As Ryan Tannehill
walked into an autograph session last Saturday at the Dolphins' inaugural Fin Fest celebration, a crowd of fans in the Sun Life Stadium concourse caught sight of Miami's newly minted first-round quarterback and rained greetings on him. "Good luck, Ryan!" said one. "Need you, Tannehill!" said another. And one voice said, "Better be good!"
Not every team in the NFL has to do what the Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross did last Saturday: open the home stadium to fans and let them roam free on the turf, kick field goals, throw passes, tour the locker rooms, meet players. But in Miami, where the Dolphins have made the playoffs just once in the last 10 years, fewer than half of the stadium's 75,000 seats have been sold to season-ticket holders, and the team has failed repeatedly in attempts to bring in big-name players or coaches who could fire up the fan base. "The apathy is high," said former Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper, who covers sports for Miami's CBS TV affiliate. "After failing to get so many guys they went afteróJim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher, Peyton Manningóthey've lost the benefit of the doubt with the fans. These fans are dying for someone to believe in."