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21 posts from January 2015

January 31, 2015

SB Smirk V: Parties, Rihanna and potato gnocchi; plus Richard Sherman's dilemma. Bowl or baby: What would you do? New poll. Vote now!

1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 31. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl With a Smirk IV, NFL-controversies-impact poll, Seattle weed-smokers & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK V: HAND-ROLLED POTATO GNOCCHI. LET'S PARTY!: Today's fifth and final 1aa1arollingstoneSuper Bowl With a Smirk notes column leads with what this week is really all about when you get right down to it. The parties. There are 1aa1ajointsreferences to Rihanna, hand-rolled potato gnocchi and Chris Berman sweating. Pictured left is Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, who will perform at Saturday's Rolling Stone party, and who looks more and more like an unattrcative woman every time I see him. Click on 1aa1alombardiSmirk V for the full column. Also included today: Goodell, creepy coaches, ball security, Sherman's timing, 12,000 joints, "I Am Confetti," national anthem, a coin, griping golfers, rival do-gooders and Lombardi's remains. [Previously: Smirk IV, Smirk IIISmirk IISmirk I].

SMIRK V POLL: RICHARD SHERMAN'S DILEMMA: The Seahawks cornerback has a tough choice. Or maybe you think it shouldn't be tough. The Super Bowl is Sunday. His girlfriend could go into labor and deliver their first child on Sunday. He says he is debating what to do. What should he do? What would you do if you were Sherman?

Poll result: Love for NFL diminished but still strong: We asked if the various NFL controversies have made you watch or like the NFL less and it was "no" with 63.6 percent to 36.4% "yes."

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January 30, 2015

SB Smirk IV: Katy Perry promises your face will melt at halftime; plus, POLL: Do controversies make you like NFL less? Vote now!; also Kaaya and Heisman, Seattle fans 'n weed & more

1) It is FRIDAY, JANUARY 30. I'm embedded at Random Evidence Laboratories today dreaming up the Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl With a Smirk III, Villain Bowl poll, no-drone-zone, Wade injury, UM football schedule & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Kaaya on early Heisman watch list: Canes QB Brad Kaaya has early 33-1 odds to win the next Heisman Trophy, tied for 18th best in country as per Bovada. Favorite right now at 6-1 is Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott.

1aa1apickpats 1aa1acotepixSuper Bowl pick: Patriots, 27-23: It's official. (If only that meant it's sure to be right). I discuss the evenness of this game and why it looks like two great teams portending a classic-to-be Super Bowl. Also I detail the one edge that makes New England my pick. Click on SB Gem for the full prediction capsule.

SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK IV: KATY PERRY PROMISES TO MELT YOUR FACE. IS THAT A GOOD THING?: Today's fourth of our five daily Super Bowl With a Smirk notes columns leads with the 1aa1akatyp 1aa1alionpickSunday halftime show featuring Katy Perry, who conducted a revealing press

conference on Thursday, wearing the outfit she'll have on at halftime (pictured right). I'M JUST KIDDIN'! She'll wear clothes. Who do you think she is, Miley 1aa1aguadalupeCyrus? Katy admitted some pre-recorded music would be used and said "faces
will melt" in reaction to a surprise female guest. Melting faces. Sounds creepy. (Word has since leaked that the "surprise" guest will be Missy Elliott, a rapper who was pretty big circa 1997-2005). Click on Smirk IV for the full column.
1aa1achickensAlso included today: Marshawn Lynch speaks (sort of), unlikable head coaches, Richard Sherman's baby, drones, Vulcan the lion, nuns, counterfeit merchandise and the National Chicken Council. [Previously: Smirk III, Smirk IISmirk I].

SMIRK IV POLL: IMPACT OF NFL CONTROVERSIES: The Ray Rice video, concussions, "Deflategate" -- controversies are nothing new in the NFL, and each of them spark outrage, and yet the NFL seems as popular as ever. Time for you to weigh in if you'd like:

Poll result: Pats the bad guy in Villain Bowl: Two black-hat teams here, both disliked beyond their fandoms, so we asked which makes the better villain. You said Patriots, 71.1 percent to Seahawks' 28.9%.

