Answers from Our Experts (1)
Many were skeptical when the Panthers came to Florida in the 1990s, but they were silenced when the Florida Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, losing to the Colorado Avalanche. Still, the hockey team and the game have caught on with local fans, and the Panthers are usually competitive in the challenging Eastern Conference. In 2012, the Florida Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 12 years, but lost to the New Jersey Devils in game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. BB&T Center is the team's home, and they are considered the southernmost team in the NHL.
The Miami Dolphins, on the other hand, are one of the National Football League’s most celebrated franchises and were coached for many years by Don Shula, who owns the NFL mark for most coaching victories in a career. The 1972 Dolphins team is still the only one in NFL history to go through an entire season and playoffs undefeated, behind players like Larry Csonka and Bob Griese. The team shares Sun Life Stadium with the University of Miami Hurricanes and regularly draws sizeable crowds to all home games.
Renamed the Miami Marlins in the 2012 season, the city's MLB team calls the brand new Marlins Park home. It's swanky and luxe, great for catching a ballgame. Though the name is temporary until someone snags the naming rights, Jose Reyes and the Marlins — along with the new logo, uniform and color scheme — play ball in Miami's Little Havana.
Since entering the NBA as an expansion team with the Charlotte Hornets in 1988, the Miami Heat has become one of the most popular professional basketball teams and the winner of the 2007 national championship. In 2010, the Heat signed Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, who were all asked to play in the All-Star game, which marked the first time in Heat history that three players were given that opportunity. The dynamic trio led the Heat to the playoffs, where they ultimately lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the final round. Their home, American Airlines Arena, is located near Bayside Marketplace, a great place to spend some time before or after the game.