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14 posts from February 2016

February 27, 2016

Who should be our next president? It's an annoying non-sports poll! Last day to vote!; plus Heat sign Joe Johnson, Robert Irvine, Gronk Party Cruise verdict, Marlins playoff paucity in perspective & more


1) It is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27. A website called VIP Concierge is selling tickets to Sunday's most exclusive Oscar parties. Highest price I saw was $6,450 to get into Elton John's annual viewing dinner and after-party. For that price, the ticket should include an Academy Award. 2) The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Gronk Party Ship with poll, Marlins open spring training, legend of Snowflake Nelson, Joey Bats, thanks Jeb Bush & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Heat sign Johnson: Team made it official at 7 p.m. this evening: Heat as expected have signed former all-star guard Joe Johnson.

PrezSPORTS BLOG VEERS OUTSIDE ITS LANE, ANNOYS READERS WITH PRESIDENTIAL POLL: "STICK TO SPORTS, MORON!!" OK I get it. Many of you hate when my (mostly) sports blog delves into politics. That's OK. I'm done explaining that this is a wide-ranging blog exploring all of my interests, which include sports, music, food, politics and et cetera. Besides, if I have ever met anyone who is only a sports fan, that is not someone I really wish to know, quite frankly. We'll get back to sports shortly. For now, hey, I'm a presidential-politics junkie, the main race has winnowed to seven major remaining candidates, the Florida primary is fast approaching -- and those are reasons enough to get a pulse-read on how our blog readers might be feeling heading into all-important March. What? Oh, you still insist on a sports tie? OK, Trump's name is on Doral. How's that? By the way did anyone else watch the Republican debate last night? What a fascinating brawl among Trump, Rubio and Cruz, the Big 3. Poor Kasich and Carson may as well been potted plants. Anyway, it should go without saying this is anything but a scientific poll. It's just for fun. And because I'm curious. I actually care what the people who visit this blog might be thinking. Purposely I have not included a category for undecided, don't-like-any-of-them or "other," a.k.a. the wasted-vote repository of minor-party candidates. I'm offering only the remaining major candidates who might actually win, and offering a chance to state your preference if you choose. That's all. The poll is arranged alphabetically. God Bless America!

RobertirvineON 'SEASIDE EATS' AND ROBERT IRVINE: When I probably should have been watching the Heat-Warriors game last night I was pleased to instead be attending Seaside Eats at the Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, a satellite event to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival benefiting FIU's School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. There were open bars, dozens of local chefs with mostly seafood-themed treats from area restaurants and ... did I mention open bars? Best bite I had was either the Gailkimgiant seared scallop (I forget the restaurant) or the sour cream confection from Dandee Donuts. My God! The event was hosted by celebrity television chef Robert Irvine, the buffed Brit who looks like he might be in trouble if the Food Network suddenly instituted steroid testing. Oy! I took the photo at right, standing close enough to squeeze Irvine' biceps had I been so inclined. Irvine exudes the same apparent big ego in person that he does on shows ,like Restarant Impossible: but is playful with it as when he was addressing a boisterous (read: drunk) crowd last night and interrupted himself to boom, "Be quiet! I'm talking!" Fun night. Quick aside: Irvine's second wife is professional wrestler Gail Kim, left. That's a lot of testosterone under one roof.

Poll result: Most would not like a Gronk Party Ship surprise: We asked if you would feel closer to lucky or annoyed to book a cruise and be surprised to learn you were aboard Rob Gronkowski's "Gronk Party Ship." The vote was 60.2 percent annoyed vs. 39.8% lucky.

THE LIST: MARLINS' PLAYOFF PAUCITY: The fewest playoff appearances by the 122 NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams since 1993, the Marlins's first season, is two, by these eight teams, listed from most recent postseason appearance to most distant:

Team                                         PO apps.

Kansas City Royals MLB         2014, 2015

Winnipeg Jets-* NHL               2007, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays MLB           1993, 2015

Washington Nationals MLB     2012, 2014

Columbus Blue Jackets NHL   2009, 2014

Milwaukee Brewers MLB        2008, 2011

Miami Marlins MLB                1997, 2003

Cleveland Browns-* NFL        1994, 2002

*-Note: Jets only have been a franchise since 1999-00 season. Browns did not play in 1996-98.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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February 24, 2016

Unexpectedly stuck aboard Gronk's Party Ship. Good thing or bad? New poll. Vote now!; plus Marlins poised for surprising 2016 as spring training unfurls; also, the legend of Snowflake Nelson, Joey Bats' demand, thank you Jeb Bush & more


1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25. New blogpost coming soon! 2) Thanks to our latest wave of Twitter followers. I must say LeBatard Show Tuesdays are good for business. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, concern-level on Bosh verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Kimbo Slice is 42. Dada 5000 is 38. It was a Bellator production. And you were expecting a good fight why exactly!?" --Greg Cote

GronkshipQUESTION: IS INADVERTENTLY FINDING ONESELF ON GRONK'S PARTY SHIP A GOOD THING?: So overgrown frat-boy (and, time permitting, Patriots tight end) Rob Gronkowski, his family, friends and paying guests take a three-day Caribbean cruise out of Miami, aboard the Norwegian Pearl. Much drinking and debauchery ensues, as you'd expect. Anyway, there were about 700 on board for the Gronk party ship (see representative photo), among a total cruise-ship population of around 2,300. In other words, roughly two-thirds of those on board were tourists who had no idea what they were getting in for. Maybe some liked it. But we already have heard others have complained to Norwegian about being blindsided into being an unwitting party to all the Gronkness and ensuing silliness -- somewhat the antithesis of the relaxation many expect from a cruise. So I'm curious. Say you and the family were aboard the Pearl for your Caribbean cruise only to unexpectedly learn the ship's predominant client was a massive Gronk party. Good thing? Or bad thing? Feeling lucky? Or a bit annoyed. Take a dip in our poll.

FAITH IN MARLINS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, BUT 2016 LOOKS PROMISING: Spent Monday up in Jupiter as the Marlins prepared for today's first full-squad work of spring. Click on Looking Up for the column in full. Here is a condensed version with my list of Ifs that must align if the Marlins are to surprise the analysts and bettors to become a playoff challenger: JosefernandezIf Don Mattingly turns out to be an inspired hire, the anti-Ozzie Guillen, who used to leave the practice field to watch bull fights in his office, failed spectacularly and, as the perfect Miami parting shot, praised Fidel Castro... If a healthy Giancarlo Stanton is bearing in on 50 home runs as the pennant races heat, his at-bats perhaps the most exciting minute in sports... If a healthy Jose Fernandez (pictured) is in the heart of the Cy Young conversation, his starts turned into events that fill Marlins Park... If Dee Gordon prove his spectacular 2015 was no fluke, and if Christian Yelich begins to make the move from potential star to budding superstar... If Barry Bonds seizes this chance to rebuild his steroids-dented image and enjoys great impact as the hitting coach. (Quick memo to the Marlins: Do you think giving Bonds a late-season at-bat or two as a pinch-hitter would get any attention? You’re welcome!)... If Miami is cheering Ichiro’s 3,000th major-league hit as it cheers a playoff chase... If Marcell Ozuna re-establishes himself with a comeback year, and if big farmboy Justin Bour blossoms into the team’s biggest slugger not named Stanton... And here’s a personal if, if I may: If Jeffrey Loria and David Samson would force themselves to keep a much lower profile, Marlins fans would be a happier bunch... All of that would leave one more if, maybe the biggest of all along with the health of Stanton and Fernandez: If Miami sees the emergence of two more starting pitchers to join the ace Fernandez, newly acquired Wei-Yin Chen and reliable innings-eater Tom Koehler. From among a half-dozen candidates the Marlins need a couple of volunteers to raise their hands — their arms — and capably join the rotation. Do you believe enough of the "ifs" might come true? February turning to March is the time for such leaps of faith, for hearts to control minds and for hope to win out. That is the beauty of baseball in springtime.

SnowflakeTHE LEGEND OF SNOWFLAKE NELSON: Heat fan and model Alyssa Nelson, a.k.a. Snowflake, got pretty excited watching the Heat beat Indiana last night, as pictured from a screengrab. Perhaps some of the fans watching Snowflake got pretty excited, too. Me? I got in a bit of trouble on the LeBatard Show today by suggesting Snowflake had invited the catcalls she was getting on social media by her choice of attire. This to me was not a mysogenist comment, but rather a practical one. If you want to jump up and down with that neckline showing that much cleavage, please do not feign surprise or disgust when you are, show we say, noticed. That's pretty much the point, is it not?

ON JOEY BATS: Blue Jay slugger Jose Bautista is demanding a $150 million, five-year deal from Toronto (or someone else in free agency), and suggesting his demand is non-negotiable. Dear Joey Bats: The market will determine that. As someone who'd be 36 as a free agent, you won't sit out a year, so your bargaining power is diminished. You have been underpaid, yes. But a demand of $30 million-per seems rich for the age bracket -- even for someone who hit 40 homers last year.

JebbushTHANKS, JEB BUSH: Been meaning to say, since he dropped out of the presidential derby, that I thought Jeb Bush ran a decent race, relative to the negativity and divisiveness surrounding him. He simply was too moderate, maybe too decent and unwilling to get down in the mud, to survive in 2016. I can tell you, as a registered Democrat, that I found Bush and John Kasich the two Republicans for whom I might have most considered voting. Bush spoke to issues and answers while Marco Rubio begins every answer to every question with a hyperbolic, rote attack on Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Alas, the polls told us which tactic worked best and who was Florida's favorite son. Jeb leaves in defeat, but with his honor intact.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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February 22, 2016

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, Jagr, Marlins, Canes men, NASCAR, Fins, UM baseball, golf, tennis and God's will; plus your concern level on Bosh's future & more


1) It is MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Concern over Chris Bosh's future with poll, Mel Kiper's latest mock-pick for Dolphins, chatty Greg Jennings, immature Sam Bruce, bigoted Manny Pacquiao, Miami's G.O.A.T. team, me in Big Canoe & more. 2Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Mondays) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Recurrence of blood clots clouds Bosh’s Miami future: It must be emphasized the priority is Chris Bosh’s health and well-being, of course, but forgive a Heat fan wondering if more than the rest of this season in jeopardy -- if Bosh’s Heat future and NBA career also might be be imperiled? Meanwhile the injury-wracked, depleted Heat surged to consecutive nice wins over Atlanta and Washington (led by Hassan Whiteside's 25 points and 23 rebounds off the bench) entering tonight's home date with nemesis Indiana.

2. PANTHERS: Jagr moves to third on all-time goals list: Florida has a five-point division lead after Saturday's 3-1 win over Winnipeg, led by Jaromir Jagr's two goals that gave him 742 for his career. In NHL history, only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe have scored more. Jagr = history.

3. MARLINS: Play ball! Well, sort of, as spring training begins: Spring games are still a week away, but Marlins pitchers and catchers have reported and the first full-squad workout in Jupiter is this Tuesday. Looking for a good sign? Don Mattingly is the first new Marlins manager in club history who was in the playoffs the previous season.

4. HURRICANES BASKETBALL: Tough schedule stretch under way for UM men: The 11th-ranked UM men’s team got humbled in Chapel Hill Saturdaty, losing 96-71 to No. 5 North Carolina, and the schedule doesn't let up much. Three straight ranked opponents follow starting with No. 7 Virginia here tonight.

5. NASCAR: Vroom! Daytona 500 thriller opens racing season: Retired Jeff Gordon began his announcer’s career, retiring Tony Stewart was out injured and Chase Elliott, at 20, was Daytona’s youngest pole-sitter as NASCAR begins its season with a thrilling, closest-ever 1/100th of a second win by Denny Hamlin. Countdown to season finale at Homestead: 271 days.

6. DOLPHINS: Team's annual cycling fundraiser draws thousands: The Fins' sixth annual Dolphins Cancer Challenge drew more than 3,300 bikers, runners and walkers who raised money for cancer research. If only the team's efforts on the field were as good as its work off the field.

7. UM BASEBALL: Canes open season of high hopes strong: Strong pitching carried Canes to three-game season-opening sweep of visiting Rutgers that ended Sunday at The Light. Sixth-ranked Um is dreaming big. Or, as Peyton Manning might say: "Omaha!"
8. GOLF: PGA Tour in Palm Beach Gardens this week: The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens begins this coming Thursday, with the event at Doral on its heel. Time for South Florida golf fans to be as excited as you can possibly be surrounded by Quiet Please! signs.

9. TENNIS: Delray Beach Open wraps up Sunday: It's s secondary men's ATP event, meaning there's a strong likelihood the players in it you'd barely heard of or cared about. It is professional tennis, though. Sort of.

10. HIGH SCHOOLS: Northeast girls lose as coach misses game: Northeast lost in its first state basketball girls' championship game as coach Zach Gillion sat out for religious reason. "I told him I didn't mind if he coached, but he wouldn't listen," said God. "Everybody gets so serious about religion. Sheesh!"

Missing the cut: Heat was quiet with only minor deals at NBA trade deadline. Most notable: Team's tattoo density hugely decreased with departure of Chris "Birdman" Andersen ... Dolphins say they want Lamar Miller back. Of course. But at their price ... UM women's basketball is 21-5 and ranked No. 18 but, shhh, don't tell anybody ... Canes football recruit Sam Bruce is in trouble for a photo of him with a gun. As the phrase "shooting oneself in the foot" arises in the mind ... President Obama fakes interest in hockey, honors champion Blackhawks at White House ... U.S. women's soccer qualified for the Olympics, which almost literally goes without saying ... Allegations in a lawsuit allude to accusations against Peyton Manning by a female trainer while at Tennessee. I guess if the news wasn't almost 20 years old and hadn't long since been settled out of court, it'd be a big deal ... West wins NBA all-star game, 196-173. Evidently no defenders made the game this year ... Baseball finally is cracking down on domestic abuse. Now if they'd only get to flagrant cup-adjusting ... NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made $34 million last season. Imagine if he'd had a good year?

Poll result: Fans have serious concerns about Chris Bosh's health and Heat future: We asked how concerned you are that Chris Bosh's recurrence of blood clots could become something that shortens his career, and it was 76.0 percent "very concerned," 11.2% "moderately" and 4.3% "mildly." Only 8.5% said they are not concened.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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February 20, 2016

How concerned are you Chris Bosh's blood-clots issue could shorten his Heat career? New poll. Vote now!; plus Kiper's latest mock pick for Dolphins, Manny Pacquiao, Sam Bruce, verdict on Miami's G.O.A.T. team, me in Big Canoe & more


1) It is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20. Here us a really meaty Rolling Stone piece on why Mike Love (of the Beach Boys) is considered such an a--hole. Recommended reading. 2) Been away a few days (we have something on our journey here below). Still not back in the paper, but happy to be back in the blog saddle. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The G.O.A.T. of all Miami championship teams with poll, Chris Bosh's latest health scare & more. 4Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Heat minor players at trade deadline: Miami traded guard Brian Roberts and a future second-round draft pick to Portland for cash, after earlier acquiring him in the Birdman Andersen deal. Heat also dealt Jarnell Stokes to New Orleans in a salary dump of a bit-part player. Both minor deals that barely rate the transactions wire.

WHAT IS YOUR CONCERN LEVEL ON BOSH'S HEALTH AND HEAT FUTURE?: Blood clots can be akin to cancer in that they may disappear with treatment but then reappear. Remission can turn to Boshrelapse. It has happened to Heat star Chris Bosh, who missed the last half of last season with blood clots on his lungs and now is sidelined again, indefinitely, after the detection of a new clot in his calf. Naturally, abundant caution is being taken and no one yet knows (or is saying) when Bosh might return to the lineup. It may be soon, or he could miss the rest of the season. We just don't know. Likewise, we cannot know if the latest health scare will be the last to interrupt Bosh's NBA career, or if this is an issue that possibly could end his career prematurely. Two factors make Bosh prone to a clot reappearance: his height (6-11), which makes circulatkion more difficult, and the long plane flights that are a part of the job. A fear of the calf clot spreading could necessitate a level of blood thinner that could cause Bosh to miss the rest of the season. If the need for those thinners is seen as permanent, the condition could be career-threatening. For now, in the void of not knowing, all we can do is express our level of concern as we wish Bosh the best -- thinking of the man, husband and father first, and the basketball player and Heat second. What is your level of concern? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

KIPER EXPLAINS HIS NEWEST GUESS PICK FOR DOLPHINS IN DRAFT: ESPN's Mel Kiper is out with his second of 4,811 NFL mock drafts (click here to see it in full) and two things jump out. First, Ronniestanleyhe has Ohio State DE Joey Bosa of St. Thomas Aquinas slipping to sixth overall. Second, at NO. 8 overall for Miami, he now has the Dolphins selecting Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley (pictured). Sayeth Mel: "Adam Gase will be charged with getting Ryan Tannehill back on track, and getting a potentially elite tackle is a good way to aid in that process, as sacks have plagued Tannehill throughout his career thus far. Stanley returned to Notre Dame and made himself more NFL-ready. The Dolphins would benefit if he's available here." Sayeth me: I doubt it. In Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James the Dolphins have solid starting tackles, and Miami cannot afford the luxury of drafting in the first round for depth or competition. I'd call Florida Gators CB Vernon Hargreaves a far likelier (and more sensible) 1R pick for Miami at this point.

On chatty Greg Jennings: Dude has lots to say for a guy who caught 19 passes, was a big disappointment and probably won't be back with the Dolphins. He's made a cottage industry of blatting about the state of QB Ryan Tannehill, a topic surely of minimal interest outside Miami. The latest: Jennings on ESPN2’s First Take, asked how far Tannehill is from elite, saying: "Don’t know. With saying I don’t know I guess I’m saying he’s far [away]. I’m being honest. None of us know. I’ve made the statements about them babying him thus far. It’s like he’s been handcuffed. He hasn’t been given the liberty. Until the end of the season when there was a coordinator change, he was not allowed to check out of a play. If you don’t let me be who I am, who you drafted me to be, you don’t trust me." What Jennings says, every Dolfan knows. Tannehill is the mystery new coach Adam Gase must unlock. That Tannehill remains that after four years is why there is a new coach.

PerfectPoll result: Still Perfect: '72 Dolphins the greatest of all Miami sports champs: The Dolphins, UM football, Marlins and Heat have combined to win 12 championships. We listed them chronologically and invited you to pick your top four. After more than 1,200 votes, the results: '72 Dolphins 25.4 percent; '83 UM 21.5%; '83 UM 9.7%; '13 Heat 9.0%; '87 UM 6.8%; '97 Marlins 5.7%; '06 Heat 5.7%; '73 Dolphins 4.5%; '12 Heat 4.0%; '03 Marlins 3.2%; '91 UM 3.1% and '89 UM 1.5%. If everyone cast the maximum four votes, multiplying each total times four would give you an idea of the percentage of times a team was mentioned on a ballot. In other words, the top two teams were clear choices, then it was a free for all. In case you wondered, my four picks were the four maiden champs: '72 Dolphins, '83 Canes, '97 Marlins and '06 Heat.  

MANNY PACQUIAO GETS A LESSON IN REALITY: Nike dropped aging boxer Manny Pacquiao in reaction to his religion-based criticism of same-sex marriage, calling people who do such things "worse than animals." I believe in freedom of speech, as long as you believe in consequences. Pacquiao has every right to feel as he does about gays and their civil and human rights, and to express those views. Just as society (or business partners like Nike) have every right to repudiate those views and remarks as out of step with fairness and a belief in diversity. What he believes is a doctrine of Bible-based faith, I happen to believe is bigoted and wrong. We are all entitled to our views. Unfortunately, there is little room for middle ground, compromise or discussion, is there? I wonder if God ever intended the Bible to become so divisive? Or likewise if the framers of the Constitution every imaged that doctrine also would become so polarizing? Doubtful on both.

SambruceWHAT WERE YOU THINKING, SAM BRUCE?: So receiver Sam Bruce abruptly withdraws from St. Thomas Aquinas High after it is revealed he sent a threatening photo of himself with a gun to a former classmate who had been involved with the same girl. The other kid called the cops. It should be noted Bruce (pictured) has not been charged with a crime, in that stupidity is not yet a crime. (Oh, if only!) This is only notable news because Bruce is a major part of the Miami Hurricanes' incoming 2016 recruuting class. It raises a red flag. Why does a teenager even have a gun to pose with? I'd be concerned if I were UM coach Mark Richt. The larger view is to again wonder what it is about athletes and guns? It seems to be a part of the football culture. We see it with adults in the NFL and that's sad enough, but not as sad as when we see it with kids making the move from high school to college.

HikingWHAT GREG COTE DOES ON A BRIEF HOLIDAY: We spent Sunday though Wednesday in Georgia, flying into Atlanta, renting a vehicle and driving about 90 miles north into the Big Canoe area, where friends who were away had invited us to stay in their mountain chalet. Idyllic! Did a lot of exploring, driving into surrounding small towns. Also spent much of a day hiking to Lower Falls, a gorgeous, huge waterfall. We found an abandoned cabin en route and I am pictured on the front porch violating two rules of the great outdoors. 1) I am hiking in dress shoes. 2) I am smoking a cigar in a forest. Anyway. Great time, no fires. Spent the final day in Atlanta, visiting the Georgia Aquarium (which made me lament that South Florida of all places does not have a world-class aquarium), and also the historic Oakland Cemetery. Yes, I am a graveyard junkie, a macabre hobby my wife indulges. The notable deceased there include Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), the Gone With the Wind author, on whose unassuming tombstone rested a single flower and two pens. Nice touch.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

February 17, 2016

Who's the G.O.A.T? Name South Florida's greatest championship team. New poll. Vote now!; plus Chris Bosh & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17. Farewell, Chris "Birdman" Andersen. You were not a hugely important figure in Heat history, but one of the most colorful, for sure. 2) No radio today. I'm away on a brief holiday and therefore was not in-studio for my regular Tuesday gig with the LeBatard Show today. Thanks to ya'll who missed me. 3) ICYMI, click on The Forte Factor for my most recent column on how the Dolphins should explore signing Matt Forte if Lamar Miller leaves and the price is right. 4) In The Previous Blogpost: Hot Button Top 10, ominous indicator for Marlins, no love for Dolphins, Hold Me Closer Bernie Sanders video & more. 5Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

On Chris Bosh's latest health scare: It makes sense now that Chris Bosh did not let a mere calf strain prevent him from playing at least a minute or two in the NBA All-Star Game -- an event that is little more than a casual pickup game. The concern: the calf issue has signaled a recurrence of blood clots, now throwing into question his availability for the remainder of the season. He is on blood thinners, and it's doubtful he will play as long as those are necessary. Clearly, the Heat's mindset is "Chris first, team second," and should be.

GoatTHE G.O.A.T: WHICH TEAM IS SOUTH FLORIDA'S ULTIMATE SPORTS CHAMPION?: Our poll is chronological and includes Greater Miami's 12 most major sports championships: The Dolphins' two Super Bowls, the Miami Hurricanes' five football national titles, the Marlins' two World Series, and the Heat's three NBA Finals crown. You may vote for your top four, and from that consensus we'll arrive at No. 1 overall. Criteria for voting is up to you, but I challenge you to not make it solely a favorite-team or favorite-sport vote. Consider in a broader context which championship has been the most impressive, most historically significant or meant the most to South Florida. We offer a brief synopsis of each champion with pertinent information to jog your memory. The list is in order of championship won:

1972 Dolphins: 17-0 and beat Washington in Super Bowl. Coached by Don Shula, led by Larry Csonka.

1973 Dolphins: 15-2 and beat Minnesota in Super Bowl. Coached by Shula, led by Bob Griese.

1983 UM football: 11-1 and beat Nebraska in bowl. Coached by Howard Schnellenberger, led by Bernie Kosar.

1987 UM football: 12-0 and beat Oklahoma in bowl. Coached by Jimmy Johnson, led by Steve Walsh.

1989 UM football: 11-1 and beat Alabama in bowl. Coached by Dennis Erickson, led by Craig Erickson.

1991 UM football: 12-0 and beat Nebraska in bowl. Coached by Erickson and led by Gino Torretta.

1997 Marlins: 92-70 and beat Cleveland in World Series. Managed by Jim Leyland, led by Moises Alou.

2001 UM football: 12-0 and beat Nebraska in bowl. Coached by Larry Coker, led by Ken Dorsey.

2003 Marlins: 91-71 and beat N.Y. Yankees in World Series. Managed by Jack McKeon, led by Mike Lowell.

2006 Heat: 52-30 and beat Dallas in Finals. Coached by Pat Riley, led by Dwyane Wade.

2012 Heat: 46-20 and beat Oklahoma City in Finals. Coached by Erik Spolestra, led by LeBron James.

2013 Heat: 66-16 and beat San Antonio in Finals. Coached by Spoelstra, led by James.

OK. Now ready, set, vote! And, remember, you may vote for as many as your top four.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

February 14, 2016

The new Hot Button Top 10; plus ominous Marlins news, ominous Dolphins odds, Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders (the video) & more


Valentines1) It is SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14. Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful wife and to all our abundantly appreciated female readers. I wish you love. 2) ICYMI, click on The Forte Factor for my most recent column on how the Dolphins should explore signing Matt Forte if Lamar Miller leaves and the price is right. 3) In The Previous Blogpost: Dolphins/Matt Forte with poll, quantifying Heat's bad 3-point shooting, Panthers' record pace, Dwight Howard, ex-Canes at Combine, Ted Cruz's porn star, Kanye West's weird video game & more. 4Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEB. 14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NBA: Wade, not Bosh rep Heat in All-Star Game in Toronto: Miami entered the break fifth in the East after a week that included the club saying it would retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32. Only Dwyane Wade will represent the Heat in Sunday's ASG with a calf strain rendering Chris Bosh a spectator. Do you think between the two of them they could kidnap a 3-point shooter and bring him back to Miami?

2. PANTHERS: Uh oh. Cats hit a lull as Cats chase record: Division-leading Florida continues a six-game homestand vs. Pittsburgh on Monday on pace for the most regular-season points in franchise history. But Florida now has lost four of past five, the last two by a combined 10-3. Uh-oh time?

3. HIGH SCHOOLS: Miami Jackson makes history with female football coach: Jackson High made Bernice Brunson the first female head coach in Florida prep football history, the same day it also named former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell as defensive boss. Give 'em this: Jackson sure knows how to get your attention.

4. HURRICANES: UM men, women both face big road tests on Sunday: The 12th-ranked Canes men visit rival Florida State on Sunday while the 19th-ranked women play at No. 3 Notre Dame. Can’t recall another year (can you?) when both UM teams were thinking Sweet 16 and it wasn't just wishful thinking.

5. MARLINS: Spring is springing as Marlins prepare to report: Baseball unfurls this coming Friday as Marlins pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Jupiter. Fans hope for a playoff contender under new manager Don Mattingly. Alas, the Marlins betting over/under on wins, 81, is not a playoff number.

6. UM BASEBALL: High hopes as Hurricanes open season: Jim Morris' Hurricanes open their season at home vs. Rutgers with a weekend series starting this coming Friday. UM is No. 6 in the preseason polls. No pressure or anything. Omaha Or Bust, that's all.

7. SOCCER: Beckham seeks outside investors for Miami MLS team: Miami's Major League Soccer pointman David Beckham is seeking investors, and the places he's looking include Russia, China and Qatar. Becuase I guess nobody has money in any countries that would not be a controversial partner.

8. NFL: Denver still celebrating, Manning still deciding: One week later, Denver is still celebrating its Super Bowl win, Peyton Manning is still deciding whether or not to retire, and Cam Newton is still trying to convince people (and maybe himself) that it's OK to be immature and rude in a postgame news conference.

9. DOLPHINS: Slow time but a busy week for Fins: Miami cut two marginal players (Brice McCain, Quinton Coples) in salary-cap moves, tweaked its coaching staff and parted ways with an assistant GM. Perhaps most interesting: Fins could need a RB if Lamar Miller leaves, and Matt Forte just came available. Hmm...

10. VALENTINE'S DAY: Hope you didn't forget it's Sunday, guys: Valentine's Day either originated as a Western Christian liturgical day of feasting in honor of Saint Valentinus, or was invented by Hallmark, I can't remember which.

Missing the cut: His agent confirmed Marshawn Lynch will retire. "No comment," said the media ... USA Curling National Championships ended Saturday in Jacksonville, surprising analysts who didn't know we curled in America ... Hassan Whiteside lost his cool, threw an elbow and got ejected from a Heat game. Or, did that go without saying? ... Two more Cuban baseball stars defected for a shot at MLB riches. Or, did that too go without saying? ... It was announced the intrasquad UM spring game in football would be April 16 at Lockhart Stadium. It'll be Mark Richt's first Canes win. And loss ... Mexico beat Senegal 2-0 in a soccer friendly that drew 15,588 to Marlins Park. Which sounds about right for a Marlins Park crowd ... Congrats to Canes guard Sheldon McClellan, one of 35 candidates for Naismith player of the year award ... Brett Favre headed an eight-man Pro Football Hall of Fame class, which, looking at it, was about three or four men too many ... PGA Tour caddies lost a lawsuit in which they sought compensation for having to wear bibs with advertising. Dear fellas: Your job consists of carrying a golf bag, telling your guy, "178 yards" and collecting up to 10 percent of his earnings for doing very little. Quiet, please! ... Daytona 500 opens the NASCAR schedule next Sunday. "Gentlemen, start your season!" ... Delray Beach Open runs all this week, a second-tier men's pro tennis tournament featuring guys you've barely heard of and hardly care about ... Barcelona entered weekend with a club-record 29-march unbeaten streak. All Barca, plus bite-a. (Sorry) ... MLS announced its best would play English power Arsenal in the league's summer all-star game. Good luck, MLS ... Rockets trying to trade Dwight Howard but he'll be a free agent. Rental, anyone? ... The fast-approaching PGA Tour stop at Doral March 3-6 is just a week or so ahead of the Florida presidential primary. Gee, I wonder if Donald Trump will be here? ... Miami Gun Show ends Sunday at Dade County Fairgrounds. Talk about the perfect Valentine's Day gift!

Poll result: Dolphins should look into Forte, although many disagree: We asked if the Dolphins should explore signing free agent-to-be running back Matt Forte, and it was 55.6 percent yes, 33.4% no and 11.0% undecided.

ZeroOMINOUS INDICATOR FOR MARLINS: Baseball America just came out with its 2016 Top 100 prospects list (click here for complete list), and here are the number of Marlins on it: Zero. Nada. Nil. Zilch. No promising crops growing on the farm. Ouch. That's baseball-unhealthy. Miami needs to remedy that dearth for its long-term success.

Bet66-1NO LOVE FOR DOLPHINS IN BETTING ODDS: Bovada rolls out new post-Super Bowl betting odds on who'll win next year's SB 51, and Patriots are on top at 15-2, followed by Steelers and champion Broncos both 9-1 and Panthers, Packers and Seahawks all 10-1. After the Pats in the AFC East are the Bills and Jets both at 50-1. The Dolphins? Tied for third from the bottom overall at 66-1, ahead of only the Titans and Browns.

"HOLD ME CLOSER, BERNIE SANDERS": That's the title of a new Bernie Sanders tribute parody song, to the tune of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." Includes lyrics. Clever. Pretty funny. Will be interesting to see if Feel The Bern OKs this to play during his campaign:


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February 13, 2016

Should Dolphins look into suddenly available Matt Forte? Poll. Vote now!; plus here's how bad Heat 3-point shooting is; also Dwight Howard, Panthers' record pace, ex-Canes at Combine, Ted Cruz's porn star, Kanye West's heavenly video game & more


1) It is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13. ICYMI, click on Riley's Last Push for my column earlier this week on Pat Riley's drive to win another Heat championship. 2) Marlins pitchers and catchers report in six days to spring training in Jupiter. 3) In The Previous Blogpost: Heat players in Top 100 and how much they were ours, Dolphins two-round mock draft, Shaq verdict, Riley's imperative, The List (Marlins homers), chocolate bunny under siege & more. 4Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Pats' owner throws shade on Mannings: Patriots owner Robert Kraft in a radio interview this week, referring to Archie Manning: "He has two sons who have won two Super Bowls [each]. But with all due respect, we've got one son who's won four."

ForteMATT FORTE TO THE DOLPHINS MAY BE WORTH EXPLORING: That's if Lamar Miller leaves and if Forte is affordable. That is the gist of my newest column; click on The Forte Factor to read. Matt Forte, the career-long Chicago Bears running back, announced yesterday the team would not re-sign him, meaning he will be a free agent free to sign with any team come March 9. Adam Gase, the Dolphins' new head coach, knows Forte as well as anyone, having been Chicago's offensive coordinator. And Miami may have a need at the position if, as expected, pending free agent Miller is not re-signed. At the least, Forte's sudden availability is worth exploring if the price is right. The downside: He just turned 30. The upside: Just about everything else. Forte has been durable, starting 120 of a possible 128 games in his career. He has averaged 1,075 rushing yards and 61 catches per season, and would offer the dual-threat Miami has rarely had. Also, because of his age alone, it could be a buyer's market; I suspect he'd be affordable -- the only circumstance under which this would make sense. I wonder what Dolfans think. Should Miami explore signing Forte or avoid him? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

BoshQUANTIFYING HOW BAD HEAT'S 3-POINT SHOOTING REALLY IS: At the All-Star Game break Miami's .323 accuracy on 3-point shots ranked third from the bottom in the NBA, ahead of only Minnesota and the L.A. Lakers. The Heat's 6.1 3's per game ranks fifth from the bottom. But I find more telling how this season ranks in Heat franchise history. Miami set a franchis erecord for 3-point accuracy at .396 just three seasons ago. Now? Here is the club's all-time bottom five in terms of 3-point accuracy. Chris Bosh (pictured) doesn't get enough help, especially with Tyler Johnson out injured. Note that three of the bottom-five lows happened in the franchise's first three seasons, when 3's were much less a part of the game and Miami had the excuse of being an awful expansion team. Bottom-five seasons for team 3-point percentage in Heat history:

Pct.    Season        Made-Atts.    Leader

.293   1989-90      88-300          Jon Sunvold, 44

.302   1990-91      140-464        Glen Rice, 71

.316   2003-04      348-1,100     Eddie Jones, 177

.323   2015-16      322-998        Chris Bosh, 81

.326   1988-89      97-298          Jon Sunvold, 48

DwighthowardDWIGHT HOWARD TRADED TO HEAT? WHAT ARE YOU, DRUNK?: There is speculation to that end as the Feb. 18 NBA trade deadline bears in and the Houston Rockets shop around a possible deal for Dwight Howard, 30, the 6-11 center. Certainly Miami would be an interesting landing spot if the the Heat feels it will need to replace Hassan Whiteside. Here is the problem. Howard has indicated his intention to become a free agent July 1, which severely limits trade interest in him unless the acquiring team can agree to a long-term deal rather just rent him for half a season. That's the same reason there is little chance the Heat could trade Whiteside before the deadline. Another problem: Would the Heat want to make Howard its big-money signing and effectively withdraw from the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes. Pat Riley loves big, bold moves and likely is doing his due diligence on Howard's availability. But call it unlikely that we'll be seeing for real the photoshop presented here. If Riley does make a pre-deadline deal, it'll more likely be for a quick-fix to the 3-point crisis.

ReillysmithFIRE ON ICE: THE PANTHERS' RECORD PACE: Florida not only is leading its NHL division but is on pace for the best regular season in franchise history. The top five seasons based on points percentage and points per game, noting that fifth place, '95-96, was the Stanley Cup Finals year. Current figures are updated through Friday's night's home loss to St. Louis:

Season        Pts.Pct.    PPG    Leading goal scorer

2015-16      .636        1.27    Reilly Smith, 18 (pictured)

1999-00      .598        1.20    Pavel Bure, 58

2011-12      .573        1.15    Tomas Fleischmann, 27

2008-09      .567        1.13    David Booth, 31

1995-96      .561        1.12    Scott Mellanby, 32

FIVE EX-CANES INVITED TO NFL SCOUTING COMBINE: It's Feb. 26-29 in Indianapolis, and former Miami Hurricanes footballers Artie Burns, Deon Bush, Ufomba Kamalu, Raphael Kirby and Rashawn Scott will be among the more than 300 draft prospects invited. It's a rather weak crop for UM. The cornerback Burns probably is the highest-regarded prospect, generally pegged as a likely third-round pick who could sneak into the low second round.

AmylindsayOOPS, SAYS THE TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: I love love love this story. Ted Cruz's Republican presidential campaign has scrambled to yank an ad released Thursday because it was reported an actress in the commercial formerly starred in soft-core porn. In the ad, the women refers to Marco Rubio as just a "pretty face." Well, that actress, Amy Lindsay, formerly appeared in such film titles as "Erotic Confessions," "Secrets Of a Chambermaid" and "Carnal Wishes." The controversial thespian is pictured at right. I'll say this in defense of the Cruz campaign. This does not make me like him less, because nothing could. I cannot confirm that Rubio criticized the ad ... and then repeated the criticism verbatim four more times.

KANYE WEST CREATES WORLD'S MOST DEPRESSING VIDEO GAME: Rap mogul and all-roound modest guy Kanye West has developed a video game called Only One, which centers around his mother (who passed away in 2007) and her path to heaven. He previewed a trailer Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and we present it below. And, yes, it is every bit as strange as you might imagine:


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February 11, 2016

Heat places seven players* among NBA's all-time Top 100 (*but how many are really ours?); plus Dolphins two-round mock draft, Riley's last push, your verdict on Shaq, The List (Marlins), chocolate bunny under siege & more


1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11. In The Previous Blogpost: Should-Heat-retire-Shaq's-number poll, Miami Jackson's historic move, "Omahallelujah" (ode to Peyton), Super Bore 50, Canes' All-ACC brainiacs & more. 4Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

On Pat Riley's late-career imperative: Today's latest column by me is a reckoning of Pat Riley's career and Heat legacy as he nears his 71st birthday. I touch on the significance of his decision to retire Shaquille O'Neal's number and explore whether Riley has one last hurrah -- one more NBA title -- in him, and how his decision on Hassan Whiteside's future will weigh on that. Click on Riley's Last Push to read.

DwyanewadeHEAT PLAYERS AMONG NBA'S ALL-TIME TOP 100, AND HOW MUCH OF THEM ARE "OURS": Lists-mad ESPN just named the NBA's all-time top 100 players (full list here) and seven of them (not bad!) have worn a Heat uniform. Here are the seven in order, and what percentage of their career NBA games (including playoffs) were or have been spent playing for Miami:

No. 3 LeBron James: 33.42% (and falling) -- James in 2010-14 played 381 games for Miami, of the 1,140 in career thus far.

No. 9 Shaquille O'Neal: 17.22% -- O'Neal played 245 games for Heat in 2004-07, of a career total of 1,423.

No. 27 Dwyane Wade: 100% -- D.Wade (pictured) has played all 983 of his career games, and counting, for Miami.

No. 45 Gary Payton: 11.69% -- Payton played 1,489 total games, and 174 were for the Heat to end his career in 2005-07.

No. 50 Ray Allen: 13.26% -- Allen ended career in Miami in 2012-14, playing 195 of his 1,471 total games for the Heat.

No. 65 Alonzo Mourning: 72.35% -- Zo played 675 of his 933 career games for Miami, in 1995-2002 and in 2004-08.

No. 86 Chris Bosh: 47.05% (and rising) -- With the Heat since 2010, Bosh as of now has played 462 of 982 career games for Miami.

Bottom line: Wade is all  ours. Claiming rights to Zo are strong. Bosh will tip up over the 50% mark for Miami in the 2016 playoffs or early next season. And we had a substantial minority share of LeBron. The other three were glorified career rentals for Miami, although Shaq and Allen see their place in club history magnified by their role in winning a championship. Wade's 983 career games, by the way, rank sixth among active players who have played their entire career for one franchise, trailing only Tim Duncan/Spurs (1,610), Kobe Bryant/Lakers (1,545), Dirk Nowitzki/Mavericks (1,454), Tony Parker/Spurs (1,259) and Manu Ginobli/Spurs (1,095). Also of note: Three other Miami-related figures make ESPN's all-time top 100: No. 37 Rick Barry was of course one of the Miami Hurricanes' first stars; No. 52 Bob McAdoo was a Heat assistant coach in 1995-2014; and No. 88 Billy Cunningham was among the Heat's founding minority owners from 1988-94.

Poll result: Approval for retiring Shaq's jersey, but it's hardly overwhelming: Shaquille O'Neal remains a somewhat polarizing figure in Miami. We asked and 55.4 percent agreed with the Heat's decision to retire his No. 32 uniform number and raise it to the arena rafters. But another 38.3% said no, and the other 6.3% were undecided. Interestingly (at least to me), the percentages were running against Shaq when the poll started out in my blog only, but shifted in his favor when the poll began running concurrently elsewhere in MiamiHerald.com.

HargreavesDOLPHINS' TWO-ROUND MOCK DRAFT: Via Sports Illustrated today, it is projected Miami's first-round draft pick in April at No. 8 overall will be Florida Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, pictured (I could see that pick), and that the Dolphins' second-round pick (42nd overall) will be Kansas State guard/tackle Cody Whitehair. So there. Take that, Kiper!

THE LIST: MARLINS CAREER HOME-RUN LEADERS: To whet the appetite for spring training, for which Marlins players report late next week, here are the club's all-time Top 10 home run hitters:

Player                    Homers    Years

Giancarlo Stanton       181      2010-current

Dan Uggla                  154      2006-10

Hanley Ramirez          148      2006-12

Mike Lowell               143      1999-05

Miguel Cabrera           138      2003-07

Derrek Lee                 129      1998-03

Gary Sheffield            122      1993-98

Jeff Conine                120      1993-97, '03-05

Cliff Floyd                 110      1997-02

Preston Wilson           104      1998-02

Note: Marcell Ozuna, tied for 24th place with 36 homers, is second among active Marlins after Stanton. 

ChocolateanimalsBLASPHEMY! CHOCOLATE BUNNIES UNDER SIEGE: Not sure if this rises to the level meriting one of my "Back In My Day" radio-TV rants, but I find it mildly annoying nonetheless, and timely as Easter fast approaches. The bunny once stood alone in the animal kingdom when it came to chocolate treats for Easter. The Easter bunny! Now? As visual evidence presented here verifies, other chocolate animals -- in this case a sheep and a duckling, apparently -- are now infiltrating the bunny's holiday domain. Folks, I know there are greater, larger causes to get behind. Global warming, for example. But mustn't the small battles be fought, too? Reject as anti-American and perhaps anti-Christian those interloping, infiltrating chocolate animals that would blatantly denigrate a hallowed tradition. Stand with the chocolate Easter bunny!

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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February 10, 2016

Do you agree with Heat retiring Shaq's jersey number? New poll. Vote now!; plus a video ode to Peyton Manning ("Omahallelujah!"), Miami Jackson High's historic gamble, how and why Super Bowl 50 let us down & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10. Carly Fiorina, who looked, talked and acted like the one teacher at school every student hates, dropped out of the Republican presidential race today. 2) Oy! Dolphins are ranked a depressing 24th in ESPN's post-Super Bowl 2016 NFL Power Rankings. 3) In The Previous Blogpost: Super Bowl 50 with postgame poll, Hot Button Top 10, Hurricanes men rise in polls & more. 4Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Congrats to Canes' four brainiacs: xFour Miami Hurricanes football players -- quarterbacjk Brad Kaaya, offensive linemen Alex Gall and Nick Linder and punyer Justin Vogel -- were among 56 players named Wednesday to the All-ACC Academic Team.

The new 'Back In My Day': Just posted it on my Facebook page.

Super Bore 50!: Let us count the ways Sunday's big game and its surrounding attractions let us down. Lady Gaga's national anthem was great. Otherwise? From the game itself to the pregame show, the broadcast, the halftime show, the TV commercials and the postgame, there was much not to like. That's the gist of my latest column. Click on I Want To Kill Puppymonkeybaby to read in full.

ShaqSHOULD THE HEAT BE LIFTING SHAQ'S JERSEY INTO THE RAFTERS?: The Miami Heat yesterday announced it would retire Shaquille O'Neal's No. 32 uniform number at the start of next season, making him only the third player in club history (Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning) afforded such an honor. But is it justified? Leading the "yes" argument: Shaq had a huge hand in helping win Miami's first NBA championship and raising the franchise's profile to a whole new level. Leading the "no" argument: Longevity. He played only 3 1/2 seasons for the Heat (July 2004 'til February '08), and left on frosty terms. There is also the fact he is much better known as a Los Angeles Laker, for whom he spent his prime seasons and had his greatest success. So, yes or no? Your call.

Peyton"OMAHALLELUJAH!": It figured that a video tribute to Peyton Manning would come via the homespun radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion, the Garrison Keillor production based out of St. Paul, Minn. Cam Newton would have gotten  some sort of rap treatment for winning the Super Bowl, one imagines. Peyton gets bluegrass from the Midwest. Check this out, though. Smarted lyrically and created and performed just in the past few days:


HISTORY! MIAMI JACKSON'S BOLD MOVE:  Miami Jackson High School makes history today by becoming the first Florida high school to hire a female head football coach. She is Lakatriona
"Bernice" Brunson (pictured), perhaps previously best-known as a recent star of the truTV reality tow-truck series, South Beach Tow. The Jackson Generals further make news by hiring Luther Brunson"Luke" Campbell, originally famous as the leader of the 2 Live Crew rap group, as defensive coordinator. Campbell previously has coached prep football at Central, Northwestern and Norland. If the hirings prove to be as successful on the field as they are instantly attention-getting, Jackson will have found itself a bounty. Brunson was graduated from Miami Northwestern High in 1995, playing basketball and track and field. She threw shot put and discus and helped lead one of the state's powers in the sport, later playing basketball and graduating from Tennessee State. She teaches phys-ed at Jackson. Campbell told the Miami Herald: "At first I thought this might be crazy because I take football real serious. But after a conversation with her, I said, 'Naw, she knows her football. She's on point.' I don't take this as a joke. I didn't want to be a part of no circus." In my blog headline I call this a "bold gamble " for Jackson. I say "gamble" not so much because Brunson is a woman, but because she has no coaching experience. It would be bold in any case, but the inexperience at the job is what makes it a gamble.  Jackson hopes the new regime can finally help win the school's first state football championship after three semifinal losses, most recently in 2012. It is close to impossible to not wish the trail-blazing Brunson well.

Poll result: You found Super Bowl 50 to be a bit below average: We asked how you rated the Broncos-Panthers Super Bowl experience, and it was "worse than average" at 43.4 percent, "about the same" at 33.0% and "better than average" at 23.6%.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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February 08, 2016

Rate Super Bowl 50: New poll. Vote now!; plus Broncos' defense clobbers Panthers 24-10 (I called it); also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more


1) It is MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8. Hope ya'll had a better Super Bowl Sunday than Carolina. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Super Bowl 50 prediction, Smirks IV and V, Edwin Pope, Kid Shula vs. Son of Bum, verdict on Canes recruiting & more. 3Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Canes men rise to No. 12: Miami Hurricanes men's basketball rises to No. 12 (up five spots) in today's latest Associated Press rankings, entering Tuesday night's home game vs. Pitt. UM women dip three spots to 19th.

King Sport: NFL preens on Super stage, impervious to its medical crisis: The theme of my Sunday column was that, while football obviously is dangerous to one's health, both immediate and long-term, the health of the NFL remains robust thanks to fans who sustain its popularity. Players risk the brain injury Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), but players seem willing to assume the hazard while fans seem OK with accepting it as part of the game. Click on The Health of the NFL to read in full.

Superbowl50SUPER BOWL! BRONCOS DOMINATE PANTHERS IN UPSET, 24-10: America's true national holiday? I guess it has to be the Fourth of July, although you could make a case for Thanksgiving or a patriotic pitch for Veterans or Memorial days. But if you include sports, start with Super Bowl Sunday. No other one day rivets the country. Yesterday around 115 million Americans watched the game on TV. About 43 million of us hosted Super Bowl parties. Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos happened to be an interesting matchup, but aren't they all? The Super Bowl is bigger than its participants. No Game 7 in a World Series, NBA Finals or Stanley Cup feels as big or engages as many of  us. Click on Super Gem for my prediction capsule; I liked Broncos in a defense-driven upset, 23-20. (Close enough!)

Super Bowl postgame poll: We invite you to rate this Super Bowl compared to most. Better? Average? Worse? I ask you to factor the game but also the halftime and commercials -- the overall experience. Rate it on overall interest, watchability and excitement, not on whether your team won or you hit on your bet.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Mondays) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NFL: Defense lifts Broncos, Manning to victory in Super Bowl 50: After two weeks of tedious buildup and several more hours of unnecessary pregame show, you finally got to see what you'd been waiting for. But enough about Beyonce' at halftime. The game was pretty good, too -- Broncos, 24-10, over Carolina -- but only if you were from Denver.

2. HURRICANES: National Signing Day finds UM praised for recruiting class: New coach Mark Richt scrambled to see UM's 2016 class ranked 19th in the nation by ESPN, led by the bounty at receiver and linebacker. Canes football fans seem pleased, which alone is a revelation.

3. HEAT: Visits by Clippers, Spurs latest gauge for hot Miami: Hot Heat had won six of past seven games before losing at home Sunday to L.A. Clippers, and now another West power, San Antonio, visits Tuesday. One other tall task awaits: Chris Bosh trying to top Steph Curry in next week's all-star 3-point contest.

4. PANTHERS: Too soon to put streaking Cats in Stanley Cup conversation?: Division-leading Florida had won five by in a row by a combined 25-8 margin entering Saturday's loss, and one win was 5-2 at Washington -- which many see as the Stanley Cup favorite. Still too early to call Cats a title contender? Maybe not...

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men's, women's teams aim to accomplish rare feat: Miami's two teams are a combined 38-8 after both winning Sunday, the men ranked 17th nationally and the women 16th. The rare feat? This would be only third time in school history both reached NCAA Tournament the same year, after 1998 and 2013. Double March Gladness in the Gables?

6. MARLINS: Countdown 11 days until spring training: Marlins players begin reporting on Feb. 19 to the team's Jupiter facility. That will begin the annual ritual. I don't mean spring training. I mean the media writing and talking about how the improved Marlins could be playoff contender, and it subsequently not happening.

7. NASCAR: Injured Tony Stewart to miss Daytona 500: Stewart, 44, injured his back in an all-terrain vehicle accident, had surgery and will miss the season-opening Feb. 21 Daytona 500 that will commence his final Sprint Cup season. For those keeping score, Stewart's past three or four years have pretty much been a nightmare.  

8. JOHNNY MANZIEL: And the self-destruction of Johnny Football continues: Manziel's release from the Cleveland Browns is now imminent, amid reports he has twice refused to reenter rehab in the past week, and other reports of an ex-girlfriend alleging domestic violence. If Manziel were a stock, you'd divest immediately and run like hell.

9. GOLF: PGA Champions Tour event wraps up in Boca: The long-running Allianz Championship ended Sunday with Esteban Toldeo winning  at Broken Sound in Boca Raton. They call it the Champions Tour now, because the former name, Senior Tour, conveyed the image of a bunch of septuagenarians tottering the course in pastel slacks trying to shoot their age.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Louisville self-imposes postseason ban: The decision was by the college president, not coach Rick Pitino, the the 19th-ranked Cardinals are upset. Bulletin: When your program is nationally embarrassed by a recruiting scandal involving strippers, there tends to be consequences.

Missing the cut: Olympic sailors worry about the filthy, toxic water in Rio de Janeiro. But it'll still be better than the water in Flint, Mich. ..... Chargers are staying in San Diego at least for '16. Local fans don't know whether to cheer or boo ..... Saw the headline, 'Barry defeats Lynn.' Wasn't sure if it was a local college game or a divorce proceeding ..... NBC and CBS will share Thursday Night Football. Bulletin: Fans don't care what channel it's on, as long as it's on ..... Al Golden signed as Detroit Lions tight ends coach. Canes fans renting small planes to exhort his firing ..... Mshawish wins Donn Handicap at Gilfstream ..... Duke men are unranked for first time since 2007 ..... Edwin Pope, 87, had a column in the Herald for first time in years. Bob Rubin on deck? ..... U.S. Soccer Federation lawsuit vs players union inadvertently caused the home addresses of its women's players to be revealed. Guess nobody looked up the word "redacted." ..... Bumper sticker: 'Honk If Hassan Whiteside Has Picked a Fight With You on Social Media' ..... I get accused of not mentioning FIU enough so I want to remedy that right now: FIU!

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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