February 09, 2015

Hot-Seat Index: What Miami coach should be feeling most job pressure? New poll. Vote now!; plus early '15 college football rankings, Marlins uniforms, J-Law's snake & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio with the Dan LeBatard Show today, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. This will be my 50th national show, so I'm sure they have a nice surprise planned for me. Balloons? Cake? Stripper? Nothing at all? Ears welcome.

1aa1ahannahdavis1) It is TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10. Model, Derek Jeter squeeze and professional sexy person Hannah Davis is the cover girl for the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue now out. So there. 2) I'd like to brag tell you that I shot an 86 over the weekend at Sunrise, featuring seven pars. This, for me, is very good. Then again, my son Christopher shot 78. What a showoff! 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Ndamukong Suh poll result & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Thank you, Knicks: Click on Good Medicine for my column from the arena off last night's Heat victory.

1aa1ahotseatSix teams the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers on the pro side, plus the Miami Hurricanes in football and men's basketball. We offer a quick "State Of" and gauge the current job pressure on those six head coaches, listed by our estimation of most pressure to least:

1aa1ajoepJoe Philbin, Dolphins: High pressure -- Philbin, 53, approaches his fourth season with a three-year mark of 23-25 and no playoffs. Fans are restless and impatience is now justified. A 10-6 season with no playoffs or perhaps even a one-game improvement to 9-7 with no playoffs might spare Philbin, but chances are he must see Miami into the postseason in 2015 or see himself replaced.

1aa1aalgAl Golden, Hurricanes football: High pressure -- Golden, 45, approaches his fifth season with a four-year record of 28-22, including 16-16 in the ACC and 0-2 in bowl games. The NCAA cloud he inherited has bought Golden leeway with administrators, but much less so with an angry, vociferous fan base. Coming off a six-win season, it could take a bounce to 9-4 to save his job.

1aa1agerardgGerard Gallant, Panthers: Medium-high pressure: Gallant, 51, is in the midst of his first season, with Cats currently 23-28 (including 11 overtime losses) and six points off playoff pace. Gallant hadn't head-coached in NHL since 2006-07 before this season, and Florida thought it had a playoff team. Unless he gets there, it could be a quick hook.

1aa1amikerMike Redmond, Marlins: Medium pressure: Redmond, 43, is about to open spring training on his third season, with a two-year record of 139-185 and no playoffs. The team's 15-win improvement last year earned Redmond credit, but now a  much-improved roster (and a mercurial owner) means a playoff berth or a serious run at one will be expected or the hotseat could find Redmond.

1aa1aeriksErik Spoelstra, Heat: Low to no pressure: Spoelstra, 44, is in the midst of his (hard to believe) seventh season, with a mark of 336-191 including six playoffs and two NBA championships. Even at 22-29, fighting for a playoff spot and facing his first losing season, "Spo" continues to be seen as a long-term gem by loyal Pat Riley.

1aa1ajimlJim Larranaga, Hurricanes basketball: Low to no pressure: Larranaga, 65, is in midst of his fourth season with record of 81-44, including 36-26 in ACC. Has one NCAA appearance (Sweet Sixteen, 2013) and one NIT (second round, 2012). Winning ACC title in 2013 was huge, and Canes are now 15-8 and hoping for another March Madness ticket. It's Larranaga's job for as long as he wishes.

Clearly, to me, Philbin and Golden are under the most pressure. But which is under more? Or, you may feel somebody else should be seen as on a hotter seat. Hence, the poll, with our Big Six coaches listed alphabetically. Vote and say why.

1aa1ajlawANOTHER NAKED CELEBRITY ATTEMPTS TO BREAK INTERNET: I enjoy making fun of celebrity and the silly uses of it, such as the wont of so many female celebs to be naked. This time it is Jennifer Lawrence, 24, "J-Law," the actress from Hunger Games, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook et al. She is au natural but for the unnatural presence of a giant Colombian red-tail boa constrictor posed strategically across her body in the current Vanity Fair. Remember when showing this much skin was risque? Now it's like, yeah, so? I'll throw out a token, "Lucky snake!" and move on.

1aa1afishlogoMARLINS UNIFORMS RANKED 20TH: Bloguin via AOL ranks MLB uniforms 1-30, best to worst. Top three: Cardinals, Yankees, Phillies. Dead last: Padres. Marlins a sort of almost respectable 20th, with the look described as "love it or hate it." (I must say, for me, the Fish's South Beach-y colors took a while to get used to, but I like 'em now).

1aa1aespnsiCOLLEGE FOOTBALL RPI RANKINGS FOR 2015: ESPN Stats & Information does this each year and, before you dismiss it, consider that its top three-ranked teams last year -- FSU, Oregon, Alabama -- all made the initial College Football Playoff. They factor a team's offense, defense and special-teams from previous season, returning starters, head coach and recruiting ranking. The 2015 top three is Ohio State, Alabama and LSU. How state teams fare among 128 schools rated: FSU 21st, Florida 27th, Miami 29th, UCF 73rd, FIU 87th, South Florida 101st and FAU 108th.

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January 22, 2015

"Deflategate" latest hit for beleaguered NFL (with parody video); plus Drew Rosenhaus party-yacht drama is SO Miami!; also, LeBron's game-show, Heat value, Marlins' nemesis & more

1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 22. Click here for a gratuitously sexy, totally unnecessary video of Kate Upton doing fun stuff. Just because. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Super Bowl prediction poll, Mariota vs. Winston & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1adeflateNFL's Deflategate mess:
Even if you don't believe the Patriots deflating footballs is a big deal, it is because it's another image-hit for the beleaguered NFL and has hijacked the narrative leading to the Super Bowl. Click on Deflating for today's latest column by me. Postscript: Bill Belichick in a news conference this morning denies any knowledge of the issue, says he did not learn of it until Monday. I'd still expect a penalty (fine and/or forfeited draft pick) but nothing related to the Feb. 1 game vs. Seattle.