SUPER BOWL = BIG BUSINESS FOR SEATTLE POT INDUSTRY: Medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Washington State, and a retailer in Seattle called Solstice is rolling 12,000 joints for Sunday in anticipation of a spike in business. Cannot confirm that Seahawks fans, when asked what they are most looking forward to in Sunday's game, answered, "the snacks." [Note: So my boss doesn't get mad, this item and the following video are NOT an endorsement of marijuana, which sources tell me is evil and perhaps also wicked]. 

 

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January 29, 2015

SB Smirk III: NBC's plan to kill 6 hours when you're not looking; plus Villain Bowl poll, my SB pick, no-drone-zone, Wade's injury, '15 UM football sked & more

1aa1atannehillpick1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 29. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill makes his SB prediction known Thursday at the NFL Experience in Phoenix. Ryan and I disagree. Click on SB Gem for my call. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl With a Smirk II, best-Super Bowl-in-Miami poll, banned-puppy video, Marlins farm rank & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Heat's Wade out indefinitely: Dwyane Wade's hamstring injury will keep him out indefinitely, he said today. Speculation is at least three weeks. Makes hanging onto a playoff spot tougher. And only aggravates Wade's rep as a high-maintenance machine prone to breakdowns. 

SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK III: NBC PREGAME SHOW. BECAUSE WHAT SAYS SEAHAWKS-PATRIOTS LIKE BRIAN WILLIAMS DRIVING A RACE CAR?: Today's third of our five daily Super Bowl With a Smirk notes columns leads with NBC on Wednesday having a major media conference call to tout its six-hour Sunday pregame show, which includes (of course) NBC 1aa1abrianw 1aa1aecuadoranchorman Brian Williams as Mr. NASCAR on a racetrack, along with a bunch of other stuff not really related to the game such as a feature on "Super Bowl wives" and "flamboyant" ice skater Johnny Weir interviewing celebrities. (Weir is 1aa1ajohnnywpictured lower left; Williams is above left, evidently practicing). This is what happens when you try to kill six 1aa1agodaddypuppyhours. Click on Smirk III for the full column. Also included today: Tom
Brady's cold, security
measures, a pointless petition, Ecuador, Indians, Skittles, GoDaddy being mean to a puppy, a poor cow's ultimate sacrifice and more. [Previously: Smirk II, Smirk I].

SMIRK III POLL: NAME THAT VILLAIN: There is no Cinderella in this Super Bowl. There are two black hats. There is Darth Vader in a hoodie Bill Belichick and the cheating-marred Patriots on one side, and there is surly Marshawn Lynch, strutting Richard Sherman, preening Pete Carroll and the cocky Seahawks on the other. Which of the two hard-to-love teams do you find most unlikable? Which is better cast as the villain Sunday? Vote and say why.

Smirk II Poll result: Namath's guarantee, of course: We asked in the previous blogpost to name the best or most memorable of the 10 Super Bowls that have been played in Miami, and the Jets' 16-7 win over the Colts that Joe Namath guaranteed after the 1968 season won it with 40.9 percent. Also support for Steelers' 35-31 win over Dallas in 1978 (25.0%) and 49ers' 20-16 win over Cincy in 1988 (18.2%)

PLEASE, PEOPLE. WHATEVER YOU DO ... LEAVE YOUR DRONE AT HOME!:

 

1aa1atricorneredPROOF THAT NO ONE, NOT EVEN A HUNKY TIGHT END WHO HAS INSPIRED EROTIC NOVELS, LOOKS GOOD WEARING A REVOLUTIONARY WAR-ERA TRICORNERED HAT

 

HURRICANES' 2015 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: It's officially out today via the ACC and UM. Not many soft spots after the first two games Here it is, with kickoff times to be determined:

