November 07, 2019

Hurricanes lose basketball opener, but it's UM fans who disappoint. Latest column; plus tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick, NFL Week 9 PIx 'n Fantasy results, Fins still in great draft shape despite win, Canes football among all-time top 150 games & more

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7. Scroll to our previous blogpost for results of the latest Dolfan and Canesfan postgame polls -- both season highs. 2) Watch for the NFL Week 9 Pix 'n Fantasy results and updated Herald NFL QB rankings right here later this afternoon. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Jets with DSM poll, Canes beat FSU with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Le Batard's return to air & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick: This is something rare. A true tossup game. But, for me, it turns on one factor. Visit Week 10 Thursday Gem to find out what that is, and who wins.

Canes basketball loses opener, but it's the crowd that disappoints: Miami opened its 2019-20 men's basketball season last night with an 87-74 home loss to No. 5-ranked Louisville. It wasn't that close. Cardinals led by as many as 32 before a bunch of garbage time Canes points. But the UM team didn't disappoint. Its fans did. For my full column from the arena, please visit Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint.

FinswinCHILLAX, DOLFANS: MIAMI IN GREAT DRAFT SHAPE DESPITE 'COSTLY' WIN. NEWEST COLUMN: Miami as a sports town can be an easy target for derision, so when we get a weekend the like the one just past, it is worth savoring by a collective fan base that deserves the respite, the feel-good. Hurricanes crush Florida State 27-10 in Tallahassee, running Noles coach Willie Taggert straight outta town. Panthers blank Detroit 4-0 for a first Florida shutout by new goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Heat dominate a strong Houston team 129-100 behind a record-setting 46-14 first quarter. And Dolphins turn back bitter-rival New York Jets 26-18 for their first win of the season. It had been more than two years, since Oct. 21-22, 2017, since a Saturday and Sunday delivered wins by all four South Florida teams. The notable difference in those wins? Canes, Panthers and Heat fans are purely happy today. Dolphins fans — at least a good portion of them — are wondering if this will prove to be a win too costly. It is perfectly fitting for the snake-bit Fins: At midseason they finally win a game to shed the specter of 0-16, and half of their fans are wringing hands, caught between pumping fists and wondering, "Oh what have we done?" So let us recalibrate the Race to the 2020 NFL Draft. It is the dubious race for the No. 1 overall pick (worst team wins), but not every team is eyeing a quarterback, a distinction that works in Miami’s strong favor. We size up the five teams best-positioned for No. 1 at midseason in our recent column. To read in full, please visit Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick.

Our other most recent work: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day, from stadium off Sunday's win. Also: NFL Week 9 Gems / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 9: SOLID, SOLID II, OUCH: NFL picks -- Solid. We went 11-3 overall and 8-5-1 against the spread last week. We'll take both. Especially pleased to nail another Upset of the Week pick ("Aawwk!") with Dolphins beating Jets. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Solid II. Greg's Lobos improved to 5-4 with a 89.9 to 63.6 triumph over Papi. All that went right was 36 points from Mike (Money) Evans but that was enough this week. We're tied for sixth place and playoff-hopeful. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Ouch. Lobos fell to 5-4 with a 128-89 loss to snuff a four-game win streak. Deshaun Watson led us with 19 points, while big producers Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs all underperformed. Still in fourth place and looking good for the playoffs. Go 'Bos!

THE LIST: CANES FOOTBALL GAMES AMONG ALL-TIME TOP 150: ESPN named the top 150 college football games of all time as a part of celebrating the sport's 150th anniversary, and Miami turned up 11 times -- including four of the top six. Complete list here. The 11 UM games to make it:

Ob84Rank    Game                                                                Date, Occasion

2          No. 5-UM d. No. 1-Nebraska, 31-30                    1-2-84, Orange Bowl (right)

4          10-Boston College d. 12-UM, 47-45                    11-23-84, "Hail Flutie"

5          2-Penn State d. 1-UM, 14-10                              1-2-87, Fiesta Bowl

6          4-Notre Dame d. 1-UM, 31-30                            10-15-88, "Catholics vs. Convicts"

25        2-Ohio State d. 1-UM, 31-24 (OT)                       1-3-03, Fiesta Bowl

27        3-UM d. 4-Florida State, 26-25                           10-3-87

41        Maryland d. 6-UM, 42-40                                    11-10-84

48        2-UM d. 1-Florida State, 17-16                           11-16-91

58        7-UM d. 1-Florida State, 27-24                           10-7-00

62        2-Alabama d. 1-UM, 34-13                                  1-1-93, Sugar Bowl

84.       UM d. 3-UCLA, 49-45                                          12-5-98 

Note: I'm honored to have covered (I think) eight of these 11, including the top four. 

Other select recent columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 01, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 9 picks for Dolphins-Jets, upsets and all the rest; plus Radio Friday!, our Fins/Tua and Tim Donaghy columns & more

Halloween1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Hope ya'll had a Happy Halloween! Oh and welcome November! 2) Condolences on the passing this week of the great former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, who died at 84. I knew Sam very well in the 1980s. He was a good man and a good AD. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins must stayed focused on Tua, Fins lose in Pittsburgh with DSM poll, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 8 results & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: Double duty this week. I'm back in-studio today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10 to 1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. And watch for a local-only hour linked from the show's social media platforms.

PicksDOLPHINS-JETS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. We went a perfect 15-0 straight-up last week and a tough 7-8 against spread despite hitting on two outright upset picks. This week, will the still-winless Dolphins win at home vs. the equally bad Stinkin' Jets? What about our Patriots-Ravens Game of the Week? And our three new upset picks? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode of prognostication that is our NFL Week 9 Gems. We can't top 15-0, but we can try. Got off to a mixed start last night. Had Niners beating Cardinals and also covering. They won, but didn't cover. You let me down, San Fran D.

TuaEyes on the prize! Why Dolphins must remain steadfast for Tua: We’ve been reading and hearing it from South Florida media to the talking heads on Monday's Dolphins-Steelers telecast. The what-if game on the 2020 NFL Draft. The notion that whomever ends up with the No. 1 pick next spring — including the favorite, Miami — dare not pass on the draft’s hot new shiny object, Ohio State’ havoc-wreaking pass rusher Chase Young. No! Let's hope this is a false narrative floated purely for the sake of argument. Because, at least in the Dolphins’ case, it is an absurd supposition that Miami should or might bypass the franchise arm for anybody else The whole point of this season, this exquisitely orchestrated tanking, is to wind up with Tua Tagovailoa. The full column: Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua!

IgameDisgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks game-fixing: He was at the center of one of NBA's major scandals of the 2000s. A movie about it is out this week. We spoke with the villain himself. The fiull column: Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal. The movie preview: Inside Game Trailer.

Our most recent other columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Previous other select columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 31, 2019

Eyes on the prize! Dolphins mustn't waver on Tua. Latest column; plus DSM result after Fins' Monday loss, disgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks NBA scandal, tonight's 49ers-Cards pick, NFL Pix n Fantasy Week 8 results including my perfect 15-0 & more

Halloween1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31. Happy Halloween! Have fun, stay safe. Oh and see you next year, October. 2) Condolences on the passing of the great former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, who died yesterday at 84. I knew Sam very well in the 1980s. He was a good man and a good AD. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes win at Pitt with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's 49ers-Cardinals pick: Astonishingly the Cards have won eight in a row in this season. Will an upset make it nine. Answer here: Week 9 Thursday Gem.

Herald Week 8 NFL QB rankings: We welcome back our Week 8 winner and crown a new season leader. Visit Herald Week 8 NFL QB Rankings.

TuaEYES ON THE PRIZE! WHY DOLPHINS MUST REMAIN STEADFAST FOR TUA TAGOVAILOA. LATEST COLUMN: Eyes on the prize, Miami Dolphins. Stay strong. Focus. As the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose famously sang in 1972, "It’s too late to turn back now." We’ve been reading it and hearing it from South Florida media to the talking heads on this week’s Dolphins-Steelers Monday Night Football telecast. The what-if game on the 2020 NFL Draft has begun. The notion that whomever ends up with the overall No. 1 pick next spring — including the favorite, Miami — dare not pass on the draft’s hot new shiny object, Ohio State’ havoc-wreaking pass rusher Chase Young. As if on cue, ESPN draftnik Todd McShay this week elevated Young to No. 1, ahead of Tua Tagovailoa, in his latest updated draft rankings. Let us hope the suggestion the Fins should consider drafting Young ahead of a generational QB qualifies as a classic sports straw man — a false narrative floated purely for the sake of argument. Because, at least in the Dolphins’ case, it is an absurd supposition that Miami should or might bypass the franchise arm because, what, the trendy defensive end is a point higher on your draft board? The whole point of this season, of this exquisitely orchestrated tanking, is to wind up with Tua Tagovailoa (pictured), the generational QB from Alabama. For the full column, please visit Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua!

InsidegameDisgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks game-fixing: He was at the center of one of NBA's major scandals of the 2000s. A movie about it is out this week. We spoke with the villain himself. For our recent column, please visit Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal. For the movie's preview: Inside Game Trailer.

Our most recent other columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Also: Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / and Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Pit miaG7: @PITTSBURGH 27, DOLPHINS 14: ANOTHER TEASE, ANOTHER FADE, STILL WINLESS: [See latest DSM results below] Is Original post: Is the No. 1 victory of the season most important, Miami fans? Or is it the No. 1 overall draft pick? You can have both. It's just that getting the former hurts your chances of having the latter. The winless and allegedly tanking 0-6 Miami Dolphins take the Monday night stage seen quite literally as the Not Ready For Prime Time Players. I cannot recall any 2-4 team being this big a favorite (14 1/2 points), but that is a commentary not on the Steelers’ latent greatness, but on the subterranean regard for Miami. The Fins actually have been appreciably better lately. Competitive! But like all bad teams they have found ways to lose. In Buffalo last week Christian Wilkins gets himself ejected 33 seconds into the game, two huge turnovers steal a likely win, then afterward, in a punctuation of "undisciplined," Bobby McCain angrily confronts a 13-year-old Bills fan. Miami traveled north with a depleted secondary; meanwhile Minkah Fitzpatrick is a Steeler. Pittsburgh, off a bye week, gets QB Mason Rudolph back healthy and expects RB James Conner back, too. I still like Ryan Fitzpatrick and an improving Fins offense getting this many points. If Miami has zero turnovers (admittedly a large ask), this thing might even be interesting late. Cote’s pick: Pittsburgh, 27-16. Click NFL Week 8 Gems for all our latest picks -- we're a perfect 14-0 straight-up entering tonight. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll right after tonight's game ends.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 28.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 28.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Monday night’s 27-14 Dolphins loss at Pittsburgh putting Miami’s season record at 0-7. That's a huge drop, and the first time this season the total has been less than the game before. Is the cost of "Tanking For Tua" finally kicking in with fans?  In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Wednesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. N.Y. Jets. 

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 8: PERFECT! GREAT! MARVELOUS!: NFL picks -- Perfect! Literally. We were 15-0 straight-up, running the table on the week -- nearly unheard of. We were an OK 7-8 against the spread, including a bull's-eye on our Eagles over Bills Upset of the Week and another outright upset with Chargers over Bears. Also had Miami with points at Pittsburgh. Oh but that overall perfecto! Wheee! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Great! Greg's Lobos improved to 4-4 with a 141.9 to 119 win over Allyson. We got a huge 42.8 points from Mike Evans and a surprising 36.2 from fill-in QB Daniel Jones. We're now tied for eighth place and thinking playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Marvelous! Lobos are now 5-3 with a fourth straight win, a nail-chewing 153-152 over my youngest son. (Sorry/not sorry, Michael!) We got 81 points -- 27 each -- from Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson. We're now tied for third place and definitely thinking playoffs! Go 'Bos!

Previous other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Deba0te / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 10, 2019

NBA should quit doing business with China. Latest column; plus Winless Bowl!: Why Dolphins-Redskins on Sunday is not must-lose for Miami; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, tonight's Giants-Patriots pick, newest Herald NFL QB Rankings & more

1) It's THURSDAY OCTOBER 10. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall to Virginia Tech with CSM poll and column, Gators top Auburn, NFL Week 5 picks, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Thursday Giants-Patriots pick: You know who'll win. But will they cover? Answer: NFL Week 6 Thursday Gem.

Updated Miami Herald NFL Week 5 QB Rankings: Houston's Deshaun Watson wins the Week 5 title with an all-time top-10 point total to vault high in this week's Top 20. But does Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes hang onto the overall No. 1 spot? Find it all here: Miami Herald NFL Week 5 QB Rankings.

NbachinaNBA, OTHERS WHO DEAL WITH CHINA MUST FACE THE HUMAN-RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted something the Chinese government didn’t like, and the NBA has spent much of the past week bending over backwards to express profound regret to all of its great friends in China who might have been offended. Why? Simple. NBA China alone is worth more than $4 billion. It is estimated more than 500 million Chinese regularly consume NBA content. This is American basketball’s richest global partnership, one developed over three decades. But it is an uneasy alliance, one with a dark side — one this controversy has laid bare. And that’s good. The NBA would tell you that, beyond being enriched by the business arrangement, its relationship with China helps build global bridges and bring the world closer. But the relationship also is this: It is a major, immensely popular U.S. sport lending credibility to China — to everything China stands for. Think of it this way: You know how the NFL loves playing games in London every year? Would they still be doing that if Great Britain was notoriously known for systemic human rights violations? But it’s OK for the NBA to do that? And then lamely allude to "political differences?" For my latest column, visit Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? [Image is via usatoday.com]

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 5: NFL picks -- Solid. We struggled at 8-7 overall but will happily take the 9-6 against the spread last week. We nailed our Upset of the Week halfway (ATS, not outright) when Pittsburgh covered. Also had underdog Bills and Raiders with the points. We're due a big week straight-up but sailing nicely vs. the Evil Betting Line. LeBatard Show fantasy (16-team PPR) -- Ouch. Greg's Lobos dropped to 2-3, falling to auto-drafting, fantasy-hating Dan LeBatard, 114.9 to 99.6. Oh the indignity! We got a big 28.3 points from Tyler Boyd and 21.3 from Sony Michel, but a subpar 20.5 from Patrick Mahomes, with too many others in single digits. The killer: Zero -- 0 -- from usually reliable Mike Evans. Time to rally, 'Bos! Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- A record-setter! Lobos are now 2-3 after a 191-122 win, a season-high point total for the league. We got a huge 43 from Deshaun Watson, 28 from Allen Robinson and 26 from Dalvin Cook. And this: 36 from the Eagles D/ST! Cannot ever remember that from a defense! Tailwind. Plus I get Saquon Barkley back soon. Go 'Bos!

IT'S WINLESS WEEK IN MIAMI! BUT WHY DOLPHINS-REDSKINS ISN'T MUST-LOSE FOR FINS: It is an even 200 days until the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, or, as Miami Dolphins fans call it, "A reason to live." Excitement is building. In South Florida, what we are feeling is akin to playoff fever — except the exact opposite. Losses stack up before us like chips at a poker table. Now the Hunt For DolfanApril ratchets up. It is Winless Week in Miami, the official kickoff of the Tua Tournament. Redskins at Dolphins on Sunday — the Battle of the Beatens — is the first of six direct matchups this season between what are currently the NFL’s four remaining winless teams. Washington just fired coach Jay Gruden, isn’t sure who its quarterback is, and is a fully engulfed dumpster fire at 0-5 — yet is an early 3 1/2-point road favorite over an 0-4 Miami team coming off a bye week. Which speaks not to any glimmer of light in the Skins tunnel, but to the abject black hole that is this Fins season. Picking a team to win a Redskins-Dolphins game is likely choosing whether to wear underwear made of sandpaper or burlap. Dolphins coach Brian Flores, asked on Monday how an opponent’s coaching change affects his preparation, replied: "We’re just going to go about our business as we normally do.." A cheer might have erupted had Dolfans been in the room. "Keep Doing What You’re Doing — Losing!" might as well be the official team slogan moving forward. And, yet, Dolfans may cheer guilt-free for a win Sunday, because the game is not must-lose for Miami. The why is in my recent column. To read it in full please visit Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami.

Our other most recent stuff: No Quit In Canes, But Still Bad Loss In Down Year (on home loss to Virginia Tech) / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurls) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team nears preseason) / Also: Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins (off recent loss to Chargers).

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 03, 2019

Time for NHL Panthers to stop wasting the Barkov years! Latest column; plus 'Culture' isn't enough. What must happen to make Heat contenders again; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 4 results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more

1) It's THURSDAY OCTOBER 3. Happy new month, all! You tried, September. Except with the Dolphins. 2) Watch for our Herald Week 4 NFL QB Rankings and NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results here later this afternoon. And scroll down to previous blogpost for latest Dolphins postgame poll result. It's surprising. (Or is it?) 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to Chargers with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Riley introduces Butler 'cause Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pix, Canes/FIU lick wounds & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald's updated NFL Week 4 QB Rankings: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes maintains his comfortable season lead but an interloper unaccustomed to winning takes Week 4 honors. Visit Herald NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for details and the updated chart. 

Our Dolphins column from Sunday's latest loss: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins.

STAR COACH, STAR GOALIE: WILL 2 BIG ADDITIONS BE ENOUGH FOR NHL PANTHERS TO STOP WASTING THE BARKOV YEARS?: It has been something of a running joke in South Florida sports. "This is the Florida Panthers’ year!" Yes, so this feels like about the fifth anniversary of hearing that, right? Every year it’s "but this time we mean it!" And then the NHL season starts and Coachqgradually the hyped-up Cats lose air as inexorably as a helium party balloon. High hopes, ultimate disappointment, rinse, repeat. Nobody is more sick of this treadmill than Dale Tallon, the Panthers’ general manager. "Talk is cheap, so let’s see. Let’s stop talking and start acting," was Tallon’s message to his 2019-20 team. "We’ve got the pieces in place. Everybody is excited. ‘Great summer, great summer.’ Now let’s prove it!" The proving needs to start as fast as a puck leaves a stick for a franchise more accustomed to slow starts. Florida opens its 26th season Thursday night in Tampa Bay and makes its home debut Saturday vs. the same Lightning — owners of the NHL’s best record (by a lot) last season. Tallon’s great summer co-starred the hiring of a new head coach in Joel Quenneville (pictured) and the free agent signing of a new goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, a starpower quiniela not to be understated. One is the second-winningest coach in NHL history and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. The other is a five-time all-star and twice has won the Vezina Trophy as hockey’s best goalie. The question: Can the two of them lead the Cats out of their rut and into contention at last? Florida has been wasting the prime of Aleksander Barkov, whom defenseman Keith Yandle calls "one of the best players if not the best player in the world." Time for the Panthers to prove they're ready for a championship run. This is my latest column. To read it in full, please visit Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Rilesbutler'CULTURE' ISN'T ENOUGH. THESE 5 FACTORS MUST LIFT HEAT BACK TO CONTENTION: The question put to Erik Spoelstra on Monday was general enough for him to dodge it with veteran-coach ease. He did not. Does he think the Miami Heat can contend in the NBA’s Eastern Conference this season? "We do," he answered, quickly. "Unequivocally so." But how? How does a franchise trying to shed its post-Big 3 era malaise of three missed playoffs in the past five years turn it around so dramatically? How does a team starting a season without Dwyane Wade for the first time since 2002 pull off the big reboot? I explore in my newest column, and list five factors that must go right for Miami to be East contenders in the mix for top-four seed. Pictured: Pat Riley after introducing Jimmy Butler at a recent news conference. To read my full recent column and see what those five keys to the upcoming season are, kindly visit 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

Other most recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes. Also: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 4: NFL picks--Head above water. We did OK in a tough week, going 9-6 overall and 8-7 against the spread. That included another Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") with Saints over Cowboys, a second outright upset hit with Jaguars winning in Denver, and a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Bills, Lions and Buccaneers. LeBatard Show fantasy--Don't ask. Greg's Lobos dropped to 2-2, falling to unbeaten Izzy Gutierrez, 120.6-93.2. Rough. Mike Evans led us with 18.9 and Patrick Mahomes turned mortal with 18. Shady McCoy chipped in 16.9 but not much else went right. Friends n' family fantasy--No again! Lobos now 1-3 after an embarrassing 143-85 loss. What am I, the Dolphins!? Four starters in single figures and a leading scorer with only 18 (Dalvin Cook) won't win you many games. The Saquon Barkley curse sets in.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FAKE BURGERS!: This premiered on today's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Select other recent columns: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 27, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 4 picks are in!; plus Dolfans' escape from this season to the glory days, and why epic-bad Fins might still be better-positioned than Canes for major turnaround; also, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

1) It's FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall in Dallas with DSM poll, Canes eke past Central Michigan with CSM poll, Hot Button Top & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: One man is running away with this thing as we enter Week 4. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings to find out who.

PicksNEW! OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS ARE IN!: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our new Week 4 selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Our picks appear online Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our Week 4 picks, ahead of non-subscribers. So sign in or sign up! Our week got off to a rocky start Thursday night with a misfire on Eagles-Packers. The Green Bay defense let us down majorly. It's OK. Sally forth!

CAN HISTORYMIAMI MUSEUM'S FOOTBALL CELEBRATION HELP US FORGET TODAY'S DOLPHINS?: The Miami Dolphins are having a season most fans would rather forget. The rebuilding team has lost its first three games by scores of 59-10, 43-0 and 31-6. It is historic ineptitude. The worst start in the franchise’s 54 seasons. So what better time to escape to Hismiabetter days! To relive old glories. To snuggle into the past, when Don Shula still roamed the sideline, Dan Marino snapped passes and Jason Taylor was sacking the other quarterback. You won’t find any of that at Hard Rock Stadium these days. But you will find it in Miami. HistoryMiami Museum is celebrating 100 years of the NFL, with a big nod to the halcyon days of the hometown Dolphins, in a major new exhibit called "Gridiron Glory: The Best Of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame." It opens this Saturday, Sept. 28 and runs through Feb. 9, closing one week after the Super Bowl that Miami is hosting. Tickets are $8 to $10. To purchase tickets visit the museum at 101 W. Flagler Street in downtown Miami, or online at historymiami.org. For our full story including what you'll see in the 8,000-square-foot exhibit, visit Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days.

Flores DiazDOLPHINS ARE EPIC-BAD --  BUT STILL MIGHT BE BETTER-POSITIONED THAN CANES. LATEST COLUMN: What we have here with Miami football in 2019 is not unprecedented, but very rare. I wondered when was the last time the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes had simultaneously stumbled into their seasons like this — the Fins 0-3 and UM 2-2. Turns out this is only the fourth such occurrence in 54 combined years. It happened in 2011, the season that got Tony Sparano fired and welcomed Al Golden to town. Other than that it only happened in 1966 and ‘69, when the pre-Don Shula Dolphins of George Wilson had the excuse of being an expansion team and the Canes were spinning wheels with Charlie Tate. A half century later, welcome to your dream jobs, rookie head coaches Brian Flores and Manny Diaz! No honeymoons for you. Just hard times, fast. That is the intro to my latest column, in which I explore the state of the Fins and Canes and posit why currently woeful Dolphins may be better-positioned than UM over the next few years to be nationally relevant again. [Diaz and Flores are pictured, left to right]. To read the full column kindly visit Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes.

Kaepernick, other most recent columns: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame. Also: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 3: NFL picks--Strong. Went 12-4 overall and 10-5-1 against the spread -- numbers I'll take any week, thank you. That included bull's-eyeing our Upset of the Week pick with Giants winning at Buccaneers, and another outright upset with Jaguars beating Titans. LeBatard Show fantasy--Yes again! Greg's Lobos, now 2-1, defeated Guillermo (a.k.a Billy) by 144-128 -- our score the highest for the week of the league's 16 teams. Rodee the Mike Evans train for 45 and also got 34 from Patrick Mahomes and a big 23 from Shady McCoy. Friends n' family fantasy--No! Lobos dropped to 1-2 with a tough 103-100 loss to Christopher. That, despite Deshaun Watson and Dalvin Cook giving me 51 combined. Worse, I just lost Saquon Barkley for a big chunk of season.

Other select recent columns: The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that / Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 18, 2019

Worst team ever? Here comes the national mocking of Dolphins. Latest column (including Minkah Fitzpatrick trade); plus our weekend in New York City, Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 2 results & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18. Scroll to previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls. 2) Coming later today: Our NFL Week 3 Thursday night pick for Titans-Jaguars. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes clobber Bethune with CSM poll, Dolphins crushed by Pats with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, handicapping ex-Canes, Fins on 2020 Hall ballot, R.I.P. Ric Ocasek & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings: There's a new overall No. 1 for the season. Who it is should surprise nobody. Visit Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings.

DOLPHINS: WORST MIAMI TEAM EVER? NATIONAL PUNCHLINE COMING. MY NEWEST COLUMNWhen the losing is this bad, the mocking follows. And that can be worse. It kicks you when you’re way down. It laughs at your pain. Belittles your pride. The Miami Dolphins are getting it already, two games in. The booing, the paper bags over heads, the Tanking Army among your owns fans Saddolsdelighting in the defeat — that isn’t even the worst of it. Becoming a national joke is. Sunday on Fox Sports’ NFL show, Cooper Manning (inexplicably) has a segment. This week the older brother of Peyton and Eli was doing a bit with two Ravens players. Cooper mentioned that Seahawks and Dolphins weren’t real animals, the setup line. One of the Ravens then said, "Dolphins are real." [Short pause] "Their team isn’t!" Cooper delivered the punchline as funny music ended the segment. Soon the Dolphins’ epic terribleness will reach the late-night monologues and be fodder. I happen to be buddies with someone connected to the "Saturday Night Live" writing staff gearing for the Sept. 28 startup of its new season. I asked whether the Dolphins’ woes might make the Weekend Update segment. "On the radar," he texted back. "Just need them to keep being awful." Never on a football field, a basketball court, a baseball diamond or a sheet of ice has South Florida seen a professional sports team this bad. The use of the phrase "professional" team feels dubious, although, technically, this is one. The Dolphins have lost 59-10 and 43-0 — the worst start by any team in the NFL’s 100 seasons — and yet, with no remorse evident, players get paid, anyway. Beleaguered rookie coach Brian Flores, handed a depleted team with an eye on the future, not now, can only put his head down and shoulder on. "We come in, we make corrections and we move on," he said Monday afternoon at camp. Then, as if firing a preemptive strike against reports of unrest and some players wanting out: "We don’t point fingers," he volunteered. "We don’t make excuses. There’s a room full of guys who aren’t doing that." When I say Flores’ Fins are our worst Miami team ever, that covers 137 combined seasons of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers, and a fair share of losing. For the full column -- updated to include last night's trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a first round draft pick -- visit Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke.

Other most recent work: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Also: It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 2: NFL picks--Improved. Bounced back a rough start with a solid 11-5 mark overall and 8-8 against the point spread. LeBatard Show fantasy--Yes! Greg's Lobos crushed Mina Kimes 140-96.9 to go to 1-1, led by Patrick Mahomes' 39.6 points and and unexpected 22-and-change from Vance McDonald and Tyler Boyd. Friends n' family fantasy--Ouch. Lobos fell to 1-1 with a 128-114 loss. Led into Monday behind a combined 50 from RBs Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley, but got buried on MNF by 49 combined from my opponent's Odell Beckham Jr. and Le'Veon Bell.

Brandimsg MockingbirdMY WEEKEND IN NEW YORK CITY: Wife and I spent a long weekend in New York City that was splendid for three main reasons: 1) Saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" Friday night on Broadway at the Shubert Theater; 2) saw Brandi Carlile and Mavis Staples on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden; and 3) lucked to be able to miss Sunday's 43-0 Dolphins home loss to New England. Not sure which would qualify as the highlight, although the first two were hard to beat. "Mockingbird" was everything I thought it would be and more, which A-list performances especially from Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch and Celia Keenan-Bolger in a Tony Award-winning turn as his daughter Scout. It didn't hurt that we had front-row seats and were six feet from where Daniels/Finch sat onstage during courtroom scenes. Catch this play when in NYC if you can. Highly recommended. As for the concert? Well I have been a Mavis fan since the Staple Singers in the '70s and an admirer of her activism and her heart my whole life. Brandi Carlile came into my life like an epiphany just this year, and with such impact I goaded my wife into this trip mainly to see that twin-bill with Mavis opening at a sold-out MSG. It did not disappoint. An emotionally moving concert. Mavis is a national treasure still going strong at 80. Discover Brandi if you have not already, and thank me later.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 11, 2019

Yes Dolphins are tanking, and yes they should. New column; plus can Fins save Shula's legacy?, Bucs-Panthers Thursday pick, 9/11 #NeverForget, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 1 results, Herald Week 1 QB Rankings & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11. The season-opening Dolfan Satisfaction Meter result is in, with a low (but interesting) total. Scroll down to the blogpost immediately below for details. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Baltimore in opener with DSM poll, final CSM results, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

911
IT WAS 18 YEARS AGO TODAY. #NEVERFORGET

 

Our Bucs-Panthers Week 2 Thursday pick: Jameis Winston at Cam Newton. And the winner is... visit Week 2 Thursday Gem to find out who, and why.

My column from Dolphins' 59-10 opening loss: It was not as brutal as the score suggests. It was more so. Welcome to the weirdest season, where being really, really bad can be really, really good. For my column from the stadium, visit The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that.

MIAMI HERALD WEEK 1 NFL QB RANKINGS: Out now! Who's No. 1? Is Ryan Fitzpatrick so far down we need a pickaxe and a flashlight to find him? Visit Herald Week 1 QB Rankings.

DoltankQUIT WHINING! DOLPHINS TANKING IS BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS FRANCHISE IN 20 YEARS. NEW COLUMN: The hysteria surrounding the Miami Dolphins as they climb out from under the avalanche of the season opener and await the tsunami of Game 2 is quite unlike anything we have seen down here. I’m not sure whether to laugh out loud or simply shake my head in incredulity. The Dolphins are really bad, OK? A natural disaster. Deal with it. Except nobody seems to be dealing with it very well. Too many fans are acting like they didn;t see this coming. Too many Dolphins players (based on reports) are crying to their agents about wanting out. Fans and players alike need to understand that Miami's overt tanking -- whether they want to admit it publicly or not -- is the best, boldest, most foresightful thing this franchise has done in 20 years. It is pain now for better days ahead. I explore all of this in my latest column. Please visit Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should.

DonbillDEFENDING SHULA'S LEGACY AGAINST THE BELICHICK ONSLAUGHT: This is the historical subtext as the Dolphins and Patriots prepare this week to meet again Sunday in Miami. From a micro view the matchup is about Fins coach Brian Flores facing his former team, about how bad the rebuilding Dolphins are after losing their opener to Baltimore 59-10 and about this season’s impact on the 2020 draft. But the emotional heft of Dolphins-Patriots is in the broader view. The only way for Miami to protect Don Shula’s all-time NFL career wins record and legacy will be to see this arduous rebuild flourish and finally end the Patriots’ reign. Not Sunday. But someday. And soon. The Dolphins must find their long-elusive quarterback and start to win again, at the Patriots' expense. That is all that can stop Belichick, who at this pace could surpass Shula's hallowed mark as soon as 2023. I explore all of this in my recent column. To read it, please visit It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy. (Shula and Belichick are pictured circa 1992-93, as Shula zeroed in on the all-time wins record and a few years before Belichick would take over the Patriots and begin his methodical march toward The Don's record).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 1: NFL picks--Rough start. After a record-setting season last year, we opened Week 1 at 8-7-1 overall and 6-10 against the spread. Early days. LeBatard Show fantasy--Ouch. Greg's Lobos led entering Monday night behind Patrick Mahomes' 33 points but fell to Stugotz, 114-88. Friends n' family fantasy--Better. Lobos coasted to 128-83 rout led by Deshaun Watson's 30.

LousabanOH MY! THE RARITY OF CANES, FINS' EARLY STRUGGLES: The Hurricanes have begun the football season 0-2 and the Dolphins 0-1. So what, you say? It's actually a pretty big deal historically. Or a pretty rare deal, at least. The last time it happened was 1978, which was the last time the Canes started 0-2 and the Dolphins also lost their opener that season. And it happened only one other time, in 1975. So that's two instances of 0-2 UM/0-1 Dolphins in the 54 seasons since the Dolphins were born. An anomaly, but one I found notable. (Pictured: Canes coach Lou Saban, in 1978. Click on image to see larger version).

Our most recent other columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 07, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 15.7%. Approval plummets with 28-25 loss at North Carolina in ACC opener. Vote now!; plus our NFL Week 1 picks, your verdict on my fantasy team, Le Batard Show fantasy draft & more

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 15.7%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 15.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 28-25 loss at North Carolina in Miami's ACC opener, putting UM's season record at 0-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 18%). Online/blog voting determine the weekly verdict, which is announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

Next poll: Sept. 14 following game vs. Bethune-Cookman.

UmuncG2: HURRICANES @ NORTH CAROLINA: PRESSURE ON CANES TO SEAL ROAD WIN IN ACC OPENER: It's one thing to fall narrowly to a top-10 Florida in a a neutral-site opener. It would be quite another to be a road favorite at North Carolina in your ACC opener and lose again. Losing to the Gators stung, but Mdiazlosing this one would make it feel like a season of high hopes had gone completely off the rails two games in. That is why more pressure is on Miami now than there was in the ballyhooed opener. That makes tonight/Saturday at 8 in Chapel Hill as close to a must-win as you could want in early September, especially for coach Manny Diaz and quarterback Jarren Williams. The Canes in general must look sharper, readier, after slopping through 14 penalties for 118 yards against UF and allowing 10 sacks. The betting line opened with Miami favored by 6 points but dove to 3 1/2 before settling back up at 5, the movement indicative of a betting public still unsure what to make of the Canes. UM crushed UNC 47-10 last year in the midst of a 2-9 Tar Heels season. This won't be as easy, with ESPN's Football Power Index putting Miami's win-likelihood at a modest 63.1 percent. I like UM tonight without much reservation. Coming off a bye after the early Aug. 24 opener, The U should ride defensive domination to a comfy if not quite rout-y win. Interesting side note: Mack Brown begins his second coaching stint with the Heels. He's best known as the Texas head coach in 1998-2013, where one of his proteges was defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Diaz worked under Brown three seasons before being abruptly fired in '13. That checks one more box for why Diaz wants this win like a big dog wants that meaty bone. Diaz is pictured left using index fingers to signal the won-lost record Miami absolutely must have coming out of this game. Cote's pick: Hurricanes 27, North Carolina 16.

Picks RavenIT'S UPSET BIRD WEEK IN AMERICA! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season, we begin our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald by today revealing our 2019 Week 1 selections for Dolphins-Ravens, Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest. Could Miami actually be among my three big upset picks? To find out please visit Week 1 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 1 Thursday Gem for last night's Packers-Bears pick, a misfire by us, alas). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. Pictured: Our "How the Darts Landed" picks logo, and a charcoal rendering of the Upset Bird, the mysterious, never-photographed Corvus corax who serves as our prognosticatory sidekick and seer on all upset picks. 

Our most recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

FANTASY VOTES ARE IN AND YOU LOVED MY TEAM MOST! (NO, SERIOUSLY): Had our PFPI Fantasy friends 'n family league draft earlier this week, a 10-team PPR league that had a snake draft. The exact order was shown in a blind poll, and we invited you to vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five picks. Almost 800 votes had been cast when we closed it off this morning. Your results, with each team's first pick shown:

FfTeam 1: Saquon Barkley -- 25.91%. That's my team! Thanks for the support. Hope y'all are right!

Team 7: DeAndre Hopkins -- 16.84%. That's Michael, my youngest son.

Team 3: Alvin Kamara -- 13.73%. That's Brandon, a friend.

Team 4: Ezekiel Elliott -- 9.46%. That's Alex, a friend. (This vote total spiked after Zeke finally signed).

Team 2: Christian McCaffrey -- 8.94%. That's Joe, a nephew.

Team 9: David Johnson -- 6.61%. That's Earleen, my wife. Tied with below.

Team 10: Patrick Mahomes -- 6.61%. That's Dick, my brother. Tied with above.

Team 5: Tyreek Hill -- 5.05%. That's Christopher, my oldest son, from the Le Batard Show. Ouch.

Team 8: Travis Kelce -- 4.66%. That's Christie, my daughter-in-law, Chris' wife.

Team 6: Le'Veon Bell -- 2.20%. That's Cori, Christie's sister. Sorry, Cori. Exceed expectations!

GlobosLe Batard Show draft: We had our Le Batard Show "League of Lobos" draft last evening and it was a clusterf---, to be honest. There are too many teams (18), too many fraud-teams were auto-drafting, and inexplicably the draft order changed minutes before the draft, with me dropping from the 11th pick to the 16th. I got Patrick Mahomes 16th and Mike Evans after that, but this season could be a struggle. We'll have weekly updates on-air and in this space, so stay tuned. #WeAreTheLobos

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 31, 2019

Giving up Tunsil in trade would be huge risk for Dolphins, Flores. Latest column; plus why Clowney could be missing piece for Fins (but not for Tunsil!), Andrew Luck deserves praise for retirement call & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, August, month that brings us football. Thank you for blowing Hurricane Dorian away from South Florida. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Gators with CSM poll result, Hot Button Top 10, why Rosen must start at QB for Dolphins, your Fitzpatrick-Rosen poll verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

NEW! DOLPHINS AND HURRICANES PREVIEW SECTION COLUMNS:

Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land: Our 2019 NFL Team Rankings.

Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years: Mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision. 

TunsilFLORES USED TO TUMULT, BUT DOLPHINS TRADING TUNSIL WOULD BE TOO MUCH: Brian Flores’ introduction to NFL head coaching has included losing a defensive tackle to an amputated arm after a truck accident; abruptly firing his offensive line coach in the middle of training camp; enduring the fallout of the club owner’s fundraiser for Donald Trump; and guiding what is expected to be the worst team in the NFL. Now, as exhibition games cede to the regular season, Flores has made the wrong choice for a starting quarterback and put the mind-set of his locker room at risk amid corrosive speculation about the future of stalwart left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Coaches have had smoother preseasons. The upside: If you believe that stuff about baptism by fire, consider Mr. Flores fully baptized. And now the hard work begins. And the hard decision, too. Choosing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen was easy. Low risk. But choosing whether to include Tunsil in a trade for Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney? High risk. Huge stakes. And Flores’ grip on his team in the balance. The Tunsil/Clowney cloud hovers as everything begins for real, with Tunsil pictured. To read my full most recent column, please visit Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores.

DOLPHINS' GRAND PLAN BECOMING CLEAR. AND CLOWNEY WOULD FITA football fan need not dive deep down the rabbit hole of analytics to know the simple truth about any NFL roster. JclowneyFour positions are paramount. Essential. They are: Quarterback, a fearsome pass rusher, a lockdown cornerback and a premier left tackle. Start with QB and place the others in any order you wish. The Miami Dolphins’ understanding of this at last has come clear. Say this much: After most of 20 years of floundering irrelevance and lurching shifts in personnel and philosophy, the franchise’s current regime at least has a plan. A clue. It is why Miami gave shutdown corner Xavien Howard, who just turned 26, a record five-year, $75.3 million contract extension through 2024. It is why left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who just turned 25, is off the board, untouchable, in terms of trade inquiries, and why his contract (still dirt-cheap on his rookie deal) surely will be extended before he becomes a free agent following the 2020 season. It is why the Dolphins presently are looking hard into a trade for disgruntled Texans pass-rush star Jadeveon Clowney, 26, and more proven-elite than even Howard or Tunsil. And it is why Miami has stocked draft capital in a hell-bent plan to claim its long elusive star quarterback in 2020, buying up into the draft order if needed, ideally to get grand prize Tua Tagovailao of Alabama. To read my entire recent column, with an emphasis on the interest in Clowney (pictured), please visit Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan.

SAVE THE SCORN. ANDREW LUCK DESERVES PRAISE FOR HIS RETIREMENT CALLIndianapolis Colts football fans will wish they could take this back, but they cannot. It was too late the Luckmoment it happened. It stained a city in a way that can’t ever quite be scrubbed clean. Only in an age driven by the immediacy of social media could this have happened. It was during Saturday night’s Colts home preseason game. Star quarterback Andrew Luck had planned to announce the next day that he was retiring. That night, not playing, he was on the sideline enjoying himself with teammates for what would be the last time. Then the news broke during the game, and it spread faster than any wildfire. It was trending on Twitter in seconds. It was caroming throughout the stadium. When the game ended and Luck walked off the field in street clothes the fans who loved him an hour before booed him. Loudly. "I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear it," he said, forced to make his announcement that night. "It hurt." And there you have the perfect epitaph to an NFL career cut short by choice: It hurt. That is what this sport does to a body and a mind. It hurts. It leaves scars. It makes men in their 30s limp. It leaves hands gnarled and misshapen. It cuts short lives, and sometimes makes the end of those lives torturous. Congratulations to Luck for getting out when he could, on his terms. For understanding there is more to life than football. To read my entire recent column, please visit Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football.

Previous most recent other columns: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote