I love sports so when we were planning our trip to Orlando, Florida I wanted to see some American sports. An NFL match was top of the list.
I had a spreadsheet set up. An actual, detailed spreadsheet. I’d send this over to my girlfriend on a fairly regular basis. She’d always say when she received it that it was the highlight of her day. Or she promptly deleted it without looking at it. I can’t remember which of those exactly, my memory fails me!
I’d not really paid much attention to the NFL but a friend used to go on about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so I thought I should pick a team to follow! The easiest team for us to get to was the Miami Dolphins. They would be my team. I had little knowledge of them but they’d be my adopted NFL side. The aqua and white side had one new fan! I’m sure this news would spur the team on when I would come to visit! Here was how I arranged my trip to watch the Miami Dolphins.
Buying American Football Tickets
I have a season ticket at a football (soccer) side in Scotland and it costs me around £450 ($590) a year for around 20 games. The average cost of an NFL ticket surprised me somewhat! We decided on attending the Miami Dolphins versus New York Jets on 22 October 2017. Tickets for the match were readily available on the official Miami Dolphins website through Ticketmaster.
I was in charge of booking so I decided to go for the third tier in the Hard Rock Stadium and they were on the lower end of the ticket prices – $108 (£82) each. The tickets ranged from around $75 (£57) to $350 (£267) for one game. I think I’d need to take out a loan to buy a decent season ticket at the Dolphins! The only available option was to print out at home which wasn’t an issue for us. I would’ve quite liked a traditional ticket but it’s cheaper this way I guess.
The Matchday Experience
We got an Uber from our hotel in South Beach and we were a bit tight for time so only managed to see the end of the massive tailgate party. The stadium itself holds around 65,000 but it can be quite breezy in the top tier. Our tickets were in section 320 which is central with a good view of the pitch. I did miss most of the good pre match entertainment trying to get food and beer! What I did see was standard American affair and I was back in my seat for the national anthem. 64,998 people singing The Star-Spangled Banner is something else!
One thing that surprised me was the number of New York Jets fans in amongst the home crowd and just the number of away fans in general. There was a bit of friendly banter which turned a bit with an early Jets touchdown. The Dolphins were down 21-14 at half time and it didn’t look too great!
At half time we were treated to a showing of the ‘winningest’ 1972 Super Bowl winning Miami Dolphins team. They are the only team to win the Super Bowl with a perfect record, winning 17 games. What a feat! This was the first of the two Super Bowls that the Dolphins have won. The second and last Super Bowl win was a year later in 1973.
The Jets went 28-14 up in the third quarter and it looked like a disappointing first NFL game for me. Some brilliant throws from Matt Moore in the last quarter turned it right round. A late field goal from the Dolphins meant they won 31-28. What an end to my first live NFL game!
Our research before the match suggested we use the Uber Zone at the stadium to get back after the match. After the game finished we decided to head there. Worst. Decision. Ever. The Uber Zone was basically a big tent with hundreds of people rammed in, all trying to book an Uber. We managed to get one at around $37 (£28). This is great we thought – we’re doing better than everyone else. Nope. The driver cancelled on us when he was just a few minutes away. I try again, it’s gone up to $57 (£43) and he calls to say the roads are closed and he can’t get there, after starting the meter… Uber staff sorted that out for us. Luckily, stadium staff came over and suggested we get one of their buses to South Beach. $10 (£8) each and we were off!
Tip: Do not use the Uber Zone until they fix the issues! Too many people trying to get Ubers with police closing roads makes it difficult to get anywhere.
All in all it was a really enjoyable experience; Americans really know how to ‘do sports’. I’ll definitely be back when I next can. I’ll also be following my new NFL team closely! Have you taken a trip to watch the Miami Dolphins or any other NFL team?
2022 Update: I did actually see the Miami Dolphins at Wembley in 2021 too where we lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars by a last minute field.
Generally I am not a big fan of watching games, but I would totally go for an NFL match, thanks for the great, detailed description!
Ps.: My boyfriend does the same with the spreadsheets, and I do just like your girlfriend 😀
Haha that made me laugh! Maybe I overuse spreadsheets, I just like to be prepared!
Looks like it was a awesome experience, very different to what you used to back home! Except the Uber but that is understandable and look you have now become a fan!
This look like must see experience. For us from Europe, football is still main sport, but definitely if I ever go to USA i want to see NBA, NFL and NHL games.
Exactly! I thought I’d immerse myself in American sports for this trip!
I’ll be honest, I’m not a sports fan so can’t relate to this! However, I’ve seen a few sporting events live and the energy is unreal. Good tip on the uber zone, I’ll remember it for when I do go!
Personally, I do not watch many games – neither in a stadium nor on the tv (I rather do sports than watch others do them). Football games when there’s EM & WM of course, and sometimes even the Superbowl since I got some american-football-crazy friends 😉 Yet I think everyone should at least once in their life visit a game “in real life”: Visited a handful of football and ice-hockey games till now and the atmosphere was in both quite different (yet still intense). Are there also chants like in the football games?
There wasn’t too much chanting actually but the volume ramped up on 4th downs and at touchdowns. There was a bit of gentle banter between fans but completely different to ‘our Football/soccer’!
I’ve always wanted to go to an NFL game, but never been able to time my trips to The States quite right! I think its such a cool part of American culture though, and looks like a lot of fun 🙂
It’s such a great experience! The college games are supposed to be equally good and much, much cheaper
I’ve been to see a UK football but by the sound of NFL ticket I wouldn’t be seeing any game anytime soon, that’s so expensive- I can organise another European low cost flight with that ticket cost.
The prices are so high! Which as I’ve said is odd because the stadium is so large! Surely they could lower the price?!
The Miami Dolphins stadium is huge! I can’t believe how much tickets are considering how many seats they have. Still it’s a once in a lifetime experience so well worth it.
I was exactly the same. I assumed ticket prices would be cheaper because of the massive stadiums but no! I’m guessing people are willing to pay and it’s quite a short season so they need to bring in $$$
Same with Anna. Perhaps it because football is not really popular here in the Philippines. Nevertheless, I would like to see games in a stadium like this. Makes us enjoy the revelry and participate in American sports culture.
I wasn’t a massive fan before and had to do a bit of watching beforehand but the whole experience was amazing. I’d definitely recommend it if you get a chance
I’d like to reserve a holiday just for immersing myself in American sports. Huge fan of football and would love to see NFL game. The Miami Dolphins stadium looks super huge and amazing.