GARDENS OF MIAMI, FLORIDA
— Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, stood at the podium, exuding the confidence of a proud father talking about his star quarterback son.
His newest child, the Dolphins’ $135 million practice facility, was unveiled to the public on Tuesday, with business partners, employees, and members of the media touring the facility that will serve as the team’s new home.
It’s a considerable step up from the Dolphins’ training camp and practices at Nova Southeastern in Davie, Florida, where they’ve been since 1993.
Among the many features of the new Baptist Health Training Complex are an indoor turf field, two outdoor natural grass fields, a player’s lounge, four pools (two hydrotherapy, one lap, and one hydroworks with an underwater treadmill), and a 30-foot slide.
Indeed, there is a slide, but it will be discussed later.
Ross couldn’t help but drop a few not-so-subtle signals as he discussed team president and CEO Tom Garfinkel’s vision for bringing the Dolphins’ facility to life. He expects this major investment to be the latest splash toward bringing a title home to Miami.
“One of the things I stated when I acquired the football team was, ‘We want to do as much as we possibly can for the community, we want to be the best in class in the NFL, and we want to win the Super Bowl,'” Ross said.
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The Dolphins should no longer be considered a rebuilding team after a 10-6 season in which they just missed the playoffs.
It’s time to compete, and this facility gives them the tools they need.
“You’re never going to win if you can’t win with a facility like this,” Ross remarked.
The indoor field Credit Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins Garfinkel and Ross have had this design in mind for several years, but work on the 217,200-square-foot facility started in August 2019 and has been wrapping up in the last few days.
The steel field house is a two-story indoor facility with a cardio deck on the upper level.
Given the likelihood of downpours in South Florida, the team’s ability to use the indoor aspect is a valuable tool.
Furthermore, the facility’s landscaping comprises approximately 16,000 flowers and bushes, 210 palm trees, and 128 total trees.
The Dolphins’ primary leaders (from left to right, starting with Grier (with the hat), Flores, Ross, and Garfinkel) have high expectations. Photo courtesy of Carlos Goldman/ Miami Dolphins
They all have various responsibilities, and the opening of the Baptist Health Facility Complex has brought the football and business worlds even closer together than before.
However, in the end, it’s still about winning on the field.
“We got a lot of help from Chris Grier and Brian Flores, and now it’s up to them to deliver.”
Guys, we delivered.
I haven’t felt anything in a long time.
“I’m a firm believer in them,” Ross stated.
On Tuesday, the Dolphins’ locker room Cameron Wolfe/ESPN players report to training camp, and all eyes will be on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as he enters Year 2 of his career.
Miami will go as far as he wants, and Tagovailoa will walk into a brand-new locker room that rivals some of the most luxurious we’ve seen in recent years in college football, such as LSU’s $20 million renovation.
Tagovailoa’s locker is near the end of one row, next to that of backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
The new facility provides an beautiful perspective with Hard Rock Stadium in the background, and the outdoor fields seat up to 2,200 fans in the shade. Credit Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins
That will come in useful for training camp sessions in the Miami heat in late July and August.
On the berm in the far end zone, another 800 supporters can be accommodated.
The first of 13 public training camp practices will take place on July 31; all will begin at 10:10 a.m.
ET — as well as the August
There will be 18-19 joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons.
The players’ lounge is another modern addition inside the practice facility, courtesy of Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins.
It has luxurious couches, televisions, darts, and a separate barbershop where players may have their fades every Friday before game day.
Dick Anderson and Nat Moore, two Dolphins icons, inspected the facility on Tuesday and joked (or were they serious?) about past players being able to use some of the advantages.
This Dolphins facility is vastly different from what Anderson and Moore saw while playing in the 1960s and 1980s, respectively.
Garfinkel, Ross, and others in the business department toured facilities across the country a few years ago to get ideas for developing the “greatest facility in the NFL,” and Ross fell in love with a custom-built slide inside the Clemson Tigers’ facility.
As a result, the owner gets exactly what he wants.
The Dolphins’ slide provides a delightful distraction in what may be a stressful situation.
Ross has slid down it, as have a few other players.
“I’m hoping the players are motivated to win,” Ross remarked.
“It takes all of these minor aspects to put together a fantastic company that is used to winning and winning frequently,” says the speaker. Here’s a pro tip for the slide: don’t wear jeans for maximum speed.
No significant Dolphins event would be complete without Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino in attendance, courtesy of Carlos Goldman/ Miami Dolphins.
He was one of 15 former Dolphins players in attendance for the facility’s grand inauguration, and after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ross cried out “he’s coming back” in reference to Marino, who replied, “you can’t afford me.”
GARDENS OF MIAMI, FLORIDA