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23 posts from September 2009

September 30, 2009

Coghlan for rookie of year, dammit!; plus Heat poll, Vick explains himself (with video), Olympics vote & more

[Thanks to all live-chatters today. Huge response. We do it every Wednesday from 1-2. To join live then, read past transcripts or post questions at any time, click here].

[Can't get enough Changing of the Chads? Our Chad Henne/Dolphins poll is still rockin' the vote in the blog post just below this new one].

1acoghlan COGHLAN DESERVES NL ROOKIE HONOR: As a voting member of the BBWAA I have gotten emails from other teams touting their rookie of the year candidates. Bad strategy, other teams. I dislike obvious electioneering. But the hard-sell is moot at any rate. The Marlins' Chris Coghlan is the choice here, for reasons logical, not parochial. He is fifth in the NL with a .319 average, and also leads all NL rooks in at-bats, runs, hits and on-base percenbtage. No player, rookie or veteran, either league, has been a hotter hitter in August and September. And yet I get a sense either of two pitchers, Phillie J.A. Happ (12-4) or Brave Tommy Hanson (11-4) could edge out Coghlan for the award. It would be a shame. Coghlan is an everyday player who solved the Marlins' leadoff problem, has played strong outfield defense, and, after league batting champ Hanley Ramirez, is right there with Josh Johnson for team MVP. Coghlan is one of the young commodities you think of when you take stock of this team's future and feel good. He has been the unexpected delight of this playoff-less yet solid Marlins season. Time to reward him.

HEAT'S BIGGEST ASSET OTHER THAN WADE: I mean, Dwyane Wade is a given. But other than Miami's superstar scorer, what is the franchise's top commodity as preseason practice begins. What do you feel the best about beyond D-Wade? Take a dip in our poll and explain why.   

FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATE: I meant to mention earlier: My fantasy teams suck. Well, slow starts anyway. Am 1-2 in both leagues. My Bad Newz Fennelz lost 68-54, with Vincent Jackson and his paltry 13 points my leading scorer. (What were the odds I'd get three points combined from Drew Brees and a now-injured Frnak Gore?) In my smaller, family league, Greg's Lobos lost 144-114 despite 38 points from Peyday Manning.

PRAISE GOD AND PASS THE IMAGE-REBUILDING: MICHAEL VICK IN CHURCH: Vick speaks recently in a D.C. church, explaining why he got into dog-fighting and so forth. Click here for the 2-minute YouTube video.

PANTHERS OPEN REGULAR-SEASON FRIDAY: Shhh. Let's keep it among ourselves.

ODOM-KARDASHIAN MARRIAGE DOOMED: Experts do not like the chances (read why) of basketball star Lamar Odom and celebrity-for-no-reason Khloe Kardashian staying married. Greg Cote reacted by saying, "Who gives a crap!" 

HEADLINES I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE (one in a series): Maybe this headline helps explain why the U.S. hasn't won the women's World Cup since 1999. Program needs to get younger.  


CHICAGO VS. RIO DE JANEIRO: The big vote to award the 2016 Summer Olympics is Friday -- not much time left to bribe the IOC judges! -- and Chitown and Rio are considered too close to call for the win, with Tokyo and Madrid the distant longshots. I rarely get excited about things happening nine years hence but find myself chanting "U-S-A!" I was doing that just this morning in my Dunkin Donuts and the Persian clerk looked me funny. I like Chicago's chances, because, between Michelle Obama's guns and Oprah Winfrey's girth, I figure the Girl From Ipanema (pictured) doesn't stand a chance.

1ahotdog TRICK OR TREAT!:

Halloween is coming up and I have already picked my costume. I am dressing up as an infant hot dog.


EMPIRE OF THE SUN: Any fans out there of Empire of the Sun (pictured), the Australian trippy-pop duo? Was just told by a music-industry friend that they'll play in live in New York, Mexico -- and Miami -- in November.

Click back. Will be adding lots more stuff to this post with alacrity.

September 28, 2009

Ready or not: The Changing of the Chads (with Henne poll); plus Dolphins trade for QB Tyler Thigpen

[IT'S LIVE CHAT WEDNESDAY! Join us today from 1-2 p.m. and/or post questions early, either way by clicking right here].

(Update: Dolphins acquire QB Tyler Thigpen from Kansas City for low future draft pick. Makes sense. Thought they'd acquire a veteran or at least someone with some experience to back-up Chad Henne just in case, since Pat White obviously isn't ready for more than spot duty. Click here for Thigpen's career stats).

1ahenne You've heard the seismic news by now: Chad Pennington is out for the season with his latest shoulder injury, this one sustained in Sunday's Dolphins loss in San Diego and possibly career-ending. Which means the future is now: Chad Henne. Click on Ready Or Not for today's column by mee on The Changing of the Chads.

Will Henne (pictured) be Miami's next great quarterback -- a rightful heir to the Griese/Marino lineage? Will he be a solid starter for many years if not quite a superstar? Will he be a decent starter, just OK? Will he prove a bust?

The knowing starts.

I think Henne will be good. Solid. It's up to him to prove himself better than that. Taking over an 0-3 team relieves some of the pressure, but it's on Henne to show he is who Team Tuna thinks he is. If he fails, Dolfans will hark back to the '08 draft and how Miami could have had Matt Ryan but passed in favor of Jake Long.

I think in some ways the season just got a lot more interesting. The focus no longer is on (minimal) playoff hopes. Now it's on the future of the most important position and whether Miami has the guy to fill it. 

What is your confidence level in Henne? What do you expect? Take a dip in our poll and elaborate.

(I would also invite messages to Pennington here. Hate to see it end this way for a classy veteran who was the MVP of last year's remarkable turnaround season. Who else played only one full season for the Dolphins but meant more?)

September 27, 2009

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%

[The main Dolphins-San Diego game post is located just below this in the blog. Comments specific to today's game should go there. Bigger-picture comments on the season in general and how satisfied Dolfans should be are directed here].


The latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll results are final, and overall satisfaction has sunk to 6.4 percent in the wake of Sunday's 23-13 loss at San Diego, a season low.

Back in the blog for a second season, the DSM is a continuous gauge of how fans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game, I invite fans to share their overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance, the season as a whole, the direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations.

Season results may be found beneath poll.


Game 1: 9.9% satisfaction (3.0 very, 6.9 somewhat) after 19-7 loss at Atlanta.

Game 2: 22.3% satisfaction (3.9 very, 18.4 somewhat) after 27-23 loss vs. Indianapolis.

Game 3: 6.4% satisfaction (3.7 very, 2.7 somewhat) following 23-13 loss at San Diego.

Game 4: Look for next DSM poll about 30 minutes after conclusion of this Sunday's game vs. Buffalo.

[Note: Poll and comments section stay open; however, poll results are certified official on midnight the day after the game, meaning midnight Monday in this case].

G3: San Diego 23, Dolphins 13 (Final)

[UM fans: Our latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter is rockin' the vote in the blog post just below this].

[Dolfans: Look for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll to be posted in a separate post here in the blog at precisely 8 p.m.].

1abrown Dolphins fall to 0-3 with 23-13 loss in San Diego. Pennington hurt. Pass defense continues suspect.

FOURTH QUARTER: Ricky Williams 14-yard TD run and Dolphins within 23-13. ..... Chad Henne throws a pick-six interception and, although time remains, this game is OVAH. ..... Yet another shorty FG for Bolts and a 16-6 lead. Dolphins down by two scores. Today, that feels insurmountable. ..... Ted Ginn must make the difficult catch. But does not. ..... Another gimmie-putt FG by San Diego for a 13-6 lead. Would be a nervous lead, except Miami's offense needs to prove it can reach the end zone with its backup QB.

THIRD QUARTER: Pennington injury is right shoulder. Not being said yet how serious. ..... Phillip Rivers 5-yard keeper for first TD of game and 10-6 Bolts lead, late 3Q. ..... Carpenter 23-yard FG for a 6-3 lead. Miami has two field goals from three trips inside Chargers' 10. Things like that can come back to haunt. Chad Henne in for injured Pennington.  ..... Chad Pennington left field holding his right arm in the wrist area. We'll know soon how serious if at all.

HALFTIME: Not sure how a Dolfan should feel right now. Miami could be up, say, 14-6. Liking the defensive effort. This is a game Miami needs to take, given that SD is missing two starting O-linemen, top run-stopper Jamal Williams and RB LaDainian Tomlinson, with OLB Shawne Merriman limited to boot. 

SECOND QUARTER: Chargers slice a short FG wide right on last play of half. ..... Dan Carpenter 24-yard FG ties it 3-3 after Phillip Merling recovers fumble off QB sack to set up Miami in Diego red zone. Miami could/should be ahead 14-3 right now. ..... Third and short? How 'bout passing the pass beyond the scrimmage line! ..... SD had first and goal but settles for 25-yard FG and 3-0 lead. Phillip Rivers 9-for-12 for 99 yards so far.

FIRST QUARTER: Dolphins about to cash impressive 95-yard drive for TD but Ronnie Brown fumbles into and out of end zone for touchback. G Justin Smiley nearly recovered but could not. What a huge disappointment after a massive first possession. Turnover spoiled big opening series for Brown that included 19 yards on two Wildcat runs.

PREGAME: Here's even more imperative for a Dolphins win today: The Patriots and Jets both won big, seemingly loseable games today. NYJ looking particularly strong. (By the way, I nailed my Upset of the Week pick. Lions win! :Awwwkkk!")

Original post:

1achargers Most Dolfans have heard the stats by now: Since 1990 only three 0-3 NFL teams have gone on to make the playoffs, and none since 1998. And dare say none of those three faced a schedule as unrelentingly tough as Miami's. I try to avoid the threadbare phrase "must win" because it is too often overused in situations where it does not apply. But for the Dolphins this is about as close to an early-season "must win" -- not literally but in effect -- as you'll find.

I predict a 24-20 Chargers victory, meaning Miami with-the-points but not with the win. I think Phillip Rivers is really good and in the 0-2 start Miami's pass defense has not earned much trust. We shall see.

How do you divine the game going? Thoughts welcome here before, during and of course afterward.

Join us here during the game for an Unofficial Live Boutique Blog (patent pending), and then look out for the latest edition of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in a separate post soon after the game ends.

September 26, 2009

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 65.3%

[Separate game post on today's UM loss may be found just below this in the blog. Comments specific to today's game should go there. Bigger-picture comments on how satisfied Canes fans should be after three games, and why, should go here].

Hurricanes fans showed mature (and may I say admirable and somewhat surprising?) restraint in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, registering 65.3 percent overall satisfaction even in the wake of the disappointing 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech. (Polls are posted following the conclusion of every Canes game. Season poll results appear beneath the latest poll).

I was interesting in these results thinking they'd say much about UM fans. Would the lopsided loss sour fans? Or would most look at 2-1 vs. three tough foes and be satisfied? We mostly saw the latter.

The criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance, the season as a whole, the program's direction, and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations.

Poll and comments section stay open, but results become official on midnight the day after each game; in this case midnight Sunday.

Now let's vote!

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter season results:

Game 1: 98.9 percent satisfaction (72.3 very, 26.6 somewhat) following 38-34 victory at FSU.

Game 2: 99.5 percent satisfaction (89.0 very, 10.5 somewhat) following 33-17 victory vs. Georgia Tech.

Game 3: 65.3 percent satisfaction (24.9 very, 40.4 somewhat) following 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech.

Game 4: Look for next CSM poll following Saturday night's home game vs. Oklahoma.

Virginia Tech 31, Hurricanes 7 (Final); plus Tebow hurt, Noles lose, FIU and FAU do too

[Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll now up and accepting votes in a separate post here in the blog just above this post. Vote!] 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami got dominated in a way I'm sure no fans thought possible. Jacory Harris was a mortal 9-for-25, beset by poor protection much of the game. Jacory can leave his pink pimp suit earmarked for the Heisman ceremony on the coat-hanger for the time being. Defensively, UM tackled poorly and got beat up by the Virginia Tech ground game. Don't imagine Miami will fall much below 15th or so in the polls,with a chance to get back on title-trtack  vs. Oklahoma next week. Your thoughts welcome.

1au FOURTH QUARTER: Jacory Harris intercepted. It does not appear the momentum that was briefly UM's shall be recaptured. Tech parlays pick into another TD and a 31-7 lead. Too big a deficit too late. Not happening.

THIRD QUARTER: V-Tech adds short FG for 24-7 lead. I always hate to single out a player in college ball, but it must be said those two Graham dropped passes took palpable momentum from UM and gave it right back to the home team. ..... Two huge drops by Jimmy Graham. ..... UM back in it, now down 21-7, after 1-yard Javarris James TD run to open second half, set up by a 30-yard Harris-Hankerson hookup.

1avt HALFTIME: Not to use jargon, but the technical term for what's happening is "an ass-kicking." It's 242 total yards of offense to 54. Virginia Tech defense dominating, and getting enough pressure on Jacory Harris to turn him mortal. I am not writing off the Canes. This is a team built for comeback football. but Randy Shannon and his staff better have a little magic going on in the visitors' lockerroom right now.

SECOND QUARTER: Shouldn't UM have tried a deep pass or two in final 30 seconds to at least try to get on board with a late field goal? ..... Hokies block a punt and score on it for a 21-0 lead. VT always known for special teams and reminding why. This is becoming a bit embarrassing for UM. Must score before halftime to have a shot. ..... Va Tech goes Fox News (wide right) on a short FG try. One of the few breaks so far for Miami. ..... Canes get a takeaway and ball at VT 20 but go backward, get nothing. Not looking good.

FIRST QUARTER: Uh oh. Virginia Tech 14-0 now on 48-yard TD pass. Canes defender slipped on wet turf but was getting beat anyway. Now we get to see Jacory under max pressure: Really bad weather. On the road. In a big, early hole. ..... VT up 7-0 on 2-yard Ryan Williams TD run after Jacory Harris fumble set up Hokies at Miami 11. Close call on whether Harris' arm was moving forward. Tech also benefitted from iffy interference call in end zone against UM safety Vaughn Telemaque. Inclement weather, but that did not seem to affect Harris on turnover. 

Original post:

[Your thoughts on today's UM-Virginia Tech duel are invited here before, during and after the game. Also welcoming chatter on Gators, Noles, FIU, FAU and more].

There is no question the Miami Hurricanes are the "it" team in college football right now. They forge a thrilling upset win in Tallahassee to go from nowhere to ranked. They convincingly beat a then-higher-ranked Georgia Tech to crash the top 10. Now they are favored on the (very) hard road, in Blacksburg, Va.

Chatter even arises about a Canes-Gators BCS title game!

If No. 9 UM wins at No. 11 Virginia Tech today beginning at 3:30 (Canes favored by 2 1/2), The U will have left behind most every doubter and positioned itself for a chance -- a chance -- to think of a national championship as being realistically in play. Likewise, keeping Jacory Harris out of the Heisman Trophy conversation will be harder and harder if UM gets out of this thing 3-0.

Make fun of the VT mascot if you will. After all, honest and lengthy debates could be held on which is the more embarassing nickname: "Hokies" or "Gobbers." But give either respect even as you stifle a snicker. This is a tough, tough game.

I'll admit I have reservations this week. For the first time this season I do not feel great about Miami's chances but will be happy to be found wrong. I root for good stories, and the Canes going from an irrelevant 7-6 to where they are now is a fun ride. I am not rooting for it to end.

[Remember to check back after the conclusion of today's UM game for the latest installment of our Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. You'll find it in a separate post in the blog minutes after the game ends].

WEEK 4 COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Week's other FBS (Division 1) state games and select others, all today:

South Florida 17, No. 18 Florida State 7: Seminoles were a somewhat modest 14-point favorite. I think part of that was this as a natural-letdown game for Team Dadgumit, coming off last week's huge upset win at BYU. Well the Noles got stunned in Tally by a USF team relegated to backup QB B.J. Daniels because of Matt Grothe's injury. FSU losing won't help UM any in terms of strength-of-schedule points.

East Carolina 19, Central Florida 14: A game only a (paticipating player's) mother could love. ECU favored by 10 1/2 points and gets by.

Louisiana-Monroe 27, FAU 25: Finally, after road losses at Nebraska and South Carolina, Howard Schenellenberger's Owls got a home game and, more important, an opponent their own size. The run for the Sun Belt crown started here for FAU, a 3-point fave, but with a tough loss. I was impartial of course. LET'S GO OWLS!!

1atebone me2

No. 1 Florida 41, Kentucky 7: The Gators beat KY a 23rd straight time, but the big news is QB Tim Tebow leaving game in 3Q with an apparent concussion. Should be OK for UF's next game Oct. 10 at LSU. My question: Why was Tebow still in there in the second half with a 31-7 lead when he had the flu to begin with? Not smart Urban. As for the photo at right, it's a Gators fan or should I say a fan of the virginal Tebow. The front of her T-shirt read, TEBONE ME. I would not make that up. You see the back of the shirt. BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!? I JUST DON'T GET IT!   :)   :D

Toledo 41, FIU 31: Home game. Dead-even, pick-'em. Great chance for FIU but instead: 0-3. I was rooting for the Golden Panthers of The Int'l, but mainly because I had bet big on local media references to "Holy Toledo!"

National game of the week: Oh it was Canes at V-Tech without a doubt. It's the only matchup of Top 25 teams. Plus little else thrilled me this week, although North Carolina-Georgia Tech looked good; GT won 24-7. I predicted (you'll have to trust me) No. 4 Mississippi losing at South Carolina Thursday night.


Our own weekly national ranking. Top 30-Plus means I'll also list any state schools that have earned points but are outside my T30. This latest ranking is entering collball Week 4, so does not include (for example) Thursday's loss by Ole Miss:

Rank / Team / Points / (Last week)

1 FLORIDA 360 (1)

2 Texas 348 (2)

3 Alabama 324 (4)

4 Southern Cal 309 (3)

5 Penn State 299 (5)

6 Mississippi 290 (6)

7 California 272 (8)

8 Louisiana State 264 (10)

9 Ohio State 261 (7)

10 Oklahoma 258 (9)

11 Boise State 238 (13)

12 Virginia Tech 230 (12)

13 Oklahoma State 225 (11)

14 Brigham Young 193 (14)

15 TCU 182 (16)

16 Georgia Tech 164 (15)

17 Georgia 144 (17)

18 MIAMI 139 (21)

19 North Carolina 117 (20)

20 Cincinnati 116 (23)

21 Nebraska 113 (19)

22 Utah 108 (18)

23 Kansas 93 (24)

t24 FLORIDA STATE 77 (26)

t24 Notre Dame 77 (22)

26 Houston 62 (30)

27 Oregon 55 (25)

28 Michigan 49 (31)

29 Missouri 43 (29)

30 Oregon State 39 (27)

An explainer, especially for incredulous Canes fans, perhaps: Our formula is purely mathematical, does not factor head-to-head results, and is conservative. By that I mean, teams move more gradually -- up or down -- than they tend to in other polls. This may result in our poll seeming out of whack in spots on any given week (like this week to UM fans, maybe), but I want to see how the formula stands up over an entire season. I want to judge it a couple of months from now as bowl time approaches.

September 25, 2009

NFL Week 3 picks: Dolphins lose in SD, Lions win (!), Titans upset Jets; plus, burying Tom Brady & more


Once again I give the Dolphins a big upset shot at the key-injury-laden Charg1dartboarders, taking Miami with the +6 but not outright. Bolts, 24-20. Why? Here's why. First game: Dolphins' pass-D can't handle Matt Ryan/Tony Gonzalez. Second game: Can't handle Peyton Manning/Dallas Clark. Now comes Phillip Rivers/Antonio Gates, the third straight menacing QB/tight end combo. Point blank, I won't trust Miami's pass defense until it rises up big and stops somebody.

Click on Week 3 Gems for all of this week's picks. Upset special: Lions end their 19-game losing streak vs. Washington. ("Aawwk!") Other outright upsets: Titans win at J-E-T-S! and Colts beat Cards in the desert. Your pro prognostications are invited here, particularly your vantage on the Dolphin game.

In today's Friday Page column we rank the best NFL teams top to bottom based on overall quarterbacking. Our No. 1 choice might surprise you. Click on Passing Fancy. Dolphins check in a lowish 14th. The thinking: Chad Pennington showing early signs of not reprising his 2008 career year, and still with that limiting arm strength. Also, what's behind him (Chad II, Pat White) remains a huge question.

HAS THE MAGIC LEFT TOM BRADY?: Click here to read just such speculation. No, it was not cowritten wishfully by Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan. It was written by an actual writer, on SI.com. I think the premise is either dead-wrong or egregiously premature. Think you'll see Brady out-duel Matt Ryan in two days as a matter of fact.


Click here. Aw, I feel bad for Plax. Whatever happened to civility and decorum among the prison population? Where are their manners!

PEYTON'S PLACE: NFL ATHLETE OF THE DECADE: The Sporting News, which loves list and stuff, picks its All-Decade Athletes of the Year in seven sports and the NFL pick was Peyton Manning (over Brady). Others winners: MLB--Albert Pujols over Alex Rodriguez; NBA--Kobe bryant over Tim Duncan; NHL--Niklas Lidstrom over Martin Brodeur; NASCAR--Jimmie Johnson over Tony Stewart; College football--Matt Leinart over Tim tebow; and College basketball--Tyler Hansbrough over Jason Williams.

September 23, 2009

Jacory Harris: Phenom (with Greatest UM QB poll); plus Sean Smith's Tweet, Marlins done, 1 play killed Dolphins, Pee-Wee Herman & more

[Thanks to all who joined today's live chat. Record response! We do it every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. Click here to join live then, read transcripts of past chats or post questions any time].


Hey anybody catch the season premiere of CSI: Miami the other night? Good episode. A mystery. Lt. Horatio Caine was trying to track down the Dolphins' missing pass defense.

1ajacoryharris HOW GOOD CAN JACORY HARRIS BE? I love that UM football is capturing imaginations again. It feels good. It's good for South Florida. And there is no question that the force behind that is young QB Jacory Harris, whose performance as a raw freshman last season and in the first two games this year indicates he could become one of the Canes' best ever at that position. Agreed? Let's see who he's aiming for. Let's set the benchmark. Who has been UM's all-time greatest quarterback? It's too soon to include Harris in the discussion (some might argue that), but he is headed that way. Take a dip in our poll and tell us why you voted as you did and how high Harris might rise among this group.

[Note: The above was our latest blogpoll to blast past 1,000 votes, quickly and easily, so thanks for that. INteresting that Ken Dorsey won easily, because Harris most often is likened to Dorsey, mostly in terms of build but also style].

DOLPHIN GAMES A BARGAIN! NO, SERIOUSLY: Team Marketing Report's annual Fan Cost Index for the NFL is out, and on a scale of costliest to cheapest Miami ranks 24th based on how much a family of four would spend on tickets, parking, and a program, cap, beer, soft drink and hot dog. That's be $366.42 at a Dolphin game. Costliest: Cowboys game at $758.587. Cheapest: Buffalo game at $303.96.

SEAN SMITH'S CURIOUS TWEET: The Dolphins rookie cornerback sent the following dispatch to his twitter followers yesterday, the morning after the Monday night loss. Verbatim: "Its a new day, what happened is in the past...lookin forward to the future, so...wass good people!!! lol." Dear Sean: Given the performance of your team's pass defense, couldn't you at least have left out the "laugh out loud"? Geez.

MARLINS DONE, BUT RAMIREZ, COGHLAN AREN'T: Can we finally, finally stop pretending the Marlins have even a scintilla of chance to make the playoffs!? Florida could finish on a 10-0 run and still win neither the division nor wild-card. Pretty good season; not good enough. Two reasons to still pay attention, though. 1) Hanley Ramirez closing in on club's first individual NL batting title, with a 92 percent likelihood (a figure made up just now by me). 2) Chris Coghlan gunning for NL rookie of the year, with a 41 percent likelihood. (Have a feeling Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson may get it).

ONE PLAY DEFINED DOLPHINS LOSS: Click on One Play for today's column by me in the wake of Monday's home loss to Indy. The column is the second-most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com today. (The only thing more read? A gossip item, 'Khloe Kardashian to marry Lamar Odom.' Oy). UPDATE: My column has overtaken the Kardashian wedding! I'M NUMBER 1!!

I FEEL BAD FOR PLAXICO: There. I said it. Anybody else with me? Seems ridiculous that Plaxico Burress gets two years in prison for having a gun in a nightclub. If he used it, yes. If he threatened to use it, maybe. But simply having it? That's a flag for excessive punishment.

NFL COACH FIRING LINE: BetUS.com odds on NFL head coaches least likely to still be with their teams when 2010 season opens: Dick Jauron-Bills and Wade Phillips-Cowboys, even; Jim Zorn-Redskins 3-2; Jack Del Rio-Jaguars and Marvin Lewis-Bengals, 2-1; and Tom Cable-Raiders 3-1. First man hired as a head coach: Jon Gruden 5-4, Mike Shanahan 7-4, Brian Billick 3-2, Bill Cowher 7-2. 



Paul Reubens, 57, has brought back the Pee-Wee Herman character he popularized in the '80s. He was on Leno last night (see left), and it made me sad.



The Dan LeBatard show's talented producer/sidekick (pictured right) has been named producer for the entir1ahoche station. Congrats! Great call. Although I'm not too sure about his first major decision as boss. It's gonna take some getting used to calling the station "790 The Hoch." [Shameless Plug Alert] I'll be on with Dan and the crew today around 4:20 p.m.



Hey, more radio news! It seems Krystal Fernandez (Jorge Sedano's morning McMahon on 790 the Hoch) is dating former Dodgers pitcher Darren Dreifort. The happy couple is pictured here from her Facebook page. I'm not sure if this interests anybody but Krystal and Darren. Also, I hope it's OK that I said "hottie." I meant it respectfully.



In South Russell, Ohio the other day a Guinness World Record was set (see right) for most people simultaneously (and intentionally) engulfed in flames. New mark: 17. Story here. Dear Guinness: There may be a few record categories you might want to consider eliminating.


DEAR GREG...: "...Your blog is OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo depicting a knife implanted up someone's ...well, someone's bum. Thanks!"

LATEST ROUND OF THANKS...: ...for growing the meager product that is Greg Cote go out to CBS4's SportsZone with Kim Bokamper, ACCSports.com, Anchorage Daily News, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Times, Victoria (BC) Advocate and, as always, 790 The Hoch.

Click back. Still adding stuff to this post...

[Final "Dolfan Satisfaction Meter" poll results in post just below].


September 22, 2009

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 22.3%

[It's LIVE-CHAT WEDNESDAY! Join us today from 1-2 p.m. in the Q&A Forum. Click here then or to post questions/comments early].

Overall satisfaction in the Dolphins rose to 22.3 percent despite the team's 27-23 home loss to Indianapolis Monday night, according to the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll results. (Complete Week 2 and season result1dsms below).

It may seem odd for the percentage to rise as the record falls to 0-2, but it makes sense to me. One of my favorite aspects of the DSM is that, with so many votes cast, I think results are a damned accurate reflection of how fans are feeling. In this case Miami's overall improvement from Game 1, including a huge running game and the successful return of the Wildcat, was seen in poll results.

Back in the blog for a second season, the DSM is a continuous gauge of how fans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game, I invite fans to share their overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance, the season as a whole, the direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations.

Season results may be found beneath poll.

The Comments section and poll stay open. However, poll results are certified the morning after one full day of voting, at which time final results are posted.


Game 1: 9.9% satisfaction (3.0 very, 6.9 somewhat) after 19-7 loss at Atlanta.

Game 2: 22.3% satisfaction (3.9 very, 18.4 somewhat) after 27-23 loss vs. Indianapolis.

Game 3: Look for next poll on Sunday, Sept. 27, at approximately 7:30 p.m. 

September 21, 2009

G2: Indianapolis 27, Dolphins 23 (Final). Pass defense sabotages big show by Brown, Wildcat


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[Vote now! The new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll is up and running in a separate post just above this one.]. 

FINAL: A heartbreaking loss, in that Miami led so much of the game, dominated in time of possession, established a big ground game, celebrated the successful return of the Ronnie Brown-led Wildcat -- and yet STILL lost. Peyton Manning and TE Dallas Clark killed Miami. Now the Dolphins head 0-2 to San Diego. So much was encouraging for the Dolphins tonight, but that's hard to appreciate right now.

FOURTH QUARTER: Dolphins miss on last-second shots into end zone. ..... Colts up 27-23 with 3:18 left after 48-yard Manning TD pass to Pierre Garcon. Beaten by a Frenchman! Poor tackling by Miami and Garcon popped through like a watermelon seed. ..... Miami back up 23-20 on Carpenter 45-yard FG with 3:50 left. The problem now? That's a ton of time for Peyton Manning with three timeouts. ..... Indy ties it 20-20 with 10:06 left on a Donald Brown 15-yard scoring run. TE Dallas Clark is killing the Dolphins defense. ..... Ronnie Brown 3-yard TD run and Miami back up 20-13 with 13:23 to play.

THIRD QUARTER: Dolphins driving as quarter ends. ..... Dolphins miss a 49-yard FG try.

SECOND QUARTER: Vinatieri 48-yard FG for Indy as time expires send teams to halftime at 13-13. ..... Gibril Wilson apparent interception reversed upon review. ..... Miami back up, 13-10, after Carpenter 44-yard FG in final minute of half, again off the infield dirt. ..... Adam Vinatieri 43-yard FG knots the game 10-10. ..... Drive bogs down but Miami salvages three on a 45-yard Dan Carpenter FG off the infield dirt. Buffett's "Fins" seems to have replaced the traditional Dolphin fight song after scores.

FIRST QUARTER: Miami driving as quarter ends. ..... Ronnie Brown 14-yard touchdown run finishes impressive 75-yard scoring drive to tie game. Miami ran Wildcat three times for 28 yards including the TD, with Brown back as the triggerman. ..... Latest celeb sighting: Tiger Woods. ..... Dallas Clark 80-yard scoring pass from Peyton Manning on first play from scrimmage! LB Akin Ayodele got flat-out torched. Oh my. ..... Colts win toss, will receive. The house is packed!

PREGAME: A man wearing a gigantic papier mache Don Shula head is now roaming the sideline. ..... Marc Anthony and J-Lo now on the carpet le grand orange. ..... Part-owners on parade! Serena Williams here. Trivia: She is the only part-owner in franchise history ever fined for threatening to shove a [bleeping] tennis ball down a lineswoman's throat. ..... Gloria Estefan just showed up. Paparazzi bulbs flashing as if the sighting of her is a rare, coveted thing. Best thing about the paparazzi is that they are even lower on the journalism foodchain than sports writers if that's possible. ..... Unofficial semi-live boutique blog now underway! Dwyane Wade has Tweeted that he too is en route to the game. Celebrities are crawling out of the woodwork, not that there is an ounce of wood in the entire joint. There's an "orange carpet." I sort of only care about the celebs in the football uniforms, but I'm weird. Jimmy Buffett was pretty good as usual, though, enthralling the easily enthralled. 

Original post:

The electricity? Guaranteed! Miami's first Monday night host-job since Christmas 2006 brings the national spotlight. Sold-out crowd. Home opener. Glamour opponent. Nothing excites players more than knowing all of their peers will be watching. The place will be kinetic and rockin'.

The celebrities? Guaranteed! Jimmy Buffett performs. New part-owners Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Serena and Venus Williams, and Marc Anthony (with Jennifer Lopez) will walk the "orange carpet." Dan Marino and Bob Griese will oversee the coin flip.



The Dolphins winning? Not guaranteed. Miami is a 3-point 'dog. I picked Indy 27-17, figuring Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are better than the Dolphins' pass defense. Am I wrong? Are they ready-for-prime-time players? We shall see. I do think Miami has a big upset shot.

Clearly the result is abnormally important to Miami for a second game of the season. The Dolphins need to feel good about themselves after so much went wrong in Atlanta. If Miami must haul an 0-2 record to San Diego only the most wide-eyed Dolfan optimists will be realistically thinking playoffs.

The key tonight for me? Dolphins must establish a clock-eating ground game to keep Manning off the field. The O-line is out to redeem itself. Ronnie Brown thinks he's an elite back. The Colts' D-line is undersized. Pound, pound, pound!  

Your thoughts welcome here before, during and of course after the game.

Then look for the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in a separate blogpost within minutes of the game's conclusion.