July 12, 2015

Good news, bad news on Dolphins QB Tannehill; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): MLB screws Marlins on ASG, Riley's big summer, Serena, parade, fireworks, The Donald, Dolfans slammed; also, verdicts on Trump, Jason Pierre-Paul & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is MONDAY, JULY 13. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes column package. 2) #BoycottArianaGrande. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Jason Pierre-Paul/privacy and Donald Trump/golf polls, Heat sign Stoudemire, Dolphins fans low-rated, Jose stays perfect, Luol Deng's special video & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and now Periscope, too.

"LeBron James, featured in the new movie, Trainwreck, hosted a private VIP screening. Based on the title, I assume it's about the Cavaliers’ collapse in the recent NBA Finals?" --Greg Cote

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS ON TANNEHILL IN AFC EAST CONTEXT: Peter King's respected Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) website has a new ranking of all 32 projected NFL starting quarterbacks by writer Andy 1aa1adolqbBenoit and it offers good news and bad news for Miami's Ryan Tannehill 1aa1adol15(pictured) both overall and also in the context of the AFC East. His ranking of No. 15 could be seen as good or bad. That's mid-pack overall, but the synopsis of Tannehill reads, "An underappreciated athlete and good pure passer who has progressed every year in his career." He's clearly on the ascent, and outranks the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler. More good news: Two division-rival starters are at dregs-level: Jets' Geno Smith at 27th and Bills' Matt Cassel at a dead-last 32nd. The bad news? Guess who's No. 1? Good guess. Patriots' Tom Brady. Click here for the full rankings.

HOT BUTTON (UPDATED): TOP 10 THINGS 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: 

1aa1ahotbutton1. BASEBALL: All-Star Game, Home Run Derby on deck: The 86th All-Star Game is Tuesday in Cincinnati, with no Marlins playing thanks to Giancarlo Stanton and now Dee Gordon both being injured. The Home Run Derby is tonight, though diminished without Stanton and Bryce Harper. The danger in Cincy hosting? Pete Rose runs onto field past security and demands an at-bat.

2. HEAT: Miami adds Stoudemire and Green, shines in summer ball: Another strong week for the Heat as Miami signed veteran forward/center Amar’e Stoudemire and three-point specialist Gerald Green (both cheap) and the Heat’s youth squad finished 5-0 in the Orlando Summer League. Pat Riley hasn’t had a better summer since 2010.

3. MARLINS: Gordon injured, Fish fuming over ASG replacement snub: Jose Fernandez improved to 2-0 since his return from Tommy John surgery (and 14-0 all-time at home) but team slogged into All-Star break with third-worst record in MLB despite two nice wins in a row. Now there is speculation Mat Latos, Dan Haren and others may be traded before July 31 deadline. Oh, and Dee Gordon's injury leaves Miami 0-for-2 on All-Stars who'll actually play, after Gordon was replaced by Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, not Marlins' Adeiny Hechavarria. That's a bit too literal on "adding insult to injury."

4. TENNIS: Serena wins fourth straight major, Djokovic tops Wimbledon men: Wimbledon wrapped yesterday with Novak Djokovic beating Roger Federer in a heavyweight men's final. Saturday, Serena Williams completed the “Serena Slam” by winning her fourth major in a row. She beat Garbine Muguruza, who evidently is a rising young Venezuelan even though Greg Cote had never heard of her.

5. SOCCER: America still celebrating women’s World Cup win: The symbolic culmination of last week’s third U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer championship and first since 1999 came Friday with a ticker-tape parade along New York’s “Canyon of Heroes.” There are so many great players on that champions’ roster. Hey, maybe they could loan a few to the U.S. men’s team!

6. FIREWORKS: Two NFL players lose fingers in mishaps: Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (one) and Bucs CB C.J. Wilson (two) lost fingers in Fourth of July fireworks mishaps. It's relentless. NFL players -- along with FSU players and athletes in general -- keep providing lessons in how not to behave.

7. DONALD TRUMP: PGA Tour mulling Trump controversy: The PGA Tour and other golf entities weigh whether to divest from Trump-owned courses (such as Doral) over his comments disparaging Mexican immigrants. One possible solution: Trump avoids that by buying the entire sport of golf.
 
8. DOLPHINS: Miami fans slammed in new study: 

A study by Atlanta’s Emory University ranked Dolphins fans 32nd — dead last in the NFL — in a “fan-equity ranking” measuring willingness to financially support their team. Um, you don't need a college degree (or study) to know that 30 years between Super Bowl appearances can do that.

 

 

9. UM FOOTBALL: Adidas plans uniform unveiling: A

didas plans a lavish VIP party this coming Saturday at trendy Club Liv to unveil the Hurricanes’ new football uniforms. I wish I were kidding. Remember when you didn’t know — or care — who made your team’s uniforms? And that when you said your team “looked good” you meant winning, not sartorial splendor?
 
10. GOLF: British Open to miss its defending champion: It starts in three 

days at St. Andrews in Scotland, but without defending champ Rory McIlroy, who hurt his ankle playing pickup soccer. Meanwhile Tiger Woods tries (again) for his first major win since 2008. Headline: 'Old Tiger seeks old form on The Old Course.'

 

Missing the HB10 cut: DeAndre Jordan jilts Mavericks, stays with Clippers. Carnival's Cuba cruises and impact on Micky Arison. Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Canes. NHL Panthers seeks arena lease relief from Broward County. ESPN won't re-sign Keith Olbermann. U.S. men's soccer in Gold Cup. (Who knew we had a men's team, too!?) And the Tour de France enters its final week. First cyclist to pass both the finish line and a doping test wins.

Poll result: Mixed feelings but mostly support for Trump: We asked if the PGA Tour should disassociate itself from Donald Trump-owned courses because of his disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and it was 56.2 percent no and 41.4% yes, with 2.4% undecided.

Poll result: Blame targets hospital in Jason Pierre-Paul matter: We asked who was to blame for the Giants defensive end's medical records being leaked after his fireworks accident and 54.4 percent blamed both Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital (for leaking) and ESPN's Adam Schefter (for disseminating). But 28.8% mostly blamed Jackson vs. only 8.9% who mostly blamed Schefter. The other 8.0% blamed no one.

