April 05, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins, March Madness, red-hot Heat and Panthers, Masters Week battle for top. See who's No.1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Dick Stockton out now & more

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

Eeaster1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 5. Hope ya'll had a Happy Easter Sunday and, to our Jewish friends, a celebratory 'chag Pasach sameach' to end Passover! 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot last week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my latest Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Week with columns off opener and season preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

MarlinsOur 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).

CoteshowDickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN NEW 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, 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 most recent 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. Also, he sings! Also on the new pod, 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).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 4-5): 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. MARLINS: Play ball! Fans (partly) back as Fish open season: Marlins' season-opening six-game homestand continues with games Monday through Wednesday vs. St. Louis after Easter Sunday off. Fish opened 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay, with bats coming alive in Saturday's 12-7 win. Miami is allowing crowds up to 27 percent capacity this season (about 9,700 per game), although the first three games have averaged only about 6,500 or 18 percent capacity. Almost forgot: The ballpark's gruesome new corporate name is "loanDepot park." (It's still Marlins Park  to me).

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Men's title game set as Gonzaga, Baylor advance: Unbeaten Gonzaga goes for a wire-to-wire perfect season and Baylor stands in the way in its first title game since 1948 in the men's NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night in Indianapolis. Baylor routed Houston 78-59 in Saturday's semifinal while the Zags survived UCLA 93-90 on a buzzer-beating 3 by Jalen Suggs in OT.

3. HEAT: Topsy-turvy team is hot again as Oladipo joins the flow: Heat has won four in a row and risen to a tie for fourth place in the East after Saturday's win over Cleveland -- after previously losing six straight. Newly acquired shooting guard Victor Oladipo, the trade-deadline prize, made his Heat debut Thursday. In other news, Jimmy Butler appeared shirtless at a postgame news conference, drawing playful derision from Bam Adebayo. Team's back in play Tuesday vs. Memphis.

4. PANTHERS: Fire-on-ice Cats win sixth in a row!: Florida is 26-9-4, alone in first place in the NHL Central and on a season-best six-game win streak after the weekend's 5-2 and 3-0 home dominations of Columbus. Florida now sets out on a six-game road trip starting Tuesday at Carolina. Also last week, Florida signed goalkeeper Spencer Knight, the team's 2019 top draft pick, to a three-year contract.

5. GOLF: It's the week of The Masters at Augusta: With Tiger Woods watching on TV as he recovers from severe leg injuries suffered in his recent car accident, The Masters goes on without him this week at Augusta starting Thursday. Betting favorites are led by Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Thomas. As for Woods? L.A. detectives have determined the cause of his wreck, but thus far are refusing to reveal their finings. Hmm. 

6. NFL: Fans cheer, players gripe as league OKs 17-game season: After 43 seasons with a 16-game regular season, the NFL is increasing it to 17 games beginning this year. Fans love it. More football. TV loves it. More revenue and ratings. Players don't love it and can't believe their union let it happen.   

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Stanford tops Arizona in women's championship game: Women's NCAA Tournament got an all-Pac 12 title game in which Stanford edged Arizona 54-53 on Sunday for the Cardinal's first national title since 1992. No. 1 seed Stanford had advanced by beating South Carolina 66-65 while No. 3 Arizona had stunned No. 1 UConn, 69-65. Results deprived America of a championship-stage look at UConn freshman sensation and AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, who was held to 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting Friday.

8. TENNIS: Ash Barty leads championship weekend at Miami Open: Defending Miami Open champ Ash Barty won again on Saturday, with ease when underdog opponent Bianca Andreescu retired injured in the second set outside of Hard Rock Stadium. A no-name, who's-that men's final four advanced 19-year-old Italian Jannik Skinner and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to Sunday's men's championship match, won by Hurkacz. This year's Miami Open was back after taking 2020 off but was decimated by star withdrawals and gutted prize money.

9. MLB: Baseball moves All-Star Game to punish Georgia voting laws: Baseball announced it's 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft would be moved from Atlanta in response to Georgia's recently passed voter suppression law. Bravo baseball!

10. INTER MIAMI: Teams cancels preseason scrimmages over COVID concerns: Inter Miami canceled three scheduled exhibition games in Bradenton ahead of its second MLS season on account of COVID-19 concerns. David Beckham's outfit and new coach Phil Neville are prioritizing full health as team preps for its April 18 season opener.

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown: 24 days 'til Dolphins draft ..... Houston police have now begun an investigation of Deshaun Watson as 21 women have now alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during massages ..... North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams is retiring after 18 years with the Tar Heels and 33 years in the sport overall ..... Also retiring: Veteran TV sports broadcaster Dick Stockton ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 15-8 off four straight wins and goes for home sweep of Duke today ..... North Macedonia stunned Germany in a World Cup qualifying match ..... UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches commence Tuesday with Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... Oh, and Miami FC, the second-tier USL team, prepares to open its new season May 2 ..... Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, you embarrassed everyone on Earth by saying COVID testing should be done away with so as not to disrupt the Final Four ..... If anybody cares, Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 next weekend ..... Hurricanes spring football practuce continues through April 17 ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 14th episode of 2021 and 56th overall drops Monday morning on all major podcast platforms. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,912 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

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).

