MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Local sports fans in need of some good news and a diversion from Hurricane Irma cleanup finally got something to smile about on Tuesday.
Hard Rock Stadium is structurally sound and will host a Miami Hurricanes game in less than two weeks.
Hurricane Irma tried to bodyslam Hard Rock Stadium but Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkle says that for the most part, the building held up.
“We lost some roof paneling, obviously a lot of damage to the landscaping and trees down and that sort of thing,” said Garfinkel. “All-in-all [the stadium] is in very good shape.”
Garfinkle tweeted that the stadium suffered no structural damage and declared it ready again for football.
That’s very good because the University of Miami has a game scheduled there a week from Saturday.
Garfinkle kept tabs on Hurricane Irma’s wrath with stadium security camera footage fed into his phone.
On Twitter, he shared images and even a video of the Dan Marino and Joe Robbie statues as they stood up to the storm.
“The resiliency of those statues of Mr. Robbie and Dan [Marino] standing tall through the storm is somewhat symbolic of the spirit of everybody in South Florida,” he said.
Although engineers thought Hurricane Irma brought tornados around the stadium, the National Weather Service says none touched down there.
Despite Hurricane Irma packing a weaker punch when it arrived, Garfinkle is relieved the stadium passed its first test.
“You plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Garfinkle said. “We’re just very fortunate that [Hurricane Irma] wasn’t as bad as anticipated.”
Garfinkle and the Dolphins left town for California several days ago when Irma was still approaching Florida.
Since their practice facility in Davie was undamaged, the team will return to South Florida right after Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
Players will be ready to jump right in to help with Hurricane Irma relief efforts.