1) It is WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17. Dolphins' Joe Philbin is named one of four new members of a coaches' subcommittee to the NFL Competition Committee. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' Mount Rushmore vote, Heat's club-record for wins. 3) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.
ON THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING TRAGEDY: I have written about this even though it is only in the most peripheral and insignificant sense a sports story. That's OK, because I am not a sports writer first. I am an American. Click on We Get Up; We Deal With It for my new column on yesterday's tragedy, now online and in the A-section of Tuesday's inky pulp editions.
ONE MAN VS. WORLD ON HEAT TITLE LIKELIHOOD: John Hollinger, ESPN's NBA numbers-nerd turned Memphis Grizzlies executive, is pretty much flying solo on thinking Miami is not the favorite to repeat as NBA champion. His rankings formula that ESPN continues to use has Oklahoma City rated No. 1 by better than a 2-point margin over the Heat, and his playoff permutations give the Thunder a 34.1 percent likelihood to win the title, vs. Miami's 25.9%. (It's a two-team race. Next are Denver at 8.8% and the Knicks at 7.5%). Hollinger does not reflect public opinion, which sets and moves betting lines. Bovada today has Miami a prohibitive 5-7 favorite to repeat as champ, with OKC next at 9-2. (That's a big shift to the Heat just since Jan. 5, when Bovada had Miami a 2-1 favorite and OKC 15-4). I side with the odds over Hollinger. Miami's path to the Finals is a bit less trecherous than OKC's in the West. Don't think the Knicks can beat Miami in a long series, not even if Carmelo Anthony stays fire-y. It's also huge that the Heat (36-4 at home) will have the home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. One could argue intangibles such as "hunger" leaning in OKC's favor in the presumptive repeat Finals, but I wouldn't -- not with LeBron James and Miami chasing a dynasty, a legacy. Pictured: LeBron celebrating last summer's trophy. Lesson contained in photo? Erik Spoelstra should never again wear a cap backward.
DOLPHINS' MOUNT RUSHMORE: SHULA EDGES MARINO FOR PEAK: We asked for your input on a Dolphins Mount Rushmore in the previous blogpost (you may still vote) and almost 8,000 votes were cast -- one of our most successful polls ever. Thanks to all. Don Shula, Dan Marino, Larry Csonka and Joe Robbie made the mountain, in that order. Shula with 24.38 percent edged Marino's 24.17% for the top spot. (Given the poll format, that means each was included on more than 96% of ballots cast). Csonka made it comfortably with 16.55%. The fourth spot was tight, with founding owner Robbie edging Bob Griese, 10.79 to 10.14. I think your choices were solid, as was the order. (I wonder if Marino might have narrowly topped Shula if the vote were taken prior to his recent little infidelity skirmish). Anyway, thanks to all.
A quick note on the 'Mount Rushmore' concept: Of course I am aware my friend Marc Hochman does a Mount Rushmore thing on his 790 radio show. Folks, Mount Rushmore has been around since 1925 and media references to "the Mount Rushmore of..." have been around nearly as long. In the mid-'80s I nicknamed the Hurricanes' defensive line "Mount Rush-More." On July 16, 2010, pre-dating Hoch's bit, I wrote, "Any local athletic Mount Rushmore started with Don Shula and Dan Marino before opening itself to debate." (You could look it up; I did). Upon Neil Rogers' death I referred to Uncle Neil as being on the -- you guessed it -- of local radio. And so forth. The idea is hardly Hoch's, or mine. Laying claim to Mount Rushmore is about like taking credit for a play on March Madness bracketology. C'mon, man!
ON UM SPRING FOOTBALL: Never been a big fan of college spring football. I think universities could save a ton of money and also swing the student-athlete definition a bit closer to what it should be by not having the guys be football players in February, March and April. Beyond that, results of UM's Spring Game on Saturday were less than illuminating. QB Stephen Morris and RB Duke Johnson looked great. We figured going into the spring that the Canes looked explosive on offense but had doubts to settle on defense. Exiting the spring we think the same.
SINGING NEW ORLEANS' PRAISES: Love the Big Easy. Been there for three or four Sugar Bowls, a couple of Dolphins-Saints games, two Mardi Gras and, just now, a long weekend with friends. The people are great, and the music and food get me every time. Love the architecture and the funky vibe (photos by me). The city is constantly in party-mode and therefore is very touristy, but there nevertheless are places worth visiting despite the tourist factor. They include Cafe du Monde for beignets, Preservation Hall for old-school jazz, and Nola for dinner (the stuffed chicken wings are one of a kind). Also did a bayou airboat excursion that was well worth it. I avoid Pat O'Brien's; you can drink a better Hurricane elsewhere. In the future I'll also steer clear of the all-you-can-drink Bloody Marys at Daisy Dukes. They lead to trouble ... :)
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...