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January 21, 2014

Meet Dolphins' best GM contender, and top candidate-who-isn't; plus 2 views of struggling Heat, M.Obama dunks on LeBron, defending Richard Sherman & more

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 21. It's No-Radio Tuesday. The Dan Le Batard Show struggles without me today. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Broncos-Seahawks in Super Bowl with poll, early SB betting trends, Martin Luther King Jr. & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

ON THE DOLPHINS' LONG, BROAD, WEIRD, CONTINUING GENERAL-MANAGER SEARCH: Thus far Miami has had interest in 11 men for the job of replacing Jeff Ireland and has interviewed seven, reportedly with more possibly yet to come. This is a long search. The fact Miami does not have a personnel boss in place and that presence at this week's Senior Bowl is being tsk-tsk'd by many in the league (even though it isn't a huge deal). There is speculation Miami is not getting top candidates because people mistrust the leadership structure, even though owner Stephen Ross has said the new man would have "autonomy" over the roster, meaning free-agency and draft decisions. We look at the team's top actual candidate for the GM job, and the top candidate who isn't:

THE TOP ACTUAL DOLPHINS' GM CANDIDATE: RAY FARMER: [Click on The Case For Farmer for today's latest column by me] Ray Farmer, the Browns' assistant general manager after six years as the Chiefs' 1aa1farmerraydirector of pro personnel in 2006-12, is the best man for the job among actual contenders, according to, well, says me. Farmer (pictured) is young (39), smart (Duke), a former player (Eagles), and seen as a rising young star among NFL talent evaluators. And, not insignificantly, he is African-American. The Dolphins could use that diversity, in that role. This is the franchise that once interviewed but did not hire coach Mike Tomlin because they thought he was "too hip-hop." This is the franchise whose previous GM alienated many blacks by asking Dez Bryant in a pre-draft interview if his mother was a prostitute. Farmer should be hired first on qualifications -- don't mistake that -- but he also could help Miami gain back credibility in the way the club is perceived. The Dolphins, a club source told me, envision that Farmer could become the next Ozzie Newsome, who made champions of the Ravens after becoming, in 2002, the NFL's first-ever African-American GM.

THE TOP CANDIDATE WHO CURIOUSLY ISN'T: SCOTT PIOLI: You know what Scott Pioli, the most accomplished former and available general manager around, is doing these days? Working for NBC Sports 1aa1pioliand the network's Pro Football Talk as what they gruesomely call "an informationalist." Pioli (pictured) wants back in the league. There is speculation the Texans may be interested. Why not Miami? Pioli is a Bill Belichick protege who helped turn the Jets from a 1-15 team in 1996 to 12-4 by '98, then helped Belichick win three Super Bowl with the Patriots. His most recent time with the Chiefs was not nearly as successful; he was fired Jan. 4, 2013. Nevertheless, his resume is loud. He'd be a heavyweight hire. Certainly you'd think he'd at least be interviewed. So why no Dolphins interest? Pioli is the man who replaced Carl Peterson as Chiefs' GM, and Peterson is now Stephen Ross' confidant leading the GM search. A Dolphins source also told me that Pioli's long, very close friendship with Belichick, Miami's main AFC East adversary, would make him an "odd, awkward" hire.

Poll result: Loving Peyton. All Broncos in Super Bowl: We asked in the last blogpost who'll win the SB (you may still vote), and it was Broncos swamping Seahawks by 72.9 percent to 27.1%.

TWO WAYS TO VIEW HEAT: Miami is 5-5 in its past 10 games, giving up 113 points on average in those losses. Last night meant the Heat have now lost 4 of the past 6 games... The hand-wringing worrier says: "These defensive issues and Dwyane Wade missing so many games makes me doubt a three-peat. It's as if we're coneding the No. 1 Eastern seed to Indiana and just hoping to find that 'On' switch in the playoffs. It's concerning." The preening grinner says: "C'mon! Relax. We've seen this movie before. The regular season doesn't matter. The defense will gel. As long as LeBron laces 'em up, no worries." So. Which fan are you right now?

M. Obama dunks on LeBron: OK, sort of. Well, not really. But Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen were taping a PSA on fitness and healthy earting at the White House last week, when Michelle Obama and LeBron James photobombed the thing. Click HERE to watch.

DEFENDING RICHARD SHERMAN: Seahawks star cornerback trashes 49ers' Michael Crabtree in on-field 1aa1arshermaninterview immediately after Sunday's game and fans and media go ballistic. A few things here. Yeah, Sherman (pictured) personally criticizing an opponent was classless and, as much, egotistical. But you just caught him in the emotional aftermatch of the biggest play and biggest game of his life. And we can't have it both ways, media. We rightly criticize athletes for banal, cliche comments ... then get outraged when they say something that is quotable. Real emotion is sometimes volatile and raw. This was. Sherman has sinec apologized to Crabtree. Time to move on. Alas, Sheman's tirade will continue to be a Super Bowl Week Chewing Point, so settle in and get used to it. 

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

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