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The Disappearing Miami heat advantage

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by padre31, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    The Miami Dolphins used to be known for two things:

    1. Don Shula's lantern jaw on the sideline.

    2. Fast starts, due to the brutal heat of September and early October South Florida.

    Unfortunately, both are long gone, the heat used to literally sap the life out of opposing players, especially defensive linemen 300 pd men trying to run full speed in 95 degree heat and 100 percent humidity for 20 minutes leads to very tired defensive lineman when the 4th qtr rolls around.

    The slide first started in 2004, after our string of 11 straight home opener victories, the magic left. But why?

    If we look back at the years prior to 2003, our roster was in it's prime, with the JJ selections still performing at a high level, and the Wanny picks still not doing much, the heat was still in play, (The miami heat was so infamous the NFL scheduled only late afternoon games when the sun was setting to try and mitigate the heat edge).

    Wanny was let go in 2004 after a terrible start and the slide continued, Wanny was known as a players coach, some thought maybe he let the roster grow soft.

    But that can't be completely true, Saban was a hard driving task master, yet he never once had a good start to either season he was here. What Saban did do, was bring in veteran offensive and defensive lineman, guys who will wear down in the heat, our advantage was turned against us.

    The problem was made worse when the Wanny picks fully busted, that meant we had old vets manning key positions, the situation was made worse with Cam's Club Med training camp along with not playing the vets in the heat of the preseason, that was a formula for disaster.

    We watched our Heat advantage slip away, we went 4-12 the last four seasons in our early games, the ones that we normally had nailed down, our advantage had dissipated, through age and lack of understanding of the conditions in September in Miami, and what it takes to be ready to play in early September.

    Some blame has been laid at the feet of the "Bubble" our indoor facility, that is not the case, our advantage slid away in 2003-2004 the Bubble did not exist until 2006. I do think it is a part of the problem as it encourages a mentality that allows for not dealing with the conditions on a given day, for me, that is unacceptable.

    Now here is "Why" this season will be different, Sparano and Parcells have let it be known that the early workouts, are expected to be attended, and the releasing of the 8 players, mostly the sort of veteran Olineman who had failed us during our streak, are now gone, the three certain starters are all well under 30, we also got younger on the Dline.

    Some interesting reading on the results of the loss of that huge advantage:

    http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_football_dolphins/2007/09/dolphins-losing.html

    Now this is how things were before the slide:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/06/s...AND&adxnnlx=1190298916-yTdfaWn5D2YoO0oMcJralg
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
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  2. Disgustipate

    Disgustipate Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    The bubble thing also doesnt make any sense as neither Saban nor Cameron really used it for much more than hosting practices that would normally be lost due to the massive amounts of afternoon thunderstorms passing through Davie during camp/preseason time of the year, and to simulate certain sound situations, etc.

    When the team is decent the heat advantage will return.
     
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  3. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    I don't like the Bubble because it allows our players not to have to deal with the situation in front of them, they can have a "plan B", I don't like that, to me, it means that they are thinking about moving the practice if things get tough.

    The Heat used to be as large an advantage as the snow and ice are for the Bills and Pats and Jets, I think we will get it back, starting this season.
     
  4. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    The thing that makes me question that is the consistency of the slide, we are 4-12 in early games (presumably Sept and early Oct) that is four seasons of watching that slide.

    The only constant is we had old veteran Offensive lineman and Defensive linemen.
     
  5. Larryfinfan

    Larryfinfan 17-0...Priceless Club Member

    Padre, thanks for the post. You put a lot into it, but to be perfectly honest, what has really changed is that our teams just haven't been as good, especially offensively as they were in earlier years. During the time you're talking about, Marino ran DBs and LBers up and down the field, tiring them out by later in the game...Before Marino, the offense wore down other teams with the run game...

    Since then, we've mostly been a finesse team, that was soft on offense. Wanny's play not to lose strategy has never been a way to go...but that's how he ran things...Couple that with his horrible personnel moves, brought us up to Saban and Cam's time where we just didn't have the talent to stay with most teams...
     
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  6. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Funny how the advantage slipped away the year Ricky "retired", it literally melted.

    Since then, it has Rb by committee or journeymen or star Rb who was quickly injured.

    Or a HC who didn't understand the implications of not playing veterans in the preseason to prepare them for the heat.

    Statistically, that sort of turnaround is uncommon, 4-12 after winning 12 home openers in a row?
     
  7. bran

    bran Senior Member

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    i do think the heat advantage needs to comeback i remember seeing players on the bills and jets just lose all kinds of energy

    especially after half time the looks on there faces used to be priceless while the fins would be jogging out of the locker room the bills and jets would be walking and just looking very tired

    they will get it back
     
  8. Miamifan1354

    Miamifan1354 Not Good Enough.

