|It's Gator Day (starring Tim Tebow!) at Sun Life Stadium Sunday. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Leave it to Tim Tebow to not only save his franchise (kidding ... for now), but to do a solid for another NFL franchise, too. The Broncos' new starting quarterback will face the Dolphins Sunday in a game that will likely feature some of the worst football you'll see this season. Denver and Miami have one win between them and nine losses, and there's a chance that Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano could be out of work in weeks if not days.
And the tepid turnout at Miami's Sun Life Stadium has everything to do with sorry state of football set to be played there. At least it did until Tebow came along.
The Dolphins are planning to honor the University of Florida on "Gator Day," which is right out of the minor league baseball "theme night" handbook -- an obvious, contrived attempt to put butts in seats if there ever was one. But this is what a once-proud Dolphins organization has been reduced to: celebrating a college team some 325 to the north whose quarterback just so happens to play for that day's opponent. It would be scandalous if it wasn't so sad.
It gets sadder.
Details via the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero:
…The number of tickets the [Gators Day] promotion helped to sell -- estimated by the Dolphins to number between 5,000-7,000 -- has helped drive sales to the point where the team is now in position to guarantee a sellout of the game and thus televise the game on local television in South Florida. …Salguero reports that Tebow Mania (Gator Day edition) has helped sell some 10,000 seats. Previously, 28,000 seats remained unsold.
The club will announce later (Thursday) afternoon that the game will be sold out as it will guarantee the sellout. The Dolphins, in conjunction with sponsors, similarly guaranteed the sellout of the Sept. 18 game against Houston.
Let it be known: There are still plenty of tickets remaining. So the club is hopeful a significant number of those can be sold in the days leading up to the game. But the fact the perfect storm of having this Gator Day celebration coincide with the promoting of Tim Tebow to be the Broncos starting quarterback Sunday worked for the home team.
If almost 30,000 empty seats sounds exorbitant, consider this fun fact from PFT.com: The Dolphins are 1-11 in their last 12 home games. Since December 2009, the Steelers, Texans, and Patriots have each won twice at Sun Life Stadium.
The Denver Broncos look to snap their losing streak as they travel to Sun Life Stadium to square off against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan break down this game. Watch the game at 1 PM ET on CBS. Don't forget to check out the Pregame: Broncos-Dolphins edition, too.
Tebow, clearly, is the storyline heading into this game. As for what Broncos head coach John Fox expect from his new starting quarterback … well, he's not sure.
“We’re gonna find out," Fox said during a recent appearance on 104.3 The Fan in Denver (via SportsRaidoInterviews.com). "I got to see him myself live, but a lot of guys on staff haven’t except for on tape. He has that kind of leadership ability and you saw that in the second half of the San Diego game. He did spark our team and we’re hoping for more of the same moving forward.”
If there was ever a game for an inexperienced quarterback to gain some confidence, it's Broncos-Dolphins. In Miami. On Gator Day.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.
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