This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!
Last year's ranking: 97
Title track: 90
Fan relations: 121
Stadium experience: 111
Bang for the buck: 53
Give them points for consistency: The Dolphins ranked 90 or lower in seven of our eight categories -- with bang for the buck being the lone outlier at No. 53. The team was 30th in average NFL home capacity (85.5 percent) last year, and our rankings reflect it: No. 121 for fan relations and No. 111 for stadium experience.
"The stadium has no character and doesn't give any semblance of home-field advantage. It doesn't trap noise, and fans are really far removed from the field," says Justin Carlson, 30, who's been going to games for years. "And worse yet, if they were closer, you could see that most of them are Jets or Patriots fans anyway."
Adding fuel to the fire, GM Jeff Ireland was notoriously ornery and tight-lipped with the media, frustrating for a fan base that has endured not only consistent mediocrity but widespread controversy, too. Thankfully, though, Miami hired Dennis Hickey to take over as GM, and fans can hope he, too, doesn't come from the Bill Parcells School of Limited Information. Although being nicer to the media and fans can make some difference, the biggest change, of course, will come from, ahem, winning. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since 2000 and have had one -- ONE! -- winning season since 2006. But progress is being made: six wins in 2011, seven in 2012 and eight last season. So the Dolphins faithful, however many remain, have reason for wintertime optimism.