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    Completely agree. There was a time when this team could make the D run all over just trying to cover guys. Lately, we've become very predictable. That would be find if we had a punishing run game, but we just don't. I think with a healthy Ronnie Brown, and a decent line, we could have that again. It's just that in the last few years, it hasn't been there.
     
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  9. gafinfan

    gafinfan gunner Club Member

    I think the bubble can be a help or a problem according to how it's used. Just like anyother tool it's not good or bad. Really heavy rains or thunderstorms I'd use it; other than that I'd work out on the outside be it wet or dry. :up:
     
  10. Fin-Omenal

    Fin-Omenal Initiated

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    Its OUR defense that gets tired from the multiple 3 and outs our offense provides us at any point of the year.
     
  11. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    And that used to be reversed, in the Halycon Days, it was an all day affair for miami to drive down the field and score, and our defense played zone and did not give up big plays, you had to grind it out to score as well.

    That extension of the game helped the heat to work to our advantage, as long as we were in shape that is.

    Funny thing is, if we look back at the SB, the Patriots looked drained at the end of the game, they closed the roof out in the desert and the heat and humidity in the then closed stadium sucked the life right out of them.
     
  12. PhinsRock

    PhinsRock Premium Member Luxury Box

    Great post, thanks. I have said several times in earlier threads that I believe we get that heat advantage back this season with the new tough conditioning program. Some youth won't hurt either. The bubble is a good thing, not a bad one, so long as you only use it when you would otherwise have to cancel a practice due to lightning. If that's the only time you use it, then the bubble is great because you get in practices that otherwise wouldn't happen, so it contributes to your conditioning.

    Dallas and Oakland both train in Thousand Oaks, CA where the weather is not very hot so I disagree with the theory those teams have the same heat advantage. And Oakland is by no means a "hot" climate.

    Our September heat advantage comes back this season, but only if we field a decent team out there. It may actually take a season before we really see that advantage come back fully, because we are not likely to win very many games this season. JMHO, and I sure hope I'm wrong about that.
     
  13. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Well Phinsrock, our track record shows that the last time we had a major rebuild ala JJ in 1996, we did rebound...and we had a similar jettisoning of older players, so it is not an impossibility.

    Whatever happened in 2004, man, it really sticks out as the year that the Dolphins headed south, the difference in records is amazing.

    This is funny, I used to measure our progress based on how we did against the Bills, now, it is that early season game against the Texans, when we defeat them, we have a good season, when we lose, we will stink.
     
  14. emocomputerjock

    emocomputerjock Senior Member

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    The article is right in that technology is part of the reason the heat advantage has been lost...but the wrong technology is pointed to.

    Now, both the benches and pads are cooled and heated, completely nullifying any advantage weather has on the game. Indeed, unless it's a game like the Buffalo/Cleveland game last year, how hot or cold it is has no effect on the game at all.

    Personally, I'm not surprised at all that the NFL allows such things to happen. They can talk about how cold or hot it is at gametime, show the crazy fans out with no shirts on, and otherwise play up the adversity of having a game in the conditions...and then have a great game on the field because the team isn't affected by it.

    Reason #2 for our "advantage" disappearing? The team stinks. We've had so many new coaches and new systems installed this decade that the first half of the season is dedicated to people trying to figure out what they should be doing on the field. We're bound to lose a lot of games.
     
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  15. Roman529

    Roman529 Senior Member

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    Both teams have to play in the same weather....it is just like when teams play in the cold. I think blaming the weather for losses or wins is just an excuse.
     
  16. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    The advantage was clear cut, it used to lead us to 4-1/3-2 starts, since 2004, we have not even come close to recapturing it.

    Just like the Packers in Lambeau when the temperature is below freezing.
     
  17. TheMageGandalf

    TheMageGandalf Senior Member

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    We shouldnt use the bubble unless there is lightning...period.

    I remember a few times last season I could've sworn I heard them say they went in because of the heat and I was like WTH?
     
  18. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    I do not think that will be a problem at Bill Parcell's School for Bad Football Teams"

    A HC who took the stars off of Cowboy's helmets until they earned them will have taught that lesson well to HC Sparano...I think they will have to earn everything....even the Bubble.

    That could be a great motivating tool, "do it right, and tomorrow we can use the Bubble"

    If a player is put on the spot like that, with the entire team relying on him to perform, the incentive level will rise noticeably..:hi5:
     
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  19. Miamifan1354

    Miamifan1354 Not Good Enough.