March 08, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Seven different sports make the list this week. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Ricky Williams out now, my baseball-card sojourn back in time column & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 8. Search out last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for heavy doses of me including the garage/baseball cards segment and the new 'Back In My Day.' 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Rediscovering a treasure of 1960s baseball cards, Quit lecturing LeBron on activism, Why Dolphins' Tua/Deshaun dilemma is so complicated, Greg Cote Show podcast's 1st anniversary episode & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow RickyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH RICKY WILLIAMS OUT NOW!: On the heel of last week's 1st Anniversary episode, our new 10th podcast of 2021 and 52nd overall is out now it features former NFL and Dolphins star Ricky Williams! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 52 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new Ep10 of '21, we catch the enigmatic, mercurial Ricky in a good  mood in a illuminating conversation that touches on football, astrology, cannabis, Le Batard and more. Also on the menu: Cap'n Crunch, LeBron vs. Zlatan, knees to the head in UFC, the new Mount Gregmore (Chris hates it as usual) and more. Ricky Williams was great so don't miss this new episode! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

MecardsBaseball cards, LeBron, Dolphins: Our most recent columns: Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience and Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs. Other recent columns: 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 / These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 7-8): 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. NBA: Team LeBron on top in condensed 'All-Star Weekend' in Atlanta: Sunday night's 70th annual NBA All-Star Game was a no-fans, TV-only, one-day event because of COVID-19 -- Team LeBron beating Team Durant, 170-150. The Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest were the pregame show in Atlanta, and the Slam-Dunk Contest the halftime show. It was a Heat shutout, as none of the events includes a Miami player.

2. HEAT: Miami sizzles into the midseason break: Struggling no more, Heat ended season's first half on a 7-1 run to get square at 18-18 and sit only one game out of fourth place in the NBA East -- with Jimmy Butler (20.5 scoring average) and Bam Adebayo (19.2) showing why they deserved the all-star nods they didn't get. Miami resumes play Thursday vs. Orlando.

3. MARLINS: Fish finally lose a spring game: Miami was atop the Grapefruit League standings at 4-0-1, the last team in the bigs to not lose this spring, before Saturday's loss to Nationals and then a second tie Sunday vs. the Mets. This week Miami signed pitcher Gio Gonzalez, 35, a Hialeah native with 131 career wins. Now let's see what's left in his tank and if he can make the rotation. Marlins play Cardinals today.

4. PANTHERS: Cats slip to third in division: Florida has cooled a bit, losing four of past seven after Sunday's 4-2 loss at Carolina. Florida still is 15-5-4, in third place in NHL Central but only two points off the lead. Panthers' five-game road trip wraps up with games at Columbus Tuesday and Thursday. 

5. INTER MIAMI: Club dealing with two legal messes as MLS season nears: Year 2 in MLS begins April 17 for Miami, with the first of six preseason matches scheduled March 20 vs. Miami FC, a second-tier USL club. Meantime David Beckham's club is mired in two legal issues. MLS and Italy's Inter Miami are in settlement talks over Miami also using the word "Inter." And MLS is investigating Miami's signing last fall of French star Blaise Matuidi, and whether he was paid additional money in violation of league salary-budget guidelines.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women ousted in ACCs, UM men on deck: Miami's women's team ended its season 11-11 with a one-and-done 72-64 loss Thursday to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. ACC men's tourney is this Tuesday through Saturday. Injury-wracked Canes men enter at 8-16, their worst season record in 27 years.

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness dates announced: Canceled by COVID-19 a year ago, March Madness returns this spring, though with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. NCAA announced Selection Sunday will be March 14 for the men, with play starting March 18 and the title game April 5. Women's field will be announced March 15.

8. HURRICANES: Spring football practice on deck: A month of offseason spring practice will begin March 13, next Saturday, with the first of 15 practices. Coach Manny Diaz's Canes return 19 of 22 starters from a team that finished 8-3 last season. Quarterback D’Eriq King, rehabbing from a Cheez-It Bowl knee injury, will be a notable spring absence.

9. SOCCER: Champions League will advance four clubs this week: Round of 16 second-leg matches this week will see four clubs move on to the April quarterfinals. Borussia Dortmund and FC Porto bring one-goal edges into their Tuesday matches. Paris-Saint Germain (three goals up) and Liverpool (two ahead) enjoy safer advantages on Wednesday.

10. GOLF: Thoughts with Tiger Woods as Players Championship begins: The Players Championship, maybe the PGA Tour's biggest non-major, begins this Thursday at TPC Sawgrass near Jacksonville. And as it does golf fans worldwide continue wishing the best for Tiger Woods as he recovers from the recent car accident that severely injured his right leg.  

Missing the HB10 cut: Kyle Van Noy is way too good for the Dolphins not to want him back ..... An "illegal knee to the head"? Sure, because, in IUFC, your safety is paramount! ..... A used Blake Griffin, anyone? ..... Canes baseball entered the week ranked No. 8 but is only 4-4 entering today's game at N.C. State ..... Congrats, Maia Chaka, the NFL's first Black woman official ..... Outfielder/quarterback Kaden Martin committed to play baseball for the Hurricanes ..... Countdown 10 days 'til start of NFL free agency March 17 ..... Two-week countdown to the start of Miami Open tennis at Hard Rock Stadium ..... And NBA trade deadline looms on March 25 ..... America's Cup sailing is now underway in New Zealand! Be still my heart ..... seems to want played ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 10th episode of 2021 and 52nd overall drops Monday morning -- and debuts on Sirius XM Channel 145 ..... Update: Countdown now 1,940 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other 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 / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'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  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat 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.

