January 30, 2016

What sport has best (or least awful) All-Star Game? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dan Marino's new Super Bowl ad (with video), runners who make marathons an unhealthy obsession, '72 Dolphins lose again, control-freak LeBron & more


Phelps1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 30. How great is this? Champion swimmer Michael Phelps, wearing Speedos and his Olympic medals, joined Arizona's State's "Curtain of Distraction" at a basketball game last night. 2) Paul Kantner, Jefferson Airplane guitarist and founding member, dead at 74. Man, all the old rockers are peeling away. 3) ICYMI, click on Making a Showkiller for the Fusion TV/LeBatard Show spoof (starring me) of Making a Murderer. 4) In The Previous Blogpost: Canes '16 football schedule analysis, '72 Dolphins finally lose, UM basketball and baseball, #WomenNotObjects, activities book for Satanic children & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Anybody but me noticed that Heat limited partner Raanan Katz's name is pronounced 'rainin' cats'?" --Greg Cote

Word of the day: anorak: British slang for someone obsessively interested in something that doesn't seem to merit such attention. Example: "He's a bloody anorak for running those marathons, isn't he?"

Lust for power, control is who LeBron is: That's the theme of my recent column; click Chosen And In Charge to read. Email reaction has seen Heat fans generally loving the column and others (read: Clevelanders) not so much. I don't consider the column pro-Heat or anti-LeBron. I'm simply exploring how everything about LeBron's career makes believable the prevailing idea he had a hand in David Blatt's firing, and plausible the report that he also maneuvered to see Erik Spoelstra removed while in Miami.

IT'S ALL-STAR GAME SEASON, UNFORTUNATELY: Today's latest column by me centers on All-Star Game Season, with the NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game both Sunday and the NBA's ASG Nflpb
Nhlasg Nbaasg  Mlbasgtwo weeks later. The NBA has the best of those three, though that's faint praise. Baseball's July Midsummer Classic gets it closest to right, because of tradition and the fact the game matters. The Pro Bowl to me is the worst of them all -- mainly because the players themselves don't give a s---. In the other three sports players are honored to participate. Football players actively dream up reason to avoid the game, as I detail in the column. Click on The All-Star Shame to read in full. The poll asks you which of the big-four all-star games you think is the best one, although I could as easily have worded the question, "Which is the least bad." In this poll I challenge you to separate which sport you may prefer from which league presents its all-stars best.

Dolphins in 2016 NFL Pro Bowl: C Mike Pouncey was team's only actual, originally chosen all-star but will not play because of an alleged injury. Replacement players (quasi-Pro Bowlers) are OT Branden Albert and S Reshad Jones (Team Irvin) and WR/KR Jarvis Landry and CB Brent Grimes (Team Rice).

Panthers in 2016 NHL All-Star Game: F Jaromir Jagr won a fan vote to be Atlantic Division captain, and D Aaron Ekblad and G Roberto Luongo join him on team. Gerad Gallant will coach Atlantic team via Cats' first-place division standing.

Heat in 2016 NBA All-Star Game: G Dwyane Wade was voted in as an Eastern Conference starter. F Chris Bosh was selected as a reserve.

Marlins in 2015 MLB All-Star Game: OF Giancarlo Stanton and 2B Dee Gordon made the team.

DAN MARINO'S NEW SUPER BOWL AD: The Dolphins great and actor Alec Baldwin star in an upcoming Super Bowl ad for Amazon Echo. If you don't know it, Amazon Echo goes by the nickname, "Blatant Ripoff of Apple's Siri." Cute ad, though. Here it is:


RunningTHE UNHEALTHINESS OF IT WHEN RUNNING BECOMES AN OBSESSION: I've seen a couple of recent instances in my own newspaper. We in the media cover and write laudingly of people who have made a lifestyle of running marathons, of running in general, without noting how strange it is, and how unhealthy it seems Running4from a mental standpoint when that practice evolves into an overriding obsession. One was the story of a 71-year Texas man who made the Miami Marathon the 1,606th he had competed in. Another was the story of a 35-year-old Massachusetts woman in the process of running in seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Both of those instances are wonderful to some, but weird to others of us. I wonder if the running-obsessed are able to step back and see what others see. The story on the woman noted she was a single mother. Hmm. I wonder why. Him: "Honey, can you take a few days off from that? I never see you anymore!" Her: "Love to chat, Bill, but I'm in training and need to get in 100 miles today." There is an inherent selfishness to running or any other obsession that takes command of one's lifestyle and life. Obsessed runners, evidently self-conscious of this and defensive about it, come up with fortune-cookie slogans like the ones pictured at left. Yes, because of course we unhealthy heathens who are not constantly training to run in 26.2-mile footraces -- we just don't understand! The rest of us are just a bunch of lazy fatties eating Cheetos on the Running2couch, right? We're jealous!! Yeah that's it. Look, I'm not anti-running. I'm not even anti-obsession. Whatever floats your boat, as we used to say. I don't think the obsessed runner is any better or worse (or much different, for that matter) than the woman who lives with 45 cats or the guy who has been collecting stamps for 70 years. What I don't like is fawning media coverage that glowingly depicts these sneakered cultists as somehow better, as special. These Quixotic folks who literally cannot stop running -- they aren't bad people, no. But neither are they heroic as so often portrayed. They are just (and hopefully we can agree on this) people who have given their lives to running in a fitness pursuit now running their lives.

BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR THE '72 DOLPHINS: Yesterday we told  you how, in a bracketed competition of all 49 Super Bowl winners by CBS Sports and Strat-O- Dolphins72Matic, the Perfect Season 1972 Dolphins were beaten in the round-of-16 by the 1992 Cowboys. Well, today, predictionmachine.com computers played all 49 champions against each other 50,000 times each, ranked the teams by overall winning percentage, and the '72 Dolphins were ranked only No. 9 overall (the '73 Fins were 22nd). Said Prediction Machine of the No. 9 ranking: "A perfect season is a special thing. Miami was the best team that year but being undefeated isn't enough to claim the top spot on this list. Don Shula's squad was good but not dominant. During its regular season run of excellence the Dolphins beat just two teams with a winning record. When we re-simulate Miami's 1972 schedule, the team would have just a 1.2 percent chance to win every game. The Dolphins would have to get lucky again for Mercury Morris to pop bottles of champagne." Ouch. By the way, the all-time top five SB champs are: 1--1999 Rams, 2--1985 Bears, 3--1989 49ers, 4--1996 Packers and 5--1979 Steelers. Update: Yet another humbling for the Class of '72: Safety Jake Scott is the lone Dolphin to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 26-man Golden Anniversary Super Bowl team out today.  