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    I don't agree with this at all.. That's like saying that the altitude in Denver isn't an advantage to the Broncos because both teams have to play there. When you train and practice in a climate, you become used to working in that climate. When a team who is used to a temperature controlled dome or who's high temp in the summer is 70 comes to Miami where it's 100+ in the summer and the humidity leaves a haze on the field, there's difference in conditioning. I think our younger guys will start to use this to their advantage once again in the very near future.
     
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  20. Larryfinfan

    Larryfinfan 17-0...Priceless Club Member

    Altitude is a different animal than the heat. The advantage for us in the heat is even less early in the season, to some extent, because most every team has been practicing in the same heat, for the most part due to the time of year (August). But you are right that there is a certain advantage, however slight to the home team. That said, our advantage in the past has been more about the composition of the team and coaching than weather related.
     
  21. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Logical, but not factual Larry. Here's why. There's this factor called "Humiture". http://www.vhsl.org/heatgl.pdf Look at the chart about 1/4 way down the page for an explanation.

    I believe the answer is science & technology. Teams have learned how to deal with the heat through proper hydration and the mist fans we see on the side lines.

    But, there is still the head games that the heat plays on the individual players. Just think what goes through your mind when you first step off the plane into the sweltering 98/90 heat, humidity of the deep south.

    You immediately know "sompins" up!
     
  22. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    The advantage lays in not being able to train for that sort of heat, practice and preseason just does not equal the intensity of a NFL game, and our reliance on a power running game with Ricky and Ronnie "can" lead to a fast start.

    My goodness, 98/90, 300 pd plus guy hitting you all afternoon and 220+ pd running backs, man, we should be able to pull a huge advantage out of our early season games, especially on long drives.
     
  23. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    1) That's what I was thinking too! :up:

    2)It worked in the past. I don't know if Don Shula, just brought his cold weather practice philosophy down with him in 1970 or it was something he realized when he got here.

    We will have to dig up his book "The Winning Edge" and review it to see if he mentions the heat and humidity factor in it.
     
  24. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    The bubble was erected to provide safe haven from lightning. You don't "deal" with lightning, you get away from it. You don't run from lightning because it makes the going tough, you run because it kills. If you will recall, it was an assistant getting struck by lightning during practice that prompted the building of the bubble in the first place.
     
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  25. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Very much agree with this Marty. Florida has the highest occurrence of lightning strikes in the nation

    Lightning is a killer. It claims more victims each year than do snowstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It keeps a low profile as the second largest weather-related killer, usually striking one person at a time. Only floods, which can wipe out towns, kill more people.

    According to the U.S. National Weather Service, 73 people die from lightning strikes each year and hundreds more suffer life-debilitating injuries. Memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, and weakness are some of the maladies cited.

    The highest death rates from lightning in the United States are in Florida, which is known as the lightning capital of the country. According to the service, from 1959 to 2003 lightning killed 3,696 people in the United States. Of those, 425 were in the Sunshine State. (The only state that did not record a lightning death in the period was Alaska).

    Lightning has injured at least 2,000 people in Florida since 1959.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  26. phunwin

    phunwin Happy kids are Dolfans. Luxury Box

    Make no mistake; we lost that game because of officiating. That bogus holding call that called back a Williams TD run made the difference. Give Miami that touchdown, and a whole bunch of things are different, not just the result of the game.
     
  27. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    So let me ask you, do you think Vince Lombardi would have used the Bubble?
     
  28. emocomputerjock

    emocomputerjock Senior Member

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    If Lombardi were in Miami and one of his assistants got struck by lightning, I'd say yes.
     
  29. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    what does Vince Lombardi and practices in Green Bay Wisconson have to do with lightning strikes in Miami ? pretty weak connection.. lessee... in Lombardi's days lead made good paint base, asbestos made a good insulator, smoking cigarettes made you cool and smoking mariuana made you crazy..

    Somehow, I can't help but think that even Vince would worry about it if one of his assistants got struck at practice.. a practice where if the lightning had struck 50 feet away could have killed a dozen players in one shot..
     
  30. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    So is that a yes, or a no?

    And no, this is not some trick question or anything like that, it's more along the lines of Lombardi's the paradigm of personal denial and discipline and toughness, so on that scale, would he then see the Bubble as soft, or as a tool?

    I tend to fall on the soft side, we practiced outside for 40 years, so now we are concerned?
     
  31. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    you will have to ask Vince yourself for that answer..

    why do ignore the fact that an actual lightning VICTIM precipitated this bubble. If the bubble is utilized as it's concept was sold, then it is a great asset. Our team gets to have a focused practice in safety, when years ago, they would have been in the locker room. I grew up down there, practiced and played under the threat of lightning.. it killed football players every year. We NEVER forgot that and was always distracted when it was a threat. BTW, the lightning event at Dolphins practice.. the thunderstorm was still a mile away...
     