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

February 03, 2015

On Super Bowl: Criticism of The Call, halftime and commercials; plus you rate this Super Bowl (poll; vote now!); also, Warren Sapp, betting odds for next season on Dolphins, Canes & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today for my regular Tuesday gig with the Dan Le Batard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Have a new "Back In My Day" in hand. Ears welcome.


1aa1agronk1) It is TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3. Pictured right, it's just Gronk Being Gronk in a club around 4 a.m. after winning the Super Bowl. Lesson: It is good to be Gronk. 2) In case you missed it: Click on Bouncing Off the Shield for my Sunday Super Bowl special-section column on how the NFL's massive popularity withstands all manner of scandal and controversy that come its way, and on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes column. 3) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl MVP poll, Hot Button Top 10, Canton selections & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

On the Patriots' complicated legacy: Today's latest column by me extols one of the greatest Super Bowls ever but explores the complicated issue of how history will judge the Patriots' four Super Bowl wins of the Belichick-Brady era. The success should be mentioned first, but the rules-breaking controversies must be noted, too. Click on Excellence and Ethics to read.

Sapp arrested: Former Hurricanes star Warren Sapp reportedly was arrested in Phoenix yesterday for solicitation and assault (story here) and quickly fired by the NFL Network. Because of previous episodes Sapp was in danger of dumbing himself out of his TV career, and I think this has done it. Sad.

A QUICK SUPER BOWL RECAP: The game, halftime, party, commercials. What else is there? (Rhetorical question. There's also a poll below here inviting you to rate this Super Bowl):

The game: I picked the Patriots to win 27-23. They won 28-24. But enough about me! Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is getting too much flak for his "terrible" call that gave New England the win. People are playing the result. Yes, handing off to Marshawn Lynch would have been the safe call. But Carroll would be getting lauded today as the unpredictable, daring genius had Russell Wilson completed that quick- slant pass rather than thrown an interception. Tom Brady and the Pats got lucky with that, but deserved to win. 

1aa1akatypThe halftime show: It feels strange saying it but I thought Katy Perry was great, from the opening entrance on the giant mechanical tiger and straight on through. She is very talented and has the palatable, NFL-friendly sex appeal that others (Miley Cyrus) are lacking, and her opening number, the anthemic "Roar," was perfect for a Super Bowl.

The party: I hosted my annual SB party for 12 or 15 family and friends, with pulled pork sliders (Boston butt, foretelling the Patriots' victory) and gumbo atop the menu. I also happened to win big in our two betting pools (squares, props) which made me an unpopular but smiling host.

1aa1alostpuppyThe commercials: Click on Ad-Meter to watch and see USA Today's Ad-Meter ranking of all 61 Super Bowl commercials. No. 1: Budweiser / "Lost Dog," because heroes Clydesdales saving an adorable lost puppy's life is irresistible and makes me want to drink beer to celebrate. Dead last: UCool / "Heroes Charge," because I don't remember the ad and have no idea what UCool is.

HOW DO YOU RATE THIS SUPER BOWL COMPARED TO MOST: Rate the game on overall interest, watchability and excitement -- not on whether your team won, not on whether you hit on your bet:

VEGAS OUTLOOK FOR DOLPHINS, CANES: Odds for next season's Super Bowl already are out (sportsbooks waste no time) and the Dolphins are at 40-1, tied for 14th. Seahawks are favored at 5-1, then Patriots 7-1 and Packers 8-1. On the college side,Ohio State is a favorite to repeat at 5-1. The Miami Hurricanes are 75-1, tied for 29th.

Poll result: Brady was your MVP favorite: We asked who you thought would be Super Bowl MVP and, of six choices, Patriots QB Tom Brady (who ended up winning) was the top choice with 52.0 percent.

Check back often because we're always updating and adding to our latest blogposts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 07, 2014

Dolphins and Jim Harbaugh. Poll. Vote!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, college football's merry mess, toast to '72, Cinder-AL-a & more

1aa1aebola

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket  Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7. The Jacksonville Jaguars mascot led to an apology from the club for the sign shown carried during the Steelers game. Dear Mascots: Two things. First, stay out of politics and current events. Second, nothing about the ebola virus is funny. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes grounded by Georgia Tech, CSM poll, Hot Button Top  10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

THE DOLPHINS' HARBAUGH DILEMMA: A prevailing school of thought within the NFL is that the San Francisco 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh may mutually part ways after this season, despite their success 1aa1ajimhtogether. That immediately raises Harbaugh-to-Dolphins speculation considering owner Stephen Ross already tried once (2011) to hire Harbaugh for Miami. I think the issue would be moot if Miami makes the playoffs, which I think would secure Joe Philbin's job. But otherwise? Harbaugh's coaching talent is evident. But so is his off-putting personality and his hunger for control. Hiring him would be seen as a coup by some, but would be seen by others as an invitation to upheaval and turmoil. It's early, but we invite your thoughts on the matter. Vote and say why.

THE MERRY MESS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL: I am grinning right now at all those folks who thought the advent, this season, of the four-team College Football Playoff would make everything cut-and-dried, neat, 1aa1acfpabove argument. Ha! In the best case, the Final Four may not be a broad consensus. There will usually be an angry No. 5 standing outside the closed door leading a protest. In the worst case, picking four for the CFP may be a crapshoot that finds at least as many teams feeling unfairly left out. This first year of the playoff looks like it could be one of those nightmares for the selection committee. Seemed otherwise until Nos. 2-3-4 Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma all lost this past weekend, leaving the playoff picture as Florida State and the backup group Question Mark & The Mysterians. Auburn is pretty solid No. 2, then it gets crazy. Mississippi State, Baylor, Ole Miss, Notre Dame -- there are 24 teams in the AP Top 25 with zero or one losses. Alabama or any of the other recently dethroned team that runs the table from here stil can gravitate back up into the top four. It's insane, with very little hope of consensus come playoff time. Ain't it great!?

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: ALL GOOD FOR WEEK 5: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosprevious NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: Great on the overall at 13-2 and OK against the spread at 8-7. But we stumbled for first time on our Upset of the Week when Bears blew it in Carolina. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos (logo at left) improved to 2-3 with a 107-93 win, led by 22 points from Marshawn Lynch, 21 from Philip Rivers and, unexpectedly, 21 from the toe of Stephen Gostkowski. Gotta say, though. You killin' me, Calvin Johnson!