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

January 10, 2016

Dolphins hire Adam Gase as head coach. What do you think of the choice? New poll. Vote now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 & more


1) It is SUNDAY, JANUARY 10. Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife. I married up, what can I say? 2) The case is made right here why Marlins fans should feel very, very good about pitcher Carter Capps. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild-Card Weekend Pix, Cooperstown who-shoulda-made-it poll, your Dolphins next-coach verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our NFL playoff picks: Click on Wild-Card Gems for our four playoff picks for yesterday's and today's first-round games. But ignore that Chiefs-Texans pick, please. Must've been a typographical error. Click on Playoff Preview, King Sport Awards for our ranking of the 12 playoff teams and season-ending awards.

AdamgaseDOLPHINS OFFICIALLY HIRE ADAM GASE AS NEW HEAD COACH!: Click on Dolphins' Latest Dice-Roll for my new version column on the hiring of Adam Gase. Miami is once again betting on promise over experience as it made official yesterday that Bears offensive coordinator Gase will be this franchise's eighth head-coach hire in a row (including three interim promotions) who had never before done the job in the NFL. Gase, 37, pictured, directed Chicago's offense last year after six seasons with Denver, the last two as offensive coordinator. Clearly, a major part of this hiring is a hope/belief that Gase will be be able to raise Ryan Tannehill's game and career to the next level. Miami interviewed seven men for this job including some (led by Mike Shanahan) with longer NFL resumes that including head-coach experience. Yet, again, the franchise is gambling it has found The Next Big Thing rather than playing it safer with the proof of experience. Gase may well prove this to be an inspired hire. It is the track record of the Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross that demands a certain wariness and skepticism. It is the Dolphins' fault, not Gase's, that trust and benefit of doubt are in short supply around here. OK, your turn. Entering the franchise's 51st season Adam Gase will be the Dolphins' ninth fulltime head coach and 12th overall if you include three interim guys. What is your initial reaction to the hiring of Gase? Vote and say why you feel as you do.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JAN. 10): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins hire Adam Gase, latest gamble on inexperienced head coach: Adam Gase, suddenly league's youngest head coach at 37, makes it five Dolphins hires in a row (eight including interims) who have never before been an NFL head coach. Miami's head-coach job posting: "EXPERIENCE REQUIRED PREFERRED TOTALLY UNNECESSARY." 

2. PANTHERS: Hot Cats put 11-game winning streak on line: Florida, talk of the NHL, puts club-record 11-game win streak to test tonight in Edmonton. "The division-leading Panthers." Still a phrase one turns in the mind with marvel, as if it were a snow globe. Time to rewrite Cat Scratch Fever and hockeyize it. Anything rhyme with "Luongo"? Get on it, Ted Nugent.

3. NFL: Wild-Card Weekend eliminates two, with two more Sunday: Bengals and Texans fell by the wayside  Saturday, now two NFC teams face elimination Sunday as NFL playoffs pare from an original 12 teams down to eight. Admit it, Dolfans. It's sort of relaxing to watch football on Sunday and know your Fins can't lose. 

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson, 'Bama meet Monday for national title: Second year of College Football Playoff ends in Glendale, Ariz. Clemson embarrassed Hurricanes 58-0 this season. Alabama coach Nick Saban lied and left the Dolphins. Um, can Miamians hope both teams lose? ESPN will air game on 14 different platforms . I'll be watching on ESPNCOTE.

5. HEAT: Miami at Golden State Monday for first test vs. champs: We know Miami is inconsistent but pretty good (currently fifth) in the East. Now we find out how good Heat is in a broader context, out west, Monday night, with first game of season vs. Steph Curry and champion Golden State. Uh oh. 

6. UM BASKETBALL: Men at No. 4 Virginia Tuesday in biggest test yet: No. 12 Canes are now 13-1 after dispatching Florida State yesterday. I think UM is really good this season. I'm about to find out how good: Tuesday night, at No. 4 Virginia, will tell us more about Team Larranaga than we yet know. 

7. BASEBALL: Griffey, Piazza are '16 inductees to Cooperstown: Ken Griffey Jr., with a record vote, and Mike Piazza, after a three-year wait, were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for summer induction. Alas, Piazza won’t be wearing a Marlins cap on his plaque despite playing for Miami an entire week in 1998.

8. MARLINS: Team acquires pitcher, shops Ozuna: As spring training draws ever nearer the Marlins continue shopping outfielder Marcell Ozuna for a trade. Hopefully they'll get a better pitcher for him than newly acquired Edwin Jackson, 32, whose arrival would be exciting if this were, like, 2009. 

9. TIGER WOODS: Is the end at hand for generation's greatest golfer?: There is growing speculation, as the PGA Tour season unfurls, that Tiger Woods won't be healthy for The Masters in April and that he may not play at all in 2016. Say it ain't so, Tiger. No, I mean that literally. Give us an update.

10. UFC: Holm's return to octagon scheduled for spring: Holly Holm reportedly will fight Miesha Tate at UFC 197 in Las Vegas on March 5, her first fight since upsetting Ronda Rousey in November. OK, I just did an item on women's MMA. I'm outta here.

Missing the cut: Mark Richt completes UM staff. It 's a complete purge. Nobody back. Fresh start. I like it ... Tennis' Australian Open is close. It's the season's first major, although it's sort of a minor major ... Fort Lauderdale Strikers signed Kleberson, one of those one-name players. But shouldn't that be an honorarium for only great players? "Kleberson" sounds like a guy working at a deli ... WQAM-560 may go after and pay big for Dolphins radio rights, unaware that most folks nowadays own televisions ... The Miami Gun Show ends today at Dade County Fairgrounds. Yes, because that's what the world, America and especially Miami needs. More guns!

