Miami Orange Bowl: A moment in history

Miami Orange Bowl: A moment in history

In 1936 the City of Miami Public Works Department made a decision to build a stadium that would be a highlight to Miami. Construction was finished and in 1937 the football team, then named the Miami Hurricanes, played their first game. Since Roddy Burdine was a pioneer of the Miami area, the first name given to the stadium was Burdine Stadium. The stadium was renamed in 1959 to accommodate the college football game of the Orange Bowl.

The popularity of the stadium encouraged additional enhancements, so that in the 40’s and 50’s seating was added to create a max capacity of over 80,000. This led to the ability of a pro football team game and The Miami Dolphins played their first game at the Orange Bowl in 1966. The Orange Bowl became a centerpiece of history when the first televised prime time college game was played.

Popularity of this stadium grew with a variety of upgrades. Natural grass playing field was replaced with Poly-Turf, then AstroTurf and eventually another kind of real grass known as “Prescription Athletic Turf”. Seating was changed so that the Miami skyline with its beautiful palm trees could be seen. A new scoreboard was added so that the fans could view play-by-play moments. A unique ability of this stadium was the fact that it was built with reinforced concrete on a steel structure. This allowed the fans to do ‘feet stomping’ that created a thunderous noise with the narrow end zone design giving amplification to the sound.

The Miami Dolphins football team enjoyed an incredible winning streak at the Orange Bowl. From 1971 through 1975, The Dolphins had a record 31 home game wins that included a perfect 1972 season and four wins that were playoffs. The success was not limited to professional football, but included college football as well. It was the home of the NCAA’s most incredible home winning streak in college football. The Miami Hurricanes had the intense wins that ran from 1985 through 1994.

When the City of Miami decided to try additional renovations on the stadium, the plans did not come to fruition and a decision was made to move the stadium. Miami Hurricane fans created a massive protest using all methods of communication to get the word out. However, nature added one final blow when, in 2005 the damage from Hurricane Wilma caused the old stadium to be considered for demolition.

In 2008, the beloved stadium that brought so many fans to Miami, was being torn down. Preparation was being made for construction of the newer baseball stadium that would be the home of the Florida Marlins. A “Farewell to the Orange Bowl Stadium” game was held in 2008, with many hall-of-famers in attendance. A public auction of memorabilia and artifacts from the stadium was sold via Mounted Memories, a company known for placing these types of famed auctions. To honor their famous stadium, a design for artwork in a public arena has been commissions using the letters from the original sign.

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