What to Expect at Miami Dolphins Tailgate

This Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium marks the return of the Miami Dolphins’ tailgate. While every NFL city has its own version of a great hatchback party, not all hatchbacks are created equal. For example, no Buffalo Bills tailgate would be complete without one of their fans jumping off a pickup truck onto a table.

It’s wild We don’t understand. But hey, everyone for himself! You, Bills fans. Literally hit yourself out.

While you won’t find many Dolphins fans at the risk of paralysis by the tailgate on Sunday, you will find some things that can only be found in Miami. If you’ve never been to a Dolphins tailgate, here are ten things to expect.

“Esa Morena” by DJ Laz plays on repeat

Imagine the looks you’d get if you played DJ Laz’s “Esa Morena” on a New England Patriots tailgate. You’d be practically promoting your desire to fight a guy named Tommy.

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Some things just feel right in Miami (and probably nowhere else in the country), and DJ Laz music is one of those things. Nobody in Minnesota tries to hear DJ Laz’s music before a Vikings game. This is a very special track that can only be found on a Dolphins game.

People who play dominoes

In Buffalo, people jump on burning folding tables. Abuelos sit with them in Miami and play dominoes. We are simply built differently in the 305.

Only in Miami do you find people spreading dominoes across a table instead of playing cards. Playing dominoes is an extreme thing in Miami, and at Dolphins’ tailgate parties, it’s literally the pre-game.

The Chinese box

Cooking a whole pig in La Caja China isn’t exactly a Miami thing, but Miami may be the only city in the NFL where you can find one by the tailgate.

While everyone else is cooking chicken wings in a hot air fryer or grilling hot dogs, Miami Dolphins fans out here are seasoning a whole pig with their bare hands. Why? Because that’s how the party ends in Miami. Save your tender chicken platter for kids’ birthday parties, this is big boy stuff.

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Who wants a cafecito? - PHOTO Courtesy of JLPR

Who wants a cafecito?

Photo courtesy JLPR


Coffee? What is coffee We drink cafecito on the tailgate of Miami Dolphins, and the darker the better.

Having the taste of Cuban espresso on the palette before binge drinking is practically a requirement on Dolphins’ tailgates. If you don’t drink it, you’ll fucking sniff it.

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Two games, two days, a loyal fan base - PHOTO BY CHRISTINA MENDEHALL

Two games, two days, a loyal fan base

Photo by Christina Mendenhall

Weekend Warrior Miami football fans

There are a few times during a football season that the Hurricanes play at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday and the Dolphins play there just hours later.

Lots of fans visit you on Saturday, head home for a quick nap, and come back to the parking lot around the stadium on Sunday to do it all over again.

Then they kind of go to work on Monday. And they say that Miami sports fans don’t care!

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Every Sunday during football season feels like Halloween. - PHOTO BY IAN WITLEN

Every Sunday during football season feels like Halloween.

Photo by Ian Witlen


Have you always wanted to dress up like a pirate who stands up for the dolphins when he is not looking for prey on the troubled seas? Do you love dressing up like Hello Kitty and drinking Bud Light in a gravel parking lot? Well god damn it, I just got the tailgate for you!

Miami Dolphins fans come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes these shapes and sizes are mixed up and combined into ensembles that don’t quite make sense. It makes people-watching by a Dolphins tailgate worth the price of admission in itself.

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Nobody wears a current jersey on a Dolphins tailgate. - PHOTO BY IAN WITLEN

Nobody wears a current jersey on a Dolphins tailgate.

Photo by Ian Witlen

Football shirts from past years

On each NFL tailgate, you’ll find a selection of jerseys worn by fans that honor players who won’t be on the field. You can also find colors and styles that are no longer used.

But on a Miami Dolphins tailgate, that fact is made worse by the ridiculousness of the jerseys the team once wore: highlighter orange jerseys, the many pantone aqua tones, all the players that have come and gone over the years are.

Nobody wears a current jersey on a Dolphins tailgate. The vibe is not dissimilar to a minor league baseball team. This is what happens when your team is constantly changing uniforms and star players.

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Funky Buddha's hard seltzer with a tropical taste. - PHOTO Courtesy of FUNKY BUDDHA BREWERY

Funky Buddha’s hard seltzer with a tropical taste.

Photo courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery

Hard seltzer

You might not have heard it before, but tough selters are the wave. That said, they are cool I think. I read that once on Twitter.

Pound for pound, you won’t find more tough selters anywhere in the world than on a Miami Dolphins tailgate. This is an unscientific study, but it seems correct. Everyone in Miami wants to stay beautiful, but nobody wants to stop drinking. Hard selters seem to be that loophole for Miami Dolphin fans.

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Comfort in a submarine. - PHOTO Courtesy of PUBLIX

Comfort in a submarine.

Photo courtesy Publix

Pub subscriptions

Yes, we get chic on our Dolphins tailgates with La Caja China, but we’re also downstairs to toss a couple of Publix subs in a cooler and call it a day too. Whether we’re going to the beach, a park, or a Miami Dolphins binge drinking party, there’s no better value for money than a pub submarine. It’s solid, portable, and easily accessible.

Snap a shot every time you see a pub sub on the Dolphin’s tailgate this Sunday. You won’t make it into the game. Your friends will cram you in the back seat of an Uber and you’ll be in bed at half time.

Will post pictures of everyone who shot me a beer on the horns on the tailgate! Let’s go buffalo! pic.twitter.com/sS77RoS7yQ

– BuffaloBillsHead (@BuffBillsHead) September 13, 2021

Opposing fans do strange things

You can recognize the non-Dolphins fan by a Dolphins tailgate without even looking at the jersey they’re wearing. It is obvious. They do something very different from Miami, like eat meatloaf and drink moonlight.

Dolphins games are more often a mix of fans because so few people grew up and stayed (or at least stayed Dolphins fans) in Miami, which means other Tailgaters are likely to be loyal to a different team the Dolphins play.

Every fifth table on a Dolphins tailgate seems like an out-of-town adventure. It’s like a very strange and drunk farmers market. But that’s also what makes an NFL tailgate so special.

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