Poll result: Clemens, Bonds lead the shoulda-gotten-ins: Only Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. We gave you a list of the nine other players who had the most support but fell short, and asked who should most have gotten in. Your top five: Rogers Clemens at 19.7 percent, Barry Bonds 18.8%, Tim Raines 13.8%, Curt Schilling 12.3% and Jeff Bagwell 10.5%.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

January 08, 2016

NFL Wild-Card Weekend playoff preview, picks, King Sport Awards; plus who-shoulda-made-Cooperstown poll (vote now!), Dolphins-next-coach verdict, Marlin Briscoe & more


1) It is FRIDAY, JANUARY 8. Still saying "Happy New Year!"? Stop it. Window closed. Moratorium in effect. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Next-Dolphins-head-coach poll, Griffey/Piazza make Hall, Panthers' win streak in historical perspective, NFL Pix Week 17 results & more. 3) I cannot figure out the Miami Heat, and don't pretend to. Could be a No. 2 East seed. Might not make the playoffs. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Anybody recall Marlin Briscoe?: College Football Hall of Fame announced its 16-man 2016 induction class today and included one ex-Dolphin: Marlin Briscoe (Nebraska-Omaha, '67). Briscoe, now 70, lucked to play for Miami in glory years 1972-74, as backup WR who caught 57 passes for 858 yards, seven TDs.   

My baseball Hall of Fame column: Mike Piazza's election -- along with increased voting for Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- suggests the stigma against steroids-era guys (convicted or rumored) is softening. Speculation alone kept Piazza out the previous three years. Now suddenly he's in. Click on Baseball's Cold War Is Slowly Ending to read my column.

UPSET BIRD DAY: NFL WILD-CARD WEEKEND PLAYOFF PICKS: End of the NFL regular season means 20 not-good-enoughs fade away to their coach searches or their drawing boards while the Fripix12 "haves" advance to Super Bowl tournament starting this weekend with two Saturday AFC games and two NFC games Sunday. Welcome to Wild-Card Weekend, baby! Click on Wild-Card Gems for our four first-round playoffs picks, along with our regular-season results. This is the first time -- ever -- that all four home teams are betting underdogs (though Packers-Vikings is all but pick-'em). I predict wins for three road faves (Steelers, Seahawks, Packers) and one home 'dog. Yes, I do think the Texans will upset a Chiefs team that has won 10 straight games. Also, click on Playoff Preview, King Sport Awards for our latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column. It leads with my ranking of the 12 playoff teams (Seattle is No.1) and includes my King Sporties (led by league MVP Cam Newton). I also note (bragadociously) that my preseason Super Bowl pick (Packers over Patriots) is alive with both dogs still in the hunt.

COOPERSTOWN: 'THE GRIFFEY 3,' MY BALLOT, YOUR VOTE: The Griffey 3: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this week didn't seem to be as big a story as the three writers who did not vote for Griffey. He got a record 99.3 percent of the vote, named on 437 of 440 ballots, but now there is a hunger to identify and (and possibly tar 'n Bbhoffeather) the three miscreant voters. There are righteous media demands calls for "The Griffey 3" to step forward. I -- a Hall voter but not one of those three -- can explain, I think. Do not assume The Griffey 3 were either drunk, stupid or piss-ant anarchists. Here is the likely explanation: You can only vote for a maximum 10 players. What if you felt strongly 11 were deserving? You might exclude the one you knew would sail in without you (Griffey) in order to vote for the one who otherwise would have been excluded. I can all but guarantee that's what happened with The Griffey 3. My ballot: I've been a voter for three years. My latest ballot -- in addition to Griffey and Piazza -- included, alphabetically, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Schilling and Gary Sheffield. (See my column for more on my thought process on the steroids-linked guys). I strongly considered Edgar Martinez. Also, frankly, I have second-thoughts about not voting for Tim Raines. I believe I will next year. Voters, like you and like imperfect players, are only human. Except The Griffey 3. They're aliens. Your vote: On the ballot below I have included alphabetically the nine players who fell short but got at least 40 percent of the vote. Vote for the one, two or up to three you think are most deserving of Cooperstown.

POLL RESULT: M.SHULA, COUGHLIN, SHANAHAN DOMINATE VOTING FOR NEXT DOLPHINS COACH: We had 12 candidates in our poll and Mike Shula, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan combined for some 52 percent of the votes -- and there were a lot of those. More than 11,000 of you voted (you still may), and I thank you. When the hanging chads settled, it was Shula (18.1 percent) ultimately narrowly Mikeshula Tomcoughlin Mikeshanahanedging Coughlin (17.8%) for the top spot, with Mike Shanahan (16.0%) a close third. (Shula, Coughlin and Shanahan are pictured, left to right). Clearly, you either want to trust the bloodlines with Shula, or you want veteran experience with past Super Bowl champions Coughlin and Shanahan. Rounding out the top five, also in double digits, were Hue Jackson (11.6%) and Josh McDaniels (10.2%). Supporters of Miami interim coach Dan Campbell should be disappointed; he polled only 7.5% for sixth place. Then came Adam Gase at 6.7, Mike Smith 4.2, Doug Marrone 3.5 and Matt Patricia 3.3. Note, poll was posted before the Tampa Bay Bucs fired Lovie Smith, whom we might have included. There were two others on the ballot, but if the Dolphins hire Teryl Austin (0.9) or Anthony Lynn (0.2), they'd need to show up at the introductory press conference with a Hello My Name Is tag, and owner Stephen Ross would need to walk in with an asbestos suit.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 31, 2015

It's Clemson-'Bama! Tigers win big, Tide rolls. My postgame thoughts, Orange Bowl game column; plus here are 2015's Top 10 national sports stories. What was biggest? Poll. Vote now!; also, Landry, Jones share Dolphins MVP & more


1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31. Happy New Year's Eve, all. Make it a safe one. Lots of amateur drinkers out tonight. 2) Panthers have won seven straight hockey games. ICYMI, click on Surging Cats for my recent column. 3) Brent Grimes' "apology" for his wife slamming Ryan Tannehill was pretty tepid. And still no apology from Miko. 4) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Open letter to Miko Grimes, hot Panthers relevant again, NFL pix 'n Greg's Lobos Week 16 results & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Landry, Jones share Dolphins MVP award: Receiver/returner Jarvis Landry and strong safety Reshad Jones split Dolphins' MVP award announced today. Hate ties, but both are legit choices. That neither Ryan Tannehill nor Ndamukong Suh won says much about why Miami is 5-10 and looking for a new coach.

