Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Miami Dolphins’ first regular season football game at Sun Life Stadium, which at the time was known as Joe Robbie Stadium. It was a game in which the Dolphins defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 42-0.
While a 26th anniversary is often something rarely celebrated, it is interesting to look back and remember he circumstances under which the game took place.
The regular season home opener at the newly built Joe Robbie Stadium was supposed to take place on September 27th, against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. But that game, along with all other games scheduled for week three of the NFL season, was canceled due to a strike by the NFL Players Association and, as a result, games 4 through 6 were played with replacement players.
The Dolphins’ replacement players played their first game on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, which they lost by a score of 24-20, before returning home for the inaugural regular season game at Joe Robbie.
In the first meaningful game played at Joe Robbie (the Dolphins had two preseason games played with the regular team), the replacement players defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 42-0 in front of a crowd of only 25,687 fans. Running back Ricky Isom, who was cut during training camp, scored the team’s first touchdown.
On offense, Ronald Scott, another replacement player who was cut during training camp, led the team with 99 yards rushing and three touchdowns. His three touchdowns were the most scored by a Miami Dolphins player in a single game since Larry Csonka in 1979.
On defense, Liffort Hobley, the first, and at the time the only player who had been on strike to return to the team, finished the game with two interceptions, a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown, four tackles and two passes defended. His efforts earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
As a result of their victory, the Miami Dolphins were in a four-way tie for first place in the AFC East, and both Don Shula and Joe Robbie were awarded the game ball.