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).

March 06, 2021

Time-travelling to '60s and childhood, when the baseball card was king. My new column; plus Quit lecturing LeBron on activism and How Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun choice is strewn with what-ifs; also, new Greg Cote Show 1st anniversary podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 6. Search out Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for heavy does of me including the garage/baseball cards segment and the new 'Back In My Day.' 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, Greg Cote Show podcast's 1st anniversary episode, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 1ST ANNIVERSARY EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our 1st Anniversary episode -- ninth of 2021 and 51st overall -- is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 51 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep9 of '21, we welcome in two special guests. Dr. Daniel B. Chan, an orthopedic trauma surgeon for Memorial Healthcare System, details Tiger Woods' injuries and what's ahead in his recovery -- and explains why what Woods suffered may be even worse than the injury to NFL quarterback Alex Smith. Also, ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum joins us to predict how the whole Tua-or-Deshaun Watson drama will play out for the Dolphins. Also on the menu: Greg and Chris discuss the raging new Mr. Potato Head controversy; a smidgen of NASCAR talk (involving Michael Jordan and Pitbull); a debate over the move to make Kobe Bryant the new silhouette in the NBA logo; and a new Mount Gregmore marking the pod’s 1st anniversary with the greatest events or birthdays associated with March 2. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

MecardsTIME-TRAVELLING TO CHILDHOOD IN THE 1960S, WHEN THE BASEBALL CARD WAS KING: The evolution of sports memorabilia, of collectibles, struck me this week as I discovered for the first time a phenomenon of a fad called NBA TopShot. I’m closer to a Luddite than someone out front on the latest trends , so it was no surprise I’d been unfamiliar with these so-called “digital basketball cards.” I happened to learn of NBA TopShot on the same week I’d been immersed in my garage, rooting through large plastic storage tubs, in search of something long-lost: My youth. And there they were, stacked in old shoeboxes: Hundreds and hundreds of baseball and football cards, almost all of them from the 1960s. At a time when the Beatles and Motown were America’s soundtrack and LBJ was in the White House, I was a card collecting fool. Obsessed. You’d buy a pack of Topps cards (I was a Topps kid) and couldn’t wait to get home and unwrap the mystery. Odds were they’d be ordinary players. Oh, but what if you struck gold and Mickey Mantle was there. Or Willie Mays! I collected cards nonstop from the early ‘60s into the early ‘70s, elementary school into the start of high school.More than a half-century later, this week, I discovered those old shoeboxes were falling apart but the long- forgotten treasure they held — those 3 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch rectangles of thin cardboard — were miraculously intact, not all but many in what the collectible experts might call mint condition. For our full latest column, visit Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King

LebronQUIT LECTURING LEBRON JAMES ON ACTIVISM AND HIS OWN CONSCIENCE: LeBron James is hearing the silly noise again, and all it does is make him dig deeper, stand firmer, speak louder. One year ago it was conservative commentator Laura Ingraham on Fox News advising LeBron to “shut up and dribble” instead of speaking out against racial and social injustice. Now it is international soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic lecturing LeBron on what the parameters of his conscience should be. “[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he does, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time,” the AC Milan striker said in an interview in Sweden. “Do what you’re good at. Stay out of politics. Just do what you do best because [the rest] doesn’t look good.” Politics. When did that become the word for standing up for what you believe is right? Why has speaking out for social justice and voters’ rights become a font of controversy? Ibrahimovic doubled down this week, saying, “Athletes unite the world, politics divide us “ — again misrepresenting social conscience as political, in much the same way critics misrepresented Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem as anti-American instead of as a protest of police violence against unarmed Black people. Ibrahimovic reopens the dumb notion of “stick to sports!” as more and more athletes, the L.A. Lakers’ LeBron seemingly always at the forefront, use their platform and voice for positive change. The message from activist athletes is simple: We are here to do more than entertain you. For our full recent column, visit Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience.

TuaTUA OR DESHAUN? WHY DOLPHINS' MONUMENTAL QB CHOICE IS ANYTHING BUT SIMPLE: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are seated in a room, trying to see the future. Trying to chart a path. NFL free agency starts March 17. Less than six weeks later is the draft. Most offseasons, those are the two superhighways you travel in building your roster. Improving your team. This offseason, the Dolphins front office faces a bigger decision, of course. The biggest of their professional lives. The biggest in the 56-year history of Miami’s flagship sports franchise. It is Tua Tagovailoa or Deshaun Watson, and nothing at all about that choice is simple. Stick with Tagovailoa and use free agency and the draft to surround him with talent and you have passed on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to trade for a proven, elite quarterback just coming into his prime. Trade for Watson and you have both gutted your draft capital for perhaps years to come and also given up on the great promise of the player you just used a top-five pick to draft. Ah, but the choice is even more complicated than that, and strewn with possibilities Ross, Grier and Flores must consider when deciding how to move forward. For our full recent column, visit Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs

NASCAR/Homestead, Tiger Woods and other most recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead This Week and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive. Also: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter 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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ARCHIVES:

Select other 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 / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'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  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat 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.

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).