2015 @CANESFOOTBALL SCHEDULE
DATE 
OPPONENT
SITE ALL-TIME SERIES
Sept. 5 BETHUNE-COOKMAN Sun Life Stadium UM leads, 2-0 
Sept. 12 at FAU Boca Raton, Fla. UM leads, 1-0 
Sept. 19 NEBRASKA Sun Life Stadium NU leads 6-5 
Sept. 26 Bye Week    
Oct. 1 at Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio UM leads, 11-1 
Oct. 10 at Florida State* Tallahassee, Fla. UM leads, 31-28 
Oct. 17 VIRGINIA TECH* Sun Life Stadium UM leads, 19-13
Oct. 24 CLEMSON* Sun Life Stadium UM leads, 6-3 
Oct. 31 at Duke* Durham, N.C. UM leads, 10-2 
Nov. 7  VIRGINIA*  Sun Life Stadium  Series tied, 6-6 
Nov. 14  at North Carolina*  Chapel Hill, N.C. UM leads, 9-8  
Nov. 21 GEORGIA TECH* Sun Life Stadium GT leads, 11-9 
Nov. 27 at Pittsburgh* Pittsburgh, Pa. UM leads, 23-10-1 

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January 28, 2015

SB Smirk II: Gronk's buttchecks, which may be an upgrade from deflated balls; plus Dan Marino, GoDaddy's Puppygate, greatest-Super Bowl-in-Miami poll, Marlins farm system & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl With a Smirk debut, Marshawn Lynch poll, God press-conference video & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1adanmarinoSI piece on Marino: Sports Illustrated has a lengthy new piece on Dan Marino (read it here) as part of a celebration of the sports year 1985 (which began with a Dolphins Super Bowl loss to the 49ers). Marino is pictured circa that era. I'm among the folks who were interviewed and are quoted in the story, but it's worth reading, anyway.

"Calm your asses down!" --Ex-Hurricanes great Michael Irvin, to perpetually dissatisfied, griping UM football fans.

SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK II: GRONK'S BUTTCHEEKS, AN UPGRADE FROM DEFLATED BALLS, AT LEAST: 1aa1agronkingToday's second of our five daily Super Bowl With a Smirk notes columns
leads with Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski enlivening Media Day with a 1aa1afirereading from a new erotic novel about him (pictured right) called, "A Gronking to Remember" (subtitle: "It was a passion that could not be 1aa1akimkspiked"), by author Lacey Noonan. The passage Gronk read included the word "buttcheeks." (Tight end, indeed!) The X-rated "novel" is 66 pages long and, unfortunately, is the first in a planned series. Click on Smirk II for the full column. Also included: A fire alarm, a prediction, Jay Glazer, a woman in Hungary, Kim Kardashian (pictured left), Roman numerals, ticket prices and a Radio Row brawl. [Previously: Smirk I].

SMIRK II POLL: WHAT HAS BEEN BEST/MOST MEMORABLE SUPER BOWL PLAYED IN MIAMI?: We list all 10 in the poll, chronologically, with the game's MVP in parentheses to give you a one-word memory jog. You tell history which game should rank as the best or most memorable of all the SB 305s:

Smirk I Poll result: Sharp divide on Marshawn Lynch: We asked in the previous blogpost your impression of Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (the person, not the player), and it was 52.2 percent favorable, 47.8% unfavorable.

GODADDY PULLS SUPER BOWL AD AFTER OUTRAGE: GoDaddy, the website-building company pimped by Danica Patrick and no stranger to controversial ads, has pulled its planned Super Bowl commercial after an online preview sparked a backlash. The ad, entitled "Journey Home," features a lost puppy named Buddy who find his way home only to be quickly sold by his owner. Awwww. Folks, the puppy is JUST AN ACTOR! Anyway, enjoy. Or, be outraged:

 

RANKING MARLINS' FARM SYSTEM: ESPN's Keith Law ranks all 30 MLB farm systems and slots Miami's 24th. His description: "Their system rarely ranks high because they promote players to big league roles so quickly, but there's a solid group of very young arms in the system that will be on the list for a while, as well as a teenage position player or two with some real upside. There's very little in near-term talent here, however.". Elsewhere in NL East, Mets' farm is ranked fourth, Braves sixth, Nationals ninth and Phillies 25th.

