[1) Pat Sajak admits he has been drunk on "Wheel of Fortune." No big deal. Occasionally I am drunk in this blog. 2) Musical treat: One of my heroes, Mavis Staples, sings "You Are Not Alone," accompanied only by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy on guitar. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.
Herald hosts Philbin, Ireland: Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, GM Jeff Ireland and CEO Mike Dee visited The Miami Herald yesterday for an exclusive one-hour sit-down interview with a Herald contingent that included myself. The video of that session is now online, and begins with my question about Philbin's recent family tragedy.
WHO ARE SOUTH FLORIDA's BIGGEST CURRENT TEAM-SPORT STARS?: My poll includes 14 nominees from our four major pro teams, listed alphabetically. You get to pick your top FIVE (5). I have little doubt LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (or Wade and James) probably will rank 1-2, but to me the order after that is up for grabs among a pretty strong list. I don't have a "somebody else" category but you'll let me know if I left anyone deserving out. The "biggest star" criteria is your own, but I suggest you consider the question beyond a local vantage and view it from a national perspective: Who are the biggest current figures in Miami sports? Vote now and say why.
And remember: VOTE FOR AS MANY AS 5!
Poll analysis: Two things. 1) The timing of this poll clearly favors the Heat. However I have no doubts LeBron James/Dwyane Wade would be 1-2 even if the poll were in the middle of Dolphins or Marlins seasons. The mild surprise is that Heat sweep top four spots, with Pat Riley a solid third and Chris Bosh in fourth just ahead of Reggie Bush as voting continues. 2) Bear in mind that with each voter allowed to vote for five different men, 20 percent would be the maximum total vote percentage presuming each voter completes a full ballot. In other words, James and Wade's percentages of 19 and change means they are being included in just about everyone's top 5. One would multiple each person's vote percentage by 5 for an approximation of the overall percentage of top-5's in which each man is being included. For example, Hanley Ramirez 's vote percentage of just under 5% means he is being included in roughly 25% of all top 5s.
WADE ANSWERS THE DOUBTERS: Dwyane Wade returned from his ankle injury with a sharp 28 points in last night's Heat win over the Knicks, reminding us how much harder Miami is to defend when he is on the floor. The doubters who wonder if the Heat might somehow be better off without Wade -- they are wrong. Meanwhile the silly Knicks' only answer was to hoist an absurd 43 3-point shots. What an embarrassment for the NYK.
ANATOMY OF A RIDICULOUS LEBRON RUMOR: It was "being reported" this week that LeBron James is not thrilled with Pat Riley's disciplinary ways and that he might leave the Heat in free agency after the 2013-14 season. The story is baseless. It emanates from this fluff from one Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Sam writes "there is talk" based on his "sources in Miami." Translated, that means "there is talk I just generated" based on "the sources in my head." His further speculation is that James would rejoin the Cavaliers. Which makes sense except that club owner Dan Gilbert would not have LeBron back in a million years. Maybe two million. The truth: James truly loves playing with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company, and would not consider leaving as long as he feels he is legitimately chasing multiple championships here.
DOLPHINS 1-FOR-2 ON COORDINATOR UPGRADES: I like that new coach Joe Philbin is bringing in ex-Packers head coach Mike Sherman as his offensive coordinator. That can't but be seen as an upgrade over Brian Daboll. Not as sure about hiring Bengals DBs coach Kevin Coyle as defensive coordinator. He's a veteran, but does not seem like an upgrade over departed Mike Nolan.
SHANE BATTIER CHANNELS VANILLA ICE: Hear the Heat's Shane Battier, a karaoke guy, on YouTube sort of rapping the signature hit of Miami's own Vanilla Ice right here. Word to ya mutha.
SUPER BOWL PROP BETS: A few of the hundreds available, courtesy our friends at Bovada: MVP--Tom Brady 13-10, Eli Manning 9-4, Rob Gronkowski 8-1. Kelly Clarkson over/under on national anthem--1 minute 34 seconds. TV audience over/under--47.5 rating, 115 million viewers. Times Peyton Manning shown on TV--3 1/2. Color of Gatorade bath--Yellow 7-4.
PAULA DEEN'S LITTLE MESS: Food Network fans (like me) know Paula Deen is the Southern lady know for rich, caloric foods that pay little heed to health. Many also know she just revealed she was diagnosed three years ago with type-2 diabetes, yet continued to pimp her artery-clogging dishes. Never too much butter 'n sugar 'n cream, ya'll! Now she has partnered with a diabetes drug company to profit off her condition. Angry diabetics are calling her a hypocrite and Anthony Bourdain of Travel Channel's "No Reservations" continues his critical assault. I find the controversy, well, delicious. It is stunning how Deen has misplayed this to such a degree there is outrage where sympathy otherwise would be. If I were the Food Network I'd consider saying adios, Paula. And if I were that drug company, I'd pay close attention to the public backlash, especially from diabetics, and probably run from this woman as fast as I could.
RAY LEWIS, OF COURSE: ESPN finished its countdown of the top 20 current NFL players for its "Any Era" list and of course Ray Lewis was chosen No. 1. It was probably the most anticlimactic foregone conclusion since that time ESPN's best-planet list was topped by Earth.
HEADLINES YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE (one in a series): Click here. Note, a judiciously blurred video of her performance is included. Not sure if that's a good thing.
Click back. Will be adding to this latest blogpost...