Orangebowl ClemsonoklahomaORANGE BOWL/CFP SEMIFINAL: CLEMSON 37, OKLAHOMA 17 (Final): Clemson proved it had no business being the betting underdog in this College Football Playoff semifinal, winning all over the field in a 37-17 domination of favored Oklahoma. The Tigers won where it gets physical, rushing for 312 yards and limiting OU to 67. The Sooners averaged 52 points its previous seven games but was shut out in the second half Thursday. Clemson impressed more than Oklahoma disappointed on this New year's Eve. Click on Clemson Turns Disrespect Into Orange Storm for my column from the stadium on tonight's game. ..... Original post: To the sport, it's a College Football Playoff semifinal in the new era's second year. To Miami, it's the 82nd Orange Bowl, the continuation of a tradition conceived in the 1930s to draw attention and boost tourism. To the No. 1 Clemson Tigers and No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners, it's the win they need to reach the Jan. 11 championship game in Glandale, Ariz., vs. tonight's Alabama-Michigan State Cotton Bowl winner. Click on Miami Sets the Stage for my column previewing the game. Expect fireworks from two quarterbacks who combined for 65 touchdown passes this season. Clemson, though unbeaten and top-ranked, is a betting underdog; the buzz is that Oklahoma is right-now better. I don't buy it. My pick: Clemson 34-31.

2015YOU PICK THE 2015 NATIONAL SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR: Welcome to our annual year-ending blog vote. The top 10 stories in our poll are not mine; they are from The Associated Press official annual ranking for the calendar year. I list them alphabetically, not in order, so as not to prejudice the jury. I want this to be your independent vote and not influenced by The AP's rank. I am purposely not including a synopsis of each story, figuring that if the ballot phrase alone is not sufficient, chances are the story mustn't have been that big or important to you. VOTE FOR YOUR TOP THREE and check back to monitor evolving results. And remember, this is a national list, so please consider your vote in that broad context. We'll ask your vote on the top 10 Greater Miami/South Florida sports stories of 2015 in the coming days. For now, let's go nationwide. Ready? Go!

Vote for the top three (3) biggest stories:

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 22, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.4%; plus Radio Tuesday, Fins sink to 5-9, Hot Button Top 10, ranking Miami's 25 biggest current sports figures, your Cooperstown verdict & more


1) It is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22. Click on Week 15 Gems for all of our NFL Week 15 picks. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your 2016 baseball Hall of Fame ballot and vote, Dolphins/NFL Week 15 picks, Pete Rose verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz today, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Ticket Miami (790) and 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, simulcasting on ESPNU and Fusion TV. I'll have a new blogpost here post-show, by mid- to late-afternoon.

"Would I trade Ryan Tannehill for Drew Brees, who is about to turn 37 and is five years past his prime? If drunk, perhaps." --Greg Cote

Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures: I rank the biggest-name Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Panthers and Hurricanes, an impossible task, but somebody had to do it. Click on The Miami 25 to read the column and see the list.

Our Dolphins-Chargers postgame thoughts: Find them below, just after the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 30-14 loss at San Diego putting Miami's season record at 5-9. The DSM, in its eighth year, is a 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. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Game 11: 3.7% (following 38-20 loss at N.Y. Jets)

Game 12: 17.3% (following 15-13 victory vs. Baltimore)

Game 13: 6.2% (following 31-24 loss  to N.Y. Giants)

Game 14: 5.4% (following 30-14 loss at San Diego)

Next poll: Dec. 27 (following game vs. Indianapolis)

G14: SAN DIEGO 30, DOLPHINS 14: PLAYING OUT THE STRING: Postgame thoughts: Man, the Dolphins just suck. I hate to say it. San Diego had lost five straight home games.  Before today. Hadn't scored a rushing TD since Week 1. Until today. Had gone 11 straight games without rushing for 100 yards. Until today. Miami has turned into the remedy for other teams -- the opponent you want to play. Very little offense today and not nearly enough defense. Same old story. And this was a bad opponent, remember. Wasted season. ..... Halftime: Embarrassment! Low keeps getting lower for Miami's season. ryan Tannehill only 74 yards passing at the half. Run game with 13 yards on 10 carries. Meanwhile the pass-D has been scorched for 203 yards by Philip Rivers. Unless you believe in miracles, and I doubt you do by now, Miami is headed for 5-9. ..... Pregame: I'll be updating the score live and be back with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the DSM. ..... Original post: God, this is what the Dolphins have become. A 5-8 Fins team playing at a 3-10 Chargers team in the only NFL Week 15 game in Finsboltswhich both teams are mathematically, scientifically and theologically eliminated from playoff contention. The only scintilla of drama we’ll find Sunday at 4:25 p.m. in San Diego is that the final road game of the year for Miami could be the last home game ever for Chargers fans, with the franchise plotting a move to new digs in Carson, Calif., south of L.A. That should add an element of emotion that could bolster the Bolts, while, oppositely, flying cross-country on a short week (after playing Monday night) figures as a detriment for the Fins. Yes, certain trends favor the visitors here. Miami has won nine of past 11 in occasional series, including 37-0 last season, and Diego has dropped five home games in a row. Also, Chargers have been held to three points in each of their past three losses. I have a hunch, though, that Philip Rivers’ offense will find its remedy in a Dolphins defense that has allowed 36, 33 and 38 points in three of its past four road games. If this is farewell, San Diego, Chargers will go out a winner, at least. My pick: San Diego, 24-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DEC. 20): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Welcome to Miami: Basketball Town USA: Remember when this was a football town? Might be again someday. Isn't at the moment. Saturday alone, the No. 15-ranked Hurricanes men improved to 9-1, the No. 23 UM women narrowly were beaten by No. 4 Baylor 88-81 for their first loss, and Florida and FSU were winners here in the four-team Orange Bowl Classic. Hoop City!