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January 27, 2015

Super Bowl With a Smirk debut: Deflated balls, crotch grabs, killer Clydesdales, Marshawn Lynch poll, Q&A with God; plus Hassan Whiteside verdict & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Ears welcome.

"The first person to see Miko Grimes, would you tell her to please shut up? Thank you." --Greg Cote

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 27. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes column. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hassan Whiteside poll, Giancarlo's world, how close to contending are Dolphins & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1adeflated footballsSUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK I: DEFLATED BALLS, CROTCH-GRABS AND KILLER CLYDESDALES: The first of our five daily Super Bowl With a Smirk notes columns debuts today leading with an exclusive report detailing how the 1aa1aclydesdalePatriots may be under NFL scrutiny for apparently underinflating footballs -- which we haven't heard or read anywhere else. Pictured


right: The suspect footballs used in last week's AFC Championship Game. Also included in today's Smirk debut: God's will, Garo's rumination,
Pro Bowl, rabid Clydesdales, naughty Betty White, 1aa1agodfbsimulated arrests at NFL Experience, counterfeit tickets, F-16 fighter jets and (spoiler alert) solid information that New England will beat Seattle on Sunday, 28-24. Place bets now. Click
on Smirk I for today's complete debut column.

SMIRK POLL: LOVE/HATE ON MARSHAWN LYNCH: Seattle's running back rudely refuses to answer the simplest questions and grabs his crotch after touchdowns. Seahawks fans love him. But do most football fans? I don't mean as a player. I mean as a person. Let's find out.

 

Poll result: Caution, but excitement, about Hassan Whiteside: We asked how sure you are that 7-foot Heat sensation Hassan Whiteside would become an NBA all-star, and 59.6 percent were cautiously optimistic, 34.2% were very confident, and only 6.2 % were doubtful.

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January 26, 2015

The Legend of Hassan Whiteside: How good will he be? New poll. Vote now!; plus Giancarlo's world, how close Dolphins are to contending & more

1) It is MONDAY, JANUARY 26. Disappointed to hear tonight's Merle Haggard concert at Parker Playhouse is canceled. Was thinking of going. Instead, I think I'll just stay here and drink. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost: All-Star Games poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Block Party: Click HERE for video of Hassan Whiteside's highlights -- including all 12 blocked shots -- from Sunday's Heat win at Chicago.

THE LEGEND OF HASSAN WHITESIDE: Sunday was the national introduction and coming-out party for 7-foot Heat center and dunking machine Hassan Whiteside, the team's out-of-nowhere star since his Dec. 1aa1ahassanw15 callup from the D-League. It was his first nationally televised game, and he tgreated it like the stage it was -- with a club-record 12 blocked shots along with 14 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. What a story he is. Played in Chna and Lebanon, where he competed with armed soldiers guarding the games. Rejected across the board in the NBA -- as he is quick to point out in drawing motivation. Now, at 25, he is flourishing, with his best game coming in yesterday's Block Party win at Chicago. Before the game he told reporters about being hit by a car at age 10. After the game he said, "Three months ago, ask anybody in Charlotte at the downtown Y, I was just there just chilling. I couldn't even get a team to pick up the phone. 'Who is this guy?' It's been like that my whole life." Again, what a story! Says coach Erik Spoelstra: "Clearly he gives this team a different dimension. That's exactly what we need. He just needed time to develop. You root for guys like this." Says Dwyane Wade: "A guy like Hassan, he's special. You can't teach what he has." The question now: Is Whiteside the real deal built to be a long-term star for this franchise or will he prove to be a flash in the pan? That's unknowable; it will play itself out. But that doesn't mean we can't have an opinion now. What is your best estimation of what Hassan Whiteside will become? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

Poll result: Baseball best all-star game in a runaway: We asked in previous blogpost which of the Big 4 sports presents the best (or least bad) all-star game, and it's one area where the NFL gets clobbered by baseball. Results were MLB 65.3 percent, NBA 23.8%, NHL 6.8% and the NFL's Pro Bowl 4.1%.

1aa1agiancarlomissTHE BURGEONING WORLD OF GIANCARLO STANTON: Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton was one of the judges at last night's Miss Universe pageant, a Donald Trump production held at FIU and won by Miss Colombia. (Boxer Manny Pacquiao was a judge, too). It's amazing the opportunities that arise when you are a young, handsome local sports star who recently signed a $325 million contract. I think we need to start a rumor about Giancarlo and Miss Colombia. Just sayin'. Don't get me started on beauty pageants, by the way. So archaic. Surprised they still even exist. What decade is this?

HOW CLOSE ARE DOLPHINS TO SUPER BOWL-CONTENDING? EIGHT PLAYERS AWAY: Pro Football Focus analyzed roster of every team playing in AFC or NFC Championship Game since 2007 to determine how 1aa1aeightmany elite or good players each had based on players on field for at least 250 snaps in a season. (That methodology is inherently flawed. But anyway...) For what it's worth PFF determined the Dolphins are eight good players away from contending for a Super Bowl. That ties for 13th in the NFL. The Dolphins ... mid-pack ... imagine that! PFF says Dolphins have two elite players (Cam Wake, Reshad Jones), three good ones (Branden Albert, Jarvis Landy, Koa Misi), 20 average ones (including Ryan Tannehill and Brent Grimes) and six bad ones (including Mike Pouncey and Brian Hartline). There's a lot of dumbness there. Misi rated way better than Grimes? Seriously? To be further incredulous, click here for PFF's full story.

 

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January 25, 2015

Which is the best (or least bad) of sports' Big 4 All-Star Games? New poll. Vote now!; plus new Hot Button Top 10, verdict on D-Wade & more

1) It is SUNDAY, JANUARY 25. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Is-Dwyane Wade-still-elite poll, Marlins sign Ichiro, Riley descends from mount, Marino dipped in wax, Bob Dylan & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

OUR LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL-STAR GAMES: The NFL and NHL play their annual all-star games today and the NBA's is soon so this is the right time to ask which of our Big Four sports' all-star games 1aa1anflpb 1aa1amlbasg 1aa1anhlasg 1aa1anbaasgyou think is the best -- or, perhaps, the least awful. They all are flawed, which is why the formats are always tinkered with. We spend a lot of time complaining about the selection process. The games don't draw great TV ratings. Each is decorated with surrounding events (home run derbies, slam-dunk contests) because the All-Star Game itself is not a great sell on its own. Nevertheless, chances are you think one if better than the rest. So which is it and why? Remember, this is not a favorite-sport poll. It is asking specifically which one has the best All-Star Game. Vote now.

Poll result: Mixed views (but doubts) on whether Wade still "elite": We asked in the previous blogpost if Heat star Dwyane Wade, at 33, remains an "elite" player by however you define that (you may still vote), and it was 51.6 percent "no," 40.1% "yes" and 8.3% "undecided."

HOT BUTTON JAN. 25: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is an expanded, updated version of what appears in the Sunday pulp editions. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. NFL: "Deflategate” dominates buildup to Super Bowl: It’ll be New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks next Sunday in the 49th Super Bowl, but the buildup has become an NFL nightmare with the Pats’ underinflated-footballs controversy. At least attention is diverted away from whether Marshawn Lynch will be fined again for grabbing his crotch. So from either angle, it's all about balls!

2. HEAT: Wade’s streak of All-Star Game starts ends: Forbes surprised many when its rank of best NBA fans had Miami No. 1. That was just before Heat fans allowed Dwyane Wade’s streak of nine All-Star Game starts in a row to end as a late flurry of votes by Toronto fans pushed Kyle Lowry ahead. No word on whether Forbes will now reconfigure its fan rankings.

3. MARLINS: Active offseason continues as Fish add Ichiro: With the Feb. 20 start of spring training looming, the Marlins continued an active and successful offseason by signing 10-time All-Star Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year contract as a fourth outfielder. Granted, Ichiro is 41 now and this signing would be more exciting if it were 2005, not ’15. But still!

4. ALL-STAR GAMES: NFL, NHL stars showcased Sunday: Hockey’s All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, and football's Pro Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, have more in common than the fact both are being played Sunday and each has undergone format changes. For example, they are also alike in that the leagues act like they are big deals but fans don’t care all that much.

5. RUNNING: Annual Miami Marathon stampedes from downtown: OK, you got me. Nobody is talking about this except the runners themselves. But there were some 25,000 of those setting off early Sunday in the annual Miami Marathon & Half Marathon starting at 6:15 a.m. Too bad it’s not in South Beach so the runners could stampede over all the drunks leaving SoBe clubs at about that time.

6. DOLPHINS: Ross touts stadium renovations: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pimped a $350 million stadium renovation designed to attract Super Bowls and other biig events. Dear Steve: The only change in the stadium Dolfans care about is a winning team in it.

7. HURRICANES: Former player donates $1.6 million: UM men's basketball won a big game at Syracuse but a bigger story off-the-field was ex-Canes football star Calais Campbell donating $1.6 million to school's athletic department, biggest gift ever by a former UM athlete. Perpetually complaining, dissatified Hurricanes fans said it wasn't enough.

8. BASEBALL: Manfred takes over as MLB commissioner: Rob Manfred is on the job as of Sunday as Bud Selig retires. Selig had a great run other than the Steroids Era happening under his nose. Much as Nixon was a pretty great president other than Watergate. 

9. GOLF: Allenby, Woods in strange controversies: Robert Allenby claimed he was beaten, robbed and dumped in a park six miles from a bar, but his story unraveled. Tiger Woods claimed he lost a front tooth to a swinging TV camera but nobody seemed to believe that, either.

10. FIU: Veteran coach Russo retires: Cindy Russo retired after 36 years as FIU's women's basketball coach. Perspective? That's 10 years longer than that slacker Don Shula coached the Dolphins.

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January 23, 2015

Is Dwyane Wade still "elite"? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dan Marino in wax, Riley says Heat underachieving, Marlins sign Ichiro, Bob Dylan & more

1aa1abanksernie1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 24. R.I.P. Ernie Banks, the seemingly always-smiling Chicago icon, "Mr. Cub," gone at 83. In his honor ... let's play two! 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Patriots' "Deflategate" with parody video, Drew Rosenhaus drama, LeBron's game show, Heat value, Marlins & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1apatsneedle
"Bill Belichick and Tom Brady say they know nothing? Guess that means the underinflated ball is now in the NFL's court." --Greg Cote

 

1aa1ajshieldsMarlins sign Ichiro; do they have more offseason surprise in them?: Given the team's past no one expeted the long-term deal with Giancarlo Stanton, and few expected the trades for Mat Latos, Dee Gordon and others. Now the Marlins have agreed to terms with Ichiro Suzuki, 41, on a 1-year, $2 million deal to be the fourth outfielder. The Marlins have gotten baseball's attention with an active winter. Now do they have one more big move in them? That would be signing free-agent starting pitcher James Shields (pictured). And that is the latest column by me. Click on Going All In to read.

IS DWYANE WADE STILL AN "ELITE" NBA PLAYER?: We pose the question as the Heat host Indiana last night (and barely escape) in a how-the-mighty-have-fallen matchup. It has not been a good week for Wade. He 1aa1adwadewas surpassed by Toronto's Kyle Lowry in the fan vote for a starting-guard spot in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, another indication that Wade -- who just turned 33 -- may be past the pinnacle of his career arc. Also he was fined $15,000 by the league for aiming an obscene gesture at heckling fans in Charlotte Wednesday night, which is an uncharacteristic show of frustration by a typically very-composed player. Meantime the team is 18-24 at midseason and fighting for a playoff spot, and Wade has missed 10 of 42 games with injuries or rest. There is no doubt Wade (averaging 21.8 points) remains a very good player. But is he still "elite" by however you define that? I do not think the question is unfair. Take an honest dip in our poll and say why.

RILEY DESCENDS FROM MOUNT, AGREES TO SPEAK: Heat president and godfather Pat Riley parcels himself out to the media in rare and calculated dollops. He goes months with his public persona hidden, mum by design; then, when he chooses, he avails himself and, in the colloquialism, "can talk a fly off a 1aa1apatrileys--- wagon." It's as if the months of silence erupt. So it was Thursday when Riley decided to appear for an otherwise minor news conference about the Heat arena hosting a college basketball doubleheader next November, knowing it would turn into his invitation to sermonize a State of the Heat midseason address. He did, and we distill it to what's most interesting, including his use of the word "underachieved." On this struggling season: "It’s been very, very frustrating that we haven’t been able to overcome the adversities. In the face of all the adversity that we’ve had, there have been times we have underachieved. But we’re in the fight. We’re not in the fight like we were before for the top of the conference. We are in the fight with five or six other teams for probably the playoffs, spots six, seven and eight. So get real about it. Don’t feel sorry about it. Get after it!" On bright spot Hassan Whiteside: "I’m not really surprised. There’s a big difference in his body, his behavior, his maturity from what he was. Now he’s grown. The testosterone has kicked in. He’s more mature. He’s hungry. I’m not going to overplay it, but he does have Zo-like capabilities in shot blocking and being able to finish at the rim."  " On making trades to improve the roster: "There’s a lot of conversation but we’re not active. I’m not going to move chairs. I’ve been in the chair-moving business before and that’s all you do is move chairs around. We’re not about to give up assets that we don’t have, that we need, to make a lateral move out of desperation. If it’s a player to take us into the future, we’ll think about it." On what he looks for in season's second half: "The overall health is a game-changer. It just is. We’re at a point where when we lose one, it really sort of drops us to another level. The overall health and just getting mentally tough to the challenge that we’re playing for a playoff spot. Humble yourself to that and let’s roll and let’s go get it."

1aa1amarinowax 1aa1adanwax
DAN MARINO DIPPED IN WAX:
 Dolphins great Dan Marino is the latest celebrity added to the Madame Tussauds pantheon. The wax Dan will be unveiled today/Saturday and debut at the company's Orlando museum. Dan-O is shown being measured for his likeness (left) and inspecting his own wax likeness (right). Wax museums ... creepy!

1aa1aaarpdylanFURTHER INDICATIONS OF TIME FLYING: Bob Dylan is on the cover of the new (February/March) issue of AARP magazine, the mouthpiece of what used to call itself the American Association of Retired Persons. This I find sad ... but not quite as sad was when the aforementioned Dan Marino became an AARP spokesman. "Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death." -- Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, American playwright. (Geez, that was depressing...)

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January 22, 2015

"Deflategate" latest hit for beleaguered NFL (with parody video); plus Drew Rosenhaus party-yacht drama is SO Miami!; also, LeBron's game-show, Heat value, Marlins' nemesis & more

1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 22. Click here for a gratuitously sexy, totally unnecessary video of Kate Upton doing fun stuff. Just because. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Super Bowl prediction poll, Mariota vs. Winston & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.


1aa1adeflateNFL's Deflategate mess:
Even if you don't believe the Patriots deflating footballs is a big deal, it is because it's another image-hit for the beleaguered NFL and has hijacked the narrative leading to the Super Bowl. Click on Deflating for today's latest column by me. Postscript: Bill Belichick in a news conference this morning denies any knowledge of the issue, says he did not learn of it until Monday. I'd still expect a penalty (fine and/or forfeited draft pick) but nothing related to the Feb. 1 game vs. Seattle.
  

