Crowd Noise and Other Notes

The Dolphins on Wednesday practiced with artificial crowd noise blaring in the background. They are expecting a near sellout crowd at Sun Life Stadium for the season-opener against the Patriots, but coach Tony Sparano said part of the reason why the team practiced with crowd noise was because of the number of Patriots fans he expects to be in attendance on Monday night.

Sparano said he'd never been a part of another franchise that used crowd noise to help prepare for home games.

• Speaking of a home-field advantage — or, rather, the lack thereof — Sparano said he'd be in favor of the Dolphins playing more 1 p.m. home games amid the oppressive South Florida heat. Those have been unpopular with fans and, at times, with Dolphins owner Steve Ross. But, Sparano said, "There should be (a home-field) advantage but it's probably more at 1 o'clock in the afternoon." The Dolphins' first 1 p.m. home game doesn't come until Oct. 23 against Denver.

• The Dolphins and Patriots share plenty of coaching connections. Among the most notable involves Brian Daboll, the Dolphins' first-year offensive coordinator. He began his coaching career in 2000 as a defensive assistant with the Patriots before being promoted to wide receivers coach, a post he held for five seasons between 2002 and 2006.

• Well, it doesn't start easily for rookie C Mike Pouncey. In his first regular-season game in the NFL, he'll have the pleasure of going against Vince Wilfork and will likely get a taste of Albert Haynesworth, too. Sparano, though, has been pleased with how Pouncey has progressed during the preseason. Among all the Dolphins rookies, Pouncey was perhaps the most consistent throughout the preseason.

• The Dolphins-Patriots series dates to 1966, when the New England Patriots were known as the "Boston" Patriots. The Patriots won the first two meetings but the Dolphins won the next four after that, and they've never trailed in the series since.

• Individually, some of the best performances in Dolphins history have come against the Patriots. Mercury Morris' 197 rushing yards against New England ranks fourth in franchise history. And Dan Marino's 473 yards at New England in 1994 ranks second in franchise history.

• As many times as the Dolphins and Patriots have played one another, they haven't often began the season against one another. At least not recently. This is the first time since 1996 that the teams have played one another in the first week of the regular season. The Dolphins won that game, 24-10. Before that, the teams also played in Week 1 in 1994 and 1990.

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