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Orange carpet opening: Miami Dolphins on MNF

The Steve Ross' edition of the Miami Dolphins had its coming out party at Land Shark Stadium Monday night. Fans, celebrities and team officials said the pregame buzz had a Super Bowl feel.

The stadium has been jazzed up with the brightly-colored work of artist Romero Britto. Fans were dressed in all manner of aqua and orange. Some wore grass skirts or had fins fashioned from balloons atop their heads. (What’s up with the Luche Libre masks?) A wakeboarding demonstration was held in the Grand Plaza on the stadium’s south side; Land Shark T-shirts and hats were sold in the newly revamped team store; and vendors hawked Land Shark Lagers like old-fashioned cigarette sellers.

Jimmy Buffett performed a concert outside Gate F and team owner Ross joined him onstage. Buffett had already rewritten his hit Fins to honor the Dolphins and on Monday he added this verse: “Fins to my left, fins to my right, we’re going to dine on horsemeat tonight.”

Dozens of fans flanked the orange carpet near Gate G to wait for celebrities to arrive. The buzz and excitement were palpable. Fans lined up several deep strained to get a glimpse of the team's limited partners and Dolphins alumni. They cheered, snapped photos and hoped for autographs.

Among the earliest to arrive was Dan Marino, who served as an honorary captain Monday for the coin toss. He got huge applause and cheers.

"I like the attention," Marino said.

"This is better than any premiere," singer and team limited partner Gloria Estefan said when she walked the orange carpet with her husband producer Emilio Estefan.

It had a Hollywood or awards show opening meets sporting event at Miami Gardens venue feel. Other Dolphins alumni included Mark Duper, Dick Anderson, Troy Drayton, Shawn Wooden. Three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves entered on the orange carpet and said he liked both the Colts (Indy - after all) and Dolphins.

Others entering on the orange carpet included Mark and Robin Levinson of Levinson Jewelers, shoe magnate Donald Pliner and his wife Lisa, and Dolphins Vice Chairman and Ross' business partner Jorge Perez and his wife Darlene.

Hip hop singer T-Pain, who made a much-maligned autotune version of the team's fight song, walked the orange carpet with the biggest entourage of the night. "I'm very excited. I want some nachos," he said. "I'm ready to see some good football."

Meanwhile, Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco were in attendance. Castroneves and Ocho Cino took photos from their seats and posted them on Twitter.

And Tiger Woods watched the game's first half from the Indianapolis Colts' sideline.

Buffett's Fins was played after the team scored. The original fight song was played between the third and fourth quarters.

Categories: Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), Sports Team Owners (49)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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