 

LeBron starting game show: Increasingly the former Heat star is becoming an entertainment mogul who plays basketball when time permits. I wish this game-show thing weren't true. But it is. Read about it here.

Sad news. Hassan Whiteside's media annointment as Heat savior, mayor of Miami and NBA It-Guy has been temporarily postponed by this week's ankle injury.

DREW AND LISA ROSENHAUS ARE SO MIAMI!: I love this story not because it involves marital discord -- I wish the couple well -- but because it involves the so-Miami trappings of celebrity, partying, police, a yacht and a 1aa1alisadanbfreeloading playboy millionaire named Dan Bilzerian. (I say freeloading because when your income source is "trust-fund beneficiary," you are mowing through money inherited, not earned). Short story: Bilzerian throws a party here last month during Art Basel, and the dozens of bikini'd young women 1aa1alisa2aboard include Lisa Thomson-Rosenhaus, 28, who had just marked her 1-year annivesary with Miami NFL mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus, 48. Drew and Lisa are pictured left in bliss-ier times. At right, Lisa is the one in the pink bikini at the elbow of the gesturing Bilzerian, who reposted the photo on his Instagram account. Speculation is that's why police were called to casa de Rosenhaus on Sunday in a domestic dispute. Rumors of a pending divorce now swirl. Three quick thoughts: 1) Amazing how money makes Bilzerian and his comical beard look sexy to women who would otherwise not give him the time of day. (Superficial much?) 2) Aside to Lisa: So, so sad, but it may be almost time to retire the Spring Break Party Girl persona. 3) Drew Rosenhaus has never shied from publicity, even the notorious kind, and this latest wave may actually be good for business. After all, this is precisely the kind of drama to which so many potential athlete clients can relate.

1aa1aarisonmHEAT FRANCHISE VALUE SKYROCKETS: Micky Arison is smiling and why not. New annual figures from Forbes estimate the Miami Heat franchise value is now $1.175 billion, ninth in the NBA and up a whopping 53 percent over last year. The caveat? Heat are barely above the league average of $1.1 billion, and below the average one-year increase of 74 percent fueled by new national and local TV deals.

NATIONALS TO MARLINS = PATS TO FINS: As baseball spring training looms, we lament the Marlins' new reality. No matter what they do or how much they improve, somebody in their division always seems to be better. A step ahead. The Dolphins and Dolfans can relate, after 10-plus years in the shadow of the New England Patriots. The Marlins' big-brother nemesis has become the Washington Nationals. Coming off a 96-win season the Nats are the new World Series favorites are 6-1 odds after landing premier free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer. 

Poll result: Patriots to win Super Bowl: We asked, you answered, and 54.6 percent said the Patriots would win the Super Bowl versus 45.4% who predicted a Seahawks repeat.

Check back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts a lot...

January 19, 2015

Patriots vs. Seahawks: And the Super Bowl winner will be... New poll. Vote now!

It's Radio Tuesday!: Am back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 20. In The Previous Blogpost: AFC and NFC Championship Game picks, Mariota vs. Winston & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1abowlsuperLOOKS LIKE A SUPER SUPER BOWL: Watched the miracle Seahawks rally over the Packers, 28-22, among a bunch of fully decked out (and drunk) Seattle fans at the Venetian sports book in Las Vegas. When I say the Seahawks miracle, I think I mean the Green Bay collapse. Choke? Pretty damn close. Patriots' 45-7 demolition of Indy in the AFC game left no doubt. I think I like the Pats in the Super Bowl coming out of yesterday's semis, but that could change. What is your SB pick as of right now? Not who you want to win, but who you think will?

Poll result: It's Mariota over Winston: We asked whast quarterback you'd draft No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, and Oregon's Marcus Mariota beat FSU's Jameis Winston by 56.9 percebnt to 43.1%.

Check back. We update and add to our latest blogposts...