February 27, 2019

The evolution of sports into big business and Miami's role. New column; plus Heat young players are chopped liver, says ESPN; also, struggling Heat, Kraft arrest, AAF, 'Greg Cote Monday' ESPN podcast & more


Bhm1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27. I co-hosted LeBatard Show a day earlier than usual this week on ESPN Radio. Visit Greg Cote Monday for the best-of podcast. 2) Black History Month is February. It was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970 and was officially recognized nationally in 1976. We spent hours one weekend wandering the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis a couple of  years ago. An irreplaceable trove. Well worth your time and effort! 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10. Le Batard TV show premiere with Riley, Zion Williams Shoegate & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

THE TOP 50 'BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS' IN SPORTS-BUSINESS HISTORY: A new book, The Sports Business Handbook, says it's been around 50 years since we began to understand that "sports Thedecision Williamsbusiness" was about more than games and results -- that it also was about deal-making and law and business and marketing and administration in what has become a trillion-dollar industry. "Fifty years ago was around the first time people really started focusing on those off-field things," said author Rick Horrow. "Before that if it wasn't in a box score, it wasn't reported or talked about." The Miami Beach-born Horrow, who hand a hand in shepherding the original Miami Arena into fruition back in the day, includes in the book a chronological list of the top 50 "breakthrough moments" in sports business. I write of this in my latest column; please visit The Evolution Of Sports Into Big Business to read. Two of those beyond-sports moments mentioned have strong South Florida ties: the emergence of the Williams sisters Serena and Venus in tennis, and LeBron James' 'The Decision' that brought his talents to South Beach and the Heat. (I found it interesting that the first and most recent moments listed both were about social justice involving the national anthem: the raised fists on the medal stand during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and Colin Kaepernick kneeling. Horrow's book has spawned a "symposium tour" that begins Thursday at Harvard University. A stop in Miami  is expected this summer. The book is out next week, and available now at mascot books.com.

Our other most recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' RebuildStain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

WinadeESPN UNDER-25 LIST SNUBS HEAT: ESPN today tossed out a list of top 25 NBA players under 25. Greak Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is on top, the usual suspects follow, and the whole list is here, based on a mix of right now and "future potential." Next Superstar Rankings, they call it. What jumped out at me, Mr. Miami, was the absence of any love for any Heat player. The list is a by a panel of three experts with 25 votes each. That's 75 votes, total. Number given to any Heat player: Zero. I thought either or both of the two legit candidates, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo (pictured right), might at least have been tossed the crumb of a No. 24 vote something. Nada! (Josh Richardson just missed the poll's kiddie pool at age 26, if you wondered). It's one more gloomy indication that Miami is a team without a current (in-his-prime) superstar and also apparently a team without a future superstar on the roster, at least so says ESPN.

WHAT'S RIDICULOUS IN SPORTS: A quick Tuesday three-pack...

Spo(*) Heat losing at home to Phoenix -- If Miami misses the NBA playoffs, last night's loss will be presented as Exhibit A. Rock bottom. Zero excuse available for a 124-121 home loss to a league-worst Suns team that had lost 17 in a row coming in, and is blatantly tanking for Zion Williamson. Great games by Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk, wasted. Miami has now lost six home games in a row, once unheard of. The season is turning depressing for Miami, although at least Dwyane Wade's long farewell lends an emotional heft and a reason to keep watching.

Kraft(*) Arrest of Robert Kraft -- So the Patriots owner is caught up in a police prostitution sting out of a happy ending massage parlor "day spa" in Jupiter. There are real criminals in this case. They are whomever is involved in the alleged human sex trafficking that may be in play here. Arrest them and throw 'em in jail. But clients unaware of any trafficking who simply went there for what they thought was private enjoyment? Cops have better stuff to do. If a restaurant is selling stolen steaks, you arrest the owner buying them, not the diners.

Aaf(*) Alliance of American Football -- The new spring AAF just finished its third weekend and already it has had to be bailed out financially and seen a coach quit. Ratings have dived after initial curiosity made Week 1 numbers encouraging. The whole venture is just one network's content initiative, and it's stumbling early. The question: Will the AAF even survive to welcome a rebooted XFL as competition a year from now? "LOL," says a grinning NFL.

Select recent other columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

APSE-HONORED WORKThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2017

A few thoughts on Jeter's Marlins 'town hall' meeting; plus should fans of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins or Panthers be saddest? Poll. Vote now; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald QB rankings, Shameless Book Plug, FAU goes bowling & more


1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Not pretty. 2) Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for our most recent general column. Sorry we haven't had as many lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this  month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl and I won't pretend to, but I will say Ndamukong Suh should have joined Reshad Jones as a Dolphins selection." -- Greg Cote 

A FEW THOUGHTS ON JETER'S MARLINS 'TOWN HALL': Happily, I did not attend the Derek Jeter "town hall" Q&A session with Marlins season-ticket holders last night, but have spoken with Jetertownhallfolks who were there, have read the accounts and would share a few thoughts. First, it was smart of Jeter to do, and and necessary. He has been the sniper-owner, making unpopular deals from a safe bunker and in hiding. Last night, he showed his face. It was a start. Second, fans need a forum to vent, to voice displeasure. It was a win-win for Jeter because there would be the appearance of openness and transparency without there actually being any. Jeter said a lot without saying much. No details of the master "plan" were shared. I did find interesting that Jeter justified the Giancarlo Stanton deal by emphasizing the Marlins gained $260 million in contract relief to help the club move forward. Hmm. Wouldn't/shouldn't saving $260M on Stanton have allowed the club to then not trade Marcell Ozuna, and not consider trading Christian Yelich? Shouldn't that $260M "saving" be put back into the team by either using it to keep the best remaining players or to be a major player in free agency? Or is that windfall of "saving" just going to pay off corporate debt or enrich the owners? Finally, I laughed out loud (LOL!) at reporters who were there actually interviewing Marlins Man as if he were a news source, not just the grandstanding fan who stood behind the mic last night and asked Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Marlins Man. Puh-leeze. It would be like, back in the day, interviewing Dolfan Denny about the Dolphins' words. C'mon, media.

SadnessWHAT SOUTH FLORIDA TEAM'S FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST RIGHT NOW?: I refer a lot to Greater Miami's "Big 5" teams -- our four major pro franchises plus Canes football. Obviously in this poll I don't include UM, which is preparing for an Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin to cap the Hurricanes' first 10-win season since 2003. But our four pro teams are fair game for the dubious "most disappointing" crown that would have their fans saddest. The Marlins of course are in mid-fire sale/dismantling as the new Derek Jeter regime proves roughly as popular as the old Jeffrey Loria era. The Panthers are en route to making it a 21st consecutive season of either not making the NHL playoffs or not winning a postseason series. The Heat continue in post-Big 3 malaise, a starless doldrums, hanging around .500, with fans who became accustomed to thinking championship now relegated to hoping for a low playoff seed. And the Dolphins are back to mediocrity after last year's aberrant bump. I will volunteer that I think Heat fans have the least cause for sadness, but that the other three are in the mix. But his is your say. As you consider this poll question consider it literally: Which team's fans have the most cause right now to be the saddest?

Finsat50 Finsat50SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG! AND JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!: Know any Dolfans on your holiday shopping list? Of course you do. And that means you know Dolfans who are so sick of the current team they'd rather marinate in the heydays of Shula and Marino. Well I just so happen to have a book on the franchise's first half-century, called Fins At 50. Talk about a perfect gift! And reasonably priced, too. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go directly to those site's page om the book to order and to learn more about it. You'll be glad you did, friend.

BRADY'S LEAD SHRINKS, CUTLER RETREATS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo wins Week 15 with a 46.05-point game while Patriot Tom Brady's overall lead shrinks further in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Brady's margin over second place Drew Brees of the Saints has narrowed to only 8.40 points with two games to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler slips three spots, down to 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 16:

RK LW Player, Team                 WK15      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE               28.90       502.10

2    2  Drew Brees, NO             38.25       493.70

3    3  Alex Smith, KC              38.55       452.90

4    5  Matthew Stafford, DET  39.85       447.00

5    4  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  31.05      440.25

6    9  Kirk Cousins, WAS          30.80       406.80

7  11  Case Keenum, MIN         39.80       401.95

8    7  Russell Wilson, SEA         8.10       391.45

9    8  Philip Rivers, LAC           9.35       390.90

10  6  Carson Wentz, PHI          DNP       386.80

11 10 Jared Goff, LAR            21.00       386.40

12 12 Matt Ryan, ATL              21.60      376.50

13 16 Blake Bortles, JAC         43.30      337.35

14 13 Josh McCown, NYJ          DNP       336.30

15 14 Derek Carr, OAK            18.55      335.65

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.60      331.80

17 20 Eli Manning, NYG          44.70      319.65

18 19 Cam Newton, CAR        38.10      314.10

19 18 Joe Flacco, BAL            32.40      311.05

20 17 Andy Dalton, CIN           -0.35      281.00

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA             11.70      260.70

Bubble: Jameis Winston, TB, 277.70. Week 15 Best: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, 46.05 (31-43, 381, 1-0 in win). Week 15 Worst: Blaine Gabbert, ARI, minus-2.55 (16-41, 189, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 15: Herald picks: Went a nifty 13-3 overall but a just-OK 6-7-3 against the spread, with the wins by Patriots, Niners and Cowboys all pushing for the ties. Called the Chiefs' mini-upset of Rams and also had a pair of dogs-with-points in Jets and Giants. Greg's Lobos: We're done. The 'Bos reached the semifinals of a 14-team league (not bad) before falling to Allyson in a shootout, 157.7-139, despite 45 points from Todd Gurley. #GurleyMen #LobosMVP.
OWLS ON THE PROWL: FAU SMACKS AKRON IN BOWL: For only the third time in its 14-year history as an FBS-level football program, Florida Atlantic University played in a bowl game last night, hosting Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and winning in a 50-3 rout. The Owls were big three-touchdown home favorites to finish the season 11-3 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin and behind the running of Devin Singletary, and showed why. Kiffin earlier in the day signed a six-year contract extension. Still doubting he's an Owls lifer, but good for now. I'll say this: I'd love to see this traditionally overshadowed program get some love now with a final, post-bowls Top 25 ranking. They deserve the consideration.
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

September 16, 2016

FIU moving on past AD Garcia in '18; plus NFL Week 2 predix, where Tannehill stands; also, are Canes fans worried about Appalachian State? (with poll), upcoming Dolphins book, your Bosh verdict, Brian Wilson review & more


1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Dolphins opener and danger in 'moral victories,' Hot Button Top 10, updated SOPY rankings & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Timing Was Perfect, Not Wrong (on four Dolphins' 9/11 kneel-down). Week 1 Gems (our NFL picks) and Fearful Forecast (divisional and Super Bowl predictions). Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

If the presidential race were a football game: The fivethirtyeight.com presidential forecast as of yesterday had Hillary Clinton with a 63.6 percent chance of beating Donald Trump. The ESPN NFL Week 2 Football Power Index had Bills beating the Jets last night at 63.2%. Does that mean the Jets just elected Trump?

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY WEEK 2: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: Bounced to a nice start on our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald by going 10-6 overall and a nifty 11-5
Fripixagainst the spread last week. Click on Week 2 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest picks and prediction capsules for Dolphins-Patriots, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week, Dog of the Week and every other matchup. Got off to a good start last night by accurately calling the Jets' win at Buffalo in a pick 'em game; click Thursday Gem to read. We also have an accompanying NFL column that leads with an analysis of all the quarterbacks who've been rookie starters -- Miami's Ryan Tannehill included -- since 2008, when began an ongoing nine-year streak of at least one per season, 19 in all. We rank Tannehill only 11th of the 17 entering this season, when two more joined the club. Click on Where Tannehill Falls to read the column plus NFL notes.

FIU SCHEDULES GARCIA'S EXIT AS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: FIU president Mark Rosenberg today announced that executive director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia -- that's fancyspeak for Pgarciaathletic director -- would stay on through to July 31, 2018, and then depart. Said Garcia (pictured): "Leading FIU athletics has been one of my most rewarding and exciting experiences. However, after months of personal reflection, I believe it is important to explore new professional challenges." Garcia has led FIU sports since 2006, but not without controversy that left him unpopular with many. Today's announcement strikes us as a compromise: Officially a contract extension, but also a way to move past Garcia in the near future. Perhaps the decision was mutual, although it seems clear FIU was ready to move on, and rightly so.

UmappstIS A TRAP DOOR WAITING FOR CANES IN BOONE, N.C?: If walloping Florida A&M and then auto-piloting past Florida Atlantic didn't tell us much about the Miami Hurricanes, this Saturday should, in UM's first road test at Appalachian State. This isn't a major opponent; the Mountaineers are a Sun Belt team. But they're good. They nearly upset No. 9 Tennessee in the opener and are mere 3 1/2-point underdogs to No. 25-ranked Miami. Canes opened as a 5-point pick before betting dough started pouring in for App State. This is expected to be a sonic, school-record crowd and would be a seismic, season-making upset for the home team. I'm curious how concerned, fi at all, Hurricanes fan are approaching this game. Hence, the poll. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Finsat50DOLPHINS BOOK COMING: The Miami Herald is publishing Fins at 50, a book on the Dolphins' first half century, due out next week and available Sept. 20. Click on Fins at 50 for the book's Amazon page to see more or to pre-order now, at $24.95 or $14.99 on Kindle. It is  -- Shameless Plug Alert! -- the perfect holiday gift and must-have for all the Dolfans on your list! Runs the gamut of Dolphins history, from the expansion years to the Perfect Season to the Marino Era and right up to the hiring of Adam Gase and the current team. I had a lot to do with the book including an introductory essay and get author credit, but it's a collaborative effort, featuring hundreds of historic photographs as well as contributions from other Herald writers through the years including the legendary Edwin Pope. Soon, I'll be at Books & Books in Coral Gables discussing the book. Stay tuned for updates on that here or by following me on my Twitter.

NFL PICKS 'N FANTASY: DOUBLE THUMBS UP FOR WEEK 1: NFL picks: Had a solid Week 1 overall, going a decent 10-6 straight-up and a robust 11-5 against the spread. Bull's-eyed outright upsets by Broncos and Saints, nailed underdog Jets, Patriots, Lions and Jaguars with the points, and even had a rare exact-score for Green Bay's 27-23 win. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos rocked to 1-0 in the LeBatard Show league by beating Guillermo, 146.6-139.5. Got 31.4 points from Drew Brees -- expected. But while some of our big guns underperformed, we got the gift of 32.2 points from Willie Snead and 27.8 from Theo Riddick. Go 'Bos!

Poll result: Most think Bosh will be in Heat's opening night starting lineup: We asked for your best guess on that and it was 62.0 percent yes to 38.0 percent no.

ON THE BRIAN WILSON SHOW: Saw legendary Brian Wilson and his band Wednesday night at the Hard Rock, where the audience was surprisingly full and buoyant. He played about Bwilson1 hour 45 minutes and it was terrific. It was not a Beach Boys show per se, although it was hard to tell it wasn't, save for the rather pleasant absence of Mike Love in a Hawaiian shirt. Wilson was joiined by fellow original Beach Boy Al Jardine as well as longtime member Blondie Chaplin in a 10-piece band that was tighter than my belt when  I leave an all-you-can eat buffet. Wilson is 74 now, a bit unsteady on his feet and not daring a lot of high notes. He also is somewhat stiff and oddly peculiar as a frontman, more than once advising the standing, swaying crowd, "Please be seated." But you take him for what he is: a musical genius, and a survivor. Decades of drug abuse and mental health issues, the deaths of two brothers and bandmates, the acrimony with Love -- yet here he is, still performing. The show marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Pet Sounds album, which he played in its entirety in the middle. The show lagged there if all you were looking for was radio hits, but this was an audience that ate it all up. I have seen legendary artists so far past their prime in concert it was tough to watch (Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis), but Wilson remains inspiring to see still doing it. Great show.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 08, 2016

Hear a 21-year-old Cassius Clay sing "Stand By Me" (it isn't bad!); plus where does Ali rank among past century's greatest American athletes? Poll. Vote now; also, in bed with D-Wade, R.I.P. Kimbo, magic of Jose, Games of Thrones & more


Kimboslice1) It is WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8. R.I.P., fighter Kimbo Slice (pictured), gone suddenly at 42. We spent much of yesterday's LeBatard Show discussing his life. He was a Miami original who started so low and rose from the streets thanks to strength and ingenuity. 2) Bulletin: Roger Goodell is not dead. Somebody hacked the NFL's Twitter site and reported commissioner Roger Goodell had died. I wonder. Does Tom Brady have an alibi? 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 led by Muhammad Ali, our Ali and Richard Bleier columns, bipartisan political insult & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVinePeriscope and Snapchat.

The Last 5: My five most recent columns, ICYMI or thought them so wonderful they deserved another look:Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, the latest, on how Ali set the template for individuality in sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, also new, on Richard Bleier's long climb to the Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on the PGA Tour leaving Doral. Morris Vs. 'Almost Impossible' Expectations, as Jim Morris and UM baseball host NCAA Regional. The Under Pressure 12, listing the dozen South Florida sports figures most under pressure.

DwadegabyInto the bedroom -- and the bed -- with D-Wade and Gaby: Well, this is too much information! Black Sports Online relays that Heat star Dwyane Wade has, on Snapchat, provided fans with a glimpse of himself and wife/actress Gabrielle Union in bed (apparently) just before and after, um, ah, I guess i can say "marital relations" in a family blog. Click here for the item via BSO. At right is an "after" screengrab from the Snapchat. This may be taking the social media concept of "total access" a smidge too far. I'm no prude, but this is wandering too close for my liking to Kim Kardashian-nude-in-a-bathroom-mirror-selfie territory. Remember when celebrities used to bemoan their lack of privacy? Now it seems they're the first to give it away.

"A Democrat running for Congress put a flyer on my door that states proudly, 'Meet Tim Canova. He's not a politician.' Only in politics does this outsider-ism seem to work. If I'm hiring a salesman, I'd sort of like him to have done the job before in much the same way I'd prefer someone about to perform surgery on me to be an actual doctor. And yet it's no-experience-necessary to be in Congress? Bizarre."  --Greg Cote

Clay albumCASSIUS CLAY SINGS 'STAND BY ME' ... AND IT ISN'T BAD!: The video below is 21-year Cassius Clay singing "Stand By Me" in 1963. The video lists him as Muhammad Ali, but '63 was before the first Sonny Liston fight in Miami Beach and a year before before Clay had converted to his Muslim name. "Stand By Me" was the only proper song included on the album (pictured right) that Clay recorded in '63; all of the other "songs" were monologues, poetry and other spoken-word material by Clay. The single heard here was released in 1964 and nearly reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 102 weeks after his stunning upset of Liston. Clay-turned-Ali was a big fan of soul music and friends with tghe legendary Sam Cooke. As for Clay's version of this classic song? He's no Ben E. King, but his rendition actually is pretty solid. Floats like a butterfly, sings like a bee?


RANKING ALI AMONG AMERICA'S GREATEST ATHLETES OF THE 20TH CENTURY: The death of Muhammad Ali over the weekend is the impetus for this poll. The 15 athletes presented here are Espncenturynot of my choosing, although I can't disagree with much. These are the top 15 of ESPN's 100 greatest American athletes of the 20th Century list from the network's SportsCentury project. I present them alphabetically, not in order, so as not to prejudice the jury (that's you), although you'd find the complete list here. Limited it to 15 simply so the poll wouldn't get too unwieldy. If you can't believe so-and-so didn't make the top 15 and our poll, blame ESPN, not me. Or cast one of your votes for "somebody else" and say who you were thinking of. But please note this is American athletes only, which is why you don't find soccer god Pele on the list, for example. Also note it is athletes of the past century only, which is why you won't see LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady or anybody else whose career has all or substantively occurred since 2000. As for what constitutes "greatest," that's entirely for you to decide. Select your top three (3) athletes, and from that consensus we'll arrive at the greatest American athlete of the 20th Century. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Vote for your top three (3):

JosefTHE WONDER OF JOSE, CONTINUED: Marlins ace Jose Fernandez's statistics in his past eight startst: 8-0 records, 1.38 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 14 walks in 52 innings. The ERA is 0.66 over his past six starts. He still might be third on most NL Cy Young ballots right now behind Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta, but he'll continue to contend for the award if his performance keeps up and if Miami hangs in the playoff chase. Jose is a surreal 23-1 with a 1.53 ERA at home in his career vs. a mortal 8-10 and 3.54 on the road. But he's scheduled for only one start (June 11) on the current nine-game road trip.

Dragonlady GameofthronesON 'GAME OF THRONES': An admission. Five years late, I have joined the lowing herd. I have recently adopted and embraced HBO's Game of Thrones as a guilty viewing pleasure. I am not an aficionado-bordering-cultist who prays to the show or wishes to over-analyze every nuance of every episode in a like-minded online community of zealots. But I enjoy GOT and have elevated it to the my uncrowded pantheon of must-see TV. I like it visually first, for the stunning look of it, before I even get to the expansive, complicated storyline I am still trying to slowly decipher with the not always patient help of my wife, a longer-time fan. Also I must make a confession: One reason I like the show is my embarrassing schoolboy crush on the character Daenerys Targaryen, "Dany," the Mother of Dragons (pictured), portrayed by actress Emilia Clarke. The show's description of her character: "Princess of House Targaryen, Daenerys lives in exile in Essos with her advisors and dragons. Dany rallied the Unsullied of Astapor to her cause and continues to grow the army she needs to take back the throne." Greg Cote's description: "You know, the hot blond with the dragons."

ON 'CRISIS OF CHARACTER': A forthcoming book very critical of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton White House has been written by former Secret Service agent Gary J. Byrne Garyjbyrne(pictured). Coming out a month before the Democratic convention, the book -- timing and content -- fall straight from Republican heaven. If you didn't know better, you might even think the RNC was behind it. I find particularly interesting the book's title: Crisis of Character. Hmm. The title means to suggest the character issue is Hillary's. I wonder if it isn't the author's instead. A tell-all book by a former Secret Service agent!? So much for the secret part of the job title, huh. How unseemly. How unprofessional. How against-code. How against every expectation of discretion for a Secret Service agent to betray confidences in this manner. I'd feel similarly, by the way, if one of Donald Trump's former loyal lieutenant's suddenly came out with a sleazy tell-all timed to sell books. A back-stabbing snitch is a back-stabbing snitch. But I certainly hold Secret Service agents to a higher standard than I do corporate suits. Gary J. Byrne should be embarrassed. Except perhaps to Republicans to whom he is undoubtedly a hero, this man should be ashamed of himself.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 23, 2015

Saving Redmond. Why Loria should surprise us with rare show of patience; plus Jose Fernandez becomes U.S. citizen, why Dolphins' schedule lays out favorably, Fins land Jennings; also Bob Dylan's strange concert (a review) & more


It's Radio Thursday: I'm in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Have a new 'Back In My Day' in hand. Ears (and eyes) welcome. 

1aa1aluke1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 23. Miami icon Luther "Luke" Campbell has a new new book out that is available now. Cover is pictured; click on photo to enlarge image. 2) Countdown: 7 days 'til the NFL Draft. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins best non-division home game poll, Mike Redmond's hot seat, Heat draft projection, our most popular Tweets & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1ajosefJOSE FERNANDEZ BECOMING U.S. CITIZEN: The Marlins young ace pitcher will become a U.S. citizen Friday morning during a U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services ceremony in Kendall. The Cuban native will be the keynote speaker during an event that will naturalize 140 South Floridians. Fernandez came to the U.S.from Santa Clara, Cuba in 2008.

Saving Mike Redmond: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has seldom been patient. He needs to be now, with manager Mike Redmond and this Marlins season. Last night's 6-1 win in Philly helps. Click on Saving Red for my latest column, now online and in today's inky pulp editions.  

1aa1agregjDolphins sign WR Jennings: Dolphins sign longtime Packers-then-Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, 31. Jennings (pictured) made the Pro Bowl in 2010-11; Aaron Rodgers will do that for a guy. Jennings proved last season he can still be productive. He still must prove he still can be star and is not in decline. The signing probably means Fins won't spend No. 1 draft pick on a wideout. Cornerback and running back rise in draft possibility, although Miami shouldn't count on RB Todd Gurley still being there at 14th overall.

Perriman to Fins?: Todd McShay's latest mock draft for ESPN has Miami selecting UCF receiver Breshad Perriman 14th overall in the upcoming NFL Draft. Aside to Todd: They probably would have, at least before the Jennings signing, except that Perriman will likely be gone before then.

WHY DOLPHINS SEASON LAYS OUT FAVORABLY, MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES RANKED 1 THROUGH 16: The Dolphins' 50th-season schedule lays out favorably for the four words I've written at right. The 1aa1adol15skedfirst six games of the regular season look eminently winnable. Not until at-Patriots in

Game 7 will Miami be a clear underdog, or maybe even an underdog at all. With that soft early schedule and a home-loaded late schedule, the Dolphins season appears to be aligned pretty favorably. Here is my order on the most to least interesting games on this Dolphins schedule; your order may be different. By the way, tap brakes on the big deal being made over Miami opening with two straight road games. This will be the 12th time for that, and the third time just since 2010. The Anticipation Meter:

Rank    Game                     Synopsis

  1        Vs  Patriots (G16)  Tom Brady visits to end season with playoffs (maybe) at stake.

  2        Vs  Bills (G3)         Home opener, division game, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito. What's not to like?

  3        Vs  Cowboys (G10) Dallas rarely visits, and it's still America's Team.

  4        Vs  Jets (G4)          Jolly good: Fins in London, still special. Jolly bad: Costs Dolfans home game.

  5        @ Redskins (G1)    Skins not real interesting beyond RG3 drama, but it is the season opener.

  6        Vs  Colts (G15)      Andrew Luck elevates this game.

  7        @ Patriots (G7)      Biggest division rival, and only time on Monday night stage.

  8        Vs Giants (G13)     Big-drawing foe on Thursday night stage.

  9        Vs  Ravens (G12)   Joe Flacco will be a tough hurdle once again.

10        @Jets (G11)           Should have an idea of playoff chances by now.

11        @ Bills (G8)           Bringing us to the midseason break.

12        @ Eagles (G9)        Odds Tim Tebow is Birds' starting QB? 1 in 138.

13        Vs Texans (G6)      J.J. Watt but an otherwise low-glamour opponent.

14        @ Chargers (G14)   Big test vs. (presumably, still) Philip Rivers. 

15        @ Titans (G5)         Nashville known for music, not NFL football.

16        @ Jaguars (G2)      The good news: Should give Fins solid shot at a 2-0 start.

Poll result: Cowboys sexiest non-division Fins home game: You had it 60.6 percent for Dallas, 21.2% Indianapolis, 11.0% N.Y. Giants, 3.8% Baltimore and 3.4% Houston.

BOB DYLAN: THE CURSE OF THE CATALOGUE: I think the first concert I ever saw as a young adult may have been KISS, in its sonic, full-makeup prime, at the old Hollywood Sportatorium. Hundreds of shows later across all genres, my most recent concert seen was Bob Dylan, last night, at Broward Center for the 1aa1adylanPerforming Arts. What a long, strange trip it's been for this music lover. And what a bizarre performance by Dylan last night -- one of the oddest ones I have seen. Dylan, at 72, performs for himself more than for his audience. I knew that going in, but not to this extent. He performs hardly any of his hits or other beloved, important songs his fans might expect and want to hear. He did do a couple, but his reworkings of "Blowin' In the Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue," made them almost unrecognizable, nearly different songs. He played a few others I knew and liked ("Things Have Changed," "Workingman's Blues," "Spirit On the Water," "Love Sick"), but most I did not. Dylan also seems shy on stage, reclusive. He does not speak to the audience; he did not introduce his five-piece band. Some of the songs Dylan does not do in concert include "Rainy Day Women," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Like A Rolling Stone," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "I Want You," "Hurricane," "Lay Lady Lay," "Positively 4th Street" and "Just Like a Woman." The sold-out audience called him out for an encore that he ended with a sad song called "Stay With Me," and that seemed fitting. His entire performance seems to say, "I am not a trained monkey up here spitting out hits. Indulge me. Stay with me." Can a fan both respect that and be disappointed? I think so. Dylan remains an enduring, important, iconic figure to many. I just wish he could find a better balance between the performance that pleases him and the one that would delight his fans. Seeing Dylan in concert, you are very much aware you are seeing a legendary, historic performer. But not in full, just glimpses.

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April 16, 2015

Kiper's latest mock draft: Dolphins, Hurricanes picks in top 3 rounds; plus does Miami now root for LeBron to win NBA title? (poll); also sporties in 'Time 100,' Aaron Hernandez, 'Back In My Day' audio, 4 on Marlins Mount Rushmore & more


1aa1abadmonkey1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 16. Just got around to Carl Hiassen's Bad Monkey. More of the madcap-with-a-heart style he mines so well. Fast read. Recommended. By the way, ever notice you never see Hiassen and Tim Dorsey in the same room at the same time? Hmm. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat eliminated, Marlins Mount Rushmore poll, Dolphins draft, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson topless, Rubio/Clinton & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

I love the local sports media wondering how incoming University of Miami president Julio Frenk feels about the football program, as if Al Golden's future might be high among his priorities. Funny.

Dan LeBatard picks a fight with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez: This was during Tuesday's radio show on South Beach. Watch our video on Vine or Twitter.

Handy Man: The new 'Back In My Day': Had some fun on-air this week with a well-received new "Back In My Day," about America's disappearing Handy Man work ethic:

Handy Man

So, Heat fans are supposed to be thrilled their team was lousy enough to keep a draft pick?

Sporties among 'Time 100': Time's annual (unranked) list of the world's 100 most influential people is out, and the three sports figures on it are NBA commissioner Adam Silver, U.S. soccer icon Abby Wambach and, inexplicably, a Brazilian surfer named Gabriel Medina. Don't recall seeing the news reports. When exactly did the Medina family buy Time?

KIPER'S DOLPHINS, HURRICANES PICKS FOR TOP THREE ROUNDS: This is glorified guessing like anybody's mock draft; still, he's Mel Bleepin' Kiper! Junior! He's got the rep and the platform (ESPN) to 1aa1aagholor 1aa1aereckfgive what he says gravitas, so here we go. Kiper today has the Dolphins selecting Southern Cal receiver Nelson Agholor 14th overall in the first round, and Miami-Ohio defensive back Quinten Rollins in the second round. Miami has no third-round pick. Agholor is pictured left. Kiper sees a bounty for UM, with five Canes in the top three rounds: offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (pictured right, 1st round, 29th overall to Colts); receiver Phillip Dorsett (1st round, 31st overall to Saints); linebacker Denzel Perryman (2nd round to Texans); tight end Clive Walford (2nd round to Packers); and running back Duke Johnson (3rd round to Lions). One other area school lands in his first three rounds: FAU corner D'Juon Smith (3rd round to Rams).

WITH HEAT ELIMINATED, IS MIAMI NOW ROOTING FOR (OR AGAINST) LEBRON?: Last night's win at Philadelphia ends the Heat season, thankfully, mercifully. The growing 1aa1acavslebroninevitability had happened the game before when Indiana won, eliminating Miami from playoff contention. Now Heat fans, for the first time since 2008, must adopt a rooting interest for the coming NBA playoffs. Most times it'd be who-cares-who-wins-if-it-isn't-Miami. But does the LeBron James Factor make this year different? I still think South Florida has mixed feelings about LeBron. This poll may verify or refute that notion. I wonder if Heat fans are now rooting for -- or against -- James to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship? Do you root for a feelgood homecoming story? Or for a traitor to get his comeuppance? Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

So said a jury yesterday, and now the former New England tight end's life is effectively over. Pictured, the new uniform for which Hernandez will be fitted. I found this funny. (Nice touch: the Nike swoosh). I do not find the situation or the crime funny, of course. But the picture properly mocks an entitled punk who had so much and threw it all away. Sympathy for the victims, not the murderer. Click on Awful Decisions And 1.5 Miles for today's latest column by me on the Hernandez verdict.

