[1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 1. Happy New Year, everybody! 2) Find results of season-final Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
HEAT CHAMPIONSHIP DOMINATES AS 2012 MIAMI SPORTS STORY OF YEAR: We asked you previously to name the year's top national sports story and you did (results at bottom of this blogpost). Now we asked you to select the 2012 Miami sports story of the year, and of 16 choices the Heat's LeBron James-led NBA title won clearly with 22.3 percent. I personally chose the Top 16 local stories of the year and invited you to pick your top five (5). The consensus of all of you would shape what the biggest or most significant story was and set the order. I had an order in mind but our list below and in the poll is chronological so you won't be unduly influenced by somebody else's ranking. The real race was for second place, with the opening of the Marlins' new ballpark (12.6%) edging the Dolphins drafting Ryan Tannehill and the Marlins' latest fire sale (both 12.5%). Here is a brief synopsis of the contenders, followed by the poll...
Orange Bowl Game Sets Records (January): Miramar's Geno Smith leads West Virginia past Clemson, 70-33, record for points in bowl game.
Dolphins Hire Joe Philbin (January): Miami hires Green Bay's offensive coordinator, never before a head coach, to lead its new era.
Dolphins Trade Brandon Marshall (March): Team trades talented but mercurial receiver to Bears for two third-round draft picks.
WGC Golf At Doral (March): England's Justin Rose wins annual World Golf Championship event on Doral's Blue Monster course.
Peyton Manning Turns Down Dolphins (March): Miami seeks Manning in free agency, is seen as early frontrunner, but loses him to Denver.
Sony Ericcson Tennis (March): Novak Djokovic and Agnieszka Radwanska win title in sport's "fifth major" on Key Biscayne.
Miami Hosts Wrestlemania (April): WWE's 28th Wrestlemania is hosted by South Florida for first time, held at Dolphins stadium.
Marlins New Stadium Debuts (April): Opening night had glitches, but team finally had new downtown ballpark after years of failed efforts.
Guillen/Castro Controversy (April): Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen compliments Fidel Castro, enrages Cuban Miami, gets 5-game ban.
Panthers Make NHL Playoffs (April): Hockey club ends league's longest drought, qualifies for Stanley Cup playoffs for first time since 2000.
Dolphins Draft Ryan Tannehill (April): Miami spends first-round draft pick (8th overall) on a quarterback for first time since Dan Marino in '83.
Heat Wins NBA Championship (June): MVP LeBron James leads Miami past Oklahoma City for his elusive first NBA title, city's second.
Guillen Fired After Nightmare Year (October): Marlins fire manager, hire Mike Redmond, after big payroll and high hopes end in last place.
Marlins' Latest Fire Sale (November): Stars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and others shipped to Toronto in a blatant cost-cutting that angers fans.
Homestead Ends NASCAR Year (November): Star Jeff Gordon wins race but Brad Keselowski owns day, capturing first NASCAR season title.
Hurricanes Self-Impose Bowl Ban (November): UM removes self from second straight bowl, awaits NCAA sanctions in Nevin Shapiro probe.
Postscript: No, I didn't forget about Marlins on The Franchise or Dolphins on Hard Knocks; those made-for-TV dramas just didn't make the cut. (This was going to be a Top 15, but I decided to include Wrestlemania for a bit of serendipity!). Did I leave anything out? Should I have included FIU firing Mario Cristobal?
Vote-percentage explainer: We invite readers to vote for as many as five choices in the above poll. If all voters cast the maximum five votes, the highest overall percentage for any one story would be 20 percent. The Heat-championship count of more than 20 percent means that story is being included in a vast majority of top fives and also garnering votes of those who opt to choose fewer than five stories.
Poll result: Penn State scandal named 2012's top national story: In the previous blogpost I let you vote on The Associated Press list of the year's Top 10 national sports stories (you may still vote), and the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal was named the biggest with 31.3 percent, followed by the London Olympics with 16.8% and Lance Armstrong's fall from grace with 11.8%. Rounding out the top five were Peyton Manning's resurgence (9.2) and Saints' Bountygate (8.5).
Check back often to monitor evolving results in our year-end Miami poll...