Sun Life Stadium
Groundbreaking ceremonies on the Miami Dolphins Stadium took place on December 1, 1985. The stadium was initially named "Joe Robbie Stadium," but team management later decided to sell the naming rights to a variety of companies. As a result, the home of the Miami Dolphins was once known as the Pro Player Stadium (1996), Dolphin's Stadium (2005), Land Shark Stadium (2009), and finally Sun Life Stadium (2010). The venue has hosted a variety of major events including Super Bowls, CFS National Championships, major concerts, and even WrestleMania. February 4, 2007 Tony Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl. Dungy was the "second" African American head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. The first was Lovie Smith with the Chicago Bears who sent his team to the Super Bowl earlier two weeks before.
Backstory and Context
Sun Life Stadium has played host many historic events throughout the past three decades. Groundbreaking took place in 1985 on what would initially be known as Joe Robbie Stadium. In August of 1987, the first of many games for the Miami Dolphins was played and the following year the first Major League Baseball game was played with an exhibition game between Los Angeles Dodgers and the Baltimore Orioles. In July of 1988, Rod Stewart, Hall and Oates, and Chicago gave a concert named "Happy Birthday America, '88," Super Bowl XXIII, was the first NFL Championship held at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1989.1
In 1991, Major League Baseball announced that a new expansion team,Florida Marlins, would play in Joe Robbie Stadium starting in 1993. Although July of 1991, was the official announcement for South Florida's new Marlins team, seats were already being taken out and renovated in January. Huizenga took full ownership of the Dolphins and Joe Robbie Stadium in 1994. The XXIX Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers became the second Super Bowl to be played in Joe Robbie Stadium.
In 1996, a renaming of the stadium had taken place with Pro Player, a Fruit of the Loom company, given the rights to call the stadium, Pro Player Stadium. Many companies now were using sponsorship money to put their names on stadiums and arenas across the nation. In 2005, Huizenga changed the name to Dolphin Stadium and began a $250 million renovation the next year. The stadium changed its name in 2009 to Land Shark Stadium and the most recent name change came in 2010 to what is now called Sun Life Stadium.
Sun Life Stadium is home now to the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes and the annual Fed Ex Orange Bowl. Plans were announced and have started taking place in 2014 for another renovation over the next two years with a completion in 2016. The Sun Life Stadium will replace seats and add a canopy over 92% of the fans in the stadium.3 "The modernization will include a weather canopy and upgrades to suites, premium seating and entertainment space, along with a redesign of the main seating bowl."4 The renovation cost $400 million with most of the financing coming from county taxes.
Sun Life Stadium is where Tony Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl when the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17. The game featured the first African American head coaches to ever be in the Super Bowl. Lovie Smith, head coach for the Bears, led his team to a 13-3 record, the NFC's best. Dungy led his Colts to a 12-4 record that year. Dungy got the Colts back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 36 years.
Dungy's team was down 14-6 through the first quarter. Dungy and Peyton Manning led the Colts to outscore the Bears 23-3 through the remainder of the game. Many thought after the Bears took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown that the Colts were in for a long game. Dungy rallied his team together and found a way to win.
1 http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/history/boxscore/sbxxiii 2 http://www.sunlifestadium.com/stadium-historical-dates 3 http://www.newmiamistadium.com/ 4 http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article5451048.html 5 https://americanfootball.fandom.com/wiki/Super_Bowl_XLI