land, and I figured there had to be a way to do it. We got the designers involved, and I don’t think you can have a venue like this. It’s going to be like no other.”

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Hard Rock Stadium parking won’t be perfect due to Miami Open, but changes coming

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross anticipates no problems with parking for football games this fall. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS—The grand plans to bring the Miami Open tennis tournament to Hard Rock Stadium look spectacular. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ vision to create a world-class sports venue is coming together, and if the actual facility looks close to the renderings on display at this morning’s ground breaking ceremony, it’ll be impressive.

But tennis is still the secondary purpose of this venue, and as the tournament proceeds toward a 2019 relocation from Key Biscayne, there are concerns about how the renovations will impact Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes home football games.

Parking is a chief issue. In addition to the main court inside the stadium, which will be built over the visiting sideline, there will be a permanent 6,000-seat grandstand court and 28 others built in the south parking lots. There’s also a large, triangular plaza being built that runs up to the south side of the stadium.

“First of all, in the future you’re not going to worry about it,” Ross said, half-jokingly. “You’re gonna have self-driving cars.

“But we’ve lowered the amount of seats we have in the stadium from 75,000 to 65,000, so we had excess parking to start with. I don’t think it will impact the parking at all.”

When the project is finished, that might be the case. In the meantime, though, the parking situation won’t be quite perfect for the Dolphins and UM this season.

The Dolphins have long had plans in the works to build pedestrian bridges and tunnels connecting the outer parking lots to the main part of the property, but those won’t be finished until March 2019. There are also plans to repave the outer lots prior to the upcoming season.

Some parts of the tennis facility, including practice courts, will be used for parking at football games and other sections can be converted to parking areas temporarily.

“We do lose some parking spaces right up next to the stadium,” Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel said. “We’re working on a plan to accommodate the fans who are displaced.

“We had ample parking for 75,000 and now we’re down to 65,000 seats. We lose some parking, but we still have plenty of parking and we’re planning on making the parking lots nicer and more accessible to everybody.”

For the Miami Open, it’s a massive increase from 5,447 fan parking spaces to 17,459.

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Inside Hard Rock Stadium’s flip from Orange Bowl to Dolphins-Bills

Hard Rock Stadium has its hands full this weekend. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS—When fans get into Hard Rock Stadium for the Dolphins’ season finale Sunday afternoon, they’ll hardly be able to tell that 65,000 rabid college football fans partied there late into the previous night for the Orange Bowl.

“You hope they don’t,” said Todd Boyan, the man overseeing what will be a massive changeover. “You hope when people come in it’s clean… The mission is not to see any of that.”

The “mission” for Boyan, the vice president of stadium operations, is to navigate hosting the University of Miami and Wisconsin for Saturday night’s Orange Bowl, then have the facility ready for Dolphins-Bills the following afternoon. Other than the faint “greened out” hash marks from the college field, it should look like any other Dolphins game.

The stadium likely won’t clear out from the bowl game, replete with a halftime show and post-game ceremony, until after midnight. Dolphins players and staff likely will begin arriving around noon Sunday, leaving a window of about 12 hours for a crew of approximately 400 people to get every aspect of the building flipped—switching out signage, clearing the parking lots, converting merchandise stores, redressing locker rooms, hauling however much trash 65,000 people produce and prepping the playing field itself.

Hard Rock Stadium isn’t usually in this severe of a time crunch, which became slightly less stressful when the NFL bumped Dolphins-Bills from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. Last year the building had two days in between these games, and it’s a non-issue any year in which the Dolphins end their season on the road. The Orange Bowl used to be played Jan. 1 or later, so this wasn’t a problem then.

The most difficult and most scrutinized element of this operation will be the field, which typically has a large Orange Bowl emblem in the center and Capital One logos on each 25-yard line. They also fully paint an end zone for each school and stage the post-game presentation on the field, but that will be slightly different this year because of the Dolphins playing the next day.

