Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Schedule could dictate Florida meltdowns -- or not

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: April 22, 2014 - 11:53 AM

Your author has never been known to run around flapping his arms in giddy anticipation of the NFL releasing its schedule. Your author has often wondered, "Hmm, these people already know who and where their teams are playing. And chances are they're not sports writers praying for a MSP-to-MIA flight in DEC. So what gives? Other than the inherent irrational behavior defined in the term fan, why are these people so impatient over and excited about WHEN these games will be played?"

The NFL apparently will make its grand announcement at some point this week. So time is running out for your author to find a reason for his heart to skip a beat while anticipating the schedule release.

Desperate for an angle, he thought of a personal worst-case scenario: Vikings at Miami in September. Talk about, "Noooooooo!"

Plus, if you're a Vikings fan, you don't want the Purple heading to South Beach to bake in the September heat, do you? 

Well, upon further review, we discovered the Dolphins' once-dominant home-field advantage in that September heat melted away eight years ago.

The media in South Florida claim it started to fade when then-coach Nick Saban had a climate-controlld practice bubble built in 2006. Don Shula getting older and retiring might deserve some recognition up high somewhere.

Anyway, BB -- Before the Bubble -- the Dolphins were 44-9 at home in September from 1970 to 2006. AB -- After the Bubble -- they are 2-8 (although they were 1-0 last September). This 10-game flop at home in favorable elements includes:

. An 18-point loss to the Raiders.

. A loss to Brett Favre and the Jets during the 11-5 2008 season.

. A home-opening loss in 2010 after a 2-0 start on the road.

. A loss to the Patriots, who rolled up 622 yards in a prime-time blowout. Cornerback Benny Sapp was so bad in that game, he was released the next day. Weeks later, he ended up back in Minnesota for his second stint with the Vikings.

So maybe it really doesn't matter when the Vikings play the Dolphins. Uh, oh. Now what? Anybody know Tampa Bay's home record in September?

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