LeBron starting game show: Increasingly the former Heat star is becoming an entertainment mogul who plays basketball when time permits. I wish this game-show thing weren't true. But it is. Read about it here.

Sad news. Hassan Whiteside's media annointment as Heat savior, mayor of Miami and NBA It-Guy has been temporarily postponed by this week's ankle injury.

DREW AND LISA ROSENHAUS ARE SO MIAMI!: I love this story not because it involves marital discord -- I wish the couple well -- but because it involves the so-Miami trappings of celebrity, partying, police, a yacht and a 1aa1alisadanbfreeloading playboy millionaire named Dan Bilzerian. (I say freeloading because when your income source is "trust-fund beneficiary," you are mowing through money inherited, not earned). Short story: Bilzerian throws a party here last month during Art Basel, and the dozens of bikini'd young women 1aa1alisa2aboard include Lisa Thomson-Rosenhaus, 28, who had just marked her 1-year annivesary with Miami NFL mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus, 48. Drew and Lisa are pictured left in bliss-ier times. At right, Lisa is the one in the pink bikini at the elbow of the gesturing Bilzerian, who reposted the photo on his Instagram account. Speculation is that's why police were called to casa de Rosenhaus on Sunday in a domestic dispute. Rumors of a pending divorce now swirl. Three quick thoughts: 1) Amazing how money makes Bilzerian and his comical beard look sexy to women who would otherwise not give him the time of day. (Superficial much?) 2) Aside to Lisa: So, so sad, but it may be almost time to retire the Spring Break Party Girl persona. 3) Drew Rosenhaus has never shied from publicity, even the notorious kind, and this latest wave may actually be good for business. After all, this is precisely the kind of drama to which so many potential athlete clients can relate.

1aa1aarisonmHEAT FRANCHISE VALUE SKYROCKETS: Micky Arison is smiling and why not. New annual figures from Forbes estimate the Miami Heat franchise value is now $1.175 billion, ninth in the NBA and up a whopping 53 percent over last year. The caveat? Heat are barely above the league average of $1.1 billion, and below the average one-year increase of 74 percent fueled by new national and local TV deals.

NATIONALS TO MARLINS = PATS TO FINS: As baseball spring training looms, we lament the Marlins' new reality. No matter what they do or how much they improve, somebody in their division always seems to be better. A step ahead. The Dolphins and Dolfans can relate, after 10-plus years in the shadow of the New England Patriots. The Marlins' big-brother nemesis has become the Washington Nationals. Coming off a 96-win season the Nats are the new World Series favorites are 6-1 odds after landing premier free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer. 

Poll result: Patriots to win Super Bowl: We asked, you answered, and 54.6 percent said the Patriots would win the Super Bowl versus 45.4% who predicted a Seahawks repeat.

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January 14, 2015

South Florida's Top 10 most exciting 25-and-younger pro athletes; plus Canes hoops, Miley naked (again, yawn) & more


1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 15. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today bringing forth my next NFL playoff predictions. Oy. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Shame on the Rob Konrad doubters, elevating Urban Meyer, TV's Shameless, AFC/NFC verdicts & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Hurricanes basketball soaring: The Hurricanes men ended Duke's 41-game home winning streak just a few days after the Canes women ended Notre Dame's 30-game road winnning streak. Click on UM Hoops Flying High for my latest column, online and in today's Herald inky pulp editions.

SOUTH FLORIDA'S TOP 10 MOST EXCITING 25-AND-UNDER PRO ATHLETES: Talking about our Big Four professional teams here: Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Panthers. Criteria: Players must be no older than 25 as of today. We tried to combine current proof with emerging potential, and here's what we got. Agree with the order?:

1aa1agstanton1. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins (25 years, 6 months, 2 days): If he's dropping bombs commensurate with his new contract, Stanton (pictured) has a chance to join Dan Marino and Dwyane Wade on the top tier of Miami's greatest team-drafted stars.

2. Jose Fernandez, P, Marlins (22-5-14): Electrifying stuff and a Cy Young contender presuming he comes back all the way from Tommy John surgery.

1aa1ajlandry3. Jarvis Landry, WR/KR, Dolphins (22-1-17): His 84 catches and 1,158 combined kickoff and punt-return yards as a rookie out of LSU just began to scratch the surface for Landry (pictured).

1aa1aaekblad4. Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers (18-11-7): Just a teen, but Ekblad (pictured) already leads Cats with 19 assists as a rookie and is No. 6-rated among all prospects by NHL.com.

5. Nick Bjugstad, C, Panthers (22-5-28): His new six-year contract refelcted hopes he'll be team's goal-scoring star for a long time.

6. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (23-1-9): Overshadowed a bit by Stanton's bat and Fernandez's arm, but Yelich could be a solid-hitting fixture in left field for a long time.

7. Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat
(25-7-1): Flavor of the month, for sure, averaging 7.2 points and 6 rebounds off bench in 14 games. We've seen glimpses of greatness and acknowledge the tremendous upside of the 7-footer (pictured), but let's pump the brakes just a tad for now, OK?

8. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins (23-8-20): Ex-Cane rushed for 1,099 yards and a 5.1 average last season to push his way among NFL's top young backs.

9. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers (19-4-12): Huge upside for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

10. Shabazz Napier, PG, Heat (23-6-0): A bit of an up and down rookie season, but much potential.

Considered for Top 10 but fell short: Dolphins' Charles Clay, Ju'Wuan James, Jelani Jenkins, Dion Jordan, Mike Pouncey, Dion Sims and Olivier Vernon; Heat's James Ennis and Justin Hamilton; Marlins' Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria and Marcell Ozuna; and Panthers' Jonathan Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov. Note: Ryan Tannehill is 26 now. Sorry, old man.

1aa1amileycTHEY'VE GONE AND DONE IT. CELEBRITIES HAVE FINALLY SUCCEEDED IN MAKING NUDITY BORING: Now it's singer/provocateur Miley Cyrus appearing nude (in various Polaroids, no less; one is at right) in the V magazine on newsstands Thursday. Miley appearing nude is about as shocking as Elton John shopping at a Versace store. I mean, did you see her video for Wrecking Ball. And now this is supposed to be outrageous? The contrived, packaged free-spiritedness of the Mileys and Gagas and Kim Kardashians has become tiring. Is anything shocking any more?

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November 17, 2014

NASCAR dodged a bullet at Homestead; plus Stanton agrees, Dolphins in (for now) amid NFL tumult, Gary Shelton, Kim Kardashian as a horse & more

1aa1akimk1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17. Have you seen Kim Kardashian's nudies in Paper magazine? Click on image to see her equine version enlarged.  2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall to FSU,CSM poll, Stanton as Marlins' 'A Christmas Carol', Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Stanton deal finalized: CBS Sports reporting today (and the Herald verifying) that Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins have agreed upon the 13-year, $325 million extension that first splashed as national news on Friday. It is expected to become official at a news conference Wednesday.  

BIG DAY FOR HARVICK AND HOMESTEAD, BUT NASCAR DODGES A BULLET: It was a big day for Kevin Harvick in his No. 4 Chevrolet on Sunday but a bigger day for 1aa1aharvickNASCAR down at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
(Click on Perfect Finish for my full column from the track). NASCAR dodged a bullet, though, and even as it celebrated the end of its season with a worthy winner in Harvick, flaws in its new Chase for the Cup format were revealed. There was a real possibility that runnerup Ryan Newman might have emerged as NASCAR's season Sprint Cup champion without winning Sunday -- or winning a single race all year. That would have been a first in NACAR's 67-year history. Chairman Brian France said the new system is supposed to put an emphasis on winning races, not points-building consistency, yet two of the Final Four drivers eligible to win it all entered Sunday's race with either zero (Newman) or only one (Denny Hamlin) season win. So tweak the Chase format once again. The Cote Plan: Only drivers who haved won a race entering Homestead are eligible for the season crown. This year that would have meant 15 drivers: Brad KeselowskI (6 wins), Joey Logano (5), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4), Jeff Gordon (4), Harvick (4), Jimmie Johnson (4), Carl Edwards (2), plus eight men with one win. Keep the new elimination format that whittles the field to an eventual Final Four, but start with only race winners.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: DOLPHINS IN (FOR NOW), NFL IN TUMULT: Miami as of this morning would be the 1aa1adol6sixth and final AFC playoff seed ITSET (if the season ended today). The Fins would edge San Diego and Baltimore (both also 6-4) on the tiebreaker for best conference winning percentage. Of more intrigue to me right now is the Super Bowl outlook after a crazy weekend in which SB favorite Denver and reigning champ Seattle both lost. Prediction: When the updated title odds come out Tuesday, the Patriots will be the new No. 1 and the Packers will be second, The formerly favored Broncos will now be third, with the Seahawks fourth and the (league-leading 9-1) Cardinals rounding out the top five.

GARY SHELTON'S NEW VENTURE: My sports-journalism colleague and friend Gary Shelton has left the
1aa1agsheltonTampa Bay Times after a stellar 25-year career; click here for his farewell column. He is now flying solo with a new venture: garysheltonsports.com. I invite you to check it out -- especially if you are from Tampa/St. Pete or interested in those teams, because Gary's is the voice of authority on sports in that area. Also, he's on Twitter @Gary_Shelton. Veteran Miami Herald readers may remember Gary from his time here in 1984-90, when his beats included the Dolphins. He was really good. Still is.

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October 18, 2014

FSU 31, Notre Dame 27: Winston's revenge; plus Royals-Giants World Series poll, NFL Week 7 picks, Chelsea in shower & more

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Jameis Winston poll, NFL odds, Rick Scott and the fan, local-leadership results & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Heat, Cats off the schneid: Miami Heat finally won last night (how strange does that sound to say), and so did Florida Panthers. Heat had been 0-4 in preseason. Cats had been 0-3 after an 0-6 preseason.

NO. 2 FLORIDA STATE 31, NO. 5 NOTRE DAME 27: Original post: The Miami Hurricanes may be off this weekend, but UM fans looking for a collball fix have their game right here, and a chance to eyeball an 1aa1andfsuFSU squad that will be visiting Miami Nov. 15. Much sentiment among college football literati that Notre Dame (a 10-point underdog) is primed for an upset in this 8 p.m. game, but I don't see it. The Fighting Irish tend to be Failing Irish against the best. They are 1-16 against top-five opponents since 1999 including eight straight losses, the last seven by 13 or more points. Also this will be the first true road test for ND after four games in 1aa1andtshirtSouth Bend and two at nuetral sites. And FSU has 22 straight victories including 10 in a row in Tally. The wild card that leads to much of the upset supposition is of course all the controversy swirling around Noles QB Jameis Winston. (At left is a "Catholics vs. Criminoles" T-shirt they sell in South Bend mocking Winston's legals issues). But Winston has shown a blinders-on ability to mute the distraction and perform, and his team has something to gain from the turmoil, too. It is called motivation. FSU dropped from the top spot in the AP poll despite not losing, and this game presents a chance to get back to No. 1 and make much more likely a spot in the first College Football Playoff. My pick: Seminoles, 38-31.

