To accommodate fans celebrating Rosh Hashana, the NFL announced it would move up the Dolphins’ home opener against the Raiders to 1 p.m. It was originally scheduled to kickoff at 4:15 p.m.
There had been a shift to later September starts the past few years so fans could avoid the heat, but the Dolphins will now play both September home games at 1 p.m. Since the team moved to Sun Life Stadium in 1987, Miami has been tough to beat in 1 p.m. September home games, posting an impressive 18-5 record.
Former Dolphins tight end Troy Drayton remembers one game in particular–a 21-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1998–where he knew the South Florida heat gave the team an advantage.
“It was hot and humid that day,” Drayton said. “I looked down at the other end of the field, and Jerome Bettis was down there sucking wind in warmups. He was spraying water over his head, and I said, ‘This game is won.’”
Of course, this advantage can be flipped when the season bleeds into November and December. For every scorching early-season game the Dolphins host, there’s sure to be a game at the end of the schedule when they have to stave off cold conditions. There are ways you can fight extreme temperatures on both ends of the spectrum, but Drayton thinks it’s tougher to beat the heat.
“You can always prepare for the cold. You can always put on more clothing,” Drayton said. “You can’t take off any more clothing than you already have on, so it definitely plays to the Miami Dolphins’ advantage.”
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