The most noticeable modification related to the tight turnaround will be the change to the end zones. Because each one is 4,800 square feet, the staff would not be able to replace it between games, so the mutually agreed upon solution was to paint them in a way that works for both games: a white argyle pattern similar to the one the Dolphins used for their Monday Night Football game against New England this month.

“It’s the Orange Bowl’s preference to always make the pageantry the best it can be, but we just said we can’t do it,” Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel said. “We just can’t. If the situation was reversed and the NFL game was the night before, we would do the same thing.”

That’s essentially what the grounds crew does when the Hurricanes and Dolphins play back-to-back as well, going with simply MIAMI in the end zones for both games.

For a reference point on how difficult it would be to redo a full end zone, the logo in the center of the field, which is substantially smaller, takes 4-5 hours to pull up, re-sod and repaint. If there’s rain, by the way, Boyan’s crew uses a tent to shelter that part of the field.

While this surely wasn’t great news to the Orange Bowl organizers, they agreed it was the most logical compromise.

“We knew it was important to have a safe field for Dolphins-Bills, so we got together with them and came up with a solution that works for everybody,” spokesman Larry Wahl said. “We’ll do a lot of the team branding on the sidelines and bench areas.”

Dealing with some occasional snags like this is more than worth it for the Orange Bowl considering how much the Dolphins have improved the stadium over the past few years. Those renovations are part of what has kept this game as one of the crown jewels of the college bowl season.

“It’s a big upgrade,” Wahl said. “It’s been well-received by the schools and our key stakeholders. It gives us the wow factor like the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and the game in Atlanta.”

The Orange Bowl will also contain Andy Grammer’s halftime performance and the post-game trophy presentation to the sideline, reducing the amount of foot traffic on the field.

Playing conditions were an issue for Hard Rock Stadium earlier this season when it hosted games on consecutive days, but that problem appears to be solved since switching to a new sod vendor in early November. The Dolphins’ home games after that point have been fine, including the Nov. 19 game against Tampa Bay when the Hurricanes had played the day before.

“It’s not gonna be 500 people dancing on the field because we have to preserve the integrity of the field for Sunday,” Garfinkel said. “We don’t anticipate a problem with the field based on the playing of the game. Obviously if we get torrential downpours during the game, that’s going to affect it to some degree, but we don’t anticipate the game itself causing a problem for the field.”

Another big project is the Orange Bowl’s fan fest, which takes over a section of the parking lot used for Dolphins games. Dismantling that facility begins right around kickoff and it should be cleared out by midnight.

Banners and sideline signage is fairly routine at Hard Rock Stadium because everything the Dolphins use is permanent, and everything the Hurricanes and Orange Bowl utilize are banners that drape over top of that.

“A lot of the stuff that goes up is easily removable,” Boyan said. “There’s a lot of good planning.”

The stadium has three locker rooms: two for NFL teams and an auxiliary one. The Hurricanes usually use the visiting NFL locker room, but for the Orange Bowl the ACC team always goes in the Dolphins’ and the opponent is housed in the other NFL room. Those will be decorated for the Orange Bowl and need to be fully redone for Dolphins-Bills.

One way the Dolphins could attempt to avoid having to rush through this transition would be requesting to play away the final week of the season—there’s no guarantee the NFL would be able to honor that anyway—but that could create a competitive disadvantage for the team. Week 17 is always a divisional matchup, and the Dolphins would rather not play a meaningful game on the road, especially in the northeast at this time of year.

“We prefer not to be playing back-to-back with the Orange Bowl, but obviously the TV contracts dictate the schedules for both sides a lot,” Garfinkel said. “The NFL sets the schedule, not us… We’re not gonna be home every year, so if the NFL is going to schedule us away, we’d rather them do it the years when we have an Orange Bowl close by, and we let them know that.”

As tough as the transition will be this weekend, Boyan and the stadium have tackled bigger challenges. Back when the Marlins played here, they had to convert it from baseball to football and back every August and September.

In September 2014, the venue hosted a Brazil-Colombia soccer match on a Friday night, the Hurricanes’ game the next day and the Dolphins had their opener against New England on Sunday. An estimated total of 200,000 people filed in and out of Hard Rock Stadium.

This one won’t be easy, but it won’t be nearly as strenuous as that weekend. The stadium crew expects everything to go smoothly, and as Boyan said, hopefully no one will be able to tell any of this took place.

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No major damage to Hard Rock Stadium; Dolphins, Hurricanes can play

Hard Rock Stadium has no major issues related to Hurricane Irma. (Getty Images)
Hard Rock Stadium sustained no structural damage during Hurricane Irma over the weekend and is ready to host the upcoming Dolphins and University of Miami home games.

Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel announced on Twitter this morning that the stadium held up well during the storm. The team had engineers perform a thorough inspection of the venue, and they signed off on it to proceed with events as scheduled. Video released by the team during the storm showed many fallen trees on the exterior part of the venue.

Garfinkel confirmed landscaping damage and said the stadium lost a section of roof panels, but downplayed those issues as “aesthetic in nature and easy to fix.” The roof problem was likely caused by a tornado touching down on the property, the engineers reported.

The Hurricanes played their season opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 2 and will host Toledo there Sept. 23, and Garfinkel said specifically it will be fully operational for that game.

UM was scheduled to play at Arkansas State last Saturday, but that game was canceled. The ACC also rescheduled the Hurricanes’ game at Florida State, originally this weekend, to Oct. 7.

The Dolphins were supposed to open the season at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday, but that game was rescheduled to the mutual bye week. They will meet in Miami Gardens on Nov. 19.

The team is currently practicing in Oxnard, Calif., in advance of their game against the Chargers. They play at the Jets the following week and in London against the Saints on Oct. 1.

Miami’s first home game will be Oct. 8 against Tennessee, the franchise’s latest home opener since 1987. This week’s game at Los Angeles marks the fifth time in the past six years the Dolphins have started on the road.

Garfinkel also said the team’s practice facility in Davie is in good condition and will be available when the team returns from California on Monday. There was a fallback plan to practice in West Virginia next week if necessary.

During the storm’s approach, Dolphins staff members took down awnings in Davie and deflated the indoor practice bubble.

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Dolphins to install new field at Hard Rock Stadium before Miami Hurricanes opener

It was a rough night for the turf at Hard Rock Stadium. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

MIAMI GARDENS—The Dolphins will redo the entire playing field at Hard Rock Stadium with new sod in advance of their season opener and the University of Miami’s.

The grass did not hold up well for Thursday’s preseason game against Baltimore, with players occasionally losing their footing and much of the field being covered in divots. There have been ongoing issues with the turf lately, particularly with hosting El Clasico and scrimmages by both football teams that use the building.

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Given the shape it was in after UM’s scrimmage Saturday, the Dolphins believed their best shot at having the field up to their standards in time for the Ravens game was to lay new sod. That plan didn’t work, obviously. The main problem was heavy rain in South Florida this week, which hindered the sod from fully taking hold.

The grass will be ripped out of Hard Rock Stadium in advance of the Coldplay concert Aug. 28–the event has been on the calendar since last October, so the Dolphins have had ample time to plan. By clearing the field prior to the show, which would have surely ruined it anyway, the Dolphins are able to install new grass as early as possible. For the concert, the stadium will use a plastic covering over the bare ground.

That schedule will set up four days between the concert and the Hurricanes’ Sept. 2 opener against Bethune-Cookman, then there’s another week to replenish it leading up to the Dolphins’ opener Sept. 10. The Dolphins also intend to use a different strain of grass than the one that faltered Thursday and are fully confident the field will be impeccable for UM’s game.

The field at Hard Rock Stadium is usually among the best in the league, even as the Dolphins share the venue with UM. It’ll help that there are only two weekends in which the teams play on back-to-back days this season. The Hurricanes host Syracuse on Oct. 21, followed by Dolphins-Jets at 1 p.m. the next day. The Hurricanes also face Virginia Tech on Nov. 4, and the Dolphins play Oakland the next night.

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