Other Collball Week 8 state FBS games:

FAU 45, Western Kentucky 38: Visitors averaged 433 passing yards a game but allowed 38.4 points. Over/under must have looked like a bowling score. Gave Owls a big upset chance and was right. Huge game by dual-threat QB Jacquez Johnson as The Atlantic improves to 3-4. Hooooot! 

No. 25 Marshall 45, FIU 13: Unbeaten Marshall had not scored fewer than 42 points in any game and still hasn't. T-Herd QB Rakeem Cato was tyoo mcuh for FIU as it fell to 3-5, swamped after halftime. Didn't give The Int'l much of a shot, and with good reason.

Missouri 42, Florida 13: Florida and its two-headed quarterback were favored. I wasn't sure why. Mizzou brought pretty good defense, and it seemed the magic has been drained from The Swamp. I see less and less chance for coach Will Muschamp to keep his job. This was a crushing home loss.

Also: South Florida def. Tulsa, 38-30; and UCF def. Tulane, 20-13. Off this week: Miami.

ROYALS-GIANTS LOOKS LIKE EASY CHOICE FOR IMPARTIAL FANS: If you are not a fan of either team --which would be about 98 percent of America -- your World Series rooting interest should be pretty clear 1aa1akcsfwhen the 110th Fall Classic begins Tuesday. It's Giants vs. Lilliputians, David vs. Goliath. The betting odds may say otherwise (slightly), but the Kansas City Royals play the Lovable Underdog to the San Francisco Giants' Darth Vader. KC is in its first World Series -- first postseason at all -- since last winning it all in George Brett's 1985. San Fran has been in the playoffs nine times since then, including World Series wins in 2010 and '12, so recent the clubhouse probably still stinks of champagne. I'll be rooting for the Royals simply because their fans have starved longer. But that's my perspective. Your turn. Which team do you hope wins and why? Notice the poll does not have the answer option, 'I Don't Give a Crap.' Play along, people. If you were watching and you did care, who would you most want to win?

1aa1afripixNFL WEEK 7 PICKS: NO WIN IN WINDY CITY: Mixed start Thursday night as Patriots won but didn't cover. Click on Week 7 Gems for all the rest of our latest prediction capsules. I do not see Dolphins winning at Chicago, although Soldier Field has not exactly been an impenetrable fortress for Da Bears lately. Have winless Jacksonville getting off the schneid in our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"). Click on Murray's Law for my Friday Page NFL column. It's on Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray running counter to the league's escalating pass-first mentality.

Poll result: Mixed verdict, but most say to sit or suspend Jameis Winston: We asked in the previous blogpost (you may still vote) if FSU's star QB should still be playing in wake of several off-field controversies, and it was 61.9 percent no, 35.0% yes and 3.1% undecided. We are duty-bound to point out the obvious: That voters in a MiamiHerald.com blog may include many Hurricanes fans whose team happens to play FSU next month. I'm not sayin' I'm just sayin', you know what I'm sayin'?

1aa1achelseaCHELSEA HANDLER SHOWER SCENE: The Chelsea Lately late-night talk show on E! had a hilarious season-ending episode in which a fully clothred Ellen DeGeneres joins a fully naked Chelsea Handler in the shower. Spoiler alert: Late appearance by a dwarf! (Is it OK to say dwarf. Or is it Little Person?) Warning: Though Chelsea's private-est parts are pixilated, it is very obvious she is actually nude, so if that might offend you, whatever you do, do NOT watch the video by clicking HERE.   

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September 26, 2014

Heat move on from What's-His-Name. The new column; plus Philbin/Tannehill poll (vote), NFL Week 4 pix, 3-breasted woman & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Lifelong Red Sox fan (me) admits he cheered for Yankees and Derek Jeter last night. 2) I'm holed up at Random Evidence Laboratories today drawing forth the Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill QB controversy, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Heat moves on with Life After What's-His-Name: Click on Moving On for my latest column -- newly online and shipping to Saturday's inky pulp editions -- from today's Heat media day session. I try to accentuate the positive as the Heat move on without That Unnamed Guy Who Left.

PHILBIN'S BOTCHERY ON TANNEHILL'S STATUS A BLACK EYE FOR COACH: There is never a good reason for an NFL head coach to create a Quarterback Controversy on his team unless the starter's job truly is in 1aa1ajphilbindoubt and the debate is unavoidable. You don't decline to to publicly name your starter unless it's an open competition or you aren't sure. If you refuse to name your starter even though you know who it is -- Philbin's method of operation this week -- you are simply mishandling the most important position on your team and causing a pointless distraction. Even Tannehill admitted it was a distraction and spoke out against the way his coach has handled this. If Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck's coaches do the non-committal thing it isn't a big deal. But when the coach of an a less-established, embattled QB does the non-committal thing after consecutive bad losses, he erodes support for and the confidence of his quarterback. But that's just me. You may feel differently. This could be a tough poll question for many Dolfans because neither Philbin nor Tannehill is particularly popular right now. You might not like Philbin but still think he handled this properly. You might not like Tannehill but still think he was treatly unfairly in this. Weigh in. Vote and say why.

1aa1afripixNFL WEEK 4 PICKS: Good start last night; had Giants winning at Washington in an outright upset. Click on Week 4 Gems for all our latest prediction capsules (have Dolphins beating Raiders in London), and on Philbin's Folly for our Friday Page NFL column. I write how Joe Philbin's mishandling of the Ryan Tannehill situation this week has put his shaky job status in further peril.

LEBRON SAYS MIGHT STILL BE WITH HEAT IF...: To the surprise perhaps only of the easily surprised, LeBron James said he might still be playing in Miami for the Heat if the team had beaten San Antonio in the NBA Finals last season. "I mean, it's a greater chance for sure," he told CNN's Rachel Nichols in an interview excerpt released yesterday. "It would be hard to leave back-to-back-to-back championships, you know, and try to go for four." Post-LeBron, the Heat usher in the 2014-15 season with Media Day today (I'll be there) and then the start of training camp on Saturday.

1aa1atampa3ON THE (ALLEGED) TRIPLE-BREASTED TAMPAN: A "triple-breasted tampan" is not a breed of bird. Rather, it is a 21-year-old Tampa woman who goes by the pseudonym Jasmine Tridevil, and whose claim to fleeting, idiotic fame is that she says she has three breasts, the third not by a freak of nature, but by implant. Jasmine is pictured. Or, did that go without saying? She is presently plying the Internet, working it, looking for dubious stardom in a reality TV show. Alas, there are now indications her triple-header is in fact a bizarre prosthetic apparatus. Which, really, barely makes the story any weirder, if at all.

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September 09, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.4%; plus Miami whips Patriots, 33-20, to open season & more

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes thump FAMU, FIU rolls, Super Bowl verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.9%: Check out the previous blogpost for details.

Our Dolphins-Patriots game blog is directly below the new DSM poll. Click on Restoring Faith for my column off the opening victory.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 96.4%: As we begin a seventh season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls results are certified in the first one and they 96.4 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's season-opening 33-20 home victory over New 1aadsmEngland. The DSM 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

Next poll: Sept. 14 (following game at Buffalo)

Previous final DSM results: 2013--4.2% (following 8-8 season); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G1: DOLPHINS 33, NEW ENGLAND 20: IS LITTLE BROTHER READY TO STAND UP? YES!: Final: Huge, huge season-opening home victory by Dolphins today, with a second-half rally as impressive any any we've seen lately. Ryan Tannehill was efficient but for one pick, Knowshon Moreno was terrific, the maligned O-line was fine, and the Came Wake-led defense tormented Tom Brady. What a performance! ..... 4Q: MIA up 33-20 on Sturgis 27-yard FG with 2:44 to play. ... Fourth-down sack by Wake all but clinches it for Dolphins! ... Moreno 4-yard TD run for a 30-20 MIA lead with 3:29 to play. Fins on the doorstep of a huge season-opening win. ... Dion Sims let a should-a been TD pass slip off his fingertips. ... Olivier Vernon sack of Brady forces punt. ..... 3Q: MIA up 23-20 on 22-yard Sturgis FG after 5-yard TD run by Miller is erased by a Ja'Wuan James holding penalty. Moreno now up to 111 yards rushing. ... Takeaway leads directly to 20-20 tie on Wallace 14-yard TD from Tannehill, Wallace beating coverage by Darrelle Revis. ... Sack by Cam Wake causes Brady fumble recovered by Louis Delmas at NE 34. ... Miami within 20-13 after settling for 24-yard Sturgis FG to cap 65-yard drive. Miller stopped his route on 3rd down incompletion, got yelled at by Tannehill on sideline. ..... Half: Miami fortunate to only be trailing by 20-10 at the half considering the wrong side of a 3-0 turnover margin and a mere 138 yards of total offense. ..... 2Q: Pats add 45-yard FG for 20-10 lead just before half. ... Fins within 17-10 on 38-yard Caleb Sturgis FG with 1:59 left in half. ... Lamar Miller loses fumble for third MIA turnover of half. Embarrassing. ... Pats drive 94 yards after INT, take 17-7 lead on Rob Gronkowski 6-yard TD pass. Drive highlighted by 44-yard Julius Edelman catch. ... Tannehill terrible interception on underthrow to a wide-open Wallace. Picked by Alfonzo Dennard. Should-a been a TD pass. Really bad. ..... 1Q: Tannehill-Wallace 22-yard pass ends quarter. ... Pats up 10-7 as Wallace fumble leads to 47-yard Stephen Gostkowski FG. ... Mike Wallace fumble after catch sets up Pats at MIA 35. ... Pats knot it 7-7 on Shane Vereen 2-yard scoring run punctuating impressive 80-yard, 13-play drive. ... Ryan Tannehill 4-yard TD pass to Lamar Miller and 7-0 MIA lead hand-delivered by punt block. ... Dolphin Chris McCain blocks NE punt, Jason Trusnik recovers at Pats 15. ..... Original post: The Patriots are the smirking, swaggering Big Brother always able to parry the punches of the Lil' Bro Dolphins. Not in every game but 1aa1adolpatin the big picture. Top to bottom. Robert Kraft out-owns Stephen Ross, Bill Belichick out-hoodies Joe Philbin and Tom Brady out-arms Ryan Tannehill. The Patriots' stranglehold on the AFC East won't stop until somebody stops it. Is Miami ready? Able? We'll continue to see in today's season opener at a sold-out Dolphins stadium. You've heard of soft openings. This is a hard opening, in every sense -- an immediate gauge. I think Miami is a playoff team; most mediaites do not. I think Miami is one of the NFL's most underrated teams entering this season; most don't agree. Today, I think the Dolphins defense will pressure Brady and fairly contain New England's offense, even Rob Gronkowski. The bigger question and intrigue, for me, is how Bill Lazor's fully unleashed new offense will perform against a very solid Pats D. Good enough, I think. My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 24-20.

A GRATUITOUS, TOTALLY SEXIST COMPARISON OF HOTTIE QB WIVES: We'll see today how Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill compare. I think it's only fair to also see how the wives, Giselle Bundchen and Lauren 1aa1agiselle1
1aa1alaurenTannehill, compare. I mean, c'mon. If there's an NFL Quarterback Wives Draft, these might be the top two picks. (Talk about fantasy football. Oy!) Giselle, 34 (left), is a Brazil-born fashion model and famous; well, famous enough to have just appeared on Jimmy Fallon's show, for example. Lauren, 26 (right), is more of the blond All-American type and less famous, for now. I'd call her's girl-next-door looks, 1aa1agiselle2
1aa1alauren2except I've never been nearly that lucky in the neighbor lottery. Apologies for  the Giselle bum-shot, by the way, but remember, she's a fashion model! This concludes our leering, pandering, exceptionally creepy item about Giselle and Lauren.


HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package has returned in print from summer hiatus (click HERE for today's latest edition), but due to semi-popular demand an updated, expanded 1aa1ahotbuttonHot Button continues as a Sunday feature of the blog. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1. Dolphins: Opposite of soft opening as Fins host Patriots: Today Miami welcomes its AFC East rival and main roadblock to the playoffs in the nemesis New England Patriots. I'd mention this marks the 41st season since Fins last won a Super Bowl, but why  make you sad like that?

2. UM football: Canes rebound, dominate undermanned FAMU: UM needed Saturday's 41-7 waltz past Florida A&M in its home opener after last week's embarrassing loss at Louisville. The Rattlers could not have been a better-timed remedy if they'd come with a doctor's Rx.

3. Soccer: Brazil, Colombia fill Dolphins stadium: More than 73,000 watched Brazil in its first action since humiliating elimination in the World Cup it hosted. Brazilian fans have since been introduced to a concept never before experienced or even considered. It's called "humility."

4. Tennis: U.S. Open to decide its championships: Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki make it a who's-who women's championship Sunday in New York, but Monday's men's final is who's-that with Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic. Even the City That Never Sleeps is yawning.

5. Marlins: Stanton MVP hopes tied to strong finish?: Fish are five back in wild-card hunt and setting out on 10-game road trip. Might Giancarlo Stanton's MVP hopes rest on late charge? Hope voters don't think his value to team was that it finished third in division not fourth.

6. NFL: Champ Seahawks look repeat-ready out the gate: King Sport hasn't had repeat champ in 10 years but Seattle looked the part in Thursday's rout of Green Bay. League could save lots of time and money by simply fast-forwarding to Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl.  

7. Team USA: Americans roll on in FIBA World Cup: No LeBron James and no Kevin Durant among other missing stars, but the Americans still are 6-0 by a combined 189-point margin in the FIBA World Cup in Spain. "B-Team USA" is good enough so far.

8. NASCAR: Chase field is set: It's down to 16 drivers in a 10-race Chase for the Cup culminating Nov. 16 at Homestead. They've tinkered with the Chase format a bunch but I think it needs one more tweak for TV ratings: An automatic berth for any driver named Danica Patrick.

9. FIU: Golden Panthers win to end big week: FIU beat Wagner (whoever he is) to end an eight-game losing streak and end a week in which it mended fences, agreeing to resume its relationship with UM and ending its feud with the Miami Herald. Possible to keep playing Wagner? 

10. Heat: Team makes coaching staff changes: Erik Spoelstra has "reassigned" veteran assistants Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo. That's a nice way to put it, right? Similarly, the Dolphins might "reassign" Joe Philbin if the team fails to make the playoffs this year.

Bubble: WNBA Finals begin, Panthers prepare for training camp, Justin Verlander/Kate Upton nudies.

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September 03, 2014

4 non-hysterical truisms about Canes football; plus Pats sign Thigpen, debut of SOPY Top 10, Kate/Justin nudie, U-Bird Countdown & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3. Patriots signed Marcus Thigpen today, second ex-Dolph this week. Oh, Bill, you sneak! 2) See the previous blogpost for results of our first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (Ouch!) 3) Congrats to FIU for relenting and credentialing the Herald's football beat reporter. Always nice when an institution of higher learning comes around on the First Amendment. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes lose at Louisville, CSM poll, Heat changes, fantasy verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

"Cowboys having press conference for Michael Sam. Leave it to Jerry Jones to make a publicity stunt of a practice-squad signing." --Greg Cote

Updated Dolphins, AFC East odds: Over/under on win totals, via Bovada, current and on May 28: Patriots 11 (was 10.5), Dolphins 7.5 (was 8), Jets 7 (same) and Bills 6.5 (same). 

 The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of 1aa1abird2NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 2 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Woody Woodpecker), we welcome Captain Flint the parrot, profane muse of pirate Long John Silver from the 1883 classic novel Treasure Island.

FOUR NON-HYSTERICAL TRUISMS ABOUT CANES FOOTBALL MOVING FORWARD: 1. UM fans overreact. C'mon, you they do. The team loses its opener 31-13 at Louisville and the sky is falling, the Torches 'n Pitchforks Mob is roiling. Bench everybody and fire everybody else! Former Canes also 1aa1aalgoldenoverreact, and Your Friend the Media keeps giving them a forum beyond their Twitter rants to vent. The only thing more predictably sad than Good-Old-Days Canes lamenting the current program is when the '72 Dolphins are invited to blast what became of their masterpiece. Fans: Take a deep breath. It's one [bleeping] game. Ex-Canes: Get a life. It's supposed to be all about The U, not all about you. 2. It wasn't Brad Kaaya's fault. The true-freshman quarterback actually did pretty well in his first start. His mechanics weren't great but that's correctable stuff. His problem was too much pressure/poor blocking, and conservative play-calling that didn't let him take advantage of his weapons. Even Al Golden admitted that yesterday with a subtle shot at offensive chief James Coley, saying, "We probably should have opened it up more for [Kaaya]." 3. Al Golden's job should not be in jeopardy. There is obviously a shelf-life on that statement. I mean right now. The guy stepped into an NCAA s---storm he inherited, this is his first season free of that onerous cloud, and now you wanna fire him based on a season-opening loss? A loss with a rookie QB, on the road, against a quality opponent? Get real, people. Judge him on this season, not one game. If this season disappoints or regresses, then put him on your Hot Seat. 4. None of the above means 'all is well.' I'm not playing Pollyanna here. I'm not blind. I don't care much about margin of defeat; a loss is a loss. But I care about bottom-line, and Miami is 3-6 under Golden against ranked-at-the-time opponents, and 1-12 in games against teams that finished the season with at least eight wins. That I care about, because the Canes can't be good again unless they start to regularly beat good teams. The next one of those is Sept. 20 at No. 19 Nebraska. You want to turn down the negative volume, Al Golden? Start by winning the marquee games like that. The elusive Turnaround that leads to "The U Is Back!" cannot start without such signature triumphs.

SOPY SEASON DEBUT: USF BULLS' MACK TRUCKS INTO EARLY LEAD: A 275-yard rushing performance by South Florida's Marlon Mack (pictured) drives the Week 1 lead to open our third season of blog-exclusive 1aa1amackState Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the
1aa1asopyState Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly updated list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state'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. Standings are for 12-game regular seasons and do not include conference championship games or bowls, so that all seven teams are on even footing.


Rk    Player, team-pos.                Week 1/Season

1      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          304

2      Rashad Greene, FSU-rec      209

3      Jameis Winston, FSU-qb       206

4      Justin Holman, UCF-qb         115

5      Mike White, SoFla-qb           107.5

6      Karlos Williams, FSU-rb        102

7      Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        95

8      J.J. Worton, UCF-rec             83

9      Breshad Perriman, UCF-rec   81

10t   Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           77

10t   Jay Warren, FAU-rb              77

Bubble: Rodney Adams, SoFla-rec, 76. Other team leader: FIU--Alex Gardner-rb, 61. Note: Florida did not play; postponed by lightning.

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

1aa1akatejustinKATE UPTON AND JUSTIN VERLANDER'S SELFIE: The supermodel and Tigers pitcher were among the celebrities whose nude photos were leaked online. Of course we think this is a terrible invasion of privacy admittedly made somewhat less terrible by the fact Upton makes a lucrative living pretty much wearing as little as possible all the time. Besides we are a family blog (some families are racier than others), so instead of showing the private parts here we have very carefully cropped the photo. Don't want to be too titillating!

STANTON STILL IN NL MVP RACE: It's clearly a two-man race now for NL MVP. Bovada calls Dodgers 1aa1agstantonpitcher Clayton Kershaw the favorite at 2-3 odds and Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton close at 6-5. ESPN baseball experts flip that in a new survey, giving Stanton a 24-22 edge over Kershaw in votes among 60 cast. If it's a close call, voters, y'all better give it to the guy who plays every day. Key for Stanton could be Marlins continuing to hang (however peripherally) in the wild-card chase; it's now 5 1/2 games with 25 to play.

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August 27, 2014

M&Ms: Miller vs. Moreno: Who should be Dolphins' No. 1 running back? New poll. Vote now!; plus U-Bird Countdown (9 days), SNL verdict, J-Lo & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27. Somebody told me yesterday was National Dog Day. My reaction: Isn't every day? 2) You've watched the movie, 40-Year-old Virgin, now meet the 40-Year-Old Cheerleader. Click here. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): SNL greatest cast members poll, Phibin slammed, Stanton's chilling words, Marino, Kaaya, Incognito, Upset Bird Countdown launch & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1aowlsleyowlUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 9 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of 1aa1aowl9NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 9 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following magpies Heckle & Jeckle), we welcome Owlsley, the give-a-hoot mascot of Florida Atlantic University, its nickname deriving from burrowing-owl nests once found on campus.

MILLER VS. MORENO AS DOLPHINS' STARTING RUNNING BACK: Starting running back is the Dolphins' most glaring still-undecided job as the preseason ebbs to Thursday's finale and the Sept. 7 season 1aa1amillerl 1aa1amorenokopener looms. Will it be incumbent Lamar Miller (left), the former Cane? Or will it be free-agent addition Knowshon Moreno (right), the former Bronco? All signs point to Miller getting the start and most carries, largely because he is more familiar to coach Joe Philbin and has been healthy throughout camp, while Moreno made his preseason debut (impressively) just last week. Moreno as the third-down back also makes some sense if only because he is a superior blocker. But who do you hope starts? Who should? Miller last year rushed for 709 yards and a 4.0 average, and caught 26 passes for a 6.5 average. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards and a 4.3 average, and caught 60 passes for a 9.1 average. Both have solid ball-control; Miller lost one fumble last season and Moreno none. But Moreno is a more accomplished two-way player whose pass-protection skills would come in hand on more than just third down. They are two solid, complementary choices who should make a quality tandem, but only one will start and get the most carries. Who do you hope that is? Vote and say why.

Poll result: John Belushi leads 'SNL' Mount Rushmore-plus: It's 40th anniversary of 1aa1ajohnbSaturday Night Live, and we invited you to vote for your five all-time favorite cast members from 16 finalists. The response was unexpectedly huge (thanks!), and your top five are: John Belushi with 14.1 percent, Eddie Murphy 12.9%, Dan Aykroyd 11.7%, Bill Murray 11.2% and Will Ferrell 10.1%. Next was Chris Farley with 7.8%. Others topping 5 percent: Dana Carvey, Tina Fey, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers.

DOLPHINS INDIVIDUAL OVER/UNDERS: From Bovada, key statistical betting over/unders for Dolphins this year: Ryan Tannehill--3,900 yards, 23.5 TDs, 14.5 INTs. Mike Wallace--950.5 yards, 6 TDs. Brian Hartline--875.5, 3.5. Charles Clay--625.5, 5. Cameron Wake--10.5 sacks. Oliver Vernon--9.5 sacks. Brent Grimes--3 INTs.

DUELING PURVEYORS OF WISDOM: Former college football champion-coaches Bobby Bowden, 84, and

Howard Schnellenberger, 80, have new books out tapping into their long experience on and off the field. 1aa1abowdenbook 1aa1asnells bookBowden's The Wisdom of Faith and Schnellenberger's Passing the Torch are now available to enrich your soul, enlighten your mind and instruct you when to go for it on 4th-and-1. Publisher description of Bowden's book: "The success, the influence, the accolades, the wins ... none of it matters if our lives are not rooted in faith. God trumps our best hand. He always wins." Publisher description of Snells' tome: "The coach talks about the wise decisions and the poor decisions he has made, and he shares the lessons he learned along the way."

1aa1ajlopezJ-LO ENLISTS IGGY: Friend of the Dolphins and former Orange Carpet Queen Jennifer Lopez -- who may or may not outrank special adviser Dan Marino in the adjusted hierarchy -- has enlisted hot young Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea in a re-do of J-Lo's latest single, "Booty," after her new album tanked in the charts. I write this not because I care or because J-Lo has peripheral Dolphin ties, but as a blatant excuse to publish the gratuitous promo photo of the two singers presenting their substantial derrieres for casual inspection.

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August 13, 2014

LeBron's return to Miami set: Cheer or boo? Poll. Vote!; plus top 10 Heat home games, Miss BumBum, football in China, Tony Stewart verdict & more

1aa1abeef1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 15. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association tells me yesterday was Filet Mignon Day. Is that a national holiday? Could I have taken the day off? 2) Honestly it does not get much better than one of my favorites artists performing, live, one of my favorite songs: Beck and "Loser". 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tony Stewart tragedy blame-poll, Robin Williams and suicide, Dolphins and Brady Quinn, projections for Heat and Fins, Stanton MVP bid, my 50-yard FG update & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

"Marlin Giancarlo Stanton's NL MVP chances improve with the season-ending injury to Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki. If Dodger Clayton Kershaw doesn't poach and sweep, the trophy should be Stanton's." --Greg Cote  

DATE FOR LEBRON'S FIRST RETURN IS SET. NOW, TO CHEER OR TO BOO -- THAT IS THE QUESTION: NBA's release of its 2014-15 season schedule this evening confirmed what had been rumored: LeBron James' highly anticipated first return to Miami will be Christmas Day as Heat host 1aa1aclevlebCleveland at 5 p.m. (See the complete schedule here). How Heat fans feel about LeBron and will respond to his introduction that day has been highly debated. Miami fans initially seemed understanding of his leaving. In a July 11 poll here 63.1 percent said they wished him well versus only 17.9% who said they were upset with him (the other 19.0% weren't sure or had mixed feelings). But has the pro-LeBron sentiment dissipated since? This new poll will help answer that. Some of the reaction Dec. 25 may depend on how the Heat frame his return. Will there be an appreciative, fond-memories, welcome-back video shown to encourage applause? Or will the conspicuous lack of one encourage the opposite? We'll see. For now, put yourself in the arena that day as LeBron is introduced. What should the reaction be? Today/Friday is final day to vote, so vote and say why.

Cote's Top 10 most interesting Heat home games: 1. Cavaliers December 25--Well, duh / 2. Cavaliers March 16--LeBron II / 3. Wizards October 29--season opener / 4. Spurs March 31--Finals rematch / 5. Bulls December 14--Rose 'n Noah / 6. Thunder January 20--Concert by Durant Durant / 7. Clippers November 20--L.A.'s best / 8. Lakers March 4--Ghost of Kobe, but still Kobe / 9. Nets January 4--Men in black / 10. Knicks February 9--Hey, it's still the Knicks.

Poll result: More blame victim than Stewart in racetrack tragedy: We asked where blame should go in the tragedy in which NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed young driver Kevin Ward Jr. after he'd wandered onto the track trying to confront Stewart. "Mostly blame Ward" had 45.6 percent of the vote, while "mostly blame Stewart" had 18.9%. Nearly a quarter, 24.2%, said they should share blame. Another 7.9% were not sure, and 3.4% said neither should be blamed.

1aa1acaflAMERICAN (INDOOR) FOOTBALL GOES TO CHINA: It is being announced today that the China American Football League (CAFL) will launch in 2015.  Principles in the indoor league's startup include U.S. businessman Marty Judge, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski and former NFL coach Dick Vermeil. Each  team will have a combination of American and Chinese players.  The long-term vision is to have 30 teams throughout China,  and eventually throughout Asia and Australia. What does it mean? It means failed American football players -- marginal collegians who can't make the NFL, have flamed out of Canada or been rejected by the Arena league -- have a whole new vista opening up to possibly delay having to give up the dream and get a real job.

1aa1abumbumWHO'LL BE THE NEXT MISS BUMBUM?: In Brazil, where dare I say the female derriere is exalted, the hunt is on to determine who'll be the 2014 Miss BumBum, an annual contest/pageant to find what baby got back the best. Some of this year's contestants are shown turning the other cheek. Click here for the backstory. My favorite part is when the reigning champion describes how maintaining a perfect a-- is "a lot of work, a lot devotion." No doubt.

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