February 22, 2021

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): NASCAR, boxing and Canes baseball even crash the top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus our most recent columns, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22. Search out last 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!). 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Two questions steer Dolphins' path on Watson vs. Tua, Serena's legacy firm but unfinished, Marlins double-down on youth as spring training opens, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Dolphins, Serena, Marlins: Our three latest columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / and Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends BigOur other most recent columns:Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In /Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE DROPS MONDAY!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 8 of 2021 -- our 50th overall -- is out Monday! 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 our latest Ep7 of '21, we bring in ESPN expert Tim Kurkjian to talk 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!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur 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. HEAT: Miami gets needed spark with upset of Lakers: Miami improved to 13-17 with Saturday night's 96-94 win at LeBron's L.A. Lakers, who were without injured Anthony Davis. Kendrick Nunn's 27 points sparked the Heat. Miami is 3-3 on this seven-game road trip ending Monday at Oklahoma City. The 72-game season still is young(ish), but Heat are on pace to miss the playoffs just one season after reaching the NBA Finals.

2. TENNIS: Osaka, Djokovic win Australian Open: Japan's Naomi Osaka, after ousting hero idol Serena Williams in the semis, beat American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday's championship match for her fourth career major win. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat No. 4 Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's men's final for his nintg Aussie crown and 18th career major, third all-time in men's tennis.

3. PANTHERS: Fire on ice! Cats continue hot start to NHL season: Florida took two of three from rival Tampa Bay and was 11-2-2 and atop the Central Division after Friday's 7-2 win at Detroit, before falling 2-1 to the Red Wings Saturday. Panthers return for a five-game homestand starting Monday. Jonathan Huberdeau and a goaltending spark from Chris Driedger have the Panthers looking strong under second-year coach Joel Quenneville.

4. MARLINS: Spring has sprung, with first game one week away: Miami full-squad practices are under underway in Jupiter, with the first of 24 scheduled spring games next Sunday. pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter this week with the full squad soon following and the first spring game set for February 28. Expectations are low (a common wins over/under is 67 1/2) for a young, building team that unexpectedly ended a 17-year playoff drought last season.

5. NASCAR: Racing returns to Homestead next weekend: NASCAR invades Homestead-Miami Speedway for a doubleheader weekend of racing Dixie Vodka 400 next Sunday in the main NASCAR Cup Series, following Saturday's Contender Boats 250 in the undercard Xfinity Series.

6. NBA: All-Star Game reserves to be named Tuesday: March 7 in Atlanta is the NBA All-Star Game nobody seems to want, including top players in it and the mayor who has advised fans not to travel in for the game. LeBron James and Kevin Durant were named capatins of the West and East starting teams. Seven reserves in each conference will be announced Tuesday. Miami's Bam Adebayo is no certainty but has a good chance to make it, with Jimmy Butler a longshot.

7. CANES BASEBALL: UM takes season-opening series vs. Gators: Coach Gino DiMare and Canes baseball, ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, opened its season with a three-game series in Gainesville and took two of three vs. the nemesis and No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. UM lost the opener 7-5 on Friday but won 10-9 in 13 innings Saturday and won 8-6 Sunday.

8. INTER MIAMI: Season 2 in MLS kicks off as camp opens Monday: Miami's second season in Major League Soccer begins with the start of training camp Monday under new coach Phil Neville. The season begins April 17, though the schedule has not yet been announced. Inter Miami finished 7-13-3 in its inaugural season.

9. BOXING: Canelo Alvarez in title defense at Hard Rock: Hard Rock Stadium will host its first boxing match this coming Saturday February 27 as Canelo Álvarez defends his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles against Avni Yidirim. Bout will be available on pay-per-view in U.S., with limited fans at the stadium.

10. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Sport returns (sort of) with spring season: Alabama won the 2020 national championship just one month ago, but the 2021 college football season is underway. Sort of. It's the little guys of the FCS level (nee Division 1AA), playing a shortened spring schedule, Glomming much attention: The debut of "Coach Prime," Deion Sanders, whose Jackson State Tigers of Mississippi clobbered Jacksonville's Edward Waters College 53-0 in their season opener Sunday. Saners ranted that his belongings had been stolen from his coaches office during the game, later sayng, oops, they'd been placed elsewhere for safekeeping and weren't swiped after all. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Sad seasons are winding down for Hurricanes men's and women's basketball. UM men are 7-13 (3-12 ACC) with Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech, and now with point guard Chris Lykes done for the year. Four games left starting Wednesday vs. No. 16 Florida State. Canes women are 9-10/6-10 with two games left: Thursday vs. Wake Forest and next Sunday at Clemson ..... Eagles trade Carson Wentz to Colts ..... Padres sign Fernando Tatis Jr. to mega long-term deal ..... There are two NHL Outdoor Games this weekend at Lake Tahoe, with Saturday's paused eight hours by bad ice. Better luck today? ..... UEFA Champions League soccer has resumed with first-leg matches in round of 16 ..... Miami Open tennis will allow limited fans later this spring ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new 50th episode (No. 8 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,954 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other 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 / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse/ '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  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V, Smirk IV, Smirk III, Smirk II, Smirk IHeat 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.

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).

