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24 posts from December 2012

December 31, 2012

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter season final: 29.8%

[1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 1. Happy New Year'! 2) Find our main Dolphins-Patriots game post below this in the blog. 3) Find our name-Miami's-biggest-sports-story-of-2012 poll two spots below in the blog. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Thanks to the thousands who participated in this season's fifth annual Dolfan Satisfaction Meter polls, a Dolfan tradition. The DSM will see you again in September! 

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G16/FINAL: Results are certified in latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter -- the last of the 2012 season -- and they show 29.8 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 28-0 loss at New England putting Miami's final season record at 7-9. The DSM, in its fifth year, is continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. BECAUSE THIS IS THE LAST POLL, THE SEASON AS A WHOLE SHOULD BE GIVEN THE MOST WEIGHT. Polls never close (you may still vote), but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2012 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 17.2% (4.4-v, 12.8-s) following 30-10 loss at Houston.

G2: 90.6% (47.1-v, 43.5-s) following 35-13 victory vs. Oakland.

G3: 43.8% (7.2-v, 36.6-s) following 23-20 loss (OT) vs. N.Y. Jets.

G4: 67.4% (18.3-v, 49.1-s) following 24-21 loss (OT) at Arizona.

G5: 93.1% (43.9-v, 49.2-s) following 17-13 victory at Cincinnati.

G6: 96.7% (52.2-v, 44.5-s) following 17-14 victory vs. St. Louis.

G7: 98.3% (80.9-v, 17.4-s) following 30-9 victory at N.Y. Jets.  

G8: 66.9% (21.3-v, 45.6-s) following 23-20 loss at Indianapolis.

G9: 17.3% (3.4-v, 13.9-s) following 37-3 loss vs. Tennessee.

G10: 12.0% (4.2-v, 7.8-s) following 19-14 loss at Buffalo.

G11: 81.3% (25.5-v, 55.8-s) following 24-21 victory vs. Seattle.

G12: 37.0% (6.3-v, 30.7-s) following 23-16 loss vs. New England.

G13: 18.8% (2.7-v, 16.1-s) following 27-13 loss at San Francisco.

G14: 60.5% (13.5-v, 47.0-s) following 24-3 victory vs. Jacksonville.

G15: 76.5% (24.6-v, 51.9-s) following 24-10 victory vs. Buffalo.

G16/Final: 29.8% (4.1-v, 25.7-s) following 28-0 loss at New England. 

Previous final season results for overall satisfaction:

2012: 29.8%

2011: 34.9%

2010: 3.8%

2009: 31.2%

2008: 96.9%

Live Blog Q&A/Chat has ended; next chat Jan. 7

[1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 31. Voting continues in final Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll of season in blogpost directly below this. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote].

LIVE BLOG Q&A / CHAT TODAY 1-2 P.M.: Thanks to all who tapped into our Live Blog Chat No. 14. See you for another Chat right here next Monday. Click 'Comments' below for a transcript of today's palaver.

December 30, 2012

G16: New England 28, Dolphins 0 (Final): Key mistakes doom Miami as Pats remind who's boss

Name biggest Miami sports story of 2012: Top vote-getter so far is what you'd expect, but there's a fierce three-way battle for second place. Voting continues in blogpost directly below this.

[1) It is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30. No Duh: Butch Davis rep says Der Butcher won't be next coach at FIU. No Duh II: ESPN reporting Jets will fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Season-finale Dolfan Satisfaction Meter tonight beginning at 8:15: The latest DSM -- and last of 2012 -- will appear in a separate blogpost directly tonight beginning at 8:15 sharp. Watch for it and vote based on today's game but with an emphasis on the season as a whole.

G16: DOLPHINS @ NEW ENGLAND: Final: Key mistakes hurt badly. A Tannehill pick. A Bush fumble. Two big Binns drops. But let's not kid ourselves. Miami didn't lose because of mistakes. Miami lost because it played a (clearly) better team. ..... 4Q: Would have like to have seen a late timeout to give Reggie Bush one last shot at 1,000 yards. Oh well. ... It's officially a rout/embarrassment at 28-0 as Brady hits Rob Gronkowski for 23-yard scoring pass. ... Armon "Goat" Binns with another big drop, this on 4th down. ..... 3Q: Review that went against MIA negating Clemons' fumble-recovery TD was the right call. Pass was incomplete. ... And a third big mistake plunders Miami, this one Reggie Bush's muffed handoff and fumble inside Pats' 10. Handoff looked a tad high, but one Bush should have corraled. ..... Half: I feel like two mistakes turned this half: Tannehill's pick when the game was scoreless. And Binn's dropped pass that could have pulled Miami within 14-7. ..... 2Q: Pats 21-0 on Ridley 2-yard TD run. ... Nate Kaeding hooks a 41-yard FG try wide left to end a series in which Armon Binns dropped what should have been a TD pass inside the 5-yardline. Binns = Goat! ... NE up 14-0 with Stevan Ridley's 1-yard run on 4th down. Pats pound Miami for a 92-yard scoring drive. ..... 1Q: A taut first quarter busts open as Ryan Tannehill suffers first interception in five games, and a few plasy later Tom Brady hits Wes Welker for 9-yard scoring pass and 7-0 Pats lead. .... Pregame: No playoff stakes for Miami, but the chance to finish at .500 with a 1aa1dolpat3nice road victory over your division's kingpin gives the Dolphins much to play for. Then again a loss would have its pragmatic value by bumping Miami's draft-selection order up a few spots. Ten NFL teams have between 6 and 8 wins, so results today could shuffle the middle of the round pretty noticably. Today's Dolphins performance also could shape personnel decisions related to key free agents such as Reggie Bush and Jake Long, and solidify the mapping of plans for the offseason and the draft. To the game itself, Miami played the Pats tough in the first meeting (a 23-16 loss) and should again, although expected frigid and perhaps snowy conditions favor New England distinctly. So does the home team still seeking a first- 1aa1dolpatnewround playoff bye and therefore needing the win. The weather and the Pats' takeaway-inclined defense will severely test Ryan Tannehill's ability to extend his four-game interception-less streak. Pictured left: One more look at Miami's supposed-but-not-official new logo showing a sleeker, stylized dolphin sans helmet. Sadly, it reminds that no matter what you do, it's just tough to make a leaping dolphin look menacing. My pick: Patriots, 27-20.

Radio, then blog: We'll be yakking Dolphins on the 790 The Ticket pregame show today starting at 1 p.m., then be right back here with our Live Boutique Blog at kickoff. Your participation in both is invited.

December 28, 2012

Here are Top 10 national sports stories of 2012. You pick the biggest. Poll. Vote now!; plus NFL/Dolphins predix & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, DEC. 28. Dolphins rule injured WR Davone Bess out of Sunday's finale at New England. 2) Dwyane Wade's one-game groin-kick suspension without pay will cost him $154,764. I'm thinking of taking up a collection for him. Telethon, maybe? 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1big12YOU PICK THE 2012 NATIONAL SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR: The top 10 stories below are from The Associated Press annual ranking. However I have listed them alphabetically in the poll, not in 1-through-10 order, so your vote will be more independent and not influenced by The AP's rank. A synopsis:

Lance Armstrong: 7-time Tour de France champ stripped of titles.

College Football Playoffs: Finally! NCAA approved playoffs for 2014.

Giants Win Super Bowl: Once 7-7, New York surges to championship.

London Olympics: Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt lead summer gold rush.

Peyton Manning Resurgence: QB stages a huge comeback in Denver.

NFL Concussions: Health and long-term risk at issue as lawsuits fly.

NFL Replacement Officials: Labor strife settled after Week3 debacle.

Penn State/Jerry Sandusky: Conviction, penalties in sordid scandal.

Saints 'Bountygate': Penalties ruin season, embroil NFL in controversy.

Pat Summitt: Winningest women's hoops coach retires with dementia.