SOPY: CANES' JOHNSON, KAAYA STAY ON TOP: Canes Duke Johnson and Brad Kaaya stay 1-2 in our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings --"the State Heisman" -- while hard- 1aa1asopycharging Jameis Winston, the defending champion, leaps to No. 3. This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). 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. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 7:

SOPY WEEK 6 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk6    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         158      826

2 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            119.5    769

3 (6)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        194.5    746

4 (4)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      176.5   741 

5 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        33      592

6 (3)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            DNP      586

7 (9)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            114     538.5

8 (8)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           59.5     496.5

9 (7)        Karlos Williams, FSU-rb           54      494

10 (--)     Alex Gardner, FIU-rb               118     470

Bubble: Jay Warren, FAU-rb, 467. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 458.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 4 games, FSU and USF have played 5 and Miami, FIU and FAU have played 6.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 4: 1. FSU (5-0); 2. Florida (3-1); 3. Miami (3-3); 4. UCF (2-2); 5. SoFla (2-3); 6. FIU (3-3); 7. FAU (2-4).

A TOAST (EARLY THIS YEAR) TO 1972: In South Florida "1972" doesn't mean Vietnam or Watergate or anything else but Perfection. It means Don Shula, Lazrry Csonka and the 17-0 '72 Dolphins. Usually it's 1aa1adol72around Thanksgiving each year when some other NFL team is making its futile attempt to equal what Miami did, once and forver. This season we're only five weeks in and already we are rid of the last unbeaten team, thanks to the Bengals losing big at New England last night. The '72 Perfectos should feel cheated. National football writers didn't even have time to try to scrounge a phone number for Dick Anderson or Nick Buoniconti. Was the champgane even chilled yet? Anyone, congrats to what was, and remains. To the Class of '72.

...AND THEN THERE'S DERRICK SHELBY: We segue from the Dolphins' 1aa1adshelbypinnacle of pride to the latter-day embarrassment of defensive end Derrick Shelby, arrested for causing a disturbance at Fort Lauderdale nightclub at 2 a.n. Saturday. Cops had to tase him three times. The mugshot at left hints at one of the charges: resisting arrest. This is the worst possible climate to be arrested as an NFL player right now, but alcohol does cloud the mind, doesn't it? Kudos to the Dolphins and coach Joe Philbin for immediately suspending Shelby.

CINDERELLA LIVES IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE: I love that the Orioles and Royals are in 1aa1aalcsthe AL Championship Series after 3-0 playoff series wins over the Tigers and Angels, respectively. The O's have waited the longest of any AL playoff team (31 years) to win a World Series, while the Royals hadn't even been to the postseason since 1985. In the NL, if the Nationals (down 2-0) get eliminated the team to root for sentimentally would be the L.A. Dodgers. They last won a WS in 1988, although seven playoff appearances since and a mega-payroll hardly make LAD a classic Cinderella like the AL offers.

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

September 19, 2014

Your Canton Hall of Fame ballot. Poll. Vote!; plus NFL Week 3 pix, new Jeter ad, Jameis Winston, erosion of faith in Tannehill, UO boycott & more

To disgruntled blog readers: You know by now there are big changes at MiamiHerald.com affecting this blog and others. One is that commenters must now log in with a Facebook account. Another (unfortunately) is a redesign that has bumped my blog from its usual spot on the upper lefthand corner of the Sports front. Another (unfortunately again) is that all comments prior to yesterday have disappeared; it's as if everything started over on Thursday. Folks, these changes are corporate and not my idea or wish. I gauge from the solid response to our latest poll that our overall blog traffic remains strong. I invite our longtime regulars -- our Blog Family -- to stay strong with us through the changes.

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Congrats to ex-Cane Devin Hester for last night setting the NFL career record for most return TDs. 2) I'm in Random Evidence Laboratories today bringing forth the Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ryan Tannehill poll, LeBron's new hairline, Kevin Olsen, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY Top 10, 3D-printed car & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1acantonYOU SELECT CANTON'S NEXT HALL OF FAME CLASS: This week the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, O. revealed the 113 people on its 2015 ballot. It'll be pared to 25 names in November and to 15 finalists in January before four to eight new members are elected during Super Bowl Week. This poll includes the 10 people most likely, in my view, to produce the next class of inductees. Our list includes the five most prominent 2014 finalists back for another shot, and the five most prominent first-time eligibles, who are designated in the poll by an asterisk. Say this is your Hall of Fame ballot and you may vote for as many as five. Who are your picks?

NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: Good start last night with Falcons winning and covering -- no, smothering -- the 1aa1afripixpoor Buccaneers. Click on Week 3 Gems for all our latest prediction capsules (have the Dolphins beating Chiefs, but not covering), and on Talking Football for our Friday Page NFL column. I write how this week's big game -- Seahawks-Broncos, the Super Bowl rematch and likely SB preview -- delivers a welcome break from the controversies that have engulfed the league.

ON JAMEIS WINSTON'S LATEST IMAGE-HIT: So FSU's Heisman-winning quarterback stands up on a table 1aa1ajameisin the middle of campus and shouts an unfortunately popular string of words that are juvenile, vulgar and sexist: "F--- her right in the p----!" Naturally it gets out. He is suspended for a half-game -- the first half of Saturday's biggie vs. Clemson. Oh, Jameis. So stupid for two reasons: 1) Did you think, in the age of smart-phones turning everybody into photographers and videographers, that this wouldn't go viral and get you in trouble? Can you be that dense? 2) You of all, people. You, who have been the subject of rape allegations, shouting mysogenist garbage. The good news: What you shouted just gave somebody at Urban Outfitters an idea for a new sweatshirt slogan!

Poll result: Quantifying the erosion of confidence in Ryan Tannehill: We asked your degree of faith in the quarterback's Dolphins future (you may still vote), and more than one in three voters -- 34.5 percent -- answered, "I've seen enough. He isn't the answer. Then it was 31.4% for "not given up but serious doubts," 28.5% for "still back him but must see improvement" and only 4.7% for "very optimistic." Opinions are hardening, with a negligible 0.8% still undecided. This is a clear erosion of faith from previous Tannehill polls. In August 2012 we asked what you realistically expect of his Miami career and most, 49.2%, said "very good, at least a few Pro Bowls." In July 2013 we asked waht you see as his future and most, 42.7%, said "very good." Now, he must earn back the former supporters who have lost faith.