DOLPHINS SIGN EX-CANE WR: The Dolphins signed receiver LaRon Byrd, the ex-Miami Hurricane. He has good size at 6-4 and 220 but still must prove himself NFL-worthy after spending three season mostly injured or as a practice-squadder with the Cardinals, Cowboys, Browns or Fins.

A DIFFERENT, DIMINISHED NFL DRAFT: The NFL Draft will seem different and feel smaller on its first round the night of April 30. It will be in Chicago after having been held in New York every year since 1965 (meaning inconvenienced Jets fans will have to travel to boo their team's pick). Also, neither Jameis Winston nor Marcus Mariota -- the QBs who are the stars of this draft -- will attend. NFL this week annnounced its 26 draft attendees, and the biggest names probably are running backs Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. A possible Dolphins pick at No. 14, UCF receiver Breshad Perriman, also will attend.

Poll result: Marlins Mount Rushmore: Conine, Lowell, Beckett, Stanton: We offered the eight finalists in

1aa1astanton 1aa1abeckett

1aa1alowell 1aa1aconinean ongoing MLB.com vote, and your top vote-getter was Jeff Conine, his Mr. Marlin nickname justified with 22.5 percent of the vote. Also making your mountain: Mike Lowell at 15.1%, Josh Beckett at 14.6% and Giancarlo Stanton at 14.3%. (Then it was Livan Hernandez aat 11.0%, Gary Sheffield at 10.9%, Charles Johnson at 6.2% and underloved Luis Castillo at 5.5%).

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December 13, 2014

Will Johnny Manziel's career fly or fail? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins/NFL Week 15 predix, Marlins' big week, 'The U Part 2' & more

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13. No choice. Guess I'd better start my Christmas shopping. 2) Watch for return this week (after a two-week hiatus) of the Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): "Back In My Day" -- the complete audio library, Marlins trade, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Philbin verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

THE MYSTERY OF MANZIEL: WILL HE LIVE UP TO HYPE?: In Cleveland, Johnny Manziel was to Brian Hoyer as Jim Harbaugh is to Joe Philbin in Miami. Possibility is so often so much more tantalizing than 1aa1ajmanzielreality. Change is exciting without ever knowing whether the excitement will be justified. With Manizel the uncertainty is part of the excitement. He isn’t seen as a certain star like Andrew Luck was. To doubters, he’s the next Tim Tebow, the college phenom whose talents don’t translate. To fans, he’s the next great pass/run dual threat, the refreshingly brash personality whose jersey sales will soar to No.1 on the charts. He was a Heisman-winning superstar at Texas A&M. Now, will he justify all the hype, or be crushed by it? The finding out will be fun, and it begins with his first career start on Sunday. But why wait? Take a dip in our poll and say now what you predict for Manziel's NFL career and why.

1aa1afripixDOLPHINS, NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: THE DAGGER: Dolphins will lose Sunday in New England and it will be the dagger to Miami's playoff hopes. Not wishing it, folks, just predicting it. Don't kill the messenger! Click on Week 15 Gems for all our latest NFL prediction capsules. (Mixed start Thursday start. Wrongly had Rams winning, but did have Cards covering). Also, click on Hype, Meet Reality for my weekly Friday Page column. It leads with the formal introduction to the pro version of Johnny Football.

1aa1amatlatosA WINNING OFFSEASON FOR MARLINS: It started with signing Giancarlo Stanton long-term, of course. But it continued this week with deals to acquire leadoff man/base-stealing champ Dee Gordon and then, yesterday, starting pitcher Mat Latos (pictured). Mat With One T, from Coconut Creek High in north Broward, is a big boy with a top-of-the-rotation arm. If pitcher Dan Haren (part of the Gordon deal) opts to not retire, that'll be a bonus. Gordon and Latos alone give Miami needed speed and a bolstered rotation. Good week. Things looking up for the Fish. By the way [Brag Alert], my oldest son Christopher got a hit off Latos in a high-school game. I think it was a soft single to right, although my mind is reconfiguring it as a line drive to the gap.

ON 'THE U PART 2': I am reading "Rickey & Robinson," by Roger Kahn, the story of Branch Rickey integrating baseball by making Jackie Robinson a Dodger. It is holding my interest, and yet the story is so 1aa1atheupart2well-known and oft-told it can't but feel a little like a rehash. I think it's also fair to say Kahn has made a career of plumbing those old Brooklyn Dodgers for books, to the point you want to say, "Enough, already." This brings me to "The U Part 2," the Billy Corben sequel-documentary premiering on ESPN tonight at 9 p.m. The nearly perfect original, in 2009, focused on the mid-'80s to early-'90s football Hurricanes, the teams that invented swagger. They were big and bad and great and controversial and it was fascinating. There was national interest. Now, I wonder. Although the program resurged to win another national title in 2001, The U we see in the new doc simply is not as interesting or nationally relevant. A large chunk of the sequel is devoted to the Nevin Shapiro/NCAA scandal, an era well-known and best moved past, not exhumed and rehashed. Before agreeing, ESPN reportedly twice declined the pitch for this sequel. I get that original hesitation. Corben does good work and Part 2 will be riveting to many younger Canes fans (as the Miami unveiling was to swooning local media). But the sequel simply can't be as compelling as the original beyond South Florida because the subject matter plainly isn't.

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August 27, 2014

M&Ms: Miller vs. Moreno: Who should be Dolphins' No. 1 running back? New poll. Vote now!; plus U-Bird Countdown (9 days), SNL verdict, J-Lo & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27. Somebody told me yesterday was National Dog Day. My reaction: Isn't every day? 2) You've watched the movie, 40-Year-old Virgin, now meet the 40-Year-Old Cheerleader. Click here. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): SNL greatest cast members poll, Phibin slammed, Stanton's chilling words, Marino, Kaaya, Incognito, Upset Bird Countdown launch & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1aowlsleyowlUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 9 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of 1aa1aowl9NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 9 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following magpies Heckle & Jeckle), we welcome Owlsley, the give-a-hoot mascot of Florida Atlantic University, its nickname deriving from burrowing-owl nests once found on campus.

MILLER VS. MORENO AS DOLPHINS' STARTING RUNNING BACK: Starting running back is the Dolphins' most glaring still-undecided job as the preseason ebbs to Thursday's finale and the Sept. 7 season 1aa1amillerl 1aa1amorenokopener looms. Will it be incumbent Lamar Miller (left), the former Cane? Or will it be free-agent addition Knowshon Moreno (right), the former Bronco? All signs point to Miller getting the start and most carries, largely because he is more familiar to coach Joe Philbin and has been healthy throughout camp, while Moreno made his preseason debut (impressively) just last week. Moreno as the third-down back also makes some sense if only because he is a superior blocker. But who do you hope starts? Who should? Miller last year rushed for 709 yards and a 4.0 average, and caught 26 passes for a 6.5 average. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards and a 4.3 average, and caught 60 passes for a 9.1 average. Both have solid ball-control; Miller lost one fumble last season and Moreno none. But Moreno is a more accomplished two-way player whose pass-protection skills would come in hand on more than just third down. They are two solid, complementary choices who should make a quality tandem, but only one will start and get the most carries. Who do you hope that is? Vote and say why.

Poll result: John Belushi leads 'SNL' Mount Rushmore-plus: It's 40th anniversary of 1aa1ajohnbSaturday Night Live, and we invited you to vote for your five all-time favorite cast members from 16 finalists. The response was unexpectedly huge (thanks!), and your top five are: John Belushi with 14.1 percent, Eddie Murphy 12.9%, Dan Aykroyd 11.7%, Bill Murray 11.2% and Will Ferrell 10.1%. Next was Chris Farley with 7.8%. Others topping 5 percent: Dana Carvey, Tina Fey, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers.

DOLPHINS INDIVIDUAL OVER/UNDERS: From Bovada, key statistical betting over/unders for Dolphins this year: Ryan Tannehill--3,900 yards, 23.5 TDs, 14.5 INTs. Mike Wallace--950.5 yards, 6 TDs. Brian Hartline--875.5, 3.5. Charles Clay--625.5, 5. Cameron Wake--10.5 sacks. Oliver Vernon--9.5 sacks. Brent Grimes--3 INTs.

DUELING PURVEYORS OF WISDOM: Former college football champion-coaches Bobby Bowden, 84, and

Howard Schnellenberger, 80, have new books out tapping into their long experience on and off the field. 1aa1abowdenbook 1aa1asnells bookBowden's The Wisdom of Faith and Schnellenberger's Passing the Torch are now available to enrich your soul, enlighten your mind and instruct you when to go for it on 4th-and-1. Publisher description of Bowden's book: "The success, the influence, the accolades, the wins ... none of it matters if our lives are not rooted in faith. God trumps our best hand. He always wins." Publisher description of Snells' tome: "The coach talks about the wise decisions and the poor decisions he has made, and he shares the lessons he learned along the way."

1aa1ajlopezJ-LO ENLISTS IGGY: Friend of the Dolphins and former Orange Carpet Queen Jennifer Lopez -- who may or may not outrank special adviser Dan Marino in the adjusted hierarchy -- has enlisted hot young Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea in a re-do of J-Lo's latest single, "Booty," after her new album tanked in the charts. I write this not because I care or because J-Lo has peripheral Dolphin ties, but as a blatant excuse to publish the gratuitous promo photo of the two singers presenting their substantial derrieres for casual inspection.

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February 17, 2014

Tuesday p.m.: D-Wade's cool deed; plus Marino sacked, Dolphin non-leaders, SI swimsuits, FIU's error, Heat trade rumor, Gators, Mavis & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today for my historic 12th national appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show. We go 4-7 p.m. on ESPN Radio, 3-7 locally on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket. Today I'd imagine we'll be talking a lot of women's hockey, curling and skeleton. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18. CBS dumps Dan Marino from its NFL studio show. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Dolphins' Bullygate saga. 3) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Bullygate report and poll, Heat in All-Star Game, NBA's Mount Rushmore, Olympic farting & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Dolphins' leadership void allowed Bullygate to happen, and continue: Ted Wells had his 140-page finding. Mine covers two pages in the Miami Herald today. I find, in my latest column, that the team's lack of leadership across the board is why this happened here. Click on Nobody Stood Up to read.

New Olympic hockey, March Madness betting odds: Via our friends at Bovada... Olympic men's hockey: Sidney Crosby and Canada still a small favorite for gold at 7-4 over Team USA at 11-4. After that it's Russia 16-5 and Sweden 5-1. Men's March Madness: Florida Gators now co-favorites with Syracuse for NCAA national title, both at 6-1. Then it's Kansas 15-2, Michigan State 17-2 and Arizona/Duke both 9-1.

DWYANE WADE'S COOL GIFT TO HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM: The best use of celebrity (and its related access 1aa1awademakeoverand wealth) is surprising others with kindness, and understanding that small gestures might mean the world to those who look up to you. Heat star Dwyane Wade gets that. While in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star Game, along with sponsor Gatorade, he did an extreme makeover of the lockerroom of a New Orleans prep basketball team, Riverdale High, that was in the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, turning it from the classic metal-locker high-school room into something closer to NBA standard. Now, the cynic would justifiably note that it didn't cost Wade anything or that making a video of it casts it as easy, inexpensive publicity for Gatorade. Nevertheless, Wade showed up, the school and kids were thrilled, and so for me it's a cool thing all-round. Pictured is a still from the video. Click HERE to watch the 4-minute vid, and feel good.

1aa1asiswimSI'S 50th ANNIVERSARY SWIMSUIT ISSUE: OK I'm only writing about it to give me a cheap vehicle for the mildly naughty cover shot at right. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is patently sexist but yet sort of an American tradition I guess. I hear the 50th anniversary edition will include original models, now mostly in their early 70s, wearing nothing but body paint. Alright, I made that last part up.

A QUICK LESSON IN PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR FIU BASEBALL: Of all the people in the world, of all the former players, FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas chose ex-pitcher Dennis Wiseman to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team's season opener the other night. Unfortunately the honor went to a registered sex offender who'd been arrested years earlier on three counts of improper relations with a student while working at North Miami High. Does that mean Wiseman should forever be shunned by FIU as a persona non grata? Maybe not. But it does mean, Turtle, that you pick somebody else to represent your program with the honor of a first pitch at a season opener.

SPECULATION ON HEAT TRADE: The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday so the rumors and speculation are flying. Much of it amounts to the media hurling s--- at a wall to see 1aa1aevantwhat sticks, but this speculation from Sam Smith of Bulls.com caught my eye. The 76ers have hybrid 6-7 small forward/shooting guard Evan Turner (pictured) on the block, and Smith reports Miami could be interested, with some combination of Udonis Haslem, James Jones and a No. 1 draft pick available, and a third team possibly involved. (Bear in mind Miami's top pick will be near the end of round one, and Heat don't put much stock in the draft, anway). Acquiring Turner would be inetresting. He's only 25, averages 17.5 points this season, and would be a hedge against the lingering injury issue(s) of Dwyane Wade. Plenty of reasons why this might not happen (and I doubt it will), but still worth keeping an eye on the next couple days.

KILL THE NBA ALL-STAR GAME!: Of course by "kill" I pretty much mean "ignore." Why watch? The East beat the West Sunday night, 163-155, and it was like watching a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals game in terms of competitiveness. Even as entertainment 1aa1alebasgit's lacking. There were an even 100 3-point shots taken, and 162 points were scored in the paint -- underlining the disinterest in defense or even the pretense of defense. The NBA dresses up the faux-game in hip-hop -- still love me some old-school Snoop Dogg, or Lion, or whatever -- but the whole affair remains pointless even as the scoring breaks records. (LeBron James scored 22 points, Dwyane Wade 10 and Chris Bosh five, by the way). Only because the NFL and NHL all-star games are such hot messes does the NBA's seem decent by comparison. MLB' s all-star game continues as the only one worth the slightest attention.

LeBron says nothing of value about his future!: LeBron, in an NBA TV interview last night, asked if he could picture himself playing anywhere else: "At this point, I can't, [but] we don't know what can happen from here to July."

Poll result: Dolfans embarrassed, but also sharply divided, by Bullygate: We asked in the last blogpost how serious you think the whole Bullygate controversy was, and 44.5 percent called it a "major embarrassment" but another 37.8% called it minor and "way overblown." Only 16.5% were in between, calling it "fairly serious," and a scant 1.1% were still undecided.

A RECOMMENDED BOOK: Just bought and finished I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers and the March Up Freedom's Highway (Scribner, $26), by Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot. Devoured 1aa1amavisthe 308 pages in two days because I've been a Staple Singers fan since college and currently write the independent Twitter site @mavis_staples -- but also because the story is so engaging. The family group enjoyed chart success in the first half of the '70s but their story starts in rural, deeply-segregated Mississippi and explores their unheralded role in the Civil Rights movement. They were favorites of Martin Luther King. Their music blurred lines between gospel, R&B, soul, funk and pop. Mavis continues to tour to this day, at 74, and as more than just a nostalgia act. Her two most recent albums (produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) both were Grammy-nominated for Best Americana album. Mavis is a national treasure, and the book is wonderful.

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October 16, 2013

Are the Dolphins a playoff team? New poll. Vote now!; plus Heat/NBA over-unders, Doctor Sleep, texting at the movies, Stick-Figure Family backlash & more

1aa1bossIt is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17. I'm back in the Friday Page Dungeon today trying to survive this week's NFL picks. If you hear screaming call 9-1-1. 2) Yesterday was "National Boss Day," a contrivance to which underlings everywhere might mutter, "Isn't every day?" My Boss is pictured. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, LeBron revealed, happy anniversary Steve Bartman, exhilaration and disgust, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).

Canes-North Carolina: Watch for a new, separate blogpost on tonight's Miami Hurricanes-North Carolina game around late afternoon today.

Heat seen as NBA victories leader: Predicatbly, new betting over/unders from Bovada for NBA regular-season victories have Heat on top at 61.5. Followers are Clippers 57, Bulls 56.5, Spurs 55.5 and Rockets/Pacers both 54.5. Caboose is 76ers at 17.

ARE THESE DOLPHINS A PLAYOFF TEAM?: I know. It's a bit early for this. But Miami has so seldom been 1aa1dolposin the NFL playoff picture the past dozen or so years that just being in the conversation is worth chewing on, even pre-Halloween. Besides, the bye week is a pause that invites reflection. The Dolphins at 3-2 entering Sunday's game here vs. Buffalo would hold the sixth and final AFC playoff spot (the second wild-card) if the postseason started now. But five teams are 3-3 and three others have two wins, so the competition down the stretch will be fierce. Betting odds right now (Bovada) are that Miami will not make the playoffs. What do you think? I remind Dolfans who are voting (probably the majority) that this isn't asking what you hope happens but rather what your gut honestly feels will happen. Pull the lever with mind not heart, if you are able. Vote and say why, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

1aa1drsleepDOCTOR SLEEP: Just finished reading Stephen King's latest, Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining. (Not a prequel, as I'd caresslessly called it originally). I'll offer no plot hint except this: I'll never again pass a Winnebago on the Interstate without a glance at the driver. This book is far from my favorite of his, but I flew through the 500-plus pages fast and would recommend it. Then again I'm one of King's Constant Readers. He suffers critically from his popularity, but I'm proud to call him my favorite novelist (not counting Pete Dexter, who, opposite of King's prolificness, doesn't write nearly enough to suit me).

MULTI-TASKING IN MOVIE THEATERS: Movie theaters -- dying like newspapers and hand-written letters -- 1aa1cellmovieneed life breathed into them, but the idea that has caught my eye seems counterintuitive to say the least. A San Francisco venture capitalist named Hunter Walk suggests designated rooms or seating sections that allow (and thus tacitly encourage) texting, Tweeting and web-surfing during the film. At least two chains, Regal and IMAX, think it might be a good idea. Hmm. Remember when you went to the movies to escape the sort of reality embodied by cell phones? Dear Fellow Human: If you cannot leave your smartphone alone for 103 minutes, you may have Attention Deficit Disorder. Seriously.

1aa1figstickSTICK-FIGURE FAMILIES: We've all seen the stick-figure-family decals on the rear windows of cars and (most often, it seems) SUVs. They in turn have spawned response decals such as the one pictured -- and some more crude than this. It's in the same vein as the bumper sticker that reads, "My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student." Response decals are not new. Remember when 'Baby On Board' begat 'Mother-in-Law In Trunk'? But the new wave reflected in the one pictured seem a bit coarse; no, mean-spirited. What's next? A bumper sticker that reads, "You Love Your Schnauzer? I'd Love to Eat Your Schnauzer with Fava Beans."  Or how about a reponse to those R.I.P. in-memorium stickers that reads, "I Don't Give a Crap That Your Loved One Died." C'mon, people! We turn a dark corner as a society when being mean is such a point of pride that we have it on a rolling billboard. Be nice!

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