As the Miami Dolphins hosted the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the CBS camera crew couldn’t help but show the difference in temperature on each side. At one point, sideline temperatures for the Dolphins were 82 degrees, while the visitors suffered a brutal 102 degrees.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski acknowledged the temperature disparity beforehand.
“It will be warmer in the sun on our touchline, so we will have plans for that,” Stefanski said at a press conference on Wednesday. “I always tell the guys we don’t control the weather so we’ll take care of it anyway, but I want them to know ahead of time just to hydrate and do the things that can help them. to lead until Sunday.
The Dolphins picked up a 39-17 victory.
The temperature at the start of Sunday’s game was 87 degrees, according to data from Miami International Airport. When the game ended, temperatures were still in the 80s. Temperatures in Miami have averaged about four degrees above normal this month, and this week it’s one of the few places in the country that will avoid an eruption of cold air.
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Average high temperatures in Miami at the start of preseason football are around 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. At the end of the season, they drop to a more comfortable 76 degrees. But in the sun, temperatures can be much warmer.
Hard Rock Stadium’s clever architectural design is to blame for the sidelines. When Miami Stadium was renovated between 2015 and 2016, engineers strategically planned to point the sun directly at the opponent’s sideline for the entire game while the home team’s sideline sat at The shadow.
The Dolphins also regularly wear white for their home games which reflects the sunlight. The opposing team wears their darker team colors which absorb solar energy and make them even hotter.
Throughout the season, TV commentators have pointed to the temperature disparity on the sidelines. The Dolphins have suffered just one home loss this season, which some have attributed to their weather advantage.
The Minnesota Vikings are the only team to defeat the Dolphins in Miami so far this season. The Vikings overcame a fourth quarter deficit and scorching sidelines to secure a 24-16 victory. During the Week 6 game, footage of the Vikings’ 122-degree sideline versus the Dolphins’ 90-degree sideline went viral.
But the northern team was ready.
“I think we were well prepared,” receiver Adam Thielen said after the game. “The way we trained indoors all week, and a lot of guys were wearing long sleeves and sweatshirts, just trying to get used to playing in a bit of heat.”
Vikings staff have taken many steps to help players beat the heat, emphasizing hydration and administering IV treatments while installing air-conditioned benches and sun shades.
“They did a great job keeping us cool,” Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said after the game.
The weather advantage hasn’t always brought the Dolphins success. Miami made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years in 2016 and they haven’t been there since.
Some angry opposing supporters took to social media to call the strategy “illegal“, but nothing prevents football teams from taking advantage of the weather and the design of the stadiums. At some point, all NFL teams are expected to face extreme weather situations they’re not used to, from the sweltering Florida sidelines to the infamous “frozen tundra” at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
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