Referendum on Pro Bowl (with poll); plus Loria's big chance to do good, Sparano's curious Dolphins staff moves, Power 100 & more
[Alert: Our week-long Super Blog building up to Steelers-Packers will kick off Monday here].
PRO BOWL OR PRO BORE?: I say Pro Bore. This evening's NFL all-star game could be eliminated and I wouldn't mind. I'm just glad it's back in Hawaii. At least it's off the mainland. That's a start. It's a game half the players drop out of with fake injuries, and nobody cares who wins. Or remembers who wins. It's pointless. But that's just me. Here is your chance to join my chorus, or shout me down. Take a dip in our poll.
LORIA'S CHANCE FOR SOME HEROIC P.R.: MLB announced that the Marlins' June 24-26 home series vs. the Mariners will be played in Seattle because the rock group U2 needs that time to set up for its June 29 concert at the defrocked Joe Robbie Stadium. Of course it's a ridiculous situation but the Marlins are not to blame (in and of itself a novelty!). You want blame? Blame Bono (pictured) for needing way too much time for the concert's setup/rehearsal. Or blame stadium-owning Stephen Ross for thinking screw-the-Marlins and agreeing to the rock group's demands. But here's the thing: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria -- unpopular due to years of frugality and needing some good public relations -- should see this and seize this as an opportunity. Imagine: Loria agrees to fly Marlins fans to and from Seattle for free, tickets to the game included. Why not! Limit it to a certain number of season-ticket holders or other fans on a first-come, first-served basis. Or, maybe give a $200 hotel/ticket voucher to fans traveling to the game on their own dime. The point is, do something creative, something generous, something reputation-repairing. Step up to the plate, Loria!
DOLPHINS' CURIOUS COACHING-STAFF MOVES: The Dolphins completed their revised coaching staff
with some curious/questionable moves that seem in keeping with the oddness so far: extending Tony Sparano's contract despite shopping for his replacement, and hiring Brian Daboll to run the offense despite his lack of success in Cleveland. In the latest moves, Miami made a special-teams coach of former ST assistant Darren Rizzi; turned wide receivers coach Karl Dorell into quarterbacks coach; moved Steve Bush from offensive quality control coach (a fairly minor position) to wide receivers coach; hired Tony Sparano Jr. (yes, the head coach's son, pictured) as offensive quality control coach; and brought in longtime former NFL receiver Ike Hilliard as assistant WRs coach. The word that connects all of these moves: Inexperience. Guys in new and in some cases unfamiliar roles. And that includes Tony The Kid coming in after a mere one year's coaching experience in the UFL. Beyond that, the appearance of nepotism alone makes the hire questionable for both Daddy and son. (The good news? Sparano's wife, Jeanette, had not yet been named as an assistant coach as of this writing). Another strange week for the Dolphins.
LEBRON NEXT DOLPHINS QB?: A Sports Illustrated poll asked 164 NBA players who'd make the best NFL quarterback and the Heat's LeBron James dominated with 24 percent. Second: Boston point guard Rajon Rondo at 13%. In other silly LeBron news, His Kingness has come out and opined that people shouldn't assume Jay Cutler is soft just because he didn't return to the NFC Championship Game after being injured. Lifelong Bears fans Dwyane Wade seconded the notion that people should get off Jay's back.
HARPS' IDEA OF FAMILY VALUES: An Arkansas-based chain of grocery stores called Harps placed a "family shield" over US Weekly magazine this month to (presumably) protect young shoppers from having to see Elton John and his partner with their new baby. I dunno. You sort of still expect occasional spasms of bigotry and anti-gay bias from the odd individual, but it's a bit more shocking when such things still exist on a corporate level in 2011. Shame on Harps. [Update: Harps has relented and removed the "family shield" from the magazine cover, thanks to a grass-roots, Twitter-led and blog-fed awareness campaign. Power to the people].
LEBRON DROPS FROM TOP 10 in "POWER 100" LIST: Heat's leBron James falls nine spots to No. 11 in the 2011 Bloomberg Business Week Sports Power 100, which factors athletic success, earning potential and "brand." Dwyane Wade falls six spots to No. 20. Other locals ranked: Serena Williams, down two spot to No. 18, and Venus Williams, up 10 to No. 32. The overall top five: Peyton Manning, Shaun White, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady. Conspicuously absent: No Dolphins, no Marlins.
Click back. Maybe adding more stuff to this post later.