  32. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Fair enough.


    Ignore or discount? 40 yrs, and one episode, that is like never swimming again because there was a shark bite in the surf on a beach you happened to be visiting.
     
  33. emocomputerjock

    emocomputerjock Senior Member

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    Well, there have been some 2500 injuries or deaths as a result of lightning in Florida over 50 years. That's a bit more common than one episode over 40 years.
     
  34. Jamester23

    Jamester23 Season Ticket Holder

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    You don't have an advantage when your team sucks like we have over the last few years! We need to un-suck or as they would say in Latin, "Getus Betterus Damn Fastus". The result would be that games would be won in conditions considered to be favorable to our team.
     
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  35. Coral Reefer

    Coral Reefer Premium Member

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    I find it amazing that anyone would argue that moving practices indoors or canceling them due to the very real danger of lightning could be considered overeacting.

    It's not just one episode, there have been a number of deaths over the years if you include all sports and all levels of those sports from little leagues to High school to colleges.

    As Marty brought up, us FL. natives have plenty of experience with lightning and the ferociousness of the strikes we get here.

    I remember practicing at UCF where it was raining strikes all around us. The coaches would wait till the cells got right on us and it was scary as hell.
    There's no reason at all to take such a chance.

    They waited as long as they could because they didn't want to cancel an important practice session. That's what you do if you don't have an inside facility to move to, you cancel and loose important practice time.


    That's why the bubble was a great move.
    It not only increases player safety but also protects against lost practice time.
    Now if they take advantage of it too often and to get players out of the elements altogether all the time then I'd agree with you.
    Practices in the heat and in rain conditions are valuable to a team, especially in S. FL.
    It all comes down to how they use it.

    As to the original post, IMO, that's what needs to be discounted not the danger of lightning.

    The "heat advantage" isn't what was dissapearing.
    You cited the record of the team since the 2004 season and their early records as some argument that the heat advantage is dissapearing. It had nothing to do with any heat advantage, our teams recent losing tendencies have everything to do with poor drafting and personnel moves period.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
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  36. JCowScot

    JCowScot So funky the dead dance Club Member

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    To the point of the thread, I do think we have lost some of the 'heat advantage', but I'm with Coral in that I think most of it has been poor coaching+poor drafting= poor players and lost games.

    Although I have to tell this story:
    One day at football practice in high school, it was beginning to get stormy outside and it started to drizzle and thunder some. Coach was an 'old school' numbskull, and so he immediately went on this tirade about 'toughing it out' and 'whattaya gonna do when it starts to rain like dats and cogs in a game??' (Yes, that's what he said- I told you he wasn't too bright).:redx: We were ready to get the heck outta there, but he wasn't having it.:no: Well, as fate would have it, about a minute and a half into this, lightning strikes a tower less than a mile away :scared:and sent a thunderclap so loud, you could FEEL the electricity. We look around to make sure everyone's OK, and lo and behold, there's coach- halfway back to the locker room already, running just as fast as he could move!:sidelol: He wasn't able to live that down the rest of the week. But we never practiced outside when it was raining the rest of that season.:up:
     
  37. Fin-Omenal

    Fin-Omenal Initiated

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    How could you really think the bubble is bad? How focused would our team be if it practiced in a hurricane for 5 days?

    These conditions are blocked out mentally during games, but the most important thing is preperation, and you need to be focused for that.

    I would practice outside later in the week when it's NOT a monsoon out, other than that im indoors.
     
  38. RevRick

    RevRick Long Haired Leaping Gnome Club Member

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    Vince Lombardi was a tough football coach. But, he was not an idiot. Lightning has the right of way in any encounter with human flesh. I grew up down there. We did not play with lightning.
     
  39. RevRick

    RevRick Long Haired Leaping Gnome Club Member

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    Have you ever been in a South Florida thunderstorm? I'm not talking about a thundershower. I'm talking about one of the everglades supercells that rolls in over the east coast when the lightning strikes are constant and ongoing - as many as 25-40 per minute visible. You don't play with that mess. The reason that there aren't more deaths is that the settlers learned a long time ago to watch if from INSIDE!!!
     
  40. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    That would be "yes" for 20 years, and "yes" we used to practice in the rain and in thunderstorms, back then there was no "Doppler Radar" when the lightening got within what the coach thought was "to close" we would shelter until the storm passed then go back to practicing.

    I would be in favor of not using the bubble at all, if Sparano thinks it is needed, or the players have earned a day off inside, then certainly, as a general rule..no.

    Can anyone show an ounce of difference the Bubble facility has made out on the field? It's been up for three years, we have gotten worse every year...hmm...
     

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