February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day, all! The new Hot Button Top 10: Post-football, see who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus our most recent columns (anthem, Beckham/Qatar, Brady), new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

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

Valday1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15. Happy Valentine's Day! You better have remembered, husbands and boyfriends. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Playing national anthem at games takes new turn, Inter Miami's Beckham risk mess with Qatar, Tom Brady's place in sports' pantheon, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE DROPS MONDAY!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 7 of 2021 (49th overall) is out Monday! 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 48 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. In the latest Ep6 of '21, Greg and Chris discuss the Super Bowl rout by Brady's Bucs, and Greg blasts the football Hall of Fame for again denying Zach Thomas. And Stugotz is on with us to talk Super Bowl, the future of the Le Batard Show, and the recent death of his mom. Also, a new Mount Gregmore centered on the University of Miami. Hear all of that and more in our latest podcast. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

National anthem, Beckham/Qatar, Tom Brady. Our most recent columns:

Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In

Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess

Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 14-15): 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. HEAT: Miami's win streak ends in Utah: Heat are 11-15 after Saturday night's 112-94 loss in Utah ended a season-best four-game win streak. Miami, one game off playoff pace, is two games into a seven-game western road trip. One other thing: Max Strus!?

2. PANTHERS: Rival Lightning clobbers Cats: Florida 8-2-2 after Saturday night's back-to-Earth 6-1 loss to rival and nemesis Tampa Bay on home ice. Cats had beaten Lightning 5-2 the game before. Rubber game is Monday upstate. Meanwhile a COVID outbreak on five teams (Florida not among them) postponed 11 games in past week as NHL tightened protocols. 

3. MARLINS: Spring training unfurls this week: Miami pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter this week with the full squad soon following and the first spring game set for February 28. Marlins made big splash by hiring Kim Ng as sport's first female GM but have had a quiet offseason as far as major deals. Fish are relying on a second-ranked farm system (per ESPN) with six Top 100 prospects. 

4. TENNIS: Serena advances as Aussie Open reaches midpoint: Tenth-seed Serena Williams beat No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka in three sets Saturday night to reach the quarterfinals at the midpoint of the Australian Open, the year's first tennis major. Serena is after her elusive record-tying 24th career major. Meanwhile defending champion Sofia Kenin was out in the second round, Rafael Nadal laughed off a female heckler, and COVID lockdown restriction have caused some late-night matches to be suspended to the dismay of fans.

5. NASCAR: Flag drops today as Daytona 500 kicks off new season: NASCAR revs and vrooms and begins its 2021 season today at Daytona with the circuit's first and biggest race. Denny Hamlin is a small favorite over Chase Elliott to take the checkered flag.

6. NFL: Swagger 'n stagger as Brady celebrates boat parade: Tampa celebrated the Bucs' Super Bowl win over Kansas City with a boat parade, and the only thing outnumbering fans watching were (evidently) tequila shots flowing down Tom Brady's neck. The ageless QB of the seven Super Bowl rings had to be helped off the boat by an aide as he staggered and swayed onto dry land. BetOnline.ag used geotagged Twitter data to determine whom each state considers the all-time G.O.A.T., and four athletes won multiple states. Brady won 20 states (including Florida), Michael Jordan and Le Bron James won 11 states each, and four went for Serena Williams.

7. KOBE BRYANT: Probe calls tragedy 'entirely preventable': Federal investigators concluded the helicopter crash one year ago that killed basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others was "entirely preventable." The National Transportation Safety Board said charter pilot Ara Zobayan pushed the limits of bad weather flying rules, climbed into clouds and became disoriented in making a left turn into a cloud-obscured hillside.

8. INTER MIAMI: Beckham risk Qatar mess as MLS season nears: As MLS season nears (training camps open February 22), Inter Miami president David Beckham risk a public relations mess for his club with news out of London that he has agreed to be a goodwill ambassador for Qatar in the buildup to the 2022 World Cup behind held there. The problem: Qatar's notorious record on human rights, including it being a punishable crime to be gay there.

9. NFL: An early mess for new Jags coach Urban Meyer: Jacksonville Jaguars' new director of sports performance Chris Doyle, the former University of Iowa strength coach accused of racist remarks and bullying players, resigned hours after the Jags were criticized for the hire by the Fritz Pollard Alliance. It was a blunder by first-year Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who released a statement saying he failed to properly consider the impact of hiring Doyle.

10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes try to end strong as regular season wanes: UM men are 7-11 and an ugly 3-10 in ACC entering Sunday's game at Notre Dame, while Canes women are 8-8 (5-8) going into today's game at Florida State. With a handful of games left in regular season and then the ACC Tournament, both teams will need a big finish for any shot at postseason invites.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy Valentine's Day! And if you needed that to remind you, chances are you're in trouble ..... The Dolphins are second favorites to win the AFC East in 2021 at 5-2 odds, per sportsbetting.com. Bills are on top at 2-3. Patriots are 6-1 and Jets 15-1 ..... Coach Manny Diaz announced that Hurricanes spring football would begin March 13, with 15 practices over one month. QB D'Eriq King will miss spring work as he rehabs from a knee injury suffered in the bowl game. UM returns 19 of 22 starters from a team that finished 8-3 and ranked 22nd ..... The Texans obliged J.J. Watt's wishes and released him. The market for the aging edge rusher has been buoyant ..... The Chiefs did not renew Britt Reid's contract following his alcohol-related accident that left a child fighting for her life. Imagine losing the Super Bowl not being the worst thing to happen to Andy Reid that week? ..... UEFA Champions League play resumes Tuesday with round-of-16 first leg matches featuring Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain, the latter without injured Neymar .....Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori, 83, will resign after making demeaning and sexist comments about women during a public meeting ..... Major trade week in the WNBA included 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard heading to the New York Liberty and Dallas landing the No. 1 overall draft pick ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new 49th episode (No. 7 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,961 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

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).

