Dolphins land Reggie Bush, still in play for Kyle Orton?: Grade the acquisition and the what-if (with polls); plus FIU hires Rick Sanchez, Butch Davis, Misery Index, MagicJack, cellos & more
[Back tonight/Sunday from a few days' holiday. Look for a new blogpost on Monday. Channing Crowder's Dolphins career epitaph: 'He was a better quote than a player'. Join us at Twitter.com/gregcote].
DOLPHINS ACQUIRE BUSH, QB MATT MOORE: Training camp opened Friday with the Dolphins acquiring free agent quarterback Matt Moore, erstwhile of Carolina. This is not an excitring hire. He has spot- started 13 ganmes across four season anbd last year had a poor 5-10 TDs/INTs ratio. The question now is how much this damages Miami's shot at getting Kyle Orton, a true QB challenger for Chad Henne. Meanwhile Dolfans are still (mostly) celebrating the acquisition of New Orleans free agent running back/returner Reggie Bush. He's a major or at least big signing. Orton would be, too. Moore is not. Orton, 28, would arrive with a chance to unseat Henne and be "the guy" for the next several years. Bush, though not a durable, featured-back type, figures to add value and pop as a third-down guy and returner, seemingly a nice complement to rookie Donald Thomas. Miami was being smart in its quarterback shopping to not think of an older, one-season stopgap. To not try replicate the lightning it lucked to catch in a bottle with Chad Pennington in 2008. To me, Orton or Vince Young were the best available answers. Ther signing of Moore makes you wonder. At RB, would have preferred DeAngelo Williams or Ahmad Bradshaw, but Bush can be a playmaker. Getting Bush also provides ample media fodder, between his USC controversies tainting his Heisman and his Kardashian-esque proclivities vis a vis proximity to South Beach. The player is pictured here during The Kardashian Era. Bush brings the drama, a national celebrity/notoriety that exceeds what he has accomplished on the field. An ESPN SportsNation poll Thursday finds 49 percent of fans calling Bush a bust, and a plurality of 47% saying they most associate him weith the USC scandal. Yet Bush immediately joins Brandon Marshall as the Dolphins' biggest star in terms of Q rating. Miami might have overspent for Bush (two years, almost $10 million), but if healthy he makes this team harder to defend. We invite you to grade the Bush signing and the Orton deal that might happen. (Sorry, Moore does not rate a poll spot). Assuming Orton joins Bush, how much will each help the Dolphins? How excited does each make you? Vote now on both players.
FIU HIRES RICK SANCHEZ. NO, SERIOUSLY: FIU is bringing sh--canned former CNN host Rick Sanchez back to Miami to call its football games on radio this fall. Though it is ludicrous enough to be making up, it is true. Sanchez -- known for squatting on world maps, for over-the-top melodrama and for one notorious DUI mishap (Google it) -- was fired from his CNN dream job after a tirade in which he suggested Jews run the media and are not an oppressed minority. CNN to FIU football. Oh my. What a truly, truly bizarre hire. One is first inclined to wonder why Sanchez would want this job, only to realize the far better question is why FIU would want Rick Sanchez.
BUTCH DAVIS FIRED: Ex-Hurricanes coach is out at North Carolina amid NCAA investigation. Story here. I wish Butch well. He'll turn up again in college coaching, but -- like Randy Shannon -- it may be as a defensive coordinator at the major level.
THE MISERY INDEX: Today, online and in the pulp editions, I attempt to put the Dolphins' franchise woes in perspective with a formula I created called The Misery Index. It analyzes the 122 franchises in the big-four sports and ranks which team's fans have the most right to feel miserable. No 1: Chicago Cubs. Dolphins: A surprisingly low 22nd overall. Click on The Misery Index for the column, which includes the top-25 in my Misery Index and top-10s in the five categories. (Included is a full explanation of our formula). Also see the bottom of this blogpost for lists of the top-10 most miserable teams/fans in each sport.
ABBY WAMBACH AND HOPE SOLO'S HARD LANDING: A couple of weeks ago Abby Wambach and Hope Solo were the scoring and goalkeeping stars of the U.S. team in the Women's World Cup -- briefly two of the most prominent athletes in the world. Today they have returned to their team in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league, which happens to be the Boca Raton-based (and ridiculously named) MagicJack, which also happens to be maybe the most dysfunctional club in sports. The team was the Washington Freedom until owner Dan Borislow (pictured) abruptly relocated it to South Florida and named it after his telecommunications gadget. Wambach is the newly appointed player-coach because Borislow had taken it upon himself to coach the team himself, though unqualified to do so, until the league stepped in on July 14 and barred the owner from his own sideline. Meantime, the MagicJack does not have a media relations person and makes little apparent effort to capitalize on the fact six U.S. World Cup players including the two biggest stars are on the team. Tonight, scantly publicized, the MagicJack returns to WPS play at its humble little stadium at FAU. With planning and promotion, they could have played this game at, say, 20,000-seat Lockhart Stadium and filled the place, creating an event. The U.S. World Cup women deserve better than the MagicJack (dis)organization and its oddball owner. So does WPS, and women's sports in general.
JUSTIN BIEBER DOES GOOD: I poke fun a bit at Justin Bieber (and celebrity in general), but must give him credit after reading this story. This is a great use of celebrity.
CELLOS! YES I SAID CELLOS!: Always eager for new sounds, I have happened upon a musical duo called 2Cellos (pictured), who make fierce pop music with instruments normally associated with a symphony, chamber music or the Baroque style. The integration of orchestral instruments into pop is not new (think "Eleanor Rigby") but has become a bit of a trend; it's one reason I enjoy Florence & the Machine. Click here for a YouTube vid of 2Cellos performing Guns n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." You're welcome.
THE LIST: THE MISERY INDEX TOP 10 BY SPORT: Number indicates Misery Index, a combination of the number of seasons since a team's most recent championship, championship game/series, playoff appearance, playoff win and winning season:
NFL: 1. Detroit Lions 146; 2. Cleveland Browns 118; 3. Kansas City Chiefs 99; 4. Buffalo Bills 94; 5. Minnesota Vikings 87; 6. Cincinnati Bengals 87; 7. New York Jets 84; 8. MIAMI DOLPHINS 77; 9. San Diego Chargers 66; 10. Atlanta Falcons 64.
NBA: 1. Milwaukee Bucks 89; 2. Atlanta Hawks 86; 3. Golden State Warriors 83; 4. Denver Nuggets 81; 5. Washington Wizards 77; 6. Los Angeles Clippers 69; 7. Sacramento Kings 69; 8. Phoenix Suns 64; 9. Portland Trailblazers 64; 10. Minnesota Timberwolves 64.
NHL: 1. Toronto Maple Leafs 104; 2. St. Louis Blues 99; 3. New York Islanders 80; 4. Los Angeles Kings 69; 5. FLORIDA PANTHERS 65; 6. Buffalo Sabres 55; 7. Washington Capitals 48; 8. Phoenix Coyotes 42; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets 42; 10. Edmonton Oilers 41.
MLB: 1. Chicago Cubs 177; 2. Pittsburgh Pirates 116; 3. Kansas City Royals 107; 4. Milwaukee Brewers 101; 5. Baltimore Orioles 93; 6. Seattle Mariners 87; 7. Cleveland Indians 84; 8. San Diego Padres 70; 9. Toronto Blue Jays 68; 10. Houston Astros 65.
Note: Overall, of the 122 pro franchises, Dolphins rank 22nd on Misery Index, Panthers 31st, Marlins 78th and Heat 108th.
Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...