Finally, a Home Opener to Remember

When the Dolphins walked off the field with a big victory in their home opener Sunday, it almost felt like an unfamiliar feeling. After all, it had been seven years and four head coaches ago that the Dolphins had won their first game at home.

"I feel great," owner Stephen Ross told Miami Dolphins.com. "I mean, it's the first home opener since I've been around we've won, so it's a thrilling thing."

Yes, it had been a while.

By now, most Dolphins fans know the last time the team had won its home opener was in 2005 in Nick Saban's first game as Miami head coach.

Since then, the Dolphins had lost against Buffalo (16-6 in 2006), Dallas (37-20 in 2007), the Jets (20-14 in 2008), Indianapolis (27-23 in 2009), the Jets again (31-23 in 2010) and New England (38-24 in 2011).

The only Dolphins player who was on the team in that 2005 home opener against Denver is long-snapper John Denney, who was a rookie back then after making the team as an undrafted free agent.

To put in perspective just how bad this streak was, consider that heading into the 2012 season, the only team in the entire NFL that had gone longer without winning its home opener was Cleveland.

The Browns, who lost at home to Philadelphia in Week 1, haven't won their home opener since 2004.

Furthermore, only seven teams entered the season having gone more than two years without winning their home opener.

So, no question, this was a long time coming for Miami.

Remember, this is a franchise that won nine home openers in a row between 1994 and 2002, the streak broken by a shocking 21-20 loss to the Houston Texans in the 2003 opener.

The victory was even more welcome for the Dolphins considering they preceded their opening-day loss at Houston by going 0-4 in the preseason.

"It's been a while since we had a win," said tight end Anthony Fasano. "Our fans stuck through a lot and they deserve to get a couple home wins, and this is a great way to start off our home games this season."

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