2. HEAT: Riley denies team is shopping Whiteside: As the Heat hosts Portland on Sunday, speculation the team might trade young center Hassan Whiteside is "B.S.," said club president Pat Riley. Which may or may not be execu-speak for, "We haven’t heard a good enough offer yet."

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Six days to UM bowl game as postseason parade begins: Saturday saw the first six of 42 bowl games, with the Miami Beach Bowl coming up Tuesday and the Hurricanes set to face Washington State this coming Saturday (though without new coach Mark Richt) in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex. That’s so close to the border you can see Mexico. Well, unless Donald Trump’s wall is already up.

4. PANTHERS: Red-hot Cats open homestand: Florida has skated to three wins in a row and nine in past 12 games and now begins a six-game homestand Sunday vs. Vancouver. Yet despite all the recent winning the Panthers are on the far edge of playoff contention, eighth in the East. Man, you tough with those postseason tickets, Lord Stanley!  

5. DOLPHINS: Fins in San Diego as another disappointing season ebbs: Miami visits the Chargers on Sunday, playing out the string after Monday’s loss to the Giants eliminated Fins from playoffs for a seventh season in a row. "Grandpa, tell me again what it was like when the Dolphins were good!"

6. PETE ROSE: Purgatory continues as bid for reinstatement is denied: Banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling, all-time hits leader Pete Rose remains ostracized with this week’s ruling. Of course, the Hall of Fame independently could still put Rose on its ballot, but that’d make too much sense.

7. NBA: Cavs, Warriors on Christmas Day: It's the gift NBA fans will all unwrap together. There are five NBA games on Christmas but one of interest: Cleveland at Golden State, LeBron James at Steph Curry in a likely Finals preview. Hopefully LeBron isn't too "tired" to play. 

8. MARLINS: Miami conspicuously absent from MLB's Cuba goodwill trip: MLB made its first trip to the island since 1999 with a goodwill tour including clinics, and participants included former Cuban defectors such as Yasiel Puig. Notably, the team closest to Cuba did not participate. See, it isn't true. The Marlins do occasionally do something smart!

9. SERENA WILLIAMS: Tennis star named SI's Sportsperson of the Year: Easy to defend Sports Illustrated's choice of Serena, who dominated women's tennis, although golfer Jordan Spieth had an argument. Also, I wonder if SI forgot that American Pharoah ended horse racing's 37-year Triple Crown drought?

10. STAR WARS: The Force Awakens sets box-office records: The new Star Wars film raked in some $250 million in its opening few days. More people have already seen the film than will  attend every NFL game on Sunday. It's good for sports to be humbled every once in a while, right?

Missing the cut: Carolina Panthers go for 14-0 today. Champagne ready, '72 Fins? ... Suspended Florida QB Will Grier is transferring. Later, Gator ... Wonder how the NHL likes that its leading scorer, Patrick Kane, was investigated for sexual assault? ... NBA referee Bill Kennedy comes out as gay after a gay slur from Rajon Rondo ... Four major amateur golf tournaments are underway in South Florida ... Duran Duran will perform at the tennis Miami Open on Key Biscayne. Which would be exciting if this were, like, the 1985 Miami Open ... President Obama congratulated retiring soccer star Abby Wambach on a great career. Republicans demanded equal time, argued it wasn't so great ... Ray Rice still wants to play. Sure, because there's a lot of demand for aging running backs who both punched their girlfriend and averaged 3.1 per carry ... LeBron James collided courtside with the wife of golfer Jason Day and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

Poll result: Griffey Jr. leads your 2016 Hall of Fame inductees: We asked who you'd vote into Cooperstown from among 12 top contenders on the latest ballot, and your top five were Ken Griffey Jr. with 18.6 percent, Mike Piazza 11.9%, Roger Clemens 10.8%, Barry Bonds 10.2% and Curt Schilling 9.2%. Based on the mentions per ballots cast, only Griffey's support translated to the 75 percent mininum required by the Hall of Fame.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 19, 2015

Here's your 2016 baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Who gets in and who doesn't? Vote now!; plus Dolphins/NFL Week 15 picks, verdict on Rose & more


1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19. IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pete Rose/Hall of Fame poll, Heat/'Melo trade verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"President Obama congratulated Abby Wambach for her great career. Republicans, demanding equal time, argued it wasn't that great." --Greg Cote

CooperstownHERE IS YOUR BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: As a veteran member of the Baseball Writers Association of America I am honored to have a Hall of Fame vote. My ballot is due back before Christmas. There are 32 names on it and I may vote for as many as 10. Of those 32 players, 17 are back for another try at the minimum 75 percent support required, and 15 are first-timers. But, realistically, only about one-third of eligible players get serious consideration and significant support. I have reflected that in your winnowed ballot below. It includes the 10 returning players who received at least 20 percent support a year ago, and the only two first-time candidates who I think could make it -- Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman. (Sorry, but long-time Marlins Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell are among those I excluded; they are consigned to the Hall of Very Good). Anyway, consider the 12 finalists listed alphabetically below and vote for as many as you think belong in Cooperstown -- but only for those you think do.