NEW JETER FAREWELL AD A TEAR-JERKER: This is Gatorade's new farewell ad for retiring Yankee Derek Jeter, and it's a good one, a wonderful use of Sinatra's signature song. It brought a tear to my eye ... and I'm a Red Sox fan!

 

BOYCOTT URBAN OUTFITTERS: Urban Outfitters is a Philadelphia-headquartered clothing company whose 1aa1akentidea of being hip and cutting-edge is to consistently insult and offend. It's time we put them out of business. The latest UO outrage was a "vintage" Kent State University sweatshirt with a blood-splatter pattern. It was quickly removed from shelves after complaints from grownups who still associate Kent State with the 1970 tragedy (see photo). UO said, "We deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively." Bulls---! Don't put it on our misperception. Put it on your own business plan. UO's previous controversies included "fashion symbols" that resembled Nazi stars, a handgun-shaped Christmas ornament, Che Guevara clothing and a "Ghettopoly" game board. Enough. Boycott.

Check back several times daily because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

September 17, 2014

What's your faith in Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron's new hair, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, Kevin Olsen, 3D-printed car & more

MESSAGE TO OUR BLOG FAMILY: (Note, this decision is corporate, not my own): "Starting Tuesday (yesterday), to comment on this blog you’ll need to log in with a Facebook account. We encourage lively discussion, but also believe respect and civility must be part of good debate. Your blog posts will carry the name on your Facebook account; you will have the choice whether your post also appears on your own Facebook page." Find a broader explanation here. Change affects all blogs, not just this one. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank our blog community -- the strongest on all of MiamiHerald.com -- for standing together through the change.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. A belated happy birthday to Dan Marino, who turned 53 this week. Time flies like his passes once did. Fast. 2) The latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, showing a sizable dip, may be found in blogpost directly below. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo, DSM poll, Heat signing, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

CONUNDRUM: TANNEHILL HASN'T FULLY EARNED TRUST, BUT DOLPHINS MUST TRUST HIM: I explore the curious state of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in my latest column; click on Pass Or Fail to 1aa1adolqbread. Two mediocre games into this third season, some fans and media already are concluding he isn't the team's long-term answer at quarterback. I say it looks like the Dolphins are afraid to find out. They are not letting him throw deep as often as they should. Sunday in the loss at Buffalo they ran out the clock with 2:21 left in the half and three timeouts (plus the two-minute warning) left. That was negative coaching betraying a lack of confidence in the man running the offense. Unshackle Tannehill, I say. It is the only way to know for sure what you have, and what the future holds. But enough of my opinion. Time for yours. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON UNVEILS NEW SHOE, NEW HAIR: LeBron James has unveiled 1aa1alebronnewshoe
1aa1alebronhair2 1aa1alebronoldhairhis latest sneaker, the $200 LeBron 12 pictured left, a shoe whose color scheme seems to pay subconscious homage to the NFL in the city he left behind. Of more interest, it seems LeBron also has quietly also unveiled a new hairline that has reduced his growing expanse of forehead. Check out the before and current pics at right.

ON CANES QB KEVIN OLSEN: [Update: UM released the following statement in its entirety: "Kevin Olsen is no longer a student at the University of Miami. We wish him the very best in the future."] My original post: I have a personal policy to not criticize 1aa1akolsencollege athletes as I would pro athletes. Kevin Olsen (pictured in this week's police mug shot) makes that a challege. UM's oft-suspended quarterback is suspended again after his latest off-field issue, a DUI arrest with a fake ID -- dropping an unneeded distraction onto Al Golden's lap as the team prepares to play Nebraska. I temper this with a degree of sympathy, because it has become obvious the kid has an alcohol problem. He needs help and the school should try to give it as a last step before cutting ties altogether.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 DIPS: We update you briefly every week on how we 1aa1afripixdid the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went 9-7 overall in Week 2 and 8-8 against the spread, nailing our Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!") with Cowboys winning at Tennessee. Fantasy: Thud! Greg's Lobos fell to Earth like the Dolphins, losing 136-90 with nobody topping 15 lousy points.

SOPY: CANES' KAAYA VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE: A 177-point Week 3 vaults Canes QB Brad Kaaya to third place in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- 1aa1asopy"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Jameis Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). 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. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 4:

SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk2    Season

1 (1)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            49       433

2 (--)       DeMarcus Robinson, Fla-rec   228      357

3 (7)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            177      353.5

4 (2)        Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        DNP     348

5 (9)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           182.5    319.5

6 (5)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        116       314

7 (--)       Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       206       302

8 (3)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       80       289

9 (--)        Matt Jones, Florida-rb           176      262

10 (--)     Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     201     256.5

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 252. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman-qb, 250.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF, Florida and FSU have played one fewer game (2) than the other four state FBS teams.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 4: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. Miami (2-1); 4. UCF (0-2); 5. SoFla (1-2); 6. FAU (1-2); 7. FIU (1-2). 

1aa1astratiWORLD'S FIRST 3-D PRINTED CAR: This technology is beyond my comprehension -- I still listen to CDs -- but I find this fascinating. The Strati (pictured), a two-seat electric car with a range of 120 miles and a max speed of 40 mph, has been unveiled at a Chicago auto show. It was manufactured with a 3-D printer by Local Motors of Phoenix. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Click here for the backstory.

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June 25, 2013

Giancarlo Stanton gets nude!; plus let Heat enjoy this; also, Aaron Hernandez, still a football town?, Serena v. Maria, not-terrible Marlins & more

1aa1ljsi1) It is WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26. LeBron James is on cover of the newest Sports Illustrated, pictured. Heat today exercised team option to keep Mario Chalmers for next season. Smart move. 2) One of my musical heroes, Mavis Staples, has a new album out called One True Vine. Look forward to picking it up. (Yes, I sometimes still buy CDs!) Follow on Twitter @Mavis_Staples. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-among-our- greatest-sports-accomnplishments poll, Paula Deen mess.

Follow us on TWITTER @gregcote and INSTAGRAM @ upsetbird and VINE @ Greg Cote. New stuff from Heat celebration, 790 The Ticket.

Heat commemorative special section: It's out today in The Miami Herald and online, and my contribution is this column on how Dwyane Wade is the quiet cause of all this. It was Micky Arison's money, Pat Riley's gumption and LeBron James' talent ... but first it was Wade's willingness and sacrifice.

GREEK GOD-LIKE GIANCARLO STANTON GOES COMMANDO FOR ESPN 'BODY' ISSUE: It hits newsstands July 12 and athletes who'll be naked but artfully covered include Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton (pictured 1aa1gstantonright), 49ers QB Colin Kapernick, NBA'er John Wall, WNBA'er Swin Cash, tennis player John Isner, volleyballer Kerri Walsh-Jennings and (oh my) 77-year-old golfer Gary Player. Need to wrap my mind around that last one. I don't think even women married to 77-year-olds want to see them naked, 1aa1gstanton2but I may be wrong. Other athletes involved are NBA'er Kenneth Faried, the Mets' Matt Harvey, drag racer Courtney Force, 49er Vernon Davis, women's soccer's Sydney Leroux, golfer Carly Booth, NHL'er Joffrey Lupul, snowboarder Elena Hight, boxer Marlen Esparza, rock climbers Chris Sharma and Daila ojeda, UFC's Miesha Tate, motocross' Tarah Gieger and tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska. Stanton's spread might cause the most attention the Marlins have had all season. They should capitalize with a Stanton Night, in which the first 5,000 fans to show up nude get in free. Hopefully Stanton's photo shoot was a bit bit more creative and less ridiculous (if I can say that) than the previous Body Issue appearance of then-Marlin Hanley Ramirez. Although who among us hasn't ironed in the nude at some point?

ENOUGH! LET HEAT ENJOY WHAT THEY EARNED: Two recent slices of local media bothered me a little. The microscopic over-analysis was out even as South Florida threw itself a championship parade. Dan LeBatard on 790 The Ticket was playing psychologist by reading a newly defiant, angry, "how-do-you-like-me-now" attitude in the Heat in the wake of their second straight title. A jump-point was LeBron brandishing his championship trophy in one 1aa1jameslhand and Finals MVP trophy in the other in a showy manner. He also put out an Instagram video (click here) that showed him quite cocky. (Still from vid is pictured). I think we make too much of too little to see overriding arrogance here instead of guys just reveling. And, by the way, a bit of arrogance is probably justified, after all the turmoil and hatred this team went through in 2010-11. I have actually seen a fair amount of humility in this Heat team overall, especially in the way they lavished praise and respect upon the vanquished Spurs. In my own Miami Herald, there was a news story about LeBron being "noncommital" on his intentions beyond next season, when he'd be free to leave. The piece flew on this comment James made to CNN: "I don't know, because I haven't really even thought about it. So when that moment comes up, I will approach it like a professional  and we'll see what happens." How benign! What else should LeBron say? And yet the implication was that James being "noncommital" may bode darkly for Miami. Sure enough, LeBron came out a day later and said it would be the "ultimate finish" for the Big 3 to stay intact beyond next season. The over-analysis of this team takes no holiday.

Poll result: Hold on, Heat. Are we still a football town?: This gauge suggests so, anyway. I asked you to put the Heat's three championships including back-to-backers in context with Miami's other greatest team-sports feats, and you placed the Heat only third with 24.7 percent. The Dolphins' Perfect Season/1972-73 Super Bowls won with 40.3%, followed by UM's five football national championships with 31.3%. The Marlins' two World Series collected the remaining 3.7%.

WHILE WE WEREN'T WATCHING, THE MARLINS GOT PRETTY DECENT: The Fish still have the majors' worst record, yeah, but since May 31 (while we were all Heat-obsessed), they have been 13-9 to shower some of the stink and shame off themselves. They began a six-game homestand with a win last night, and with the local stage pretty much to themselves for a while, this would be a very good time to continue not stinking.

1aa1aaronhernPATRIOTS TIGHT END ARRESTED, LOSES BOTH ARMS: The arrested part is for sure. Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez, Dumbass Athlete, was taken into custody this morning and charged with murder. My speculation that Hernandez also has lost both arms is based entirely on this photographic evidence, which also indicates Aaron got fat. Oh, and the Pats just cut him. (Can you play tight end, Tebow? Just asking...)

Dumbass Athletes, continued: Mark Sanchez: I guess the phrase Nude Booty Dance about sums it up.

TENNIS CAT FIGHT!: I love this claws-out back and forth between tennis stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, who are pictured here in more amiable days. This is a hell of 1aa1amiableas lot meatier than that little Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia tiff but with not nearly the attention. Serena makes clear in a magazine piece that Maria is dating one of her ex's, and Maria fires back -- in a post-match news conference! -- by stating that Serena had a relationship with a man "that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids." And all of this in the midst of Wimbledon! The British tabloids haven't been this happy since those topless pics of Kate Middleton materialized.

YOUR 2014 STANLEY CUP ODDS RIGHT HERE: The confetti hasn't even fallen in Chicago yet after Blackhawks' win last night and already Bovada has rushed out 2014 odds for Lord Stanley's chalice. Leaders are Pittsburgh at 13-2, champ Chicago at 15-2 and Boston at 9-1. Your lovable Florida Panthers? Thirtieth of 30 at 100-1.

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May 16, 2013

It's Indiana! Heat-Pacers in East finals; plus Heat bigger faves than ever to repeat, D-Wade prom video, Oxbow, Sad-O-Meter & more

1aa1mando1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 18. Sesame Street is introducing a new character named Armando or "Mando," which may or may not be an homage to Herald sports writer Armando Salguero. Mando is pictured at right. (Is it me or do half of the Sesame Street characters sort of look like this?) 2) Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle dead at 71 of reported suicide. Sad story. All-time great name, Dick Trickle, but a sad story. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 5 win, Wade health poll, LeBron No. 2 in money, most disappointing hotel, catchers' fake fingernails, Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Another year, another horse fails to win Triple Crown: Affirmed in 1978 remains the last to do it after Kentucky Derby winner Orb finished a disappointing fourth in today's Preakness Stakes, won by Oxbow with ancient Gary Stevens aboard. Orb started on the rail and really struggled to extricate himself from traffic.

Hit Wade Strikes Back for my column off Wednesday's Heat win.

"David Beckham is retiring? What a big, big loss for the sport of underwear endorsing." --Greg Cote

UPDATED: HEAT CRAZY-BIG FAVES TO REPEATS AS CHAMPS: If you want the other side you stand to make some big bucks. Are you that daring? New from Bovada, championship odds on the five teams still alive show Heat at 1-3, Spurs 5-1, Grizzlies 6-1, Pacers 20-1 and Knicks 40-1. Miami odds to win East and get to Finals: 1-9. Man! Based on the public perception that sets the odds, let's just go ahead and plan that parade right now. I'm just sayin'.

EASTERN FINALS SET: HEAT VS. PACERS: Indiana beat visiting New York 106-99 tonight to win the series 4 games to 2. Miami will host Eastern finals Game 1 vs. Pacers on Wednesday night. The series suggests Pacers are a better team, although that is debatable. Both teams fared well against Miami this season, Indy going 2-1 against the Heat and the Knickerbockers 3-1. The other factor in answering the poll question below was the vantage point of your vote. It might have been based on which team you think would be an easier draw for the Heat. Or you might have voted for what you think the more exciting series would be. On the latter criteria the clear preference would seem to have been New York, a bigger rival with more starpower and boorish fans in constant need of shutting up. Based on results, your choice was pretty clear. Enjoys the Eastern finals anyway.

1aa1leblady 1aa1bearladyUPDATE: HEAT MIDDLE-FINGER LADY: South Florida's most famous birder is keeping sharp between playoff series. After honing her skills against the Bulls' Joakim Noah, Middle-Finger Lady now prepares for Indiana or New York in the next round. Pictured left, MFL transmogrifies into a clownishly grinning LeBron James in a final, parting-shot farewell to Noah. At right, Middle-Finger Lady inexplicably proffers the Flying Digit to an adorably dumbfounded polar bear.

1aa1dwpromDWYANE WADE: PROM DATE: What cute story. Archbishop Coleman Carroll senior Nicole Muxo posts a YouTube video asking Heat star Dwyane Wade to be her prom date. He calls her cell phone with his regrets, then moments later walks into the Friday ight event in Coral Gables, shocking her. Later Wade Tweeted, 'I had a blast at Prom. Never be 2 scared to ask.' The couple is pictured on the dance floor. This, among a million other reasons, is why South Florida loves Dwyane Wade.

Click HERE for a 3-minute video on how Wade pulled off his big prom surprise. Good stuff.

1aa1chadjLATEST TRAVAILS OF CHAD JOHNSON: Free-agent receiver Chad (nee Ochocinco) Johnson lessens his chances of ever playing again with a warrant for his arrest for failing to report to his probation officer stemming from the domestic violence issue that got him cut by the Dolphins. The latest misstep is indicative of Johnson perhaps suffering from DAS, Dumbass Athlete Syndrome. There is no known cure.

UPDATED! MARLINS' SAD-O-METER: We have this new blog feature we update as long as Marlins' 1aa1bbsadwinning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, six straight losses with last night's have brought the S-O-M roaring back as the season inches past the one-quarter mark. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 11-31 (.262). Season projection, 42.43 wins, 119.57 losses.

1aa1bimboBACKSTORY: COMPANY NAMES: Took this pic on my phone camera as proof there is a baked-goods company operating in South Florida under the name Bimbo. (Primary dictionary definition: "A foolish, stupid or inept person.") I am envisioning the initial meeting of company investors. "OK, first things first," says the boss. "We need a name that represents who we are. Thoughts?"

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April 17, 2013

Vote! Who is Heat's MVOG (Most Valuable Other Guy)?; plus Heat-Bucks schedule, Kiper plays Ireland, Marlins, reflections on Boston & more

1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 18. NFL says Larry Litttle will anounce Dolphins' 2nd- and 3rd-round draft picks. 2) UM linebacker Eddie Johnson officially departs for Hinds Community College. 3) R.I.P. Pat Summerall, 82, for many the voice of football. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Boston Marathon tragedy, Man vs. World on Heat, Dolphins' Mount Rushmore results, UM spring football, New Orleans visit. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

Heat-Bucks schedule: Game 1--Sunday 21st at MIA 7 pm; 2--Tuesday 23rd at MIA 7:30; 3--Thursday 25th at MILW 7; 4--Sunday 28th at MILW 3:30. If necessary: 5--Tuesday 30th at MIA tbd;p 6--Thursday 2nd at MILW tbd; 7--Saturday 4th at MIA tbd. Click on Must Win for my forward-looking column off last night's regular season finale. Dwyane Wade says Miami must win a repeat title for the record-setting regular season to matter.  

Click UM In Right, But NCAA Has Might for today's latest column.

FORGET THE BIG 3. WHO HAS BEEN HEAT'S MOST VALUABLE OTHER GUY?: LeBron James will win another NBA season MVP award or the league should be disbanded. So a vote on the Heat's season MVP 1aa1heatwould be pointless; it's obvious. Likewise, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the Heat's second and third 1aa1mvogbest and most valuable players beyond argument. But after the Big 3? There the debate begins. In this poll I offer a choice of the eight other players who have played most. Any of four of them, to me, might be legitimate picks here. Have your say. Vote and say why.

KIPER PLAYS IRELAND ON DOLPHINS DRAFT: Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, take the month off. ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper has done your job for you by revealing Miami's picks in the first three rounds. Dolphs are only NFL team with five, by the way. They'll be, says Mel: 1st round (12th overall)--Alabama OT D.J. Fluker; 2R (42nd)--Florida State DE Tank Carradine; 2R (54th)--UConn CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson; 3R (77th)--North Carolina State CB David Amerson; and 3R (82nd)--Harvard FB Kyle Juszczyk.

MORE REFLECTIONS ON BOSTON: I grew up in South Florida but was born in Massachusetts, 25 miles west of Boston, in Lawrence. Many longtime readers know the Red Sox and Carl Yastrzemski were my 1aa1bosnyfirst love in sports. My second was the parquet floor on which Bill Russell and John Havlicek worked. But of course I felt Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy not because of those roots, but as an American. Background matters not at a time like that. We are all one country. It sounds corny, but it is the one truism that the terrorists fail to understand: That what they think will tear us apart, binds us together instead. I was so moved to see people running toward where the bombs blew, to render aid. To hear of runners sprinting straight from the race to the nearest hospital, to donate blood. New York understands, and so the Yankees last night displayed both teams' logos with the banner, 'United We Stand,' and played the Red Sox anthem Sweet Caroline during the game. (Click here to see and hear that sweet gesture). Times like these remind us there are so many evil people in the world .. but also that there are so many, many more who are good. [Click on We Deal With It for my reaction to the tragedy, a column I am grateful to say has appeared in newspapers all over the country].

Papelbon goes there: Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies (and ex-Red Sox) pitcher, might have had a little internal voice saying, "Don't go there." But he went there. He might have heard that little inward voice warn, "Don't be that guy." But he was that guy. Papelbon, yesterday, on the Boston bombings: "Today's day and age has gotten so crazy. Shoot, man, Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything."

MARLINS UPDATED WORLD SERIES ODDS. NO, SERIOUSLY!: Hey, Mr. Vegas wants somebody to bet on everybody. Hence, odds. Updated World Series odds from Bovada, new today, have a bunched crowd for favorite, with Tigers 7-1, Braves 15-2 and Nationals 8-1. Your Marlins are dead last now at 1,000-to-1.

SHANE LARKIN, DON'T GO: Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin's protrcated decision whether to return 1aa1larkinto UM or enter the NBA draft is said to be leaning toward go-pro, according to ESPN's Chad Ford. That would be unfortunate for him, I think. Larkin would not be a certain first-round draft pick. TNT's Steve Kerr, appearing on 790 The Ticket recently, responded to my question about Larkin's NBA future by saying he'd be a career backup. Larkin needs another college season to solidify his first-round status and improve perceptions about his upside on the next level.

On FIU's basketball hire: Norfolk State's Anthony Evans taking over FIU men's basketball feels like a solid hire if only because -- unlike star names Richard Pitino and Isiah Thomas before that -- Evans seems like he might not treat the job as an immediate stepping stone. FIU doesn't need another fast-break outta town. It needs a coach who wants to stay, and build.   

1aa1gokartqb"DEAR GREG...": "...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a picture of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill riding a go-kart. Thank you." Dear reader, I'll see what I can do. No promises.

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March 05, 2013

Word to the Timberwolves; plus Heat win 16th straight, Sileo, Hartline, clown diplomat, golfers rapping, Downton Abbey & more

1aa1goodell[1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6. The new Sports Illustrated (right) has NFL commish Roger Goodell atop its list of 50 most powerful figures in sports off-the field. List here. No So-Fla folks on it. 2) R.I.P. Alvin Lee, guitarist from Ten Years After, dead at 68. 3) Happier musical news: Jack White, Brendan Benson and The Raconteurs are reuniting to record another album. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Laura Silberman, Heat 15th straight, UM falls to 6, Dolphins franchise Starks, A-Rod's girl, golf's surprise, Bar Eaters. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dolphins close to re-signing Hartline: Good news, Dolfans. Miami and pending free-agent wide receiver Brian Hartline are close to agreement on an extended contract averaging just over $6 million a year. Dolphins will continue to target outside help at the position, such as former Steeler Mike Wallace. Click on Greg Cote Talks Free-Agency to see and hear a video of, well, I guess that title about says it.

Heat win 16th in a row: LeBron James with a layup with three seconds left and Heat survive visiting Orlando 97-96 tonight. That was Miami's first field goal in final seven minutes. A fortunate win. Funny, though. Good teams seem to have a lot of those.

A WORD OR TWO FOR THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: During the Timberwolves' loss to Miami the other night the club released an official response video (click here) to the Heat's immensely popular (and well done) Harlem Shake video. Minnesota's version depicts a guy in a No. 6 Heat jersey (LeBron's number) being clubbed into submission bye the T-Wolves' mascot. Later, after the game, Minnesota's J.J. Barea blasted Ray Allen for "crying." I believe this merits a response. J.J., you're from Miami and I hate to pick on a homeboy, but you calling out Allen is like a flea calling out an elephant. It's comical. He's a hall of famer. You are a career backup. Shhh. As for that video, similar situation. Miami is reigning champion. You, Minnesota, have done nothing worth hanging from a rafter in 24 NBA seasons. Zero. This will be your ninth straight year out of the playoffs. Respect those who have earned it. Know your role.

FIRING ONLY FEATHERS SILEO'S CAREFULLY CULTIVATED PERSONA: WQAM-560 fired Dan Sileo, its 10 a.m.-to-1 p.m. radio host, and it's just about the best thing that could have happened to him and his career. Sileo being suspended or fired is sort of like a rapper being shot or arrested. What seems like 1aa1dansileobad news really isn't. Street cred is only enhanced. Reputations are only magnified. I have known Sileo since he played for the Miami Hurricanes in the mid-'80s, and credit him with creating for himself a career in radio. But the niche he has tried to carve and own is pretty clear by the self-description on his Twitter account: AMERICA'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST. (The capital letters are his). The listener is left to discern whether Sileo is actually good at what he does, or simply loud. The listener is left to decide if Sileo's controversy is organic and natural or a manicured contrivance. The next station that hires him -- preparatory to firing him, and then acting like it didn't know what it was getting -- should know precisely what it is getting: a guy who is going to bang into a market shouting and ranting and hoping to make headlines. It might take cartoonishly sexist Twitter comments about Erin Andrews. It might take suggesting the Canes pull a knife on the opposing quarterback and gouge his eyes. Or it might take what led to his firing this time: Saying "that's the half Hebrew in me" regarding saving money. But he will make his headlines. Sileo's Tweet upon his dismissal: FIRED FOR SPEAKING MY MIND, BABY!!!! Love it!! And he does, too, and should. For him, it's good for business.

D-WADE'S SPECIAL DAY: Dwyane Wade scored 32 points with 10 assists and seven 1aa1dreamrebounds in a club-record 15th straight Heat win; his recent play has been vintage, pre-LeBron dominance. But what distinguished the trip to the Twin Cities was Wade making time for a Make-A-Wish fan, a 13-year-old girl, Tess Mountain, who suffers from a heart ailment that also affects her facial features. Click HERE for the story and video. Michael Jordan once told Wade to perform every night as if he were playing for the one fan in the arena who'd never seen him in person but always wished to. His making this girl's dream real was sort of the same thing. Only better.

CATS' WEISS OUT FOR SEASON: A bad hockey season got worse for the Florida Panthers with the news center and longest-tenured Cat Stephen Weiss would undergo wrist surgery and be done for the year. It lessens the team's already slim playoff hopes. And it eliminates Weiss, who is in the final year of his contract, as a trade option prior to the April NHL deadline.

1aa1dennisDENNIS RODMAN: CLOWN DIPLOMAT: It's funny to me. Not quite a year ago Ozzie Guillen expressed admiration for Fidel Castro and Little Havana exploded in his face. But Dennis Rodman recently heaped effusive praise on North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un after a visit there and it's just sort of passed off as Dennis Being Dennis. I rip Rodman in my latest column. Click on Clown Diplomat to read.

WARNING: GOLFERS RAPPING: PGA Tour players Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan call themselves Golf Boys. Thankfully their schtick is a bit more inventive than 1aa1golfboystheir name. Click HERE for their latest faux-rap video, "2.Oh." It is wonderfully awful. If you think golfers are dull, consider this a prescribed antidote. I'd love to make fun of this project and snarkily suggest less-rapping-more-golfing -- except this is a pretty accomplished quarter in the sport. They have 14 PGA Tour titles among them; each has won. Fowler is an up-and-coming star and Watson is the reigning 2012 Master champion. Hard to imagine this video playing well -- or at all -- at staid Augusta. Which makes it that much better!   

THE CURIOUS MAGNETICISM OF 'DOWNTON ABBEY': My wife has fallen in love with this show and so I have developed a residual interest. Sort of an osmosis thing. It's about an aristocratic 1aa1downtonBritish family, sub-royals but full of lords, ladies and servants. I love the time period, 1912-21, an era that fascinates me because it is out of personal reach but not prehistoric. (I love Boardwalk Empire for some of the same reasons). I love the costuming and sets of Downton Abbey as well; the series is stunningly luxurious visually, and, for me, wonderfully acted. There is also something about the British accent that is lilting and mesmerizing. Let's be honest. A Brit could say, "Pardon me but I must go take a giant crap" and it would sound like poetry.

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September 18, 2012

On Jeff Ireland: Vote now; plus Beinfest out?, state of our Big 4 teams, Chad Johnson, Dolphin WR prospects, Ozzie on the (other) f-word & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Thanks to the Dan Le Batard show on 790 The Ticket for having us on in-studio. Fun. More to come? Stay tuned. 2) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote. Promise to resume the videos soon.

STATE OF THE FRANCHISE: DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS, PANTHERS: In this latest column by me, online now and shipping to today's/Wednesday's pulp editions, I offer a state-of-the-franchise report for our four major professional teams, grading and ranking them 1aa1jeffitop to bottom. We consider management, success, prognosis, everything. I thought about adding a complementary poll here but decided it would be pointless because, logically, the Heat would dominate as our best-run pro team. Instead I offer a poll on South Florida's biggest sports lightning rod, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who was in the news again this week when a Dolfan confronted him, said he should "fire himself," and Ireland in turn called his critic an "asshole," later expressing regrets. There is a perception Ireland is extremely unpopular with fans. Leave it to me to find out. Vote in our poll and say why.

Poll result: Mixed, lukewarm support for Ozzie Guillen: In our previous blog poll we asked if you wanted Ozzie Guillen back as Marlins manager (you can still vote), and 49.1 percent said yes, 45.1% said no and 5.8% were unsure. Interesting. Results about as polarizing as the outspoken Guillen tends to be.

REPORT: LARRY BEINFEST TO BE REPLACED: USA Today is reporting the Marlins plan to replace president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest with assistant Dan Jennings. Beinfest has been GM or president since 2002. The move would not be a surprise. The same report indicated manager Ozzie Guillen likely would be back. No surprise there, either. Owner Jeffrey Loria tonight called the Beinfest report a "ridiculous" rumor. Which is not the same as simply denying it.

CHAD JOHNSON SPEAKS!: The former Dolphins receiver spoke last night on the 9 p.m. premiere of Showtime's Inside the NFL, and we brought you excerpts first. Highlights: 1) Johnson says, "The consequences to that altercation with my wife was me being released" -- even though coach Joe Philbin did not tell him that directly. "That was the reason. There is no need to blow smoke up my ass." 2) Johnson reveals he is taking anger-management classes, says, "Chad has to work on Chad." 3) He says he will work to win back the wife who divorced him.

DOLPHINS DRAFT PROSPECTS AT WR: Be surprised if wide receiver wasn't the Dolphins thinking right now for a No.1 draft pick in 2013. With that in mind, I note the three WRs listed on Mel Kiper's new top-25 "Big Board" are spaced apart enough that Miami, no matter how it finishes, likely would have a shot at one of them. The names to remember: Tennessee's Justin Hunter (pegged 7th overall), Cal's Keenan Allen (17th) and USC's Robert Woods (25th). 

STANLEY C. PANTHER OUT OF WORK: I half expect to see Panthers mascot Stanley C. Panther on a 1aa1stanleycwest Broward intersection holding a cardboard sign reading, 'Will Caper For Food.' Panthers have temporarily laid off their team mascot related to the NHL lockout threatening the season. Is there anything sadder than an out-of-work mascot? I'd imagine Stanley C. Panther must now be included as one of Mitt Romney's non-tax-paying 47 percent. I'm just saying.

ON STEVE SABOL: The NFL Films leader passed away today at age 69. NFL Films' dramatic, intimate packaging and presenting of the NFL was a big part of the league's emergence as America's favorite sport. It also was precursor to all-access shows such as HBO's Hard Knocks and Showtime's The Franchise. R.I.P. to an important figure in the history of sports and television.

ON YUNEL ESCOBAR: The Blue Jays shortstop is suspended three games for wearing an eye-black message written in Spanish (pictured) that used an anti-gay slur. He said it was meant as a 1aa1escobarjoke and "not meant to be offensive." Some suggest it's a cultural thing, that in the machismo of many Hispanics homophobic language is more accepted. I think that sounds like an insult to the majority of Hispanics who know bigotry is wrong in any language. What gets me about stuff like this is not just that Escobar might feel this way. It's that he (evidently) thought wearing an anti-gay slur on his face in a televised game would not, um, be noticed? Leaves us to wonder which is worse: Prejudice. Or outright obliviousness.

Ozzie weighs in on use of gay slur: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen admits he is comfortable using the anti-gay slur "faggot," the word that got Escobar (see above) in trouble. Guillen once was disciplined for calling a Chicago columnist that. Yesterday he explained it as a cultural thing, saying, "In my house we call [each other] that word every 20 seconds. I've got three kids. For us it's like, 'What's up, bro?'" Ozzie lives his life unfiltered, which is fine. But Marlins ownership/management, in reviewing this season and deciding Guillen's future, must judge not just his managerial skills, but how he represents the team in the community. See Steve Rothaus' excellent Herald blog, Gay South Florida, for more on this. 

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