As NFL training camps open up across the country, the Miami Dolphins again insist that they won't practice before regular season action begins.
"It's just the way we do it," said Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. "Every franchise has its own approach to certain things. This is ours. We think it keeps us fresher for the season and prevents our players from getting hurt practicing."
Some have said that the Miami's refusal to practice before the season is the reason the franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1973 or even appeared in a Super Bowl since the 1984 season. But Ireland disputes that claim.
"Check the calendar. Super Bowls are won in February, not July and August," he said. "I think not taking the field together until kickoff in Week 1 gives our team a certain freshness that other teams don't have."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick actually backs Ireland up on that thought.
"Other teams you can prepare for because you know they'll do thing on the field that a professional football team would do, but not the Dolphins," said Belichick. "I mean, you know you're still going to kill them, but the manner in which you kill them can't really be planned."
Despite going 6-10 last season, Miami won six of their final nine games — suggesting they're much less horrible once they play and practice football for a while. Yet the team still plans to not meet until an hour before its Week 1 kickoff on September 9th for "some light calisthenics."
Other teams say they are considering a change to the Dolphins model.
"Maybe we should also not practice before the season starts," said Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour. "We practice now and it doesn't make any difference. I know I'd like an extra month and a half off every summer."