Vote only for the players you think belong in Cooperstown:

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY: DOLPHINS/NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: Good start to our week Thursday night as we had the Rams winning and covering and they did both. Click on Week 15 Gems for all of our remaining latest picks and full prediction capsules. Highlights: Dolphins lose out west as Chargers get emotional boost from what could be the franchise's final home game in San Diego. Colts edge Texans in our low-records but high-stakes Game of the Week. The '72 Dolphins celebrate as the unbeaten Panther fall at the New York Giants in our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"). And the Steelers roll past Denver in our Game of the Week first-alternate. Also, click on Dolphins Pro Bowl Odds for my latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column. I wrote that safety Reshad Jones should make the Pro Bowl and that three other Dolphins could.

Poll result: Strong support to let Rose on Hall ballot: We asked if you'd like to see banished Pete Rose allowed on the Hall of Fame ballot, and it was 73.8 percent yes to 25.1% no, with only 1.1% undecided. Click on Rose's Purgatory Should End to read this week's column by me. I can tell you from my email response that, while most may agree with me, those who don't are vehement in their objection. Still a very polarizing topic.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 17, 2015

Pete Rose should be on the Hall of Fame ballot! Agree? New poll. Vote now!; also Heat fans' big thumbs-down to 'Melo & more


1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17. I'm up at Friday Page HQ today summoning my NFL Week 15 predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for my pick on tonight's Bucs-Rams game. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat/'Melo trade poll, Dolphins draft, Fins fans' grammar and randiness, Star Wars & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

New World Series odds: Cubs and Giants are now World Series co-favorites at 6-1, via Bovada, then it's Red Sox at 9-1. In NL East it's Mets 14-1, Nationals 18-1, Marlins 66-1 and Braves/Phillies both 100-1.

PETE ROSE HAS DONE HIS TIME. PUT HIM ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT, ALREADY!: That headline summarizes my latest column; click on Rose's Purgatory Should End to read in full. You can see what’s coming in the case of MLB vs. Rose. You can guess how one of the most protracted sagas in American sports history will finally end. Rose’s lifetime ban from the sport will end when his life does. He will find forgiveness in death. The sport will welcome back its wayward son by inducting him posthumously into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. That Rosenowday, he’ll get the eulogy makeover. It will no longer be about his gambling problem way back in the late 1980s. Then it will be about the record 4,256 base hits. It will be about the man nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" sliding headfirst into history. What a shame to wait. How harshly and unnecessarily punitive baseball is being in its unwillingness to forgive. New commissioner Rob Manfred had the chance this week, in considering Rose’s appeal of his banishment, to say, "Enough." Instead, in affirming the ban would go on, Manfred all but assured that Rose, now 74, would die still ostracized. People convicted of murder in the U.S. serve an average prison sentence of 20 years 8 months, according to Department of Justice. Rose is still doing time more than 26 years later for betting on baseball games, including his own team, while managing the Cincinnati Reds. It is essential to note the Dowd Report found Rose only bet on his team to win. So there was never the suggestion of a scandal involving game fixing. What he did violated the sport’s rules against gambling, but hasn’t he served enough time? Lifetime sentences are not always literally that. Murderers can be paroled but Pete Rose can’t? It is hypocritical of Manfred and MLB to maintain this hardest possible line against the evils of gambling while being in a corporate bed with DraftKings, the daily fantasy site being systemically found to be a portal of illegal gambling, most recently by the New York Supreme Court. I get why Rose was punished, I just don’t get why he isn’t now reinstated when, at this point in his life, it would be a purely ceremonial gesture. I mean, Barry Bonds, who set home run records literally cheating opponents by using performance-enhancing drugs, can be hired as the Marlins hitting coach but Rose remains on the wrong side of baseball's locked gate? Certainly the deterrent effect — Rose an An Example — has served its purpose. He is why modern players know not to have a bookie or place wagers. From this point forward the only practical reason to continue Rose’s banishment is to continue to bar him from the Hall of Fame — a place where he belongs because, unlike the Steroids Era guys, Rose (A) did not cheat opponents and (B) has served his time. Rose is the only living person on baseball’s "permanently excluded" list, meaning he is not eligible to be on the Hall ballot. There may be wiggle room, though. Manfred noted his ruling was separate from the Hall of Fame, which is not owned by or run by MLB. The Hall in 1991 adopted a rule stating no banished players could appear on its ballot — but sometimes rules change, right? Sometimes exceptions are made. Plainly, Cooperstown has the right to put Rose on its Hall ballot if it chose to — and should. Let Hall voters (myself included) decide if the game’s all-time hits leader has been in purgatory long enough. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing enough of us think Rose has done more than sufficient time for his crime, and that the day at Cooperstown he deserves should not come to him posthumously. OK, the preceding is a condensed version of my column. Now it's your turn. Agree with me that Rose should be on the Hall ballot? Or disagree? Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

Poll result: It's a big "no!" to Heat trading for 'Melo: We asked how you felt about a trade floated by ESPN's Chad Ford that would send Miami's Justise Winslow and Luol Deng to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. The response was huge, and it was 11.9 percent "Yes!," 5.6% "Leaning yes," 12.8% "Leaning no" and 69.7% "No!" Not surprised the no's won, but am surprised by the margin.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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December 13, 2015

The new Hot Button Top 10 with Fins, Heat, college football, Fish, Cats, Warriors, prep champs, soccer, money, Canes hoops; plus my Dolphins at 50 column, faith in Tannehill eroding & more


1) It is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13. IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Faith in Ryan Tannehill poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 14 picks, Trump/Doral and PGA Tour, strength of Serena, Heat at quarter-mark verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins at 50: My latest column: I attended Friday night's lavish Dolphins 50th Anniversary gala in Hollywood and it informs my latest Sunday column on how this franchise is so much better at celebrating its past than it is creating new glory days for its fans. Click on Yesterday Is Great, But What About Tomorrowto read it in full.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DEC. 13): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: 50th anniversary celebrated as Fins host Giants on Monday night: As team skids to a seventh straight year out of the playoffs, Dolphins’ 50 greatest all-time players will be introduced at halftime Monday as franchise celebrates 50 years of football. That breaks down to about 40 seasons worthy of actual celebration, and then the last 10 or so.