February 08, 2021

Brady, Bucs dominate Super Bowl Sunday! It's the latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated); plus new Greg Cote Show podcast is out now with Stugotz as special guest & more

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

Bhm1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8. Celebrate Black History Month February 1-March 1. Some of that history has only recently happened with the birth of the BLM movement. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The Super Bowl With a Smirk column quintet, Super Bowl LV preview and pick, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

My Super Bowl pick: Bucs-Chiefs. Brady-Mahomes. Who wins tonight's game in Tampa and why? For the preview and pick, visit Super Bowl LV Gem.

Hitting the trifecta on Le Batard: A new, well-received Back In My Day. A Greg's Lobos update (a.k.a. PFPI Gala/podcast plug). And an unexpected return of Soup of the Day. Hear it all here, in Hour 1, at Magic Tuesday

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 6 of 2021 (48th 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 48 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep6 of '21, Greg and Chris discuss the Super Bowl rout by Brady's Bucs over Mahomes' Chiefs, and Greg blasts the football Hall of Fame for again denying Zach Thomas. And Stugotz to talk Super Bowl, the future of the Le Batard Show, and the recent death of his mom. Also, a new Mount Gregmore centered on the University of Miami. Hear all of that and more in our sixth episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 7-8): 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. NFL: All Brady, all Bucs as Tampa dominates Super Bowl!: Kansas City and Aspiring G.O.A.T. Patrick Mahomes were 3-point favorites last night to repeat as NFL champs over Tampa Bay but got schooled by Old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady, 31-9, in Tampa. The Super Bowl took on an ugly shadow Thursday night when Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid -- head coach Andy Reid's son -- was implicated in an apparent alcohol-related car accident that hurt two children, one with reported life-threatening injuries.

2. DOLPHINS: Zach Thomas once again denied Hall of Fame: Eighth time on the ballot, second straight year as a finalist, but still no Canton for Zach. Boo on you, voters. Maybe next year. Brian Flores and Xavien Howard also were finalists but fell short for coach of year and top defensive player at Saturday night's NFL Honors awards show held virtually. Meanwhile, ESPN reported the Fins will go with co-offensive coordinators in Eric Studesville and George Godsey. Hmm. Sounds weird. But benefit of doubt to Flores.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning top awards night: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was named league MVP at the NFL Honors awards show Saturday night. The five modern-era inductees who were elected to the Hall of Fame were easy choices Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson along with Calvin Johnson, Alan Faneca and John Lynch. Lynch was the big surprise, and likely the pick who bumped Zach Thomas.

4. HEAT: Did Miami's rough season finally just turn a corner? Heat had lost seven of past eight and fallen to 7-14 before routing Washington 122-95 Friday night for team's biggest win in a month. Kendrick Nunn's 25 off the bench led the way as Wizards' Bradley Beal (rumored on the trade block with Heat perhaps interested) began 0-for-13. Miami followed that by beating the Knicks Saturday; Heat play NYK again Tuesday.

5. PANTHERS: Cats finally lose in regulation: Florida at 6-1-2 after Sunday's unexpected 4-1 home loss to Detroit. Cats had been the only NHL team to have not lost in regulation prior to Sunday. Panthers host Detroit again Tuesday then play three straight against rival Tampa Bay.

6. TENNIS: Djokovic, Barty top seeds in Australian Open: Novak Djokivic and Ashleigh Barty are top seeds as the tennis year's first major begins Monday in Melbourne. Meanwhile Serena finally, 39, tries yet again to win her elusive 24th major title to tie Margaret Court's all-time record. Serena last won a Grand Slam singles title in 2017 and withdrew from a tuneup event last week with a sore shoulder.

7. HURRICANES: Uneventful National Signing Day for UM: The Miami Hurricanes signed nobody Wednesday on National Signing Day, and that was no surprise, and just fine. Because UM had signed all 24 of its newest recruits in December's early signing period. ESPN ranks Manny Diaz's third and latest class 11th nationally, up from 30th in 2019 and 17th in 2020.

8. NASCAR: Daytona 500 kicks off new season next Sunday: Denny Hamlin and 2020 series champion Chase Elliott will be near co-favorites in seven days when the NASCAR season begins with its first, biggest and most prestigious race of the year.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men lose heartbreaker: Canes men fell to 7-11 with Saturday's 80-76 OT loss at No. 16 Virginia Tech. UM is back in play Monday at North Carolina and needing close to a run-the-table finish for any shot at an invite to March Madness. The UM women are now 8-7 after beating Florida State Sunday for coach Katie Meier's 300th UM victory.

10. BOXING (SORT OF): And ... Jose Canseco embarrasses himself: The $20 pay-per-view gimmick-fight was over in just seconds Friday night as former baseball player Jose Canseco was punched to the canvas by a Pardon My Take podcast intern who had challenged him. A grimacing Jose then faked a shoulder injury to end the "fight."

Missing the HB10 cut: The latest strong indication that Drew Brees plans to retire: The Saints QB has agreed to reduce his 2021 salary from $25 million to the veterans minimum of $1.075 million to free up salary-cap space ..... LeBron James and growing number of other NBA stars are coming out against plans to hold an All-Star Game in March ..... MLS and its players have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, clearing the way for Inter Miami and other teams to open training camps on February 22 ..... The Marlins' Lewis Brinson (career .189) has spent his offseason working as a fashion model. Requirements: Pretty face, not high batting average. It's back to baseball work soon, as pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 17 ..... Panthers former goalie and now special adviser Roberto Luongo has been named one of three assistant general managers for Canada's 2022 men's Olympic team ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new 48th episode (No. 6 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,968 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

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ARCHIVES:

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 yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / 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: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

January 18, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated)! See who or what reigns; also, MLK Day, NFL Divisional Round playoff picks & more

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

Mlk1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 18. It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America, a time to celebrate the life and works of the slain civil rights leader and to keep on the work of moving his dream forward. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild Card Weekend playoff picks, Hot Button Top10, Dolphins' recommitment to Tua, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Divisional Round playoff picks!: Four games, one upset. Off a 5-1 playoff start last week, find all our latest picks at NFL Divisional Round Gems.

Say cheese! Packers' Rodgers wins elusive first Herald NFL QB season title: The details including the final season Top 35, here: Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings.

Alabama, king Saban reign in Miami with CFP title: For our full column off the 52-24 rout of Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium: Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our new No. 3 episode of 2021 (45th 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 45 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep3 of '21, we welcome in friend of the pod (FOP) Amin El Hassan, who explains why he left ESPN after eight years and is betting on Dan Le Batard. Amin also talks Heat, James Harden and NBA. Also, a new listener song, "Greg Cote Killed the Radio Show," the last Mount Gregmore topic you'd ever expect, and a new edition of the popular segment, "Greg Doesn't Know Movies." Hear all of that and more in our third new episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur 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. NFL: It's Bills-Chiefs, Pack-Bucs in final four set today: The weekend's NFL Divisional Round results have sent Green Bay and Tampa Bay to the NFC final and Buffalo and Kansas City in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes. Gee, you get the feeling quarterbacks matter a lot in this sport or what?

2. NBA: Blockbuster Harden trade shakes up basketball: James Harden traded from Houston to  the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, joining Kevin Durant and (when he's agreeable to be an adult and play) Kyrie Irving. The Beard dropped a 30-point triple-double in his debut vs. Magic Saturday night. Yay, a new Super Team to hate!

3. PANTHERS: Yandle sparks Cats' win in delayed season opener: Puck drops on Florida's 27th NHL season Sunday night with a 5-2 win over Chicago in the Sunrise home rink, a season opener delayed when Thursday and Friday games vs. Dallas were postponed due to the Stars' COVID outbreak. Florida defenseman Keith Yandle scored his 100th career goal and kept his consecutive games streak alive at 867, fourth longest in NHL history, when earlier in week it seemed he might be a healthy scratch.

4. INTER MIAMI: Beckham hiring former teammate as new coach: David Beckham and Inter Miami have agreed to terms to hire as new coach Beckham's former Manchester United teammate, Phil Neville, to replace departed Diego Alonso for Miami's upcoming second MLS season. Neville most recently coached England's national women's team.

5. DOLPHINS: Speculation around QB enlivens offseason: Coach Brian Flores has re-confirmed his re-commitment to Tua Tagovailoa amid swirling rumors that disgruntled Deshaun Watson may want out of Houston and into Miami. Then there's that Herald story in which three unnamed Dolphins questioned how good Tua is. Those three players' names? Lame, Weak and Cowardly.

6. HEAT: Reeling Miami loses third straight: Heat, reigning NBA Finals runnerup, fell to 4-7 with Saturday's 20-point home loss to Detroit a third straight L. Miami hosts Pistons again Monday, needing to get healthy and prove last season's postseason run introduced a team on the rise ... and wasn't an aberration or fluke.

7. NFL: Former star college coach headed to Jaguars, NFL: Urban Meyer, former Florida and Ohio State championship coach, has entered the NFL fray with Jacksonville. Less splashy but arguably a better hire: the New York Stinkin' Jets landed prized 49ers defensive chief Robert Saleh.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Things go right when Canes men go Wong!: Victory of the year Saturday night for Miami's men's team: a 78-72 home upset of No. 16 Louisville, led by Isaiah Wong. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 6-6, with some tailwind. UM women are 6-5 after Sunday's loss at No. 24 Syracuse.

9. HURRICANES: Diaz finalizes '21 football coaching staff: The Miami Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as defensive line coach and promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach as Manny Diaz finalized his 2021 staff. Three other new additions led by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker previously had been announced. Also notable: Diaz said he'll call defensive plays from now on, after horrible D in the last two games ended 2020's 8-3 season sourly.

10. TENNIS: COVID already shadowing Australian Open: Three coronavirus cases were detected among charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, the year's first major set to begin February 8. A total of 47 players from the two affected flights are now in a tightly enforced 14-day quarantine.

Missing the HB10 cut: Josh Gordon has been suspended again. Or did that go without saying? ..... After 17 years with Coca-Cola, LeBron James is signing with rival Pepsi. Hey, a man's tastes can change! ..... As MLB free agency continues, like a lifeguard surveying a crowded pool, I am looking for a big splash from the Marlins. Bring back J.T. Realmuto? Just sayin' ..... Former Hurricane LB Dan Morgan made the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame -- which lets in way too many people, but, somehow, shamefully, not Howard Schnellenberger ..... Still can't wrap my head around it: Nick Saban crowned college football's all-time G.O.A.T. coach in Miami, of all cities ..... Dolphins coaches will be on one sideline for the January 30 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. What'd they do, lose a bet? ..... A Mickey Mantle baseball card sold at auction for $5.2 million. Sounds like a good deal, if the card was attached to a check for $5.1 million made out to cash ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 45 (No. 3 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,989 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other mots recent columns: 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 yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / 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: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

xxx

December 21, 2020

G14: Dolphins 24, New England 12: Big defense (again), and the king is dead. My column off game; plus jam-packed new Hot Button Top10 (updated), Greg Cote Show podcast news & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 21. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): College football's Championship Weekend and Canes/OB outlooks, NFL Week 15 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 41 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

G14: DOLPHINS 22, NEW ENGLAND 12: MORE BIG DEFENSE, AND THE KING IS DEAD: For my column off Sunday's Dolphins win: The King Is Dead. Dolphins' Win Sunday Ends Dynasty For Belichick, Patriots. ..... Original post: This is disrespect, folks. If "bulletin board material" is still a thing in 2020, the Dolphins have some here. Miami — better record, better offense, better defense, and home — is a negligible 1-point favorite Sunday at 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. New England. The line opened at 2 1/2 but was Nemiabet down as gambled money flowed to the Patriots. Why? Habit, for one. Miami is disrespected because this season hasn’t erased from the public mind all those years when New England reigned over the AFC East and the Fins were also-rans. (Do we trust that all that has now changed?). And there is this: post-Tom Brady, Bill Belichick still famously has his mastery over rookie quarterbacks he faces. He takes raw QBs to the woodshed. His Pats have beaten nine rookie passers in a row since last losing to one in 2013. The latest was Justin Herbert in a 45-0 thrashing just two weeks ago. It is not far-fetched to think the Pats will dial up trouble for Tua Tagovailoa. There is also a revenge factor in play. MIA beat NE in the 2019 season finale to deny the Patrots an all-important first-round playoff bye. Now the Pats, with but a scant hope of making the postseason, can play spoiler and hugely damage Miami’s hopes. Oh and this: New England played last Thursday, so Genius Bill had had added time to outmaneuver one of his disciples, Bran Flores. This is not nothing: Belichick teams have won 21 of past 25 games with added time to rest and prepare. The disrespect in the betting line has tangible roots, too, though. It’s rested Pats vs. banged-up Fins. Tua will likely be without TE Mike Gesicki and WRs DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant -- all inactive today. With Miami’s big-play defense able to disrupt Cam Newton anything is possible. But Belichick, vs. a rookie QB, with extra time to prepare, remains too good to pass up. Mini-upset! My pick: Patriots (+1), 23-19. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 15 Gems. Column as rookie QB navigates his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 20-21): 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: Belichick's rookie-killing streak screeches to a halt Sunday vs. Tua: Patriots at Dolphins Sunday distilled perhaps to Bill Belichick's scary-good track record (9-0 run) vs. rookie quarterbacks. Enter Tua Tagovailoa. A home loss by the 8-5 Dolphins would have been a huge hit to playoff hopes. Instead Miami eliminated the Patriots 24-12. And the king is dead.

2. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's 33rd NBA season: After a 1-1 preseason the NBA Finals-runnerup Heat open the new 2020-21 season on Wednesday in Orlando and then  Christmas Day at home vs. New Orleans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Miami isn't getting much respect/love from the betting public. Heat is tied for fourth favorite to repeat as East champs, after Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Boston.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Championship Weekend sets predictable CFP: Alabama and Clemson were assured spots in the College Football Playoff final four semifinals after Saturday's results, it would have be shocking if Ohio State wasn't invited, too, and a one-loss Notre Dame seemed likely to be in as well. Sure enough, that was it: Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Ohio State playing to see who reaches the CFP title game in Miami. The odd-man-out left to complain about everything and call for an expanded playoff: Texas A&M.

4. RECRUITING: Canes ranked 10th in early signing day bounty: Softening the blow of the UNC loss and bowl fallout (see below), the Hurricanes bounced with with an early National Signing Day class ranked 10th by ESPN. The bounty included nine ESPN 300 athletes led by quarterback Jake Garcia, heir to D'Eriq King, and five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor.

5. HURRICANES: Cheez-It!? UM feels devastation of late loss: The result of Miami's season-ending 62-26 loss to UNC went far beyond UM plummeting 10 spots to 18th in the polls. The loss meant Canes blew a ticket to the hometown Orange Bowl and instead will settle for the Cheez-it Bowl in Orlando vs. Oklahoma State. Orange to Cheez-It. Same color, different stratosphere as Canes fail to finish a promising season.

6. ORANGE BOWL: OB lands Texas A&M to pair with UNC: The Orange Bowl seems likely to pair either Texas A&M or Florida with North Carolina in its January 2 game at Hard Rock Stadium. Can't-miss choice. No. 5 A&M is the team that most closely missed the College Football Playoff. Gators just gave No. 1 Alabama a 52-46 scare and would be the people's choice in South Florida. Choice: A&M. 

7. PANTHERS: Cats add scoring punch with Duclair: The