Disclaimer: My own list would be a bit different. I definitely would have included the Heat's LeBron James-led NBA championship, for example. But that'll get its due soon enough when we bring you 2012's Greater Miami Top 10 Sports Stories, also with a poll. Might have added the NHL lockout, too. Anyway, for now, we invite you to vote for your top three (3) national stories of the past year from The AP list and say why. Then check back often to monitor the evolving results:

NFL PREDIX: DOLPHINS' COLD END IN FOXBOROUGH: Miami will play New England tough Sunday, 1aa1fripixbeating the point spread but not the Patriots. The 27-20 final will end Miami's season at 7-9. Click on Week 17 Gems for all our latest NFL predictions -- including a surprise in the big Cowboys-Redskins playoff play-in game. And click on Pro Bowl A Fair Mirror for our Friday page notes column leading with the notion Miami's lone PB pick is no travesty, it's a pretty accurate reflection of the team's lack of impact talent.

Poll result: Receiver in a landslide as Dolphins' greatest need: We asked in a previous blogpost for your choice as Miami's greatest need in free agency or the draft, and wide receiver thoroughly dominated with 83.6 percent, followed by cornerback 8.8%, pass rusher 5.5% and something else 2.1%.

1aa1heat5HEAT BIG 5 @... SKIPS A TURN: Blog housekeeping note: Our "Heat Big 5 @" series, bringing you the team's most productive players at five-game intervals, skipped the "@ 25 games" interval. Oops. Blame the holidays! Look for the feature's return @ 30 games. Thanks.   

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

December 26, 2012

Dolphins' priority in free agency/draft should be... (poll) Vote! plus team's new logo?, Heat's statement win, NFL pix 'n fantasy, meaning of Christmas & more

1aa1dollogo[1) It is FRIDAY, DEC. 28. New blogpost coming later this morning! 2) Pictured right is either the Dolphins' new logo, something similar to it, or an Internet contrivance. Prez Mike Dee says club is exploring possible changes, with decision due by draft in spring. 3) Find our annual Christmas video in the blogpost directly below this newest one. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Wake named to Pro Bowl: DE Cameron Wake is the only Dolphin named to this season's AFC Pro Bowl squad. Somewhat suprising is the omission of punter Brandon Fields, the only Dolphin to lead at his position in the fan vote.

ZEROING IN ON THE DOLPHINS' GREATEST NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT: As a playoffless season ebbs we look ahead. Free agency will find the Dolphins with a lot of salary-cap dough to spend. (Does anybody 1aa1fa 1aa1fa2still refer to money as dough?) Likewise the draft will find Miami will a ton of picks including five in the first three rounds. Big, big opportunity for this team to get much better, fast, if smart decisions are made. Let's help Jeff Ireland, shall we? Set his priorities. In this poll I have identified three greatest areas of need. One is a dynamic, field-stretching wide receiver, because Brian Hartline (solid, fine, nice) is not a No. 1 guy. Another need is a really good cover-corner because your secondary is better when Sean Smith is your second-best corner. And another need is another big sack threat to augment Cameron Wake. You might have a different priority in mind. All things equal, what is the team's biggest need? Vote and say why.

Brady on facing Miami: On a conference call Patriots QB Tom Brady said this as the season finale against Miami up there approaches: "This is a time for us to be at our best." New England is coming off a loss to San Francisco followed by a lackluster win over Jacksonville. Pats wil be looking for momentum as well as still fighting for a first-round bye. Except full-effort Patriots including a heavy dose of Brady and other stars.

DON'T YOU GO WORRYIN' ABOUT THE HEAT: I think that was the bottom-line message from Miami's 103-97 Christmas Day victory here over Oklahoma City, a gift to South Florida. It was a 2012 NBA Finals rematch and plausible-even-likely 2013 Finals preview, and it was delicious to watch. Kevin Durant (33 points) and LeBron James (29) put on the show you expected, and Mario Chalmers stepped up big like maybe you didn't expect. The Heat will have more results this regular-season that make you wonder, but reel your mind back to early evening on Christmas Day and remember this is the team ready to defend its title when the time comes. 

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: Pretty great on the pix, and consolation (at least) in fantasy. NFL predix: We went 1aa1fripix12-4 straight-up and also 12-4 against the spread on our Friday page predictions to continue our strong finish ATS. Bull's-eyed our Upset of the Week with Ravens over Giants ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jets. Also had 'dog Bengals and Vikes with the points, and hit a rare exact score with 'Skins' 27-20 win over Philly. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos ended strong to finish 6-10 and fifth in our six-team family league. Won our consolation playoff finale, 165-137, behind Aaron Rodgers' 38 points and 32 from Reggie Bush.

HOW GOOD IS UM MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM?: Coach Jim Larranaga's guys were 7-1 and poised to maybe rattle into the Top 25s, but a 1-2 finish in the Christmas tournament in Hawaii has left you wondering. Losing to No. 4 Arizona was no shame, but the loss to Indiana State? The ACC schedule starts Jan. 5. I have read speculation Miami could be a Sweet 16 team. Prove it, Canes.

Poll result: Canes' 5 football championships most define Miami sports: This result surprised me, and very few of our poll results do. We asked in a previous blogpost what accomplishment most defines Miami sports, and UM's five national championships had 46.3 percent, a clear winner over the Dolphins' two Super Bowls with 30.0%. (I thought the Dolphins would win.) The Heat's two titles had 17.7%, the Marlins' two World Series 3.7, and "something else" 2.3%.

THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS: I neither embrace nor decry the commercialism of Christmas. I enjoy giving gifts and making people smile; I also enjoy getting gifts, such as the surprise from my wife of two tickets to see Tony Bennett perform here in February. (Oh, and that new set of All-Clad pots and pans, which to a dedicated home cook like myself is exciting.) But the deeper meaning of Christmas struck me -- and I'm sure millions of others on this holiday -- in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. Our hearts and thoughts were with the dozens of families there to whom Christmas was something that couldn't be celebrated, just coped with. You were reminded that the gifts you unwrap are fine, but that the love of family is anybody's best gift. The grace before our holiday meal mentioned as much, and I hope those families in Newtown somehow felt the support for them from all over the country.

Click back. We'll be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! A holiday video from me to you; plus Heat hosts OKC

[1) Merry Christmas, Christians! Happy Hanukkah, Jews! Joyous holidays, others! Plain regular old Tuesday, faithless heathens! 2) See results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1xmas12OUR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS VIDEO-GIFT FOR READERS WHO'VE BEEN GOOD: Got together and had a snow sled race the other day with (left to right) Ryan Tannehill, Jeffrey Loria, me, LeBron James and Don Shula -- and was lucky enough to capture it on video! Click HERE and enjoy. And a serious thanks and Happy Holidays to all my loyal readers and blog family!

HEAT HOST OKC IN FINALS REMATCH: Sometiimes the NBA regular season feels a lot longer than it needs to be. The parade of games doesn't have a lot of exciting floats in it. You want to fast-forward to the playoffs. But days like this are the welcome exception: Oklahoma City at Miami. It's a 2012 NBA Finals rematch and, more, important, a very plausible 2013 Finals preview. This will look and feel like a playoff game, led by rivals and friends LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Delicious! A Christmas gift to South Florida. Let's rip it open and enjoy!

December 23, 2012

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.5%

[1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 24. Merry Christmas Eve, believers. 2) Find our main Dolphins-Bills game post directly below in the blog. 3) Apologies for the glitch that caused our latest DSM poll to post two hours late last evening. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Click on Frustration And Comfort for my latest column, off yesterday's Dolphins game.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: Results are in on the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 76.5 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 24-10 home victory over the Buffalo Bills putting Miami's season record at 7-8. The DSM, in 1aa1dsmits fifth year, is continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Polls never close (you may still vote), but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2012 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 17.2% (4.4-v, 12.8-s) following 30-10 loss at Houston.

G2: 90.6% (47.1-v, 43.5-s) following 35-13 victory vs. Oakland.

G3: 43.8% (7.2-v, 36.6-s) following 23-20 loss (OT) vs. N.Y. Jets.

G4: 67.4% (18.3-v, 49.1-s) following 24-21 loss (OT) at Arizona.

G5: 93.1% (43.9-v, 49.2-s) following 17-13 victory at Cincinnati.

G6: 96.7% (52.2-v, 44.5-s) following 17-14 victory vs. St. Louis.

G7: 98.3% (80.9-v, 17.4-s) following 30-9 victory at N.Y. Jets.  

G8: 66.9% (21.3-v, 45.6-s) following 23-20 loss at Indianapolis.

G9: 17.3% (3.4-v, 13.9-s) following 37-3 loss vs. Tennessee.

G10: 12.0% (4.2-v, 7.8-s) following 19-14 loss at Buffalo.

G11: 81.3% (25.5-v, 55.8-s) following 24-21 victory vs. Seattle.

G12: 37.0% (6.3-v, 30.7-s) following 23-16 loss vs. New England.

G13: 18.8% (2.7-v, 16.1-s) following 27-13 loss at San Francisco.

G14: 60.5% (13.5-v, 47.0-s) following 24-3 victory vs. Jacksonville.

G15: 76.5% (24.6-v, 51.9-s) following 24-10 victory vs. Buffalo.

Next/season-final poll: Dec. 30 following game at New England. 

Previous final season results for overall satisfaction:

2011: 34.9%

2010: 3.8%

2009: 31.2%

2008: 96.9%

G15: Dolphins 24, Buffalo 10 (Final): 4 defensive takeaways, 3 Bush TDs carry Miami in home finale, but Bengals win eliminates Dolphins from playoff hunt

[1) It is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23. You may still vote in our what-most-defines-Miami-sports poll in blogpost directly below this one. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Voting now underway: The latest DSM appears in a separate blogpost directly above this one.

Click on Frustration And Comfort for my latest column, off yesterday's Dolphins game.

G15: BUFFALO @ DOLPHINS: Final: Three takeaways by Reshad Jones and three TDs by Reggie Bush carry Miami, but win by Benagls at Pittsburgh eliminated Dolphins -- officially -- from playoff contention. ..... 4Q: Reshad Jones interception on Buffs' 1st and goal from Miami 1 seals the victory. ... Buffs driving at 2-minute warning. ... Bills' FB Dorin Dickerson removed from field on cart with apparent ankle or leg injury. ... Buffs within 24-10 on 2-yard Ryan Fitzpatrick pass to Brad Smith. ... Dolphins fake a long field goal try and pooch a punt. ..... 3Q: Steelers tie Bengals, 10-10. ... Takeaway sets up 45-yard Kaeding FG and 24-3 lead, same score as last week's final vs. Jags. ... Cam Wake sack jars ball loose, Reshad Jones with his second fumble recovery and Miami's third defensive takeaway. ... Bush's 3rd TD of game is an over-shoulder catch in end zone of a perfect 12-yard Tannehill throw that beat double coverage. ... Another missed pass by Marlon "Dropsy" Moore. ... CB Sean Smith knee injury for Miami, return questionable. ... Dolphins catch a break with ruling of incomplete forward pass by Tannehill; might have been judged a fumble. Buffalo loses appeal. ... Lamar Miller 28-yard run. The ex-Cane looking good ... Chris Clemons recovers fumble for Miami; Dolphins now plus-2 in turnovers. ..... Half: Clean half for Dolphins, with zero turnovers and zero penalties. Solid defense other than giving up that one 62-yard run. Just enough offense. If only the Dolphins could play Jacksonville and Buffalo every week. (Cincy leads at half, 10-7) ..... 2Q: Miami up 14-3 on Bush 1-yard TD run. Tannehill's 30-yard pass to Rishard Matthews in that drive was a beauty. So was Tannehill's crowd-pleasing 31-yard run to the 2. ... Wait. Steelers now within 10-7. Hope lives! ... Cincy now winning 10-0 at Pittsburghas Dolphins playoff hopes ebb. ... I've been remiss in not mentioning that rookie tight end Michael Egnew is active and playing for the first time all season. ... Spiller's long run sets up 42-yard Bills FG for 7-3 score. ... Wow. Buffalo should-a challenged that no-TD call. ... Steelers just missed a 24-yard FG for Pittsburgh, no favor to Miami. ... C.J. Spiller busts a 62-yard run to the Miami 23. ..... 1Q: Bengals up 7-0 at Pittsburgh; pick-6 against Big Ben. Uh oh. ... Miami 7-0 on Bush 17-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill finished by a stretching dive by Bush. Call upheld on review. ... Reggie Bush limps off field after 9-yard run but soon re-enters game. ... Buffs' first series ends in Reshad Jones fumble recovery and 23-yard return -- only MIA's second defensive takeaway in past eight games. ... Miami first series ends in new PK Nate Kaeding's blocked 46-yard FG. Marlon "Dropsy" Moore with a big miss on a catchable ball. ... At the stadium, but with an eye on Pittsburgh. A Miami win and a loss by Cincinnati at Pitt keeps playoff hope alive. ..... Pregame: It is Fan Appreciation Day at the stadium. The stadium will be about one-third empty when it is done filling in. The Dolphins wish there were more fans to appreciate. ... I don't mean to make a sexist comment (meaning a sexist comment is coming), but cheerleaders in Santa outfits was a good invention by somebody. ..... Original post: This would be a high-stakes matchup, if this were the 1990s, alas. Bills and Dolphins were a huge rivalry then, meeting four times in the playoffs that decade. Now? Well, this is the 1aa1bufdol12th straight year out of the playoffs for the 5-9 Buffs. And it'll be the 10th playoff-less year of the past 11 for 6-8 Miami barring a miracle. Dolphins must win today and hope Cincinnati loses to keep hope alive into next week, when the odds would get really long. Meantime, games like this one (and last week vs. Jacksonville) have their usefulness. On the road to Good, teams like the Dolphins must prove 1aa1bufdol2they can take care of business against lesser squads like the Jags and Bills. Today offers itself as a statement that Miami is clearly better than the Bills (not to mention and Jets) in the AFC East heirarchy. That's not nothing. Miami needs to win this home finale mostly because Buffalo's defense is really bad, and a loss would be a step back. With the receiving corps depleted, this could be a big day for Reggie Bush, and also maybe his farewell to Dolfans if the team doesn't re-sign him. By the way, in the board game pictured, notice that both teams have 12 men on the field. Fitting? My pick: Dolphins, 24-17.

Radio, then blog: We'll be talking Dolphins nonstop today on the 790 The Ticket pregame show starting at 10 a.m., then be right back here at kickoff for our Live Boutique Blog. You are invited to partake of both.

December 20, 2012

What feats most define Miami sports? (with poll) Vote now; plus trading Cam Wake?, NFL predix, Samson/790 parting, Polanco, Heat, preying on Newtown & more

1aa1ted[1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22. I know Dallas was Dirk-less and down, but very impressed by the Heat the other night, especially the defensive quickness that utterly repelled the Mavs. 2) Just watched the movie 'Ted.' Draggy, cliche ending but liked it overall. Anyone who loves 'Family Guy' would be predisposed in that direction. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Thought of the day: I bet $1, with billion-to-one odds, that the world really would end Friday as predicted. Had I win ... where would I have collected?

END OF THE WORLD POLL: WHAT DEFINES MIAMI SPORTS?: Two big things were to happen Friday. 1) It was winter solstice! 2) The world would end, or so said the Mayan calendar. It was amazing to me how the looming 1aa1dol 1aa1heat 1aa1hurr 1aa1marlapocalypse was so nonchalantly regarded. For example, the Dolphins never announced a ticket refund plan for the Sunday home game that obviously would have been lost -- not to the Bills, but to oblivion. Sure, the Y2K end-of-the-world never happened, but why assume this one wouldn't? In that spirit, and now to celebrate the globe's survival, our world-didn't-end poll aims to name what most defines sports in Greater Miami. The question is broad. We offer 1aa1endfour choices and you may pick your top two. (If we gave you three it'd be too easy, right?) Vote and say why, and if you chose "something else," what, pray tell? Then get on down into the bunker because, seriously, you never know.

NFL PREDIX: DOLPHINS GET EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT: The gift is Buffalo and the Bills' fairly awful defense, the first in King Sport since 1986 to allow 45 or more points in four games. Like Jacksonville last week, this is a soft home opponent against whom the Dolphins cannot lose, and won't. Click on Week 16 Gems for all our latest NFL pix. And on Spinning The Records for our Friday Page NFL notes column leading with Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson chasing major season records.

Trading Cam Wake?: ESPN has crackpot speculation this week listing Dolphins sackman Cameron Wake among the NFL's top five most tradeable players. The logic: He's 30, and his backup, Olivier Vernon, is pretty good. My take: He is Miami's best defender and worth more to his team than you'd realistically get in return. And the club already has stockpiled draft picks. Keep him barring some silly-big offer.

Dolphins switch placekickers: Team signed longtime former Charger Nate Kaeding to work the final two games after placing Dan carpenter on injured reserve.

BLOG EXCLUSIVE!: WHY MARLINS' SAMSON NO LONGER ON 790 THE TICKET: The owner stepped in. Neither Marlins president David Samson nor 790 The Ticket wanted to end Samson's weekly show with Dan Le Batard in which Samson discussed movies along with baseball, but owner Jeffrey Loria didn't like the segment and finally exerted his authority. Add this to the view of Loria as a micro-manager to a fault. Another example: His hands-on editing of Showtime's The Franchise series starring the Marlins.

1aa1placidoOn Placido Polanco signing: Marlins announced they have signed veteran third baseman Placido Polanco (pictured) to a one-year deal. He spent last season with Phillies but battled back issues. He is 37 and past-prime but if healthy is a positive signing. He's a solid defender, a good clubhouse guy and a career .299 hitter.

RICK PITINO SCHOOLS HIS KID, FIU: No. 5 Louisville dreams of a men's basketball national 1aa1fatherchampionship. FIU dreams of mere respectability. It was a mismatch in L-ville this week and you know the final score could have been far worse than 79-55 if not for Daddy Rick Pitino showing paternal pity upon FIU rookie coach/famous offspring Richard Pitino. I'm not sure if the meeting was particularly meaningful outside the Pitino family, but it rates a mention here because the blog has always looked for -- and until now never found --  a reason to run a photo of Robert Young as wise Jim Anderson in the 1954-60 TV sitom, Father Knows Best.

The road to March Madness: Louisville, Kentucky and Michigan all have current 12-1 odds to win the national title, trailing only Indiana at 5-1, Duke 6-1 and Florida 10-1. Miami is 66-1 and running fifth for the ACC crown after Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina and Maryland.

VAN GUNDY'S HEAT WARNING: Stan Van Gundy said on 790 The Ticket that the Heat cannot repeat as champions playing defense the way they are now. To that I would add that Miami is presently last in the NBA in rebounding. But Heat has played D much better lately, including last night in Dallas. Heat is 17-6 and second in the conference after the Knicks right now, but the hand-wringing is for what waits beyond the East, in The Finals. Oklahoma City is looking better than last year, Memphis has showed it matches up well with Miami, and the L.A. Clippers are demanding to be taken seriously.

Poll result: Mixed feelings on Cowboy's barring Josh Brent: We asked in the previous blogpost if you agreed with the Cowboys and NFL banning player Josh Brent from the sideline because of his manslaughter-DUI charge even though the victim's mother asked for compassion. A plurality of 48.6 percent said yes. But, combined, a slight majority either said no (39.2%) or were undecided (12.2%).  

SHAME IN WAKE OF NEWTOWN TRAGEDY: I read that a scam website is soliciting donations in the 1aa1godname of one of the young victims, Noah Pozner. Even more galling, the outrageously infamous Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket funerals and vigils associated with the murder of 26 at a Connecticut elementary school because, said a church spokeswomen, "God sent the shooter." And also because Connecticut legalized gay marriage. This is the same crackpot church that has protested at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Terrorism remains the most sinful misuse of the name of God, but right after terrorism I'd nominate the Westboro Baptist Church. I love free speech, but must doubt that this is what the framers had in mind. 

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December 18, 2012

Cowboys' cold play on Josh Brent: Is it right? Poll. Vote!; plus Jets' MNF debacle, Saban's de-Satanization, Mark Trumbo, Dolphins playoff odds (0.02%) & more

[It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19. Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

ON THE COWBOYS AND JOSH BRENT: This is tough. Made for some meaty palaver with Le Batard on the 790 airwaves yesterday. Josh Brent, of course, is the Dallas Cowboy charged with manslaughter-DUI 1aa1brentin the death of his teammate and best friend Jerry Brown. The team has pledged to support Brent as he faces trial, and Brown's own mother -- in a magnanimous, noble display -- also called for the support of Brent, whom she has known for years. Well, Brent appeared on the Cowboys sideline i street clothes Sunday (pictured), was shown by TV cameras, and disappeared. Now the Cowboys and NFL say he will not be allowed back on the sideline. The debate: What's right? The courts will deal with Brent's penalty, and should. Meantime, I  feel he should be allowed on the sideline to feel the support of his team-family. The person who feels the most pain in all this, the victim's own mother, even thinks so. But many disagree. Pick a side. Vote and say why.

JETS HIT BOTTOM, ENTER RE-BOOT MODE: [Update: Sanchez has been benched] It isn't that a 14-10 road loss is that embarrassing by itself, not even to Tennessee. But when the loss happens the way it did to the 1aa1jets2stumbling, bumbling New York Jets on Monday Night Football -- with four Mark Sanchez interceptions and a dooming late fumble -- it goes beyond embarrassment. Heads will roll. One of the guillotined heads will be wearing sunglasses because it will be that of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, our old friend. That seems very clear. Sparano won't survive. Less certain but not by much, I'd say the Sanchez era also is done. He is contaminated with Jets fans now, likely beyond repair. He has become Matt Leinart, the pretty boy without the talent to match the star-aura. (A phrase came to mind Monday as I watched I-Wear-My-Sunglasses-At-Night Sparano counseling Sanchez on the sideline: "The Blind Leading The Blind.") Tim Tebow isn't the QB answer, either, of course. Not sure even Rex Ryan should feel real secure about his job. The Jets are in free-fall and could be close to starting-over mode. Right now the Dolphins are positioned second-best after New England in the AFC East today, ahead of the Jets and the Bills to a degree far more clear than it was entering this season.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: Solid overall, if you can call winning a fantasy consolation-round game solid. NFL 1aa1fripix 1aa1globospredix: I won't be bragging this up on a billboard or anything, but I'm marginally OK with 10-6 straight-up and 8-7-1 against the spread. (Redskins game was off-the-board when  I picked it). Had a few nice hits like Vikings and Cowboys winning outright upsets, and Niners-with-points at Pats. But too many results blindsided me. Way to lay down like mangy dogs, Giants, Ravens, Lions and Chargers. You bums! Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team won 143-100 (small league), with Aaron Rodgers and Andre Johnson both topping 30 for me. But I'm still 5-10 overall and (way) out of my league's championship round.

Dolphins' playoff odds: Got a microscope?: The computer model over at makenflplayoffs.com puts the Dolphins' chances of winning the second wild-card spot at 0.02321 percent. (Do you believe in miracles?)

MARLINS, NOLASCO AND TRUMBO: No secret the Marlins probably will deal starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco. He's unhappy, wants out and is set to make $11.5 milliion in 2013. Now it is being reported the 1aa1marktAngels might want him and that Miami possibly could get outfielders Mark Trumbo (pictured) or Peter Bourjos in return, by possibly adding a prospect in addition to Nolasco. I'd do the deal for Trumbo in a heartbeat. He hit 32 homers last year and would give the club a power bat to augment Giancarlo Stanton. It would be a rare popular move by the Marlins, so, of course, don't hold your breath.

ON SABAN'S ATTEMPT TO DE-SATANIZE HIMSELF IN MIAMI: Alabama coach Nick Saban went on 790 The Ticket and extended an olive branch to Miami and to the Dolfans he lied to before leaving the team after the 2006 season. Saban admitted to "not handling the way I left well," calling it something 1aa1nickebenezer"I've never felt good about." He also made some minor news by saying the Dolphins offered a contract to Drew Brees first before the '06 season, not to Daunte Culpepper, but that Brees then "didn't pass the physical." I hesitate to rehash, but it bears wondering, again, how Brees could fail a Dolphins physical and then a week or so later pass a Saints physical -- his New Orleans career since a strong indication the Saints medics got it right. What I took from what Saban said, if true, is that Culpepper-over-Brees wasn't a misjudgement of coach or management, but a medical error. As for Saban's attempted rehabilitation of his image in Miami in advance of the Alabama-Notre Dame title game, well, it's so much more fun to hold you as a villain, Nick. Hence, you pictured here as Ebenezer Scrooge. You charmed us on the radio the way you charm-recruit kids and moms in living rooms. But some lies you just don't forget.

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