2. HEAT: Still wondering at NBA’s quarter turn: How good is Miami?: With the season one-fourth done, Miami fans are still trying to decide how good the Heat is. Eastern finals? Barely make playoffs? Stay tuned, although three straight losses entering Sunday's game vs. Memphis have made the latter seem likelier at the moment.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Canes practice for bowl as city prepares to host CFP semifinal: UM readies for the Dec. 26 Sun Bowl in El Paso as Miami prepares for Clemson-Oklahoma in the Dec. 31 Orange Bowl game. Oh, and if your biggest gripe is why the College Football Playoff semifinals are on New Year’s Eve, you lead a charmed life, friend.

4. MARLINS: Lots of Jose talk, but little action for Fish at winter meetings: The Marlins made headlines entertaining offers but not trading ace Jose Fernandez during the MLB winter meetings in Nashville, but the front office struck out on making any deals to bolster their starting rotation or bullpen.

5. PANTHERS: Government tax help approval assure Cats’ local future: Broward County committed $86 million in tourist tax dollars to keep Panthers in Sunrise at least for 13 more years. Now how about a little payback, Cats? Like an occasional playoff appearance, perhaps?

6. GOLDEN STATE: Warriors finally lose after 24-0 start: It was a 108-95 loss at mediocre Milwaukee that ended the Warriors' record-setting perfect start to the NBA season. Cannot confirm that, out of habit, the '72 Dolphins raised a champagne toast. 

7. HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Four local schools win state titles: Congrats to Miami Central, Booker T. Washington, St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan for winning state prep football championships. Can we invent some way for that success to trickle up to the Canes and Dolphins, please? 

8. SOCCER: Champions League, Euro '16 draw have fans buzzing: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich lead the field that is down to the round of 16. Meanwhile the 24 teams have been set for next summer's Euro 2016. America contributes Portland beating Columbus for the MLS Cup title. Hey, it's better than nothing!

9. BASEBALL SPENDING: Greinke the latest to get windfall: Arizona acquired ace Zack Greinke by agreeing to pay him $206.5 million over six years. Based on my math he'll average about $1 million per start, or per starts missed injured. Put a baseball in Junior's crib, Dad.

10. CANES BASKETBALL: College hoops in Miami back with a vengeance in six days: Saturday, Dec. 19 Mark it. That's when the 10-0 UM women host No. 4 Baylor, the 17th-ranked Canes men host Charleston, and the OB Classic pits in Sunrise pits FSU vs. FAU and Florida vs Oklahoma State.

Missing the cut: They announced Alabama running back Derrick Henry as the Heisman Trophy winner Saturday. I thought I saw Nick Saban almost smile but it may have just been indigestion ... Carolina Panthers put their 12-0 record on line today. Sorry, Cats, we'll pay attention when you're going for 16-0, or 19-0 ... LeBron James signs lifetime deal with Nike. Am picturing LeBron, at 75, pushing Nike's new line of orthopedic bedroom slippers ... Florida Panthers reportedly will unveil a new logo and jersey design next season. Better they should unveil a team good enough to make the playoffs ... Dolphins safety Reshad Jones has undertakena Twitter campaign  to get Pro Bowl votes. Another idea he might consider: An interception or two on Monday Night Football ... R.I.P., NBA pioneer Dolph Schayes, gone at 87. "Sad. There aren't many of us left," noted Dolph Lundgren ... The week-long Orange Bowl International Junior tennis tournament ends Sunday in Plantation. It'll seem so quiet without all those boorish parents yelling ... New York Supreme Court ruled against DraftKings and FanDuel as those daily fantasy sites continue an apparent slide toward extinction. Sure will miss all those TV commercials (!).

Poll result: Faith in Tannehill is dwindling: We asked your degree of faith that QB Ryan Tannehill is as good as the Dolphins need him to be -- two months after asking the same thing. The downturn in faith is notable:

Faith level        Now        October

Strong              9.1%        12.9%

Medium            18.3%      29.1%

Wavering          36.8%      31.9%

Weak               35.8%      26.1%

Tannehill's strong or medium support has shrunk from 42.0% to 27.4%, while his wavering or weak support has increased from 58.0% to 72.6%. This is far from scientific. But it is a snapshot that indicates Tannehill has work to do in restoring the faith in him. Because, without question, it is eroding.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 03, 2015

HURRICANES LAND MARK RICHT AS NEW FOOTBALL COACH. It's logical, smart hire. Agree? Poll. Vote now!; plus MLB going to Cuba, wearing Dolphins ugliness, Marlins & more


1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3. I'm back up at Friday Page HQ conjuring this week's NFL predictions. Send winning thoughts my way. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Packers-Lions pick. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Bonds-to-Marlins poll, Kobe-retiring poll, NFL Week 12 'n Greg's Lobos results, final SOPY standings & more. on Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My new column on Hurricanes landing Mark Richt: Online last evening and shipped to today's inky pulp editions, click on Right Man, Right Time, Right Hire to read in full.

RichtHURRICANES LAND MARK RICHT: Mark Richt, the UM alum and Georgia Bulldogs coach the past 15 seasons, is reuniting with Miami to replace the fired Al Golden as head football coach. The news was confirmed last evening. Is Richt, at 55, the perfect candidate? No. Short of Nick Saban or Urban Meyer flying into Coral Gables begging for the job, there wasn’t one. Richt never reached a national-championship game with Georgia, so, yes, Miami is hiring a coach to accomplish here what he failed to elsewhere. Still, a 145-51 record, 15 consecutive bowl appearances and seven Top 10 finishes attest to a big resume at the highest level of college football. UM is getting a coach who averaged 9.6 wins in the SEC. In the less talent-dense Atlantic Coast Conference there will now be every expectation that Richt will soon have Miami on the Clemson and Florida State level, competing annually for an ACC title and on the road back to national relevance. I think it's a great, smart, logical hire. Do you? What is your confidence level in this hire, and in Richt? Take a dip in our poll, vote and say why you feel as you do.

