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Miami Dolphins on ‘Hard Knocks’ is shrewd business

Miami Dolphins training camp will be featured in the documentary series 'Hard Knocks'  for its upcoming season. While some teams declined offers to appear on the HBO show, 'Hard Knocks' is a good fit for for a Miami Dolphins team struggling with falling ticket sales and a decade of football irrelevance.

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In recent years, the Dolphins have been mostly famous for poor ticket sales and a front office thoroughly despised by its fans. In an effort to boost interest in the team, owner Stephen Ross has sold minority stakes in the team to a slew of Miami celebrities, including singer Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, and tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. In March, a group of Dolphins fans protested outside Sun Life Stadium, calling for General Manager Jeff Ireland to be fired. The team’s offseason thus far has been an exercise in failure – Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, and coach Jeff Fisher were all seriously courted by the Dolphins, then chose to go elsewhere.

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“Hard Knocks” will make people care about Dolphins players who aren’t necessarily household names (among the story lines sure to be featured is a quarterback competition among the Dolphins’ top draft pick, Ryan Tannehill, presumed starter Matt Moore, and aging veteran David Gerrard). The Dolphins’ reviled front office will have a chance to humanize itself and explain some of the failures of the offseason.

And a few stars may emerge. New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan became a superstar after the his team’s 2010 “Hard Knocks” appearance, thanks to his loud-mouthed coaching style and a series of colorful sound bites (which we can’t print here). Dolphins coach Philbin, who used to be offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, is the first rookie coach so far to appear on “Hard Knocks,” and the show is an opportunity for Dolphins fans to get to know their new leader.

Such familiarity could translate into a boost in ticket sales. In a crowded sports market that includes the NBA’s Heat, baseball’s Marlins, and yet another storied powerhouse, the University of Miami Hurricanes, that’s something the Dolphins sorely need.

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