November 19, 2014

Is your opinion of Jeffrey Loria changing for better? Poll. Vote!; plus how Giancarlo $tanton celebrated (with pix); also Larranaga's Angel, new SOPY rank, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Schitt's Creek & more

1AA1ACADC1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today creating my Week 12 NFL predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's call. 2) AC/DC have a newe song out, "Rock Or Bust," from a forthcoming new album. Listen. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NASCAR dodges bullet at Homestead, Dolphins/NFL playoff picture, Kim Kardashian as a horse, Gary Shelton & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Click on Now, The Pressure for today's latest column, off the Marlins press conference making official Giancarlo Stanton's megadeal.


1aa1amoetgs 1aa1amoet3How $tanton celebrated his new megadeal:
(Yes, we've made the S in $tanton a dollar sign): Giancarlo $tanton's new 13-year, $325 million Marlins contract is being announced officially today, but $tanton celebrated late Monday, at the trendy FDR nightclub at Miami's tragically hip Delano hotel. He has officially entered the orbit of self-celebration that we saw the Heat's Big 3 perfect the past four years. According to TMZ, and seen here, $tanton was partying at 3 a.m. Tuesday with friends "and some very attractive ladies" and a $20,000 bottle of champagne that had been "gifted" him by a Miami party queen named "Julz." Yes, I said a $20,000 bottle of champagne. It was Moet Nectar Imperial Rose' Leopard Luxury Edition Methuselah, one of only 60 made, a 6-liter bottle coated in 22-carat gold leaf. Top that, D-Wade!
 

1aa1ajloria

WILL STANTON DEAL TRANSFORM JEFFREY LORIA'S IMAGE WITH FANS?:
 In my most recent column I write about the impact of the Giancarlo Stanton megadeal on the popularity of owner Jeffrey Loria. Click on Image Makeover to read the column in full. Will locking up Stanton for at least six more seasons (and as many as 13 more) do the trick for Loria? It can't hurt. Loria's unpopularity has run deep, rooted in years of gross underspending on payrolls and product. But now Mr. Cheap has OK'd a contract that would be a record $325 million over the full 13 years. How has that impacted the general opinion of Loria? There's only one way to find out. Ask. So I'm asking. Take a dip in our poll and vote what best reflects your attitude, right now, about Jeffrey Loria.

1aa1aangelrA HEAVEN-SENT ANGEL FOR CANES HOOPS: Miami Hurricanes stunned No. 8 Florida 69-67 in basketball Monday night ending the Gators' 33-game home winning streak, thanks to 24 points including a game-winning prayer 3 from guard Angel Rodriguez, a transfer from Kansas State. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 2-0 and likely to bomb into the Top 25 now.

SOPY: CANE VS. NOLE FOR STATE TITLE DOWN THE STRETCH: Looking like Miami's Duke Johnson vs. Florida State's Jameis Winston, each with two games to play, vying for season honors in our blog-1aa1asopyexclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been 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. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 13:

SOPY WEEK 12 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk12    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         173     1,725

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         161     1,611

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      BYE    1,399.5 

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            175     1,247.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb          179.5    1,240.5

6 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        53       1,070

7 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb           141.5    1,055.5

8 (7)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            98       1,055

9 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb              69        868

10 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb      BYE      780

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 769. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 9 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 10; and FIU has played 11.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (10-0); 2. Miami (6-4); 3. UCF (6-3); 4. Florida (5-4); 5. SoFla (4-6); 6. FIU (4-7); 7. FAU (3-7).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SLUMPING PICKS, SURGING LOBOS IN WEEK 11: We update you briefly every 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixTuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Still lagging. Having a strong season, but our lull continues. Went 8-6 overall and 7-7 vs. the spread. Did hit our Upset of the Week call with Pats over Colts ("Aawwk!") and also had 'dog Texans, Rams and Raiders with points. Fantasy: Surge continues. Greg's Lobos won a third straight to make it 5-6 and move within one game of playoff pace with three to go. Won ugly, 88-76, my top scorer the 49ers defense with 15 points. But won. Go 'Bos!

1aa1aschittscreekCAN I SAY 'SCHITT'S CREEK' IN A BLOG? YES, I THINK SO: Cable's TV Guide Network, rebranding to the Pop network in January, has signed it's first scripted series: Schitt's Creek, a Canadian comedy starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. (Schitt, of course, is a legitimate if unfortunate German surname). I'll give the show a try. Have liked Levy and O'Hara since their SCTV days; loved them in the movie Best Of Show. Also look forward to hearing a television announcer intone, "Coming up next ... Schitt's Creek!"

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

July 25, 2012

Good riddance, Hanley Ramirez! Agree or no? Vote now (with poll); plus a new video from me, Ricky Williams' odd journey turns odder & more

1aa1gregnewNEW VIDEO! THIS IS NOT A FIRE SALE-*   Visit YouTube/TheGregCote for my latest The View From Miami video, on why this week's two Marlins trades were smart (with an asterisk). All six videos I've done so far are posted.

[1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 26. Join us on Twitter @gregcote. 2) Happy for ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon catching on as linebackers coach at Texas Christian. 3) A belated R.I.P. to Sherman Hemsley, whose George character (left) in 'The Jeffersons' could strut a pimp-walk better than anybody not wearing a purple felt hat]

Juicy!: The Dodgers visit Miami for three games August 10-12 and the crowd reaction to Hanley Ramirez will be interesting. Mostly cheers? Mostly boos? Maybe the poll results below will offer a hint. Click on Good Riddance for my newest column, on the departure of Hanley. and on Train Wreck for my previous column, on the Marlins' nightmare season.

MARLINS TRADE HANLEY RAMIREZ (THAT'S GOOD), BUT DON'T GET MUCH FOR HIM (THAT'S BAD): Hanley Ramirez (right) became the Dodgers' problem just past 3 a.m. in the East yesterday when the 1aa1hanlanews began to break that the Marlins had sent to Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate packing for Los Angeles. What's headed out doesn't bother me. Hanley has shown three years of diminishing returns and a continuing attitude issue. He was hitting .246. They tried to build a team around Ramirez but he wasn't up to the role. It was time to move on, as I say in this video on my YouTube channel, filmed early last evening prior to the trade. As for Choate leaving? He was a spot-role mid-relief guy with  an expiring contract. No biggie. The problem with this trade is that, with about six teams reportedly interested in Ramirez, one would think the Marlins could have gotten more in return 1aa1nathanethan what they did: 22-year-old rookie starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (1-6, 4.15 ERA) and 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Scott McGough, both righties. Eovaldi is pictured at left. As with any trade involving prospects, this deal will look much better if either incoming young pitcher turns out great, of course. For now, though, it sort of seems like the Marlins just gave Hanley Ramirez away. L.A. agreed to assume his remaining contract, so it's a salary-dump for Miami. But does it make the team better? L.A. was the only interested team that would pick up Hanley's entire remaining salary, so the presumption is Miami might have gotten more in return from another team but opted for the financial relief instead. Piggybacked onto the earlier trade of pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to Detroit for three young prospects, the Marlins definitely are retooling. Fire sale? Not yet, but it could begin to feel like that if, say, Josh Johnson is the next to go. Certain players ike Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes should be off-limits and the club should make that clear to clam fans. Meantime, weigh in on the departure of Hanley Ramirez. Poll open. Votes welcome.

Shame on Showtime: How ridiculously lame and lazy of Showtime's The Franchise to not re-tool last night's episode to center around the Hanley Ramirez trade. They had time. The show could have been fresh and right-now topical; instead, the episode was full of fluff 'n filler: Ozzie Guillen's family, Edwards Mujica's family ... yawn! The only memorable quote for me was owner Jeffrey Loria lamenting of his team, "I don't think these guys have any sense of urgency."

RICKY WILLIAMS KEEPS PUTTING THE 'ODD' IN ODYSSEY: The life story of Ricky Williams gets stranger 1aa1garydouglas 1aa1garydrwmsjust when you thought that impossible. The latest: The retired Dolphin and his Ricky Williams Foundation are now heavily involved (spiritually and also financially) with a controversial organization -- many would say cult -- called Access Consciousness. Williams is a "facilitator" for the group and teaches classes for it. Its founder, Gary Douglas, is on record saying he believes he can heal wounds with his bare hands and read minds among other claims. The Austin (Tex.) Chronicle just did an interesting piece on all this. Click on Ricky's New Chapter for that story, which includes audio of an extensive interview with Williams and Douglas. Williams' ongoing search for enlightenment is admirable on some level, and I won't judge the motives or legitimacy of Douglas beyond suggesting they seem questionable. I wish Ricky and his bank account well on this venture, and hope he has trusted advisers in his life who are doing their job.

Poll result: Penn State punishment about right: We asked in the prior blogpost how you felt about Penn State's punishment over the Jerry Sandusky scandal (you can still vote), and 52.1 percent said it was about right. Another 26.8% called it too harsh and 21.1% too lenient.

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

May 29, 2012

Extreme makeover: How HBO's Hard Knocks is part of Dolphins master plan; plus D-Wade's girl in bikini 'n cowboy hat, rock-climbing, Elvis' crypt & more

[1) It is Wednesday, May 30. Stunningly Serena Williams is out in first round of French Open, her earliest exit in 47 career Grand Slam events. 2) Rihanna's new signature perfume is called Nude. Or, did that go without saying? 3) Find main Heat-Celtics Game 1 blogpost directly below this newest one. 4) Stan Van Gundy claims he'll take a year off from coaching. Which means he'll listen only to lucrative offers from big teams. 5) Thanks again to ESPN's Outside The Lines for having us on yesterday to talk LeBron James. Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1hardknocksRESTORING THE BRAND: DOLPHINS AGREE TO BE FEATURED ON 'HARD KNOCKS': The Dolphins are trying to reestablish themselves as a prominent, national franchise -- and also reinvigorate their once-dominant status in South Florida -- and that planned brand-rebuilding is the major reason why the club has agreed to be featured this year on HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Miami Dolphins. The reality series will consist of five one-hour episodes debuting August 7 and running weekly through Sept. 4. Training camp begins July 26. (The Marlins are being similarly featured this year, on Showtime's baseball reality series, The Franchise). A 24-person crew from HBO and NFL Films will be in South Florida to produce the (nearly) all-access documentary. "We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country," said Joe Philbin, who'll be the first rookie head coach featured. After today's practice Philbin added, "It’s a chance for us to show the new direction and identity of this football team." The show has been critically acclaimed but not always welcomed by NFL teams because of the intrusiveness and potential distraction. Several teams turned down HBO before the Dolphins said yes. The series began with the Ravens in 2001 and Cowboys in 2002, and returned with the Chiefs in 2007, Cowboys in 2008, Bengals in 2009 and Jets in 2010 before skipping last year. The Dolphins are not as prominent, recently successful or star-driven as HBO would like, although best bets for lots of face time figure to include Philbin, running back Reggie Bush and the quarterback battle featuring top draftee Ryan Tannehill. (I suspect Ryan's blond, telegenic, aspiring-model wife Lauren might sneak in there a bit, too). A club source told me Monday another reason for the Dolphins agreeing to Hard Knocks is an attempt to steer the focus and conversation back onto the football field and away from front-office notoriety. Small example: The club's representative in an HBO/NFL Films/Dolphins joint news conference tomorrow will be Philbin -- conspicuously not owner Stephen Ross or general manager Jeff Ireland. The club sees Hard Knocks as a platform to showcase Philbin leading a storied franchise out of its dark days, and presenting this coach and city as enticing for future free agents and also for wayward fans.

On Reggie Bush and the team's response: Running back Reggie Bush -- arguably the Dolphins' biggest star from a national standpoint -- missed yesterday's offseason practice day, to which coach Joe Philbin said, "I don't want to comment." Huh? Really? The terse no-comment leaves the impression Bush was AWOL, his absence unexcused. Fans are owed the simple truth. Not every detail, but the essence. Philbin's reaction runs jarringly counter to the franchise's supposed new era of openness.

1aa1gabreilleuHERE'S DWYANE WADE'S GIRLFRIEND IN A WHITE BIKINI AND A COWBOY HAT: Guess that headline about says it all. Click here for a video of actress Gabrielle Union enjoying the surf off Miami Beach on Monday. It's worth abiding the 15-second ad. (Somebody told me the friend with her is LeBron James' lady, Savannah Brinson). Life is good for D-Wade on and off the court, judging by this photo. 

MARLINS AND ROCK CLIMBING: So an 11-year-old girl falls 18 feet onto concrete (she's OK) while on the rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark. My first thought: Why the hell is there a rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark!? When did sports franchises become so desperate to attract and amuse fans that the team and game were seen as insufficient? Rule of thumb: The only wall that should be climbed at a ballpark is the outfield wall, by outfielders.

HEADLINES YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE: Click here. Spoiler alert: Skip this if you find unappealing the thought of eating testicles in a fancy restaurant. If your first thought was, "Depends on how they're prepared," then go ahead and click on the link.

1aa1sashaandradeTHE PHILADELPHIA 69ERS: This is a few days old but too delicious to ignore: WPLG anchor Sasha Andrade (pictured in screen-grab), saying on air the Heat were waiting to see if they'd next play the Boston Celtics or "the Philadelphia 69ers" instead of 76ers. Oops, sorry, Dr. Freud! Click here for the inevitable YouTube vid. Hey she was only off by seven!

WHAT AM I BID FOR ELVIS PRESLEY'S CRYPT?: This is a weird and macabre story. It is not as weird or macabre as a story about a deranged naked man eating the flesh off another man's face. But it is weird and macabre nevertheless. I suppose the crypt would be pricier if Elvis were still entombed.

1aa1scullybobbleClick back. Will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost. Hey! How'd that floating Vin Scully Bobblehead get in this blogpost over there. Get out of here, floating Vin Scully Bobblehead!...

May 17, 2012

Defeat, anger, now silence: Heat cancel Friday practice, media session; plus rank of Dolphins' Ross among NFL owners, ESPN Hispanic strategy & more

[1) It is Saturday, May 19. Defrocked Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell signs with Jets, and Miami's best rivalry just got a shade better. 2) It's a perfect day to join us on Twitter @gregcote. Click Perfect Day to hear Lou Reed perform his magnificently sad song live. 3) R.I.P., Donna Summer, taken by cancer at 63. 4) Drinks on me if Ed Reed really retires].

Click Heat: Ice Cold & Wrong Kind Of Hot for my column from Indianapolis off Thursday's loss.  

PLOT THICKENS: HEAT CANCEL FRIDAY PRACTICE, MEDIA SESSION: The Heat canceled a scheduled early-afternoon practice yesterday in Indianapolis and subsequent media availability. It might not mean too much. After all, the pacers had the day off, too. But it is tempting to read a lot into it considering Miami is coming off a huge Game 3 loss that clearly showed signs of internal strife including Dwyane Wade (in the midst of a 5-point game) having heated words with coach Erik Spoelstra. Other media reports also indicate Udonis Haslem is upset with his diminished role in this postseason. 

G3: PACERS DOMINATE SECOND HALF, CRUSH HEAT: Indiana wins 94-75 for as 2-1 series lead as Miami is held to 32 second-half points. Mario Chalmers big with 25 points and LeBron James adds 22 but Dwyane Wade a ghost with five points on 2-for-13 shooting. ..... It's 43-43 at halftime despite Dwyane Wade with 0 points. (And despite Dexter Pittman starting at center). ..... Pregame: Coach Erik Spoelstra just said: "As we get into the game that's when we have to do reads [on lineup changes]. We have to do that more than ever now. With Chris [Bosh] out, everything is on the table. The game will dictate. We don't have a history or a long blueprint with this dynamic." There is a fine line, is there not, between adapting-as-we-go and flying by the seat of one's pants? Original post: I have just arrived in Indianapolis for tonight's Game 3 of Heat-Pacers in the NBA playoffs' second round, the teams square at 1-1. It feels 1aa1heatpacerslike (doesn't mean it is) the fulcrum game that will determine the favorite to win this best-of-7 and advance. A lot of extraneous noise followed Miami's home loss the other night, such as who took the last shot (Mario Chalmers!?) and how LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- despite their combined 52 points -- failed to come up huge in the closing minutes. Of course the more telling bottom line is that, without injured Chris Bosh, Miami looked like a two-man team with no No. 3 raising his hand and stepping forward. Chalmers? Udonis Haslem? Mike Miller? Shane Battier? Anybody? Somebody other than LeBron or Dwyane will stand up tonight or the Heat's grand championship plan will seem in jeopardy.

LEBRON AMONG 17 ATHLETES ON 100-MOST-POWERFUL-CELEBS LIST: Remember when Forbes was a serious business magazine? Now Forbes puts out lists like its latest: the 100 Most Powerful Celebrities. No. 1 overall is Dolphins-ownership-favorite Jennifer Lopez, calling into question the entire list. The slew of athletes on the list are: 12. Tiger Woods, 15. LeBron James, 27. Kobe Bryant, 31. Roger Federer, 32. David Beckham, 33. Manny Pacquiao, 40. Peyton Manning, 44. Cristiano Ronaldo, 47. Rafael Nadal, 48. Phil Mickelson, 50. Lionel Messi, 52. Floyd Mayweather, 60. Tom Brady, 63. Alex Rodriguez, 71. Maria Sharapova, 77. Serena Williams, and 87. Li Na.

DOLPHINS' ROSS LAGS 25TH AMONG NFL OWNERS: That's via biglead.com but the estimation seems reasonable, with a mention of the botched Jim Harbaugh non-hiring and the appraisal, "[Ross] seems willing to spend big, but not necessarily how to spend it." Bookending the rankings: Patriots' Robert Kraft predictably No. 1 and Browns' Randy Lerner dead last.

LE BATARD FRONTS ESPN'S HISPANIC STRATEGY:  ESPN president John Skipper in a new interview portrays Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable as a key to the network's very targeted efforts at increasing 1aa1dlhqits footprint among Hispanic viewers. Pictured: an and his father, "Papi," on the unqieu fake-kitchen set.  "We as a company need to get a higher participation by Latino viewers in the U.S.," Skipper said. "We under-index with Hispanic viewers. They are 12 to 14 percent of the population and our average show is more like 6 to 8 percent Hispanic. The LeBatard show immediately has the highest composition of any show we have among Hispanic Americans. So that show has the purpose of beginning to help Latinos understand that ESPN is for them, which is also why we are hiring more Hispanic talent. We have commercials in Spanish. We are doing a lot of La Liga games in Spanish. Given the importance of that portion of our population over the next few years, we have to embrace that, and that is what LeBatard is about."

SAINTS CONTINUE SPIRALING DOWN COMMODE: Wasn't enough that head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the year. Wasn't enough that several players are serving Bountygate suspensions. Wasn't enough that star Drew Brees is upset (very) over his contract status. No, that isn't enough turmoil. So now Jonathan Vilma (the ex-Cane) is suing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation! Paper-bag time? Aints redux?    

LATEST NUDES ON BEACHES: Expedia commissioned a Harris Poll to determine which of 21 countries has the most nude-beach-friendly people. Germany led with 15 percent saying they had nudied at the beach. The U.S. tied for seventh at 2%. Most of those were probably vacationing German tourists.

1aa1gretzypaulinaWAYNE GRETZKY'S DAUGHTER: It has come to my attention that Wayne Gretzky's daughter, Paulina, is the person pictured at right in the middle, and so I pass it along for your edification on the off chance you might find yourself on Jeopardy and hear Alex Trebek reveal the category "Athletes' Hot Daughters." I would imagine that Wayne's pride over the dissemination of this photo is all but indescribable.

Click back. Will updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

September 14, 2011

On Dan Le Batard's new TV show (with poll); plus Sarah Palin/Glen Rice, why Marlins cut Cameron, Tweeting, semi-nude rugby & more

[Thanks to all who tapped into our live chat today. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click RIGHT HERE to join us then, read transcripts or post questions any time. Note: Results of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll may be found directly below this in blog. Question: Is the unlovably violent temper "Just Manny Being Manny" too? Join on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1dlhq ON "DAN LE BATARD IS HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE": Our Miami Herald colleague's new TV show, Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable, already taking on the obligatory acronym DLHQ, debuted this week on ESPN 2 (weekdays, 4 p.m.), and I'd like to say I like it a lot, both for what it is and also for what it isn't. It isn't like anything else on ESPN, certainly not visually, with Dan and his father sitting at a table in a charmingly ridiculous fake '60s kitchen. I keep expecting Desi to walk onto the set and start yelling at Lucy about her bad coffee. The very idea Dan is doing a show with his Papi as a sidekick is obviously different, maybe a risk, but helping give the show a kinder, gentler vibe. It isn't standard fare. It isn't ranting Jim Rome, intoning holier than thou. It isn't the incessant, repetitive overanalysis ESPN feeds us with SportsCenter. I guess its kindred ESPN spirit would be Pardon The Interruption, which succeeds largely on the chemistry between Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. My one concern for Dan's new show is how the Miami-centric feel will play in middle America. The show's Cuban accent (literal and figurative) is familiar-as-family and second nature to we in South Florida but less so in other places. In any case I can't be impartial about Dan's show. We have been friends since the early '90s. I know and like his father. When I say the show feels fresh and is good, I can't separate whatever weight friendship plays in that thinking. That's where you come in. Take a dip in our poll and give us an honest opinion. I understand only three shows have aired, but if you've caught any of them chances are you have a feel for whether you like it or not, and why.

1aa1tweeting I TWEET, THEREFORE I AM...: ... in a shaky position to criticize the social-media phenomenon, and yet I find it amusing that commentary on one's own life has come to intrude on the actual living of one's own life. I say if you're at a parade, enjoy the damned parade, don't Tweet about how much you're enjoying it. This isn't art imitating life, it's a self-imbedded GPS. And so the lampoon-sign at right makes me smile, that's all. Truth in humor, almost always.

SARAH PALIN AND GLEN RICE: WHAT A HOOT!: A forthcoming book about Sarah Palin reveals that she and former Heat star Glen Rice had a one-night 1aa1glensarah stand in 1987. And of course by one-night stand I mean boom-chicka-boom-boom! Of course extreme right-wingers and Tea Baggers will immediately dismiss the story because The National Enquirer first reported it, even though in the book Rice confirms it happened. It happened when Palin was a single sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station and Rice, then a Michigan junior, was there for a tournament she covered. The two are pictured from that era, with Sarah's dreamy, far-off gaze perhaps conjuring memories of Glen's long jumper. Of course for this to come out decades later is a real embarrassment to ... Glen Rice! Dude. Please.   

WHY MARLINS CUT MIKE CAMERON: There were other reasons I'm sure. Baseball reasons such as Cameron's age, injuries and production. But a team source tells me the scale tipped against Cameron when he got into a "verbal altercation" with a flight attendant this week on the team's Pittsburgh-to-Atlanta trip. Stars who are producing get away with that. Mike Cameron, evidently, does not.

ME, FANTASY: Greg's Lobos won their opener, 142-113, led by a combined 51 points from Aaron Rodgers (30) to Greg Jennings (21). Also got an unexpected 22 from the Ravens D/ST. Getting that many points from your defense feels like Christmas morning. Won-and-oh, baby!

ME, NFL PIX: Um, not good. I might have had a better week than the Dolphins' pass defense, but even that's arguable. Went 7-9 overall, my face shamed to the shade of a beefsteak tomato, and an even more embarrassing 3-11-2 against the spread (Jags and Cards pushed). Highlights: Had a rare exact score on Jets' 27-24 win over Dallas, and Bills with points at KC. That's it. Will I bounce back? Bank it.

1aa1nuderugby DEAR GREG...: ...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you'd show a photo from an International Nude Rugby match in which clothed women attempt to tackle an unpleasantly large naked man. Thank you.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 3:

1aa1fla 1. FSU Seminoles (1) 2-0, 0-0 ACC

2. Florida Gators (2) 2-0, 0-0 SEC

3. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 2-0, 0-0 Big East

4. C. Fla. Knights (4) 2-0, 0-0 C-USA

5. Miami Hurricanes (5) 0-1, 0-1 ACC

6. FIU G-P's (6) 2-0, 1-0 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-2, 0-0 Sun Belt

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 3:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   270   (1)

2   Alabama   259   (2)

3   Louisiana State   253   (3)

4   Boise State   236   (5)

5   FLORIDA STATE   234   (4)

6   Stanford   223   (6)

7t   Oklahoma State   205   (9)

7t   Texas A&M   205   (7t)

9   Wisconsin   200   (10)

10   Oregon   194   (7t)

11   Nebraska   179   (11)

12   South Carolina   172   (12t)

13   Virginia Tech   166   (12t)

14   Arkansas   165   (14)

15   Michigan State   134   (16)

16   Ohio State   133   (15)

17   FLORIDA   103   (19)

18   West Virginia   91   (21)

19   Mississippi State   90   (17)

20   Texas Christian   88   (18)

21   Arizona State   77   (24)

22t   Auburn   70   (25)

22t   Texas   70   (22)

24   Missouri   58   (20)

25t   SOUTH FLORIDA   54   (29)

25t   Baylor   54   (28)

27   Notre Dame   44   (23)

28   Penn State   37   (26)

29   Georgia   35   (27)

30   Southern Cal   31   (30)

33t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   6   (--)

35t   MIAMI   4   (32t)

Click back. Adding more stuff to this latest blogpost later...

July 18, 2011

Should college athletes be paid? (with poll); plus Bosh's $300K wedding (with photos), singing coaches, sleeping Marlin, T.Y. Hilton, zaftig Serena & more

1aa1hopecover 1aa1twohalfmen [It's LIVE CHAT WEDNESDAY! Doing it 1-2 p.m. today. Click HERE to join us then or to post questions early. Happy to report U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo adorns the cover (left) of the new Sports Illustrated on newsstands today/ Wednesday. At right, the new ad campaign for Two And a Half Men as it moves from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher. Also, join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. Or, you could just follow Justin Bieber like everybody else].

1aa1pay COLLEGE ATHLETES GETTING ALL THEY DESERVE: Whether to pay college athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's basketball resurfaces as a hot topic, splashed across ESPN.com and debated nationally. I weigh in with this column, online now and in Tuesday's pulp editions. Proponents of pay-for-play see college sports making millions in TV revenue alone and athletes deserving their piece of the pie. I make the two-pronged argument that athletes are being well paid as is, with scholarships and other benefits, and that they don't deserve more because college sports isn't about the individual athlete. When CBS/Turner Sports pay billions in NCAA men's basketball tournament rights, they are paying for the franchise called "March Madness," for conferences and marquee teams, for Cinderella. In the big picture, the college athletes who happen to be wearing the uniforms are incidental. Interchangeable. Then again, I am occasionally wrong. How do you feel? Do big-time college athletes deserve money beyond the value of their scholarships? Why or why not? Vote now.

1aa1boshkiss HEAT CELEBRATE BOSH-TASTIC $300K WEDDING: Heat forward Chris Bosh celebrated his marriage to Adrienne Williams (they'd been legally knotted in April) with a lavish ceremony/party at Miami's Fontainebleau hotel over the weekend. Cost: Almost $300,000, including 100 rooms reserved for guests. My invitation evidently got lost in the mail but that doesn't stop me from passing along these photos of the happy couple kissing near the cake and dancing. Guests included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra also attended -- but only after getting special 1aa1boshdance clearance from the NBA 1aa1big3wedding because execs and coaches are not supposed to meet or fraternize with players during the lockout. Bosh had spent a recent week-long bachelor party in Las Vegas. Adrienne's bachelorette party was a week-long blowout in the Bahamas that included Kelly Rowland among guests. Meantime, LeBron is back playing in Cleveland. Oy! But relax, it's only in a City League summer tournament to keep in shape during the lockout. LeBron's website posted this video of LBJ just outside Cleveland.

DWYANE WADE: "WHY YOU HACKIN' ME!?": Wade has filed suit in federal court in Texas against someone he says has hacked into his personal email and Twitter accounts. Click here for a 3-minute YouTube video Wade posted. Starts off as nonsense before he addresses the hacking, and the hacker, about midway through. Quic aside: The shirt he's wearing bears his new Nike logo.

TREND? SINGING COACHES!: U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage, worth celebrating even with 1aa1tonysinging 1aa1pia Sunday's World Cup finals loss to Japan, is a singer. Click here to see and hear her channeling Simon & Garfunkel during a World Cup press conference last week. Click here for a YouTube video of her performing an entire song in Swedish before a live audience. They're rockin' in Goteborg! That's Pia pictured at left (unless it's actually Seahawks coach Pete Carroll). Imagining how fun it would be if Pia instigated a trend that reached America, and suddenly Jack McKeon broke into Sinatra to lament a Marlins loss; if UM's Al Golden announced his quarterback decision in song; or if Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on occasion busted out the unexpected falsetto as his alter ego: Tony, Soprano. I can dream, can't I? (Pictured at right, Sparano croons a play selection).

1aa1mujica EDWARD MUJICA, SLEEPING MARLIN: Marlins are one of the hottest teams in baseball but it wasn't enough to keep reliever Edward Mujica awake over the weekend in Chicago. Cubs broadcasters were letting him have it ("That is embarrassing") on the telecast. Click here for the video of Mujica (as my Dad used to say) checking his eyelids for holes. My message to Marlins players: If your 80-year-old manager is staying awake, you'd damn well better, too!

HILTON4HEISMAN: FIU has launched a Twitter site pumping receiver/returner T.Y. Hilton for the Heisman Trophy. It is Hilton4Heisman, which I am happy to relay in parochial support. Smart publicity avenue for the school and football program. Of course the odds are beyond long for a Sun Belt player. It would take truly spectacular individual stats chased by another bowl season to even get on the national radar, but, in the social-media era, this is the natural start.

1aa1jenny GREG COTE'S WEEKEND: Spent Friday and Saturday on brief family holiday in Tampa/St. Pete, back in time to catch the U.S.-Japan Women's World Cup final on Sunday. Top 5 favorite things about my weekend: 1. Dinner at the fabulously garish Bern's with my wife. Delmonico for two and a delicioso Frias cabernet; 2. Golf with my son and brother at The Vinoy (although my 96 was best forgotten); 3. Red Sox-Rays game; 4. Jenny McCarthy (pictured) in Spandex, checking in Sunday as we were checking out; 5. Breakfast at Munch's.

1aa1eddycurry HEAT WILLING TO WEIGHT WAIT ON CURRY: If the NBA lockout ever ends, the Heat is interested in signing center Eddy Curry (pictured) and defense-oriented forward Shane Battier. Pat Riley has been enamored of Curry for years. I'm not sure why. But supposedly Miami will try to sign the frequently rotund Curry if he sheds about 40 pounds during the lockout. He's 7 feet tall. The bad news? He's 4 feet wide.

ADULT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: I like to refer to Adult Contemporary Music as "Songs My Wife Likes," 1aa1eltonac 1aa1savagegarden but I'd be disingenuous to say some of the genre isn't appealing. Billboard marks the 50th anniversary of its AC charts this week. Click here for BB's top 100 AC songs and top 50 AC artists of all-time.To save you time, the top-10 artists: 10. Anne Murray, 9. Lionel Richie, 8. Carpenters, 7. Billy Joel, 6. Chicago, 5. Kenny Rogers, 4. Barry Manilow, 3. Barbra Streisand, 2. Neil Diamond, 1. Elton John. (In my iPod: #7-6-5-2-1). Top-10 AC songs: 10. "Lonely No More," Rob Thomas; 9. "Hero," Enrique Iglesias; 8. "Change The World," Eric Clapton; 7. "You Needed Me," Ann Murray; 6. "Hello Dolly!," Louis Armstrong; 5. "Born Free," Roger Williams; 4. "Heaven," Los Lonely Boys; 3. "Drift Away," Uncle Kracker with Dobie Gray; 2. "Lead Me On," Maxine Nightingale; 1. "Truly Madly Deeply," Savage Garden. (In my iPod: #3).

1aa1swms SERENA WILLIAMS UPDATE: Here is the tennis star spotted over the weekend on Miami Beach. Baby got back, as well as front. May I say that? I celebrate the splendor of Serena's zaftig pulchritude. (Yes, I said zaftig pulchritude!) The weird thing is, this bikini is not quite as revealing as what she wore 1aa1rubens to the ESPYs last week. Serena surely would have been the favorite athlete of Rubens (left), the Belgian Baroque artist who famously favored painting women of full figure. 

THE LIST: MOST POPULAR ATHLETES: Results of new Harris Poll on 2011 top-10 most popular male and female athletes:

Rank   Male/Female

1   Derek Jeter / Serena Williams

2   Peyton Manning / Venus Williams

3   Kobe Bryant / Danica Patrick

4   Michael Jordan / Maria Sharapova

5   Tiger Woods / Mia Hamm

6   Tom Brady / Anna Kournikova

7   Albert Pujols / Martina Navratilova

8   Hines Ward / Sue Bird

9   Derrick Rose / Kerri Walsh

10   Aaron Rodgers / Michelle Wie

Notable: Woods fell from 1st to 5th. LeBron James fell from 6th to out of top 10.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

April 14, 2011

On Heat's first-round playoff series, team MVP (with polls); plus Mayor Luther Campbell, Barry Bonds, heavy girls & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote. I'm the Eddie House of journalism. Just when you think I'm lousy, I surprise you and do something good].

Heat-Sixers Game 1 blog will publish here in a separate post beginning at 2 p.m. sharp!

HEAT GOT BEST-POSSIBLE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUP: I've been listening to misguided fans and greedy media griping how they wish Miami was playing the Knicks in the NBA playoffs' first round instead of the 76ers. Baloney. From a media view at least it's arguable, I guess. We want drama wherever we can find it. (Although this whole season has been that, so what's wrong with a little break?) But from a fan view, don't you want an easier series? Maybe a sweep? Less stress? More rest before round two? That's why you play 82 games. Duh. That's the point of a higher seed. And that's Philly. Players say automatically who they play doesn't matter, but I guarantee you a nice calm, dull four or five-game rout of Philly is preferred to the wilder ride a Knicks series might have been. Then again I'm occasionally wrong. Tell me if I am or not. Take a dip in our poll. (Team MVP poll below this one...).

LEBRON WINS KING-O-METER. NOW YOU NAME THE MVP: Here are final season results for our 1aa1crown unpopular King-O-Meter, measuring which of Miami's would-be kings has had the better season based on a cumulative system using 10 statistical categories. I say unpopular because many e-mailers think it's divisive. Anyway, LeBron James wins our 2010-11 Heat King title over Dwyane Wade by 4,804.88 points to 4,174.00. (Wade missed six games to James' three, not enough to have bridged the difference). James led in games led, 43-38, including the last nine straight. (Total adds to 81 because both missed the finale). In 70-plus-point games, sort of a standard for extra good, James led, 17-13. Season high for either was James' 107.24 in Game 49 at Orlando. Wade's best was 92.10 in Game 72 vs. Philadelphia. So I say James was the regular-season team MVP. Do you? Vote.    

BOO, STEIGERWALD! YOU ARE RATIONALIZING A HEINOUS CRIME: John Steigerwald, a columnist for a small suburban Pittsburgh newspaper, has caused a firestorm by suggesting that Bryan Stow -- the Giants fan who got severely beaten after the Dodgers' opener in L.A. and remains in critical condition -- brought it on himself by wearing a Giants jersey to the game. Read the column here if you have the stomach. It is wrong on so many levels. The logic is about the same as blaming a rape victim because she wore a short skirt.

1aa1kevinna KEVIN NA'S MELTDOWN: Kevin Na (right) shot a 16 on a par 4 at yesterday's Texas Open, the worst par 4 score in PGA Tour history. Click here to watch the video. John Daly maintains the all-time worst hole on record, an 18 on a par 5 in 1998. It is unfathomable to me that any professional golfer has had a worse hole than I ever had, because I stink and do mental cartwheels and handsprings when lucking the occasional par.

SUMMARY OF BARRY BONDS TRIAL: Three years and millions of wasted dollars for a jury to dumbfoundingly conclude that Barry Bonds somehow obstructed justice without lying. That's quite a trick. Among Bonds, the prosecuting attorney and the jurors, there isn't a single soul in this mess who should be feeling proud or the least bit pleased right now.  

1aa1ashley AMERICAN IDOL AND FAT GIRLS: Oops I know "fat girls" is prejorative. My bad. Seam-stretching? Metabolistically challenged? Ashley Kauffman, 19, pictured, is making the rounds (Good Morning America earlier today) talking about how she was separated from her friends in the American Idol audience and told she was too heavy to sit in the front row. OMG! WWST!? (What Would [Ruben] Studdard Think). Idol denies this happened. Of course, anyone who has watched the show and how it packages pretty should believe the girl. Dear American Idol: This poor girl is barely heavy at all. Please restrict your blatant weight discrimination to the morbidly obese like the rest of us do.

1aa1luke MAYOR LUTHER "UNCLE LUKE" CAMPBELL?: Is it OK to admit the thought both terrifies and intrigues me? I see it as a possibility, especially with 11 people running post-recall for Miami-Dade mayor, when 15-18 percent of the vote might be enough and name-recognition will matter. Bottom line? It's nuts. Nuts! We'd be a national laughingstock. It would further cement Miami's well-earned reputation as an insane asylum politically. And yet, politically, is the election progression from actors to pro wrestlers to rappers really that outlandish? I think Luke has an outside shot. Seriously. And I like that if only because it delivers the [bleep]in' motherlode to colleagues Carl Hiassen and Leonard Pitts.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost later...

THE LIST: HEAT PLAYOFF OPPONENTS: Miami's first-round series vs. Philadelphia starting Saturday will be the Heat's first playoff meeting with the 76ers. Miami's top five most common playoff opponents:

Opponent   Playoff Games   (Series; Most Recent)

New York   24   (4; 2000)

Chicago   21   (4; 2007)

Detroit   16   (3; 2006)

Atlanta   12   (2; 2009)

New Jersey   9   (2; 2006)

Others, all 1 series: New Orleans 7 games; Dallas 6; Indiana 6; Boston 5; Orlando 5; Washington 4; Charlotte 3.

February 22, 2011

Knicks saying hello 'Melo complicates Heat's dynasty dream (with poll); plus Shockey to Dolphins?, 'Housewives' of Miami, D-Wade's fashion & more

[Thanks to all of today's live chatters. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join us live then, to read transcripts or to post questions any time. Also, follow at Twitter.com/gregcote]

1aa1hellomelo KNICKS LANDING 'MELO COMPLICATES HEAT TITLE DRIVE: New York loves stars and big headlines, media as much as fans, and pictured is the New York Post splash welcoming Carmelo Anthony in the mega-deal completed late last night. The Knickerbockers, pairing Anthony with Amare Stoudemire, think they have joined Boston and Miami (OK, and Orlando and Chicago) as NBA Eastern Conference power-brokers. Maybe. But if NYK in turn can now sign Chris Paul this coming 1aa1isiaht summer, which becomes much more likely now, then yes. A Big 3 is all the rage now; every team needs to have one. The point is the Knicks suddenly are in position to be a team to be reckoned with, another big, neon obstacle to Miami's dynasty dream as the league's power continues its West-to-East shift. This trade's impact on the Heat isn't the only interest to South Florida. There are plenty of indications that former NBA star and current FIU coach Isiah Thomas (left) helped lure Anthony and broker this deal behind the scenes, as a presumed precursor to Knicks owner James Dolan now bringing Thomas back to the Knicks in a president/GM-type role. Have the Knicks become a major rival to the Heat's title hopes? Take a dip in our poll.

'THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MIAMI': The show debuts tonight, and I feel like Sally Field in Absence of Malice 1aa1housewives stealing papers off lawns, except I want to steal televisions so nobody can watch this. I dare say the real housewives of Miami will be embarrassed by The Real Housewives of Miami. Why would anyone agree to appear on this most shaming franchise in all of not-really-reality TV? Better we should return to the days when the negative connotation of Miami involved murder and cocaine. The six housewives, pictured, are a six-pack of vapidity begging two questions: 1) Aren't there any black women in Miami? Not even one? Or is it that all the black women in Miami had too much pride to agree to be on this show? 2) I don't think Marysol Patton, second from left, has had enough work done. If those lips were any wider or less real looking she'd be Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ooh, too mean? Sorry, Marysol and you five others, but the exchange for your new piss-ant, Snookie-esque celebrity is that you are under now under a microscope that exposes every pore. I have a feeling the hardest-working man in show business is going to be the guy applying the makeup for this show.

SHOCKEY TO DOLPHINS?: Fox's Jay Glazer reporting the Saints have terminted the contract of tight end Jeremy Shockey, the ex-Cane. Let's start some Shockey-to-Dolphins momentum. He's still better offensively than what they have at that position.

1aa1dwade WADE NBA'S TOP FASHION PLATE: Sports Illustrated polled 136 NBA players, asked, "Who has the best fashion sense off the court? " and Heat's Dwyane Wade won big with 29 percent. Next: Kobe Bryant 13% and LeBron James 11%. Pictured left: Wade, being extremely fashionable. [Updated NBA championship odds, via Bodog.com: Heat favored at 11-5, then Celtics 7-2, Lakers 4-1 and Spurs 9-2. For MVP it's LeBron James 2-1, Derrick Rose 5-2, Kevin Durant 5-1 and Amare Stoudemire 11-2. Over/under on Carmelo Anthony's scoring average as a Knick: 27.5].

1aa1bayne TREVOR BAYNE SAVES NASCAR: The five years of the Jimmie Johnson reign have been no remedy for NASCAR, which has seen attendance, sponsorships and TV ratings dip during his unthrilling (except to his fans) dominance. A resurgence by popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. would work wonders as the sport's ultimate tonic, but his winless streak has stretched to 94 races now. Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot less time than we've been Waiting For Junior. NASCAR is looking for a savior, and may have found one in Trevor Bayne (pictured), Sunday's youngest-ever Daytona 500 champion, fresh face personified, one day past his 20th birthday. I have socks older than him. Click here from my column off the race from the Speedway.

A QUESTION FOR DOG OWNERS: This does not apply to me because my old dog Sandy surveys and sniffs her own fenced-in backyard before choosing where to take a crap. But, to the people who walk their dogs so they can crap on other people's lawns: Isn't it true you carry that little plastic bag just for show and that you only pretend to scoop up Fido's gift? I think so. I think you do a quick glance to see if anyone is watching, do the bend-n-pretend, then walk away with a secret grin. Busted!

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this new post throughout the day...

January 20, 2011

Did Dolphins, UM hit or miss on new O-coordinators? (with poll); plus Lil' Wayne rips LeBron, D-Wade; Kiper's pick for Dolphins & more

LIL' WAYNE RIPS LEBRON, D-WADE: Rapper Lil' Wayne (pictured) gives his first post-jail 1aa1lilw interview in the latest Rolling Stone and a small part of it is a big rip-job on Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who apparently ignored him when he attended a game in Miami. The quote is verbatim, but sanitized somewhat by me: "Them n----- never speak to a n----. They don't chuck me the deuce or nothing. N---- spent all that money on them f---ing tickets ... come holla at me. We sit right by them little b----ass n-----. At least come ask me why I'm rooting for you."  Evidently they didn't, and so presumably he isn't rooting for them anymore.

[News flash: Ireland re-ups: At about 11:15 this morning (Saturday), the Dolphins announced that GM Jeff Ireland had signed a contract extension. Leave it up to you to decide if that's good news or not].

1aa1daboll2 1aa1daboll DID DOLPHINS, CANES HIT OR MISS ON NEW OFFENSIVE-COORDINATOR HIRES?: New Dolphins offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, 35, with his intentionally shaved-bald head, looks like the grandchild of Uncle Fester. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The two are pictured. Miami held a press conference to introduce Daboll -- itself remarkable for the secretive franchise -- and, other than him not being Josh McDaniels, it went well. You know from this previous column I sort of like the hire, even though he's from the Cleveland Browns. He has some pieces to work with here. The key, of course: Making Chad Henne better. By a good bit, and right now. (By the way, Dan Le Batard wrote a pro-Henne column this week and got a nice thank-you email from the QB's mom, Sue Henne. So you see, kids, no matter how old you are or what you do, Moms are always Moms). Not everybody like Daboll. Saints FB Heath Evans worked with him two years in New England and said this about Daboll on ESPN 760: "The Dolphins probably just got worse. He was never a guy that I would call the brains of the operation." UM also has a new OC in Jedd Fisch, from the Seattle Seahawks. Coach Al Golden never even met Fisch before hiring. Risky? Fisch isn't pictured here ecause he doesn't look like anybody funny. Your turn to weigh in on both new hires. I know, I know. Wait and see, right? But I'm running a daily blog here, not a damned encyclopedia. So give us your gut reactions:

1aa1durand CANES CAN'T PENETRATE FSU'S MILITARY-GRADE DEFENSE: Ex-UM coach Leonard Hamilton brought him some serious defense down here in last night's 55-53 victory over host Miami, a big ACC game. Good lord, UM had no low-post game, and poor Durand Scott (3-for-12, 8 points), pictured doing what he couldn't do last night. needed a search warrant to get into the key. Kid could not penetrate for a layup. It's still early, but coach Frank Haith's Hurricanes (12-6, 1-3 ACC) are not looking like a Big Dance squad. Not from this conference. (On the other hand, Katie  Meier's Canes women are looking, to me, like Sweet Sixteen stuff. Or better. That is one really, really good team.

1aa1chicaco! EXCITEMENT FOR NFL FINAL-FOUR BUILDS, MISSPELLINGS ASIDE: Bearing down on Jets-Steelers and Packers-Bears Sunday. Anticipation rising. Aside to the Green Bay Press-Gazette: This will be the record 182nd time your team has played the Bears. Please learn how to spell "Chicago." These should be great semifinals: Chicaco at Grene Bay, and Neu York at Pittsberg.

ASHLEY MADISON BLACKBALLED, AS IT WERE: Ashley Madison.com, the company that fosters marital infidelity with the credo "Life Is Short, Have An Affair," had its proposed Super Bowl ad rejected by the NFL. Click on this spot to watch the ad in a YouTube video. Two thoughts: 1) If I'm going to cheat on my wife, how pathetic that I might need to enlist a dot-com pimp to hook me up. 2) The company of course knew its "ad" would be rejected, and of course counted on resulting publicity via YouTube and willing accomplices such as, evidently ... myself. Guerilla advertising. God bless America.

HERE ARE TWO GUESSES ON DOLPHINS' NO. 1 DRAFTEE: ESPN.com's Todd McShay, in his new mock draft, has Miami at No. 15 overall selecting Gators center Mike Pouncey. Hmm. Interior O-line is a definite need, but that seems a bit high for a guy who isn't as good as his brother Maurkice, of the Steelers. But the even newer guesswork of King Mock himself, Mel Kiper Jr., has Miami selecting Alabama running back Mark Ingram. He's the top RB in the draft but some think he'd be a bit of a reach at 15. The only near-certainty at this point is that Dolphins will target offense.

1aa1venus VENUS' DRESS IS FROM MARS: Pictured right, Venus Williams in the dress she wore yesterday during the Australian Open. The only guess? She lost a bet.

1aa1ameridol NEW AMERICAN IDOL LACKS BITE: Simon Cowell is missed. No way around that one, based on the debut of the new season of American Idol last night. (Yes I watch it. Guilty pleasure. Sue me). Neither of the new judges -- Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler or Dolphins part owner-by-marriage Jennifer Lopez -- seem suited to the claws-out role. Where's Ricky Gervais when you need him? 

THE LIST: DOLPHINS OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS: Somebody has always run the offense and called plays, but these are the only nine men to have held the title "offensive coordinator, according to the Dolphins:

Gary Stevens 1996-97

Kippy Brown   1998-99

Chan Gailey   2000-01

Norv Turner   2002-03

Chris Foerster   2004

Scott Linehan   2005

Mike Mularkey   2006

Dan Henning   2008-10

Brian Daboll   2011-

January 16, 2010

Poll: What is your preferred Super Bowl matchup?

1aa7 1aa7 COUNTDOWN: 7 DAYS 'TIL SUPER BLOG! Our daily Super Blog will commence on Monday, Jan. 25.

SUPER BOWL MATCHUP POLL: Vote right now! C'mon, it's the "Miami Super Bowl." WE get to decide! Which SB matchup do you most want to see?].

Next Sunday: Jets at Colts in AFC title game, 3 p.m.; Vikings at Saints in NFC title game, 6:40 p.m.

SECOND-ROUND PLAYOFFS: NFL down to its final six now as the countdown to the Miami Super Bowl is today/Sunday at 21 days. Love to keep saying the phrase "Miami Super Bowl." It lets me sort of pretend the Dolphins are in it, almost, in a way. Anyhow, back to reality. Saints and Colts are in after winning Saturday and will host next week's conference title games. Today we learn who their underdog-opponents will be. Your thoughts on yesterday's games and today's matchups invited here.

My kingdom for a decent game! The six playoff games entering today have been won by an average margin of 17.2 points and produced one compelling game. And that was before the Cowboys-Vikes blowout.

1aaminn VIKINGS 34, COWBOYS 3 (Final) -- Ouch. That last TD pass with less than 2 minutes left might have been rubbing in it ... Brett Favre to Sidney Rice twice for 14-3 ... Original post: This to me was the toughest game of the weekend's four to pick and should be the best game. Vikes are favored by three points although it almost feels like Dallas should be. I pick Minnesota 28-24 and siding with a home fave has seldom felt so much like an upset pick. I put a lot of stock in an 8-0 home record, in the magic left in Brett Favre's paw, in Adrian Peterson coming alive, and in Minny's run-D doing a better job than Philly did last week.

1aanyj JETS 17, CHARGERS 14 (Final): Nate Kaeding, former NFL kicker ... Original post: This is the only weekend game that feels lopsided to me. Chargers favored by 7 1/2 and I pick the Bolts, 27-13, with a potential for an even bigger rout. SD might be best team in NFL right now, on an 11-game win streak, and Jets don't have the offensive pop to keep up. By the way, I do no intentionally try to annoy Jets fans. I really don't. It is just a pleasant byproduct of my picks. Like a bonus.

Saturday's results:

1aanos SAINTS 45, CARDINALS 14 (Final) -- No. 1 seed Fleur de Lis hosting NFC title game next week ... Had Saints, but figured 'Zona would show up a little better. Man! N'Awlins shook off that rusty pretty good. Who dat! ... Arizona allowed 90 points in its two playoffs games. Oy! ... Over/under on this game was around 58, seemed low early but turned out right on-point ... Somebody revoke Cards' playoff card! Arizona has allowed 66 points the past five quarters through the first today ... Original post: A gunslingin' shootout between Kurt Warner and Drew Brees is all but a guarantee, with the over/under approaching 60 and the prospect of 700 combined passing yards not unrealistic. N'Awlins favored by 7; my pick is Saints winning but not covering, 34-30. I must side with the NFL's highest-scoring offense, at home, against a 'Zona defense that got rappy-cacked* pretty good by the Pack last week. (*Rappy-cacked. That's phonetic; not positive on the spelling. It's a shoutout to Rick Weaver. Anybody remember Rick Weaver?).

COLTS 20, RAVENS 3 (Final) -- Baltimore's offensive coordinater, Cam Cameron, hasn't enjoyed1aaindy this kind of success since 2007 ... Indy scores huge cushion-TD in closing seconds of first half when Reggie Wayne reaches ball over goalline just ahead of Ray Lewis in duel of great ex-Canes ... First TD of game at 2-minute warning of first half ... Don't count on on another pointfest here ... Joe Flacco reportedly has hip issues, but will play. Original post: Interesting contrast of physical vs. finesse, ferocious defense vs. poppin' O, Ray Lewis staring down Peyton Manning. Indy favored by 6 1/2; I like Colts but barely, 21-20. I worry about Nags' run-D stopping Ray Rice. Also wonder if Indy can shake that late-season letdown and get all the cylinders flying on cue. Venue and Peyton swing the pick, but a Balt upset would not surprise.

60 MINUTES CATCHES UP ON SAMOA: CBS' 60 Minutes, appealing to the oldest demographic this side of Murder, She Wrote, has a piece on Sunday's show on why so many NFL players come from tiny American Samoa. Sure, the piece may be several years tardy. Watch anyway. I hear the segment includes footage of a 380-pound Samoan nose tackle pancaking Andy Rooney.

NFL TV RATINGS GONE WILD: Last week's four Wild Card Weekend games together were the most watched in 15 years, and a 16 percent spike over a year earlier. Packers-Cardinals, with 34.4 million viewers, was the league's most watched first-round playoff game since 1999. Analysts credit Greg Cote's blog.

DSC01093_0355 [ME TV: Thanks again to Kim Bokamper and CB4 for having us on the SportsZone show last night to chat up NFL playoffs.

Twitter.com/gregcote