UglyDOLPHINS HAVING UGLY SEASON, SO THIS IS FITTING: The NFL has come out with a holiday line of "ugly sweaters" (click here to shop) and, in Miami's case, what better way to simultaneously celebrate the holiday season and the Dolphins' ugly 2015 season than with the apparel pictured at right? It isn't as ugly as a 4-7 record and a seventh straight year out of the playoffs, but it's the next worst thing!

MLB SETS GOODWILL TOUR IN CUBA: Major League Baseball and its players association today announced a Dec. 15-18 goodwill tour of Cuba, MLB's first visit to the island since the Orioles played an exhibition there in March 1999. Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Dave Winfield will lead the contingent, along with a group of current players yet to be announced. Events will include a press conference, two children's clinics and a charity event.

MARLINS DO RIGHT. NO, SERIOUSLY: Though I've made a cottage industry of blaming the Marlins, with cause, I cannot blame the club for parting ways with starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez on Wednesday rather than tendering him an offer. Ongoing injury issues make him unreliable and not worth the investment. Having said that he's a 25-year-old who's already made an All-Star team, and his departure accentuates Miami's need to sign one or two quality starters to fit behind Jose Fernandez in the rotation.

Poll result: Polarizing I: Mixed view of Kobe as a he retires: We asked how you felt about Kobe Bryant as he announced he'll retire from Lakers after this season, and it was 35.9 percent positive, 33.8% negative and 30.3% mixed or undecided.

Poll result: Polarizing II: General approval for Marlins hiring Bonds: We asked how you felt about Barry Bonds joining the Marlins as hitting instructor, and it was 55.6 for it, 33.3% against and 11.1% not sure.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 02, 2015

Marlins hiring Barry Bonds: New poll. Vote now!; plus Kobe Bryant poll, NFL Week 12 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, Dolphins latest All-50'ers, Miami Jackson's Flowers wins 'State Heisman' with 6 Canes in Top 25 & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all! Done your shopping yet? 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, but be warned: Ugly. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire OC Bill Lazor after loss at Jets, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes' next football: Who it is should be. Watch for my latest column online later today. 

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club marks its 50th anniversary by naming top 50 all-time players in groups of five. The latest: Kim Bokamper, Earl Morrall, Louis Oliver, Keith Sims, Cam Wake. Wake was expected; Morrall too for his unique niche. Other three are more borderline, which is not to say unworthy.

BondsHIRING BARRY BONDS IS SO MARLINS: Reports indicate Barry Bonds has agreed to join the Marlins as a hitting coach, a classic splash move by the attention-needy ballclub and its owner Jeffrey Loria. This is so Marlins. The hiring (if it happens) would be dubious, and not mostly because of the steroids-tainted past that has kept Bonds -- MLB's all-time home run hitter with an asterisk -- out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds didn't kill anybody. Shame and the Hall ban arepunishment enough. No, this move sees its biggest potential pitfall in him "working alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino." Hmm. Two hitting coaches espousing different ideas as egos rub? The possibilities are why teams rarely have multiple hitting coaches. Let's hear more on this. For instance, might Bonds just be a spring instructor and then disappear? Or a roving "special" hitting instructor as he was for the San Francisco Giants two years ago? (That's his only experience in coaching). For now, what do you think of the Marlins trying to hire Bonds?

KobeHOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT KOBE BRYANT AS WE SAY GOODBYE?: This may not be an easy question to answer. The Los Angels Lakers' all-time great Kobe Bryant announced this week he would retire after this season, and I wonder how we feel. Has there been a more polarizing superstar? Many love Kobe; many others are far from that. I suspect that most NBA fans certainly respect his greatness yet do not particularly like him. But I may be wrong. Hence, this poll. The question posed is intentionally broad. It asks not what you think of him as a player, but your overall general impression of him. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 11: SO-SO, BAD, BAD: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: Good and not: Our 10-6 mark overall Fripixis OK, but 6-10 against the spread isn't, despite the fact we nailed our Upset of the Week with Broncos beating Patriots ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jaguars. Greg's Lobos / family league: Eliminated: The original Lobos lost 140-131 to fall to 4-8, now eliminated from championship-round playoff contention with two weeks left. We got 89 combined points from Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham and T.Y. Hilton but it still wasn't enough. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Playin' out the string: The LeBatard Show Lobos are losing big to Stugotz in the two-round consolation playoffs, after being eliminated from title contention by Billy a week earlier. Got 28.9 points from Phil (Mint) Rivers, but too little help.

SOPY: MIAMI JACKSON'S FLOWERS WINS 'STATE HEISMAN,' 6 CANES IN FINAL TOP 25: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds South Florida dual- Flowersthreat quarterback Quinton Flowers out of Miami Jackson (pictured) edging Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central for the title. Flowers is the first player outside of the traditional Big 3 state schools to win our 'State Heisman.' Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. And we close it off after the regular season, excluding bowl games, to give every school's players an equal shot. The final SOPY Top 25 for 2015:


Rk    Player, team-pos.                    Season

1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb         2,077.5

2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                  1,990

3      Alex McGough, FIU-qb               1,594

4      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                1,531

5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb               1,438

6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                 1,262

7      Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb            1,260

8      Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb            1,206

9      Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb           1,145 

10    Treon Harris, Florida-qb              924.5

11. Everett Golson FSU-qb 921; 12. Justin Holman UCF-qb 869; 13. Jenson Stoshak FAU-wr 828; 14. Kermit Whitfield FSU-wr 807; 15. Will Grier Florida-qb 789; 16. Rodney Adams SoFla-wr 776; 17. Travis Rudolph FSU-wr 751; 18. Tre'Quan Smith UCF-wr 748; 19. Mark Walton Miami-rb 729; 20. Thomas Owens FIU-wr 687; 21. D'Ernest Johnson SoFla-rb 685.5; 22. Stacy Coley Miami-wr 678; 23. Greg Howell FAU-rb 670; 24. Rashawn Scott Miami-wr 650; 25. Herb Waters Miami-wr 637.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions:

2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5

2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968

2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107

2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5

Cote's final pre-bowl State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (10-2); 2. Florida (10-2); 3. Miami (8-4); 4. South Florida (8-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (3-9); 7. UCF (0-12).

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote