June 12, 2021

Where's Tua? Ranking our Top 15 South Florida pro athletes 25 and younger; plus Packers' galling disrespect of MVP Rodgers, Messi-to-Miami is getting real; also, belly-button doctor, psychic, angry wife on latest Greg Cote Show podcast & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 12. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz 24-hour marathon broadcast was this past noon Friday through noon Saturday. Check it out on the Le Batard And Friends YouTube channel. I was back on the Le Batard Show yesterday for my regular Tuesday slot. Check thatout on the show's podcasts. 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Behind the scenes inside Le Batard's 24-hour broadcast, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: BELLY BUTTON DOCTOR, PSYCHIC, ANGRY WIFE JOIN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 22nd episode of 2021 and 64th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 64 we've done so far HERE for free. Our new episode features an extremely tired, sleep-deprived Greg broadcasting live at 4 am. A doctor is on to examine Greg's belly button abnormality. Also, a psychic drops by, and the Fancy Lad reveals a bizarre pre-sleep ritual. Plus: Welcome to Miami, Messi! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

WAIT, A TEENAGER? WHERE'S TUA! OUR TOP 15 SOUTH FLORIDA PRO ATHLETES AGES 25 AND YOUNGER: Look around sports and prepare to feel old. Athletes’ careers are lasting longer. The grizzled veteran is not extinct. But Tom Brady reigning over the NFL (again) at age 43 is the anomaly. More common, the greater phenomenon and trend, is the rise and dominance of young Bam
Barkov Tyler Sandy Tuaplayers 25 and under. Patrick Mahomes. Giannis Antetokounmpo. World champion gymnast Simone Biles. Tennis star Naomi Osaka. Gold-medla swimmer Katie Ledecky. MLB lightning rods Valdimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis and Ronald Acuna Jr. American soccer hope Christian Pulisic. Newly minted NBA MVP Luka Doncic. Hockey star Connor McDavid. I have record albums and baseball cards older than all of them. All are 25 or younger. Baby GOATs. Even athletes born in the 2000s are beginning to make their mark. It got me to looking in my own backyard. Who are the top 25-and-under athletes from South Florida’s big five pro teams? Who among the Miami Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Florida Panthers and Inter Miami rate? We first did this exercise way back in 2013 (that list was topped by Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez). Did it again a little over two years ago, in spring 2019. But things change fast. Guys are traded. They get too old to qualify. So it’s time to do t again. Our 2021 top 15 South Florida athletes ages 25 and younger from our big five pro teams. For our full latest column including that top 15 ranking, visit Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athlest 25 And Younger.

ArpackAS TEAMS LIKE DOLPHINS PRAY FOR RIGHT QB, GREEN BAY'S DISRESPECT FOR MVP RODGERS IS GALLING: The Green Bay Packers’ continuing, colossal botchery of the Aaron Rodgers situation is epic. If it ends wrong it will stain one of the NFL’s most storied franchises enough to make the ghost of Vince Lombardi weep. The impasse got real this week as the superstar quarterback and reigning league MVP became an official holdout, boycotting the team’s mandatory minicamp. Packers president Mark Murphy said the impasse “has divided our fan base.” He must be kidding. There isn’t a self-respecting fan who has ever sat at Lambeau under a Cheesehead hat who wouldn’t immediately trade Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur if it meant Rodgers stayed. Do the people running the Packers understand what they have? Maybe the greatest QB ever? A man astonishingly in his prime at 37 based on last season? So many franchises — the Miami Dolphins come to mind — work and plot and dream and hope for decades that they might hit upon a generational talent like Rodgers. Wait. Amend that. Teams will settle for a really good quarterback. Nobody dares think they have just drafted a Hall of Famer, an all-time great. The rarity of hitting big, Rodgers-big, is hitting the lottery stuff. Look at the Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa right now as the 2020 fifth overall draft pick works toward his second season. Not even the most dedicated Dolfan can say with certainty “He’s going to be great” because not even the expert eyes of GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores can be sure yet. Green Bay has what every team wants, but has managed to louse up its relationship with its irreplaceable QB to a degree is demanding to be traded.It’s the biggest story in King Sport even amid the Deshaun Watson scandal and the trades of Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold and Carson Wentz. And amid trades of DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs and now Julio Jones. And 33 first- or -second-round draft picks changing hands this spring. Rodgers staring down the Packers and not blinking is bigger. For our full recent column, visit As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling

MessiLIONEL MESSI-TO-INTER MIAMI IS THE SHOT OF HOPE DAVID BECKHAM'S TROUBLED CLUB NEEDS: What’s real isn’t always obvious or easily discernible in sports. We saw that Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium. If you stick a boxing ring on a football field, and put 44-year-old retired Floyd Mayweather inside it to fight a YouTube star turned made-up fighter named Logan Paul ... is it a boxing match? If there are no judges scoring it and no winner declared in what was a farce of an exhibition? They sold tickets and ESPN covered it, so it must have actually happened. It was as real as “The Bachelorette” and the Kardashians and TikTok celebrity. Something else happened in Miami sports within the past few days, although it didn’t get as much a attention as Jake Paul (Logan’s brother) snatching the hat off Money Mayweather’s head at a prefight event. It seems Lionel Messi is going to play for Inter Miami. Is it real? Will it actually happen? Rumor and speculation tend to transmogrify into reported news when it comes to soccer and the European and South American press. Is it legit? Or is it the National Enquirer reporting that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was assassinated by a hooker? In this case a Catalan-based Spanish daily called Sport, a legitimate media outlet, reported that Messi, the brilliant Argentine forward, is negotiating a new deal to remain with his La Liga club team FC Barcelona beyond his retirement — but including a two-year Major League Soccer swansong in Miami. If it’s true — Messi to Miami — it would be the most exciting sports news down here since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach in 2010. Messi would arguably be the biggest star in his sport to ever suit up for a South Florida team. For our full recent column, visit Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs.

Other most recent columns: Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph. Also: The Pirate Ship Sails! Details, Guests For Le Batard Show's 24-Hour Relaunch and The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal.

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ARCHIVES:

Our Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

Select other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

June 07, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Messi to Miami? Mayweather-Paul. Rotting Fish. Le Batard. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus our behind-the-scenes Le Batard 24-Hours column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 7. Le Batard Show 24-hour marathon broadcast was noon Friday through noon Saturday. Check it out on the Le Batard And Friends YouTube channel -- including the live Greg Cote Show podcast hour from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m! 2) Check out yesterday's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz podcasts for way too much of me. 3) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pirate Ship sails with 24-hour Le Batard Show broadcast, Osaka withdrawal shakes up French Open, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: BELLY BUTTON DOCTOR, PSYCHIC JOIN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 22nd episode of 2021 and 64th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 64 we've done so far HERE for free. Our new episode features an extremely tired, sleep-deprived Greg broadcasting live at 4 am. A doctor is on to examine Greg's belly button abnormality. Also, a psychic drops by, and the Fancy Lad reveals a bizarre pre-sleep ritual. Plus: Welcome to Miami, Messi! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Behind the scenes inside Le Batard Show's 24-Hour marathon. New column: Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph. Other most recent columns: The Pirate Ship Sails! Details, Guests For Le Batard Show's 24-Hour Relaunch and The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 6-7): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. INTER MIAMI: Messi to Miami in two years? Yes, please!The Catalan-based Spanish daily SPORT reported a proposed new Barcelona contract for Lionel Messi that includes a swan-song in MLS with Inter Miami. The 10-year, $293 million deal would have the Argentine great playing the next two seasons for Barcelona, then two for David Beckham here, then six in an off-field role with Barca. If true, Messi would play for Miami in 2023-24 at ages 36-37. We'll take it! But, the way things are going for Inter Miami (off until June 19), we'll believe it when we see it.

2. BOXING (SORT OF): Paul goes distance vs. Mayweather at Hard Rock: Floyd Mayweather and YouTuber Logan Paul staged a boxing match, sort of, last night at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium. There were eight three-minute rounds, 10-ounce gloves, no judges, no headgear and no official winner declared, but Paul went the distance in the exhibition to determine which of two intensely dislikable men would be the least dislikable.

3. HEAT/NBA: Riley backs core; Clips top Mavs Game 7: Heat president Pat Riley in his season-ending presser reiterated his faith in Miami's Butler-Adebayo-Herro core despite being swept out of first round by Milwaukee. Meanwhile the NBA playoffs still going on got its first Game 7 Sunday as Kawhi Leonard's Cliippers topped Luka Doncic's Mavericks to complete the conference semifinal matchups. Dear Pat: When the Clips are out, get to work on Kawhi Leonard. Jimmy, Bam and Tyler are fine. But you need a whale.

4. TENNIS: With French Open path cleared, Serena loses in straight sets: At the French Open's midpoint the path seemed cleared for Serena Williams to perhaps bag her long-elusive, record-tying 24th major win, with Naomi Osaka's controversial withdrawal and Ash Barty's early exit. But Serena fell 6-3, 7-5 Sunday to Elena Rybakina. On the men's side Rafael Nadal is the favorite for the 64th straight year, more so with Roger Federer's Sunday injury withdrawal.

5. MARLINS: Finally! 8-game losing streak ends: Miami is 25-33 and out of the NL East cellar after Sunday's 3-1 win in Pittsburgh behind Sandy Alcantara's strong start ended an eight-game losing streak, the club's longest in six years. Miami had been 0-7 on this road trip (emphasis on trip) before Sunday. Fish are at Boston today before heading home.

6. DOLPHINS: Fins wrap OTAs, Marino's bold statement: fMiami ends OTA workdays with practices Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays prior to the mandatory minicamp June 15-17. Meanwhile Dan Marino said he doesn't want Bill Belichick to break Don Shula's career wins record. Hmm. If you hear something and your reaction is, "Well no DUH!" ... is it really news?

7. DAN LE BATARD: Show pulls off 24-hour Miami marathon: The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz aired 24 consecutive hours Friday and Saturday in a stunt to mark its new era with Meadowlark Media and DraftKings. I was a small part of it. Why aren't I asleep right now?

8. SOCCER: U.S. tops Mexico in renewal of rivalry: Bitter rivals United States and Mexico renewed their men's soccer feud Sunday night in the CONCACAF Nations League championship match in Denver. El Tri had been 3-0-1 vs. the U.S. since the Americans last prevailed in a competitive match in a World Cup qualifier in September 2013 -- but that changed with Sunday night's 3-2 U.S. win. Match was paused due to Mexican fan's boorish anti-gay chants.

9. CANES BASEBALL: UM disappoints (again) in NCAA Regional: Miami's season is done at 33-21. After bombing in the ACC Tournament with two straight losses the Canes went 1-2 and were eliminated Sunday from the NCAA Regional in Gainesville in a 7-2 loss to South Alabama. Canes were vying for an unlikely spot in the June 18-30 College World Series.

10. HORSE RACING: Essential Quality wins Belmont Stakes: Betting favorite Essential Quality comfortably won Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the third of the season's Triple Crown races. The horse may also be awarded the Kentucky Derby crown if Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit is disqualified. The disgraced Baffert is banned two years from Churchill Downs for cheating.

Missing the HB10 cut: Falcons trade WR Julio Jones to Titans for second- and fourth-round picks ..... Duke's Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, is retiring after next basketball season. Sorry your retirement got overshadowed, Celtics prez Danny Ainge ..... Coral Springs' Lexi Thompson leads entering Sunday's final round in search of her first Women's U.S. Open championship in golf ..... Three men who helped the Hurricanes win their fifth national football championship -- QB Ken Dorsey, tackle Bryant McKinnie and and coach Larry Coker -- are among 85 FBS-level players and coaches on the 2022 College Hall of Fame ballot ..... Florida GM Bill Zito in his postseason media Zoom called the season a success and saw positives moving forward despite his team's first-round ouster by Tampa Bay. Lightning, up 3-1 on Carolina, is closest to advancing in Stanley Cup playoff's second round ..... The spring football USFL is re-launching in 2022, 37 years after folding. The new USFL will play with at least eight unnamed teams. Another spring league, the XFL, has been targeting a 2022 restart. Counting on both folding within two years ..... Good for MLB with its inaugural Lou Gehrig Day in the fight against ALS disease ..... In a blow to transgender rights, after months of contentious debate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender females from participating in women’s and girls’ scholastic sports ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,849 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Our Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

Other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

June 05, 2021

The pirate ship sails! Details, guests for Le Batard Show's today-into-Saturday 24-hour marathon; plus Why Osaka withdrawal is curious, complicated. Column; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now with Mike Ryan, other recent columns & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 3. Le Batard Show 24-hour marathon broadcast was noon Friday through noon today/Saturday on Le Batard And Friends YouTube channel. Watch a live Greg Cote Show podcast from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m! 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Heat get swept, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

DanstuTHE PIRATE SHIP SAILS! DETAILS, GUESTS FOR LEBATARD SHOW'S 24-HOUR MARATHON RELAUNCH: Dan Le Batard is sitting in the chair behind the microphone in the cramped studio that is his second home. It is on the second floor of The Clevelander hotel on South Beach, the ocean his backdrop. He is about to set sail on one of the biggest events of his career. The waters are uncharted. “There’s a pirate ship upstairs being built,“ he mentions casually. “With confetti cannons.” Le Batard doesn’t do subtle or understated. There was none of that when he left ESPN in January, forsaking the comfort of the mothership, turning the ultrapopular “Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz” into a free agent seeking new partners and a new future. Seeking freedom from corporate constraints. Neither was it subtle nor understated when Le Batard and John Skipper, his partner in the new content company Meadowlark Media, agreed to a three-year, $50 million sponsorship offer from DraftKings. Le Batard’s self-described “pirate ship” had found safe (and lucrative) harbor. He bet on himself — and won. Now comes the party, also with zero indication of subtlety or understatement: A continuous 24-hour marathon broadcast airing from noon Friday through noon Saturday on the Le Batard And Friends’ new YouTube channel, or via the show’s Twitter or Instagram on social media. The show has hosted massive Mas Miami street parties and done a show live from the Beacon Theater in New York City — but this is its grandest undertaking. Said Le Batard: “This is our family business’ first symbolic step into freedom and being our own boss and working with a non-conventional partner to try and change the way that we do all of this.” For our full latest column: The Pirate Ship Sails! Details, Guests For Le Batard Show's 24-Hour Relaunch

NaomiWHY NAOMI OSAKA'S FRENCH OPEN WITHDRAWAL IS A CURIOUS, COMPLICATED DRAMA: As a vital starting point: When someone tells you they struggle with depression, do not doubt them. I know folks who do. It is a mental health condition both invisible and real. So when tennis star Naomi Osaka wrote on her Instagram this week, “I have suffered long bouts of depression ever since the U.S. Open in 2018” — even though she had not publicly revealed that before — we can only trust that is true and hope she is being treated for the condition. That tournament, her first of four major wins by age 23, of course, was fraught with controversy because Serena Williams — whom Naomi is replacing as tennis queen — bitterly argued with the umpire and incurred a game penalty. Booing continued during the match and into the award ceremony, marring Osaka’s big moment. “It wasn’t necessarily the happiest moment,” Osaka described it. That’s the backdrop to Osaka’s abrupt and stunning withdrawal from the French Open this week, after the tournament fined her $15,000 for refusing to partake in a postmatch media session and threatening to default her from the tournament if that boycott continued. For our full recent column: The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal.

 Coteshow MikeryanGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH MIKE RYAN OUT NOW!: Our 21st episode of 2021 and 63rd overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 63 we've done so far HERE for free. Our latest episode features Le Batard Show producer Mike Ryan on the upcoming 24-hour marathon broadcast, the joy of Chelsea and agony of Inter Miami. Also, Greg and Chris on Heat and Panthers' early playoff exits, Greg mourns a death in the family and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

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ARCHIVES:

Other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

May 29, 2021

Swept! Heat join Panthers in playoffs' early-exit bin. Column from Miami's Game 4 loss; also, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with interactive Mail Sack, my belly button on Le Batard Show & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 29. Check out Tuesday's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz podcasts for way too much of me, including (improbably) my belly button. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Heat and Panthers playoffs, new episode of Greg Cote Show podcast, Happy birthday Bob Dylan & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram

CoteshowMailGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: INTERACTIVE MAIL SACK IN LATEST EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 20th episode of 2021 and 62nd overall is out now. A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 62 HERE for free. Our latest episode features a fun, interactive Greg's Mail Sack in which listeners ask questions on the air. Also, Greg says don't count out Panthers, even down 3-1, and talks Heat. Some Phil and Tebow chatter, too. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

PLAYOFFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA: CATS OUT, HEAT ALL BUT

HeatposHeat get swept in best-of-7 for only 2nd time ever -- Coming off a 34-point loss in Milwaukee in their NBA first round playoff series, the Heat returned home and lost by "only" 29 Thursday night. Miami was in deep trouble in a 3-0 series hole and needed today/Saturday to avoid being swept. They did not, in a 120-103 home loss. My column from the Game 4 loss: Swept! Heat, With No Answers, Lose Game 4 At Home To Bucks.

CatstbPanthers done and out with Game 6 loss in Tampa -- Florida fell 4-0 in Tampa on Wednesday night to exit the NH playoffs with a 4-2 series loss to the Lightning, in an unfortunately harsh first-round matchup for Florida. No Game 7 now, just an offseason to try to figure out how to get a good team great. My column off the game: Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon.

Other Heat/Panthers playoff run columns: Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / and This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now 

Other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right /Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's DeathAaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / and Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins.

 

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ARCHIVES:

Additional most recent columns: Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts  /  and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

May 08, 2021

Aging ex-Dolphins weigh own mortality 1 year after Shula's death. New column; plus Rodgers' Green Bay drama involves Miami (of course), Grade-A draft feeds momentum for on-the-rise Fins, new Greg Cote Show podcast with Tony from Le Batard Show & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 8. I was on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on Thursday this week, and back in-studio for first time in more than a year with a new Back In My Day. Check out yesterday's show podcasts for way too much of me. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' Waddle-led NFL Draft, with mock draft and draft poll results, Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast with draft talk and Anthony (Tony) Calatayud & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow TonyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: DRAFT REVIEW, TONY CALATAYUD ON NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 17th episode of 2021 and 59th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 59 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode features special guest Anthony (Tony) Calatayud, pictured, from the Le Batard Show Shipping Container before mysteriously falling off the pirate ship. Also, Greg raves about the Dolphins draft, how the Arizona Diamondbacks won Twitter and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

ShulaAGING EX-DOLPHINS REFLECT ON OWN MORTALITY ONE YEAR AFTER SHULA'S DEATH: Miami Dolphins fans have spent this week in the afterglow of a successful NFL Draft — one that has them daring to dream that happy days are here again (or at least getting close). Chances are it did not occur to most Dolfans that it was one year ago this week when the architect of the franchise’s happiest days passed away. Don Shula died one year ago Tuesday, at age 90. It is an anniversary worth noting, not with sadness but with fond memories and gratitude. “Hard to believe it’s been a year since he’s been gone,” Larry Little, the old guard, said Wednesday. “Some people you think are going to be around forever, and Coach Shula was one. I think of him often. I’m still missing him.” Eldest son Dave Shula returned to coaching after a 22-year-absence in 2018. He is Dartmouth’s wide receivers coach. The team’s first spring practice was on the anniversary of his father’s passing.“Life goes on as he would want it,” Dave said Wednesday. “I certainly think about it every day. During the season when the last [unbeaten] team lost, we shared some good memories and laughed that Dad was still undefeated. He left this Earth undefeated. And the ‘72 guys in heaven now -- they’re running the table up there now, still undefeated, too.” For our full latest column, visit Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death

ArodgersAARON RODGERS' GREEN BAY DRAMA INVOLVES DOLPHINS? TWO REASONS IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN: It caught my eye as I breezed past ESPN.com Tuesday. Bill Barnwell, the NFL writer, was proposing possible trade offers for Aaron Rodgers. The headline: ‘Seven teams and deals that make sense.’ “Uh-oh,” I thought to myself with dread. I knew it was coming. I clicked on the story as one might nervously press a mysterious button that might or might cause unseen dynamite to detonate. Sure enough, inevitably, predictable as humidity in Miami, there it was: The Dolphins were ranked as the third-likeliest team where a deal for Rodgers seemed possible and made sense, trailing only the second-place Washington No-Names and the top-ranked Denver Broncos. Barnwell posits a complicated three-team trade, which is pretty common in the NBA but almost unheard of in King Sport. He has the Dolphins getting Rodgers and a 2023 fourth-round pick; the Steelers getting Tua Tagovailoa; and the Packers getting 2022 and 2023 first-round picks and a ‘23 fifth-rounder from Miami and a ‘22 first-round pick from Pittsburgh. You’ve heard of football. This is a game of mootball because it will never happen for a variety of reasons. For our full recent column -- including what those reasons  are and a fun list of things Pack should do to make Aaron happy -- visit Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen.
 

DraftpartyGRADE-A DRAFT FEEDS DOLPHINS' MOMENTUM, SEES LONG-DOWN FRANCHISE READY TO RISEAlmost 50 years after the Super Bowl wins and nearly 40 years since Dan Marino’s arrival shot electricity across Miami, the Dolphins are luxuriating in something not seen or felt around here in a long time. The right kind of national attention. Universal praise. The sense this is a franchise to be reckoned with, headed right, ready to matter again in the NFL. Miami won 10 games last season with its best points differential since 2002, its most points scored since 1986 and a defense that tied for fifth in fewest points allowed. Despite an uneven rookie season, the arrival of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa brought excitement and promise in a way not felt since Dan Marino. Now, a draft nothing short of acclaimed. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN gave an A grade to only two of 32 teams for their NFL Draft bounty: the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Dolphins. Said Kiper of Miami’s draft: “Looking at this roster, I don’t think it’s far away from being a Super Bowl contender, and the Dolphins hit their major needs. This is a stellar class overall.” For our full recent column, visit Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins.

Our most recent other columns: Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

May 03, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins draft, Heat, Le Batard, Cats jostle for top spot; plus our mock draft and draft poll results, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now (!) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 3. Farewell, April. Welcome, May! 2) I was back on Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Thursday. Check out that day's show podcasts. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our 30th NFL Mock Draft (and how we did), Le Batard's $50 million DraftKings deal, Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Mina Kimes talking draft & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow TonyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 17th episode of 2021 and 59th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 59 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode, out now, features special guest Anthony (Tony) Calatayud, pictured, from the Le Batard Show Shipping Container before mysteriously falling off the pirate ship. Also, Greg raves about the Dolphins draft, how the Arizona Diamondbacks won Twitter and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

DOLPHINS DRAFT POLL: Mixed results on Waddle, but mostly thumbs up: We asked in a Twitter poll what you thought of Miami picking Alabama WR Jaylon Waddle sixth overall. You said: Love it 30.5%; Like it 29.1%; Hmm 26.5%; Disappointed 14.0%.

MY MOCK DRAFT RESULTS VS. KIPER AND MCSHAY: ESPN's Todd McShay crushed it, with 26 correct first-round picks overall, six misses and a big 11 Exactos -- right player to right team. ESPN's Kiper and your guy Cote both had 25 correct overall, seven misses and seven Exactos. However I give myself the tiebreaker over Kiper because I also had two players pegged to the exact position they were taken, but to different teams. Highlight: One of my Exactos was Hurricane Gregory Rousseau going to Buffalo 30th overall. Neither Kiper nor McShay had Rousseau in their first round. [Find my full 30th annual Mock Draft HERE].

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 2-3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: WR Waddle, ex-Cane Phillips front Miami's draft: Fins didn't luck into top receivers Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase with the sixth overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft in Cleveland, so they picked Jaylen Waddle over Heisman winner DeVonta Smith in a choice of 'Bama wideout toys for Tua to play with. It was hardly "settling"; Waddle's really good. Dolphins addressed edge rush at No. 18 and didn't leave the 3-0-5 in getting ex-Hurricane Jaelan Phillips. Solid Day 1 bounty continued in a heralded draft that ESPN's Mel Kiper graded 'A.'

2. HEAT: Miami back on right side of play-in with seven games left in regular season: Up and down Heat sit sixth now in East after Sunday's win in Charlotte left Miami 35-30 with seven games left in the shortened 72-game season. Miami must finish in top six to make the playoffs proper and avoid the play-in that awaits the 7-through-10 finishers.

3. DAN LE BATARD: Leaving ESPN pays. Le Batard strikes gold with DraftKings deal: Meadowlark Media, the content company formed by Miami's Dan Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper, landed a three-year, $50 million sponsorship deal with DraftKings. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz is Meadowlark's flagship. Good for you, Dan. Can you loan me $20? 

4. PANTHERS: Cats jockey for playoff position as regular seasons wanes: Florida is 34-14-5 and two points back of Carolina in the NHL Central after Saturday's 5-4 win at Chicago. Regular season ends now with three at home: Tonight/Monday vs. Dallas, then Saturday and next Monday vs. rival Tampa Bay. Florida must jump Carolina and win the division to avoid facing Tampa in first round of the playoffs, a very tough draw.

5. HURRICANES: First time in 6 years 2 Canes drafted in first round: Defensive ends Jaelan PPhilhe (18th overall to Miami) and Gregory Rousseau (30th to Buffalo) gave UM two 1R NFL Draft picks for the first time since 2015. Tight end Brevin Jordan (5th round, Houston) and DE Quincy Roche ((6th, Pittsburgh) also were drafted.

6. NFL: Rodgers report breaks ahead of QB-laden NFL Draft: ESPN reported that Packers superstar quarterback, reigning league MVP and mediocre Jeopardy! host Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, the buzz of that looming over the start of the draft. The story of round 1? Five QBs go, including the top three and with all five in the top 15. Only the 1983 draft (with six) had more QBs go 1R.

7. MARLINS: Fish at bottom after being swept at Washington: Miami is 11-16 and last in the NL East, but only 2 1/2 games off the lead after being swept at Washington with Sunday's loss. NL East is the only division in MLB without a team over .500. Who wants it. Anybody?

8. INTER MIAMI: Second-year team in scoreless draw at Nashville: Buried in a new pandemic, Inter Miami's inaugural season began with five straight losses and ended 7-13-3. Year 2 started loss-win. That meant 1-1-0 Miami had a chance for its first-ever winning record Sunday at Nashville. Alas, a 0-0 tie ensued.

9. HORSE RACING: Medina Spirit wins Kentucky Derby: Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby Saturday to commence the 2021 Triple Crown season. Jockey John Velazquez entered the race with 12-1 odds but delivered trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Derby win.

10. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League nears title matchup: Second-leg semifinal matches this week will determine which two teams advance to the Champions League finale. Manchester City carries a one-goal edge over Paris-Saint Germain in their Tuesday match. Wednesday, Real Madrid and Chelsea enter even after a draw in in the first leg.

Missing the HB10 cut: There is now speculation Texans QB Deshaun Watson,  besieged by 23 accusations of sexual misconduct, may not play in 2021 ..... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will sign a bill banning transgender females from women’s and girls’ sports. So  much for the notion of equal rights ..... Four games Sunday will bring us to next Saturday's semifinals in the second-tier FCS college football playoffs. South Dakota State is No. 1 seed of teams still alive from the original 16 ..... Canes baseball is 24-14 entering today's rubber game at Boston College ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is back with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,884 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

IFFY TRADES THAT COST THEM PITTS MEAN DOLPHINS BETTER BE RIGHT ON WADDLE: The top of the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft on Thursday night was all about one thing: Making second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa better. They did it in drafting his former Alabama teammate, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (pictured), sixth overall in the first round of the draft in Cleveland. Another Jwaddleway to frame what the Fins’ draft priority was: Tagovailoa has one less excuse now. The coming season must see a leap from him, a verification why Miami put the franchise keys in his hand just one year earlier. Think about the AFC East moving forward. Buffalo has rising star Josh Allen at quarterback. The New York Jets (Zach Wilson) and New England (Mac Jones) drafted their QBs of the future Thursday night. Tua is suddenly in the mix with three young rivals. Miami went defense with its second first-round pick, and looked to the backyard in drafting former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Jaelan Phillips 18th overall. It was a need-filling smart pick (although I believe DE Kwity Paye, who went three spots later, may have a greater career). The way the draft played out — with coveted tight end Kyle Pitts going fourth overall and receiver Ja’Marr Chase going fifth — limited Miami’s options with its top pick. The Dolphins were left to choose among Waddle, his Bama teammate DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver, or offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Waddle’s name being called felt like a bit of a surprise to some. In a pre-draft poll on Twitter that presumed Pitts would be gone before No. 6, I asked who should Dolphins fans hope Miami takes, with four choices. It was Chase 49.0 percent, Smith 23.9 percent, Sewell 19.5 percent and Waddle only 7.6 percent. But consider: Tagovailoa has played with both Waddle and Smith. Do you think the Dolphins brought Tua in on that decision? Of course they did. Any second-guessing of the Dolphins shouldn’t center on Waddle over Smith or Sewell. But it might legitimately center on the club yo-yoing from the third pick to the 12th and back up to sixth via two major trades. Stay at three and you get Pitts, who is said to be a generational, franchise-changing talent. But in the maneuvering that cost them Pitts the Dolphins gained the 49ers’ first-round draft pick in 2023. So here is what a Dolphins fans must weigh. What would you rather have moving forward: Pitts? Or Waddle plus an additional 2023 first-round pick? It isn’t an easy question or a knowable answer right now. For our full column, visit Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle
 
Dolphins 2021 Draft:
1-6   Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
1-18 Miami DE Jaelan Phillips
2-36 Oregon S Jevon Holland
2-42 Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg
3-81 Boston College TE Hunter Long
7-231 UMass OT Larnel Coleman
7-244 Cincinnati RB Gerrid Doaks
 

Our most recent other columns: Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

April 29, 2021

Dolphins take Waddle, UM's Phillips. My column; pIus our Mock Draft scorecard and poll on Dolphins' first pick; also, Le Batard's $50 million deal with DraftKings, ESPN's Mina Kimes talks draft and Fins in new Greg Cote Show podcast & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's FRIDAY, APRIL 30. I was back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz yesterday. Check out that day's show podcasts. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Mina Kimes talking NFL Draft out now & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowMinaGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: ESPN'S  MINA KIMES TALKS NFL DRAFT IN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new episode, out now, features special guest Mina Kimes of ESPN (pictured) to talk NFL Draft and Miami Dolphins. Also, Mina and Greg face off in a geography quiz. This is our 16th episode of 2021 and 58th overall. A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 58 we've done HERE for free. In our new Ep16, along with Mina, in a Big Reveal we introduce a third member of our podcast team joining Greg and Chris. Also, wait, is that Joe Biden on the phone? Bonus: The Mount Gregmore of Dolphins' all-time worst first round draft picks. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

VOTE IN DOLPHINS DRAFT POLL NOW: It's on Twitter @gregcote. Vote now!

READ THE FULL MOCK DRAFT ONLINE HERE.

NEW COLUMN ON WADDLE PICK HERE.

MockIT'S OUR 30TH ANNUAL NFL MOCK DRAFT, AND THE DOLPHINS GET LUCKY ... TWICE: By the numbers, this is the NFL’s 86th draft, the Miami Dolphins’ 56th, and my 30th annual Miami Herald mock draft. (Does Hallmark make an anniversary card for that?) This also is the 48th draft since the Dolphins last won a Super Bowl, which is why the onus grows ever-heavier on Miami to hit big with its picks and finally end that ponderous drought. This year the Dolphins are one of four teams with two first round picks, and if my 2021 mock is right, coach Brian Flores and Fins fans will be feeling quite giddy come late Thursday. That is because I have Miami landing the draft’s top wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, with the sixth overall pick and getting the highest-ranked defensive end/edge rusher, Kwity Paye, with the 18th selection. Both might take some luck, as I explain below. I figure a fandom waiting 48 years for another parade is due some of that. The past four years my mocks have featured 22 bull’s-eyes (exact player to exact team), including seven last year — one better than ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. That’s pretty good considering our mocking is a brief flurry of tea leaves and tarot cards, not the year-round cottage industry it is for the Kipers. Closest I get to film study is rewatching the “Wizard Of Oz.” I simply cross-reference every team’s needs with best available players and let the darts fly. We do one mock draft only. We also do not assume any draft-night trades, although we mention what’s likely. My only guarantee is that, for the 30th straight year, I will correctly get every first-round pick in exact numerical order, 1 through 32. Ready? Let’s rock. Let’s mock!

Follow along tonight as I live-grade my Mock Draft with these three symbols:

BULLSEYE Bulls-eye indicates a coveted Exacto -- right player to right team. 

 

Checkmark Check-mark indicates I had player in first round, but not to right team.

 

X An 'X' means the player actually drafted was nowhere in my first round.

 

My mock pick / Actual pick / Quick comment:

BULLSEYE1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson / PICK: Trevor Lawrence / Well, no duh. Surest thing in this draft. Maybe in years.

BULLSEYE2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU/ PICK: Zach Wilson / If he's as good as division rival NYJ thinks, it's more pressure on Tua to be the same in Miami. 

Checkmark3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama [Pick from Miami via Houston] / PICK: Trey Lance / First pick with slight amount of doubt.

BULLSEYE4. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida / PICK: Kyle Pitts / Miami needed a miracle here. Didn't get one.

Checkmark5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon / PICK: Ja'Marr Chase / Since 'Gals took Chase, Miami gets Penei Sewell or DeVonta Smith.

Jamarrchase Checkmark6. MIAMI DOLPHINS: JA’MARR CHASE, WR, LSU — [Pick from Philadelphia] Fins already have had a busy draft, yo-yo’ing from third to 12th to sixth with two major trades. They could do it yet again and trade up with Atlanta to get Pitts. I also hear whispers a trade-down with a QB-hungry team might be a possibility if Dolphins felt a top receiver would still be there. But in my scenario, no way Miami bypasses Chase, the draft’s No. 1 wide receiver, if he’s there. Also in this scenario, if Cincy were to snatch Chase (a real possibility), Fins would then have their choice of reuniting Tua Tagovailoa with either of his former Alabama teammates, DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle (and I would give Waddle the edge there). Clearly, Dolphins need to spend this top pick on a weapon for Tua, and Chase would be just that alongside DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Mike Gesicki. Miami’s recent signing of veteran tackle D.J. Fluker was an indication Fins plan to resist the temptation to select Sewell even if he were to fall to them. We nailed Miami top-drafting Tagovailoa last year even as many other mocks thought otherwise. Let’s see if we’re right again / PICK: Jaylen Waddle / A mild surprise. Column coming.

Checkmark7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama / PICK: Penei Sewell / I was only one off where Waddle would be taken. I'm not celebrating.

Checkmark8. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama / PICK: Jaycee Horn / Right position, wrong guy.

Checkmark9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State / PICK: Patrick Surtain II / Close. If only close counted.

Checkmark10. Dallas Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina / TRADE: Philadelphia selects DeVonta Smith / Had Smith going 11th. Again, close don't count. 

Checkmark11. New York Giants: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama / TRADE: Chicago selects Justin Fields / And the Bears' QB carousel spins on.

Checkmark12. Philadelphia Eagles: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State [From Miami via San Francisco] / TRADE: Dallas selects Micah Parsons / Damn! Had Parsons going 12th, but to different team.

BULLSEYE13. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT/G, Northwestern / PICK: Rashawn Slater / Bull's-eye! I needed this.

BULLSEYE14. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech / TRADE: N.Y. Jets select Alijah Vera-Tucker / Bull's-eye because an Exacto is right player to right team, and (see below) Minnesota selected Darrisaw 23rd after trade.

Checkmark15. New England Patriots: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State / PICK: Mac Jones / Right position. Didn't you know Belichick would luck into a QB?

Checkmark16. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech / PICK: Zaven Collins / A bit higher in round than expected.

X17. Las Vegas Raiders: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG/T, USC / PICK: Alex Leatherwood / What the ... who!? What a reach. Our first outright miss.

Paye Checkmark18. MIAMI DOLPHINS: KWITY PAYE, DE, MICHIGAN — After scoring a toy for Tua with the sixth overall pick, the Fins turn to D and nab the draft’s top-rated edge rusher. Miami needs more heat on opposing QBs to balance a solid pass defense and Paye will bring it. Great story, too. Paye is Liberian but was born in a refugee camp in Guinea in the wake of the first Liberian Civil War before his family emigrated to the U.S. when he was an infant. If Paye is off the board, look for Fins to look hard in the backyard at Hurricanes edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, although his injury/concussion history might give pause. Wouldn’t be stunned if Fins reached for a running back here (Travis Etienne?), but neither would I bet on it / PICK: Jaelan Phillips / Right position, wrong player. If Phillips stays healthy a great pick.

X19. Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB / PICK: Jamin Davis / One of the last guys I left out of my first round.

Checkmark20. Chicago Bears: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida / TRADE: N.Y. Giants select Kadarius Toney / Damn. Had him right here but to different team. Second time that's happened. 

Checkmark21. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami / PICK: Kwity Paye / This is the guy I thought Miami should have taken over Phillips. (Mark my words).

Checkmark22. Tennessee Titans: Trevon Moehrig, S, Texas Christian / PICK: Caleb Farley / Strong pick. I had Farley going 16th.

Checkmark23. New York Jets: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern [Pick from Seattle] / TRADE: Minnesota selects Christian Darrisaw / Had him going sooner.

BULLSEYE24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama / PICK: Najee Harris / Ding ding din! Bull's-eye.

Checkmark25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama [Pick from L.A. Rams] / PICK: Travis Etienne / Jags loadin' up on offense.

Checkmark26. Cleveland Browns: Zaven Collins, OLB/DE, Tulsa / PICK: Greg Newsome II / I had him going 23rd.

X27. Baltimore Ravens: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia / PICK: Rashod Bateman / Barely missed our first round.

X28. New Orleans Saints: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State / PICK: Payton Turner / Wow. This DE was not on my 1R radar.

X29. Green Bay Packers: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss / PICK: Eric Stokes / Cornerback? Another pick to not thrill miffed Aaron Rodgers.

BULLSEYE30. Buffalo Bills: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami / PICK: Gregory Rousseau / Nailed it. Bull's-eye!

X31. Baltimore Ravens: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State [Pick from Kansas City] / PICK: Jayson Oweh / On our radar but just missed.

X32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson / PICK: Joe Tryon / Ouch. Too many X's on our board this year.

DanLE BATARD'S MASSIVE $50 MILLION DEAL WITH DRAFTKINGS: "WE CASHED A BET WE MADE ON OURSELVES": The biggest question in sports media — where will the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz end up? — now has an answer. It came Tuesday afternoon with the announcement that Meadowlark Media and DraftKings have formed a multiplatform partnership for the popular Miami Beach-based show. Meadowlark Media is the Draftkingscontent company Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper formed in January, the Le Batard Show its flagship entity. Starting in June or by early July, DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports and sports betting operator, will distribute the Le Batard Show on any and all platforms including radio, television, podcast and social media. The Miami Herald was told DraftKings is spending about $40 million in a three-year deal. The Wall Street Journal reported the deal as $50 million. Sirius XM, Peacock and iHeart Radio were among a half dozen entities in a bidding war to land the Le Batard Show. An industry source said Sirius was pushing hard, offering tens of millions in money and pitching the Le Batard Show as the sports heir to that network’s megapopular Howard Stern Show. Sirius XM was a tempting offer because of Le Batard’s oft-stated love of live radio, but he did not want a situation that would have put his listeners behind a paywall or force them to subscribe to listen. "We didn’t want to do that to our listeners," Le Batard told the Miami Herald. "The thing that I chose was freedom. Every time I’ve negotiated anywhere was for freedom, not money. This allows Meadowlark to be profitable from the start, and have total freedom to do what we want. We can go forward and appear everywhere. We can make partnerships anywhere we want. We don’t have any corporate overlord. Our partner is our sponsor and what they are sponsoring is our freedom." For our full story, visit Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big.

Our most recent columns: Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me / and Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

April 17, 2021

What would Jackie Robinson think of race in America today? New column; plus case for Dolphins trading up for Pitts, Matsuyama's Masters win lifts Japan in time of anti-Asian hate, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

Mecane1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 17. We were back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on Tuesday. Find that day's show podcasts, including a new Back In My Day. One of the reasons I love being on Dan's show is the fans. They are super loyal, engaged and talented. Example: Dan jokes on-air that I should adopt a royal persona and walk into press boxes carrying a scepter. So a bunch of stuff related to that turns up online including the photo shown. So sublimely ridiculous. Love it. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top10, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Song of the Week: "Chosen Family," Rina Sawayama with Elton John.

Coteshow DavepGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH DAVE PARKER, ROY BELLAMY OUT NOW!: Our 15th podcast of 2021 (57th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 57 we've done HERE for free. In our new Ep15 we welcome in two special guests: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Dave Parker (pictured in his swaggery days), and, from the Le Batard Show, Roy Bellamy. Parker has a new autobiography out and he speaks about being denied the Hall of Fame, his fight with Parkinson's disease and more. And get to know the inscrutable Bellamy in a fun chat about his bucket list, what scares him and more. (And do we get Roy to sing? Find out). Also: The Mount Gregmore of all-time best food genres and dishes. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

JackieSOMBER SURROUNDINGS FOR JACKIE ROBINSON DAY '21. NEW COLUMNJackie Robinson would be 102 years old today, had fate given him a longevity of life to approach the importance and magnitude of the one he led. Instead he died much too soon, at 53, of a heart attack in his home in 1972. Heart disease and diabetes had left him barely able to see by middle age. Tens of thousands of mourners, fans and admirers lined the streets of his funeral procession in Brooklyn. And the mind wonders, on this day of all days: What would this American hero, the man who broke the color line in Major League Baseball and died nearly blind — what would he be thinking if he could see what was happening now? In the America he worked to change by being on the front lines against racism and prejudice? In the America that still hasn’t changed nearly enough 74 years after this man endured the death threats aimed at the first Black man allowed into baseball’s highest level. Thursday is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB, the annual day of reflection when baseball honors his legacy on the anniversary of his MLB debut. When throughout the majors, so many players who had it a little easier because of him wear his number 42 to say thanks. What would Jackie Robinson be thinking as a jury verdict neared in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin? For our full latest column, visit Progress? Or heartache? What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?

KpittsMIAMI DOLPHINS NEED TO MAKE ONE MORE BOLD DRAFT TRADE AND GO ALL-IN FOR THIS PLAYER: The Miami Dolphins have been the most interesting, active player in the buildup to the NFL Draft, trading down from the third overall pick to the 12th and then moving back up to the sixth. But their work shouldn’t be done. The Fins’ aggressiveness and daring have one bold move left before they are on the clock in the first round come April 29. Miami should do what it must to get in the Atlanta Falcons’ ear and trade up two spots to the fourth pick, and there should be a determined urgency for one reason: Kyle Pitts. There is no one in this draft who would be a greater difference-maker for the Dolphins over the next 10-plus years because there is no one else in this draft who would be a greater difference-maker in what quarterback Tua Tagovailoa becomes. His Florida Gators coach, Dan Mullen, called Pitts a “unicorn.” I’d call him a generational talent who had to have been created in the laboratory or imagination of some day-dreaming offensive coordinator. For our full recent column, visit The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts.

WON'T FIX THE WORLD, BUT MATSUYAMA'S MASTERS WIN LIFTS JAPAN IN A TIME OF ANTI-ASIAN HATE: Sometimes sports delivers us a result that just feels right, like there is a heart behind the hand of fate. The Masters golf tournament did that for us Sunday. Hideki Matsuyama did that. You couldn’t help but feel good, for Hidekithe player, for the Japanese people — and for more than that — as he wrapped himself into the most beautiful ugly green jacket in the history of men’s wear. No event in sports means to tug at the heartstrings or does it better than the Masters, an air of history and reverence within golf’s singular cathedral, the gentle description of CBS’ Jim Nantz the perfect soundtrack. The troika of treachery called Amen Corner. The riotous bloom of azaleas. The impossible quaintness of Butler Cabin. The Masters unfurls as a visually stunning tableau, an oil painting come to life. An infamous past is a part of the portrait. For too many decades Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club was a society open only white men. Blacks and women need not have applied. The Masters deserves little praise for being goaded reluctantly to join the 21st Century. That is why this particular Masters felt special. Different. It felt that way in Thursday’s annual ceremonial start, when old-timers Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were joined on the first tee by Lee Elder, who 46 years earlier had become the first Black man permitted to play this tournament. Now 86, Elder was not up to hitting a tee shot but rose elegantly from his chair, with help, to acknowledge the applause of onlookers. The ceremonial honor given Elder, better late than never, was book-ended Sunday when Matsuyama became the first Japanese man to win the Masters — the first man from golf-mad Japan to win any major. In a time of anti-Asian racism and hate, this victory lifted the spirits of a nation. And that felt right. For our full recent column, visit It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Our most recent other columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / and The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft. Also: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Other recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

April 10, 2021

Talk of U.S. Olympic boycott reminds us sports, politics mix -- but that's good. New column; plus how Kawhi Leonard-to-Heat could happen, Dolphins' 6 options for great No. 6 pick in draft, new Greg Cote Show podcast (is that Dick Stockton singing?) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 10. I was back in my regular Tuesday spot this past week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check it out on the show's podcasts. Includes the return of Bitter Mickey Mouse. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast with broadcasting legend Dick Stockton & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow DickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN LATEST EPISODE OUT NOW!:
Our 14th podcast of 2021 (56th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 56 we've done right HERE for free. In our new Ep14 we welcome in special guest Dick Stockton (pictured), the newly retired sports broadcasting legend. In a fun chat, he talks about his career and most famous call and does play-by-play on Chris eating a bowl of cereal. And he sings! Also: A new 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies,' the Mount Gregmore of all-time best sitcom casts, plus loanDepot park and MLB moving its All-Star Game. Almost forgot: Will Greg's toenail soon be for sale? Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

BeijingolysTALK OF U.S. OLYMPIC BOYCOTT REMINDS US SPORTS, POLITICS ARE ENTTWINED. AND THAT'S GOODThe United States and allies weigh boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics n China. Megan Rapinoe rips Draymond Green’s pay-gap comments. Major League Baseball moves its All-Star Game from Atlanta because of a new voting law. Remember when sports stuck to sports and didn’t mess with politics? Yeah, me neither. Those simpler times, a.k.a. good old days, are a fallacy, a figment. In my lifetime, at least. (And chances are pretty good I’m older than you). They are snapshot memories in black and white. Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali in 1964 and later refusing military induction to object to the Vietnam War. Tommie Smith and John Carlos with black-gloved fists raised from the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics. Billie Jean King’s 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match a shot fired for gender equality. The inseparability of sports and politics always has existed; it only seems magnified now because ESPN and social media and the rest make it all instant and amplified. The latest example of the intermingling: Talk that the U.S. and allies may consider boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights record. For our full latest column, visit Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good.

Kawhi LeonardIT'S WHALE SEASON AGAIN, AND HERE'S WHY MIAMI HEAT LANDING KAWHI LEONARD COULD HAPPEN: Kawhi Leonard to the Miami Heat. How’s that for getting right to the point? Kawhi Leonard to Miami demands a question mark at the moment, but that could turn to an exclamation point by this summer if the smoke we’re seeing becomes a fire involving the Heat. This is what sports has become. How it has evolved through the years for both fans and media. It’s less and less about what is and more and more about what’s next. The result of a given game is seldom as big or important as where your team is headed. In the draft. In trades. In free agency. What’s next? As players broker increasing power, and more so in the NBA than in other sports, the landscape is in constant flux. Smart teams (or lucky ones) are one seismic move from instant relevance and championship contention. So: Leonard (pictured) to the Heat. It exists for now in that murky world where rumor and speculation are in a Petri dish and might or might not grow into eventual truth. But the possibility of it, the plausibility of it, is so tantalizing as to demand a public airing. It is the whim of one player from happening. From giving Miami a Big 3 era 2.0 with Kawhi, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. It feels like there could be a legit chance this time. Heat president Pat Riley, at 76, is cast in this drama as Santiago, the fisherman in Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Santiago was obsessed with a giant marlin. Riley prefers whales.We have seen in recent years his lines cast in expeditions involving Kevin Durant and then James Harden and then (until he signed an extension with Milwaukee) Giannis Antetokounmpo. But Miami landing those whales never seemed likely. Now feels different. For our full recent column: How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen

THE MIAMI DOLPHINS' 6 CAN'T-LOSE OPTIONS FOR A GREAT NO. 6 PICK IN THE NFL DRAFT: Quietly, the Miami Dolphins in the buildup to this month’s NFL Draft have reminded anyone paying attention how confident this front office is in its plan and direction. This is a franchise that sees itself close to being playoff-good and sustaining that level — with a vision Kylepittsthat smartly isn’t all about right now. We saw that with the two recent aggressive trades that shook up the first round. The result was Miami bumping down slightly from the third to the sixth overall pick this year but gaining an extra 2023 first-round selection. That was brilliant because A) it showed a vision to think beyond this year, or next, and B) it was tailored to April 29 in particular. Unless all of the Mel Kipers and other draftniks have it wrong, the first three players chosen — maybe the first four — will be quarterbacks. That means the Dolphins knew they would get a player they covet and need even with the dip from third to sixth. The teams wishing to trade up made it a ripe market for the Fins to move down, and they took advantage. The first-round maneuvering also verified that coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier have been truthful in their publicly stated he’s-our-guy faith in second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Deshaun Watson megatrade speculation that flared earlier this spring has cooled to near nonexistence (the spate of sexual misconduct allegations against Watson part of that). And the willingness to move down from three to six shouts loud that the Dolphins have zero intention of spending a second consecutive No. 1 pick on a QB. The aim with the sixth pick should and will be help for Tagovailoa, building around the faith in him. With the top pick certain to be Trevor Lawrence to Jaguars and the next two all-but-certain to be Zach Wilson to Jets and Mac Jones to 49ers, the draft will get interesting for Dolfans starting at four. The Falcons at four and Bengals at five might poach players that interest Miami, but with a little luck at least one might not. Atlanta really likes North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, and if like turns to love the Falcons drafting him to groom as Matt Ryan’s replacement would make sense. Cincy is expected to select a wide receiver for Joe Burrow, but a trade-down could be tempting if, say, New England or Denver are desperate to move up and select a QB such as Lance or Justin Fields. Here is our “Six at Six” list of players at the top of Fins’ radar for their first pick (Kyle Pitts, pictured, is one of them), ranked in order. For our full recent column, visit: The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft.

 

Other most recent columns: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect (off Opening Day loss) / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope (season preview) / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time (tribute column).

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Our other most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness.

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

February 20, 2021

These 2 questions will guide Dolphins' decision on Watson vs. Tua. New column; plus Serena's legacy firm yet unfinished, and Marlins double down on youth; also, latest Greg Cote Show podcast has ESPN's Tim Kurkjian and Valentine's surprise & more

1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, three most recent columns, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Search out Tuesday's podcasts of the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz for way too much of me including the new 'Back In My Day' (Shoes!).

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: LATEST EPISODE WITH TIM KURKJIAN AND ROMANCE IN THE AIR!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 7 of 2021 (49th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 49 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. In the new Ep7 of '21, we bring in ESPN expert Tim Kurkjian to baseball and Marlins as MLB spring training unfurls. Also, Greg and Chris reveal the genuinely (and uncharacteristically) romantic thing they did to surprise and delight their wives on Valentine's Day. Plus the return of Greg's Mail Sack and a new Mount Gregmore. Hear all of that and more in our latest podcast. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

TWO QUESTIONS (AND ANWSERS) WILL DETERMINE DOLPHINS' DECISION ON WATSON VS. TUA: At sports’ most important, celebrated and focused-on position bar none — quarterback — we have never seen an offseason such as the one the NFL is smack dab in the middle of. The Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl just past was the reminder nobody needed: Deshaun WatsonThat a great QB is only about as important to your franchise as oxygen, or air-conditioning in South Florida. And that mediocrity at the position is a curse that can rob you of relevance for decades. QB greatness as the sport’s towering Holy Grail is why five more golden arms led by Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence surely to Jacksonville No. 1 overall are pegged for the first of round of April’s NFL Draft by ESPN guru Todd McShay in his latest mock. He has QBs going 1-2-3-4. Which has never happened. Like never before, though, this offseason finds passer-hungry teams weighing whether to trust the draft for their answer, or dive into the treasure trove of available veteran quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford already has been traded, from Detroit to the L.A. Rams for Jared Goff and two first-round picks. Thursday, the Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts for two picks. Philip Rivers has retired. Drew Brees looks like hes about to. And we’re just getting started with this game of QB roulette, a Wheel of Fortune. Deshaun Watson, very publicly demanding a trade out of Houston. Dak Prescott, a free agent in Dallas. Aaron Rodgers, reigning league MVP, uncertain about his future in Green Bay. Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo — all the subject of available-for-trade reports and speculation. With Stafford and Wentz traded and most experts believing Prescott and Rodgers will stay put, the intriguing grand prize is Watson. It’s a staring march as the player vehemently want to be traded but the Texans thus far indicating no intention to do so. Who will force whose hand? Who blinks first here? About a third of NFL teams would consider a hard run at getting Watson — the Miami Dolphins at or near the top of that list. For our latest column, please visit These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua.

SerenaSERENA'S LOSS AT AUSSIE OPEN LEAVES HER LEGACY FIRM YET STILL UNFINISHED. LATEST COLUMN: She wore this black designer T-shirt the other day with her name in bright white block letters — except the last four letters of her surname were intentionally gray and barely visible. So SERENA WILL is what you saw. It looked a declaration. A promise she intends to keep. But today it is fair, again, to ask: Will she? Serena Williams, iconic athlete and tennis great, aimed for a record-tying 24th career major singles title at this month’s Australian Open. She faced young rival Naomi Osaka in a semifinal match Thursday in Melbourne, one of the children she raised as she grew the sport. Naomi was not yet born when her idol turned pro in 1995, and had not quite turned 2 when Serena won her first major, a U.S. Open, in 1999. “She’s Serena,” said Osaka when the semifinal pairing was set. “I’m intimidated when I see her on the other side of the court.” The outset of the match (played late last night, U.S. Eastern) went like that. An early service-break put Serena in command, 2-0. But it unraveled from there for the woman chasing history, as Osaka roared back to win, 6-3, 6-4. For our full recent column on Serena denied history yet again, please visit Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished.

MIAMI MARLINS DOUBLE DOWN ON YOUTH PLAN AS REST OF NL EAST SPENDS BIG. COLUMN: Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and primary owner Bruce Sherman (pictured) availed themselves to Djetermedia on a 45-minute Zoom call Monday, and had it been a drinking game and you had the word “progress,” you’d have left that meeting swaying like Tom Brady being helped off a parade boat. Progress, they want as the fourth season of their ownership unfurls with the start of spring training. No timetable on that road to sustained winning, no guarantees, no predictions. Just progress, please. “I’m not one to make guarantees, but I will guarantee you this,” Jeter said with a wry smile. “Our attendance will be higher in ‘21 than it was in ‘20.” It will indeed. After the pandemic-tossed 2020 season was limited to 60 games and no fans, Jeter announced a “limited capacity just north of 20 percent” would be welcomed back this year starting on Opening Day April 1. That would mean around 8,000 or so per game, should that many fans feel comfortable going with COVID-19 still around. There are no plans for COVID-sniffing dogs at Marlins Park such as the Miami Heat have. “Maybe I’ll let one sit outside my house,” kidded Jeter. Having fans back is hugely important for this ballclub more than most because Jeter/Sherman are doing more than trying to build a winner. They are trying to prove (against prevailing doubt) that Miami can be a baseball town. Seeing that progress on the field in 2021 will be a big ask. For why that is and our full recent column, please visit Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big.

Our other most recent columns: Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh InInter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company

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Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V starring Dolphins up for NFL Honors including Zach Thomas for Hall of Fame; Smirk IV starring Top 10 Super Bowl scandals/controversies; Smirk III starring sad, gradual death of the mystique of the Super Bowl commercial; Smirk II starring Brady-Mahomes as bitter Joe Exotic/Carole Baskin/Tiger King rivals; and Smirk I starring a virtual Super Bowl Week not remotely like usual.

Select other most recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Dolphins' Re-Commitment to Tua is Smart, And Well-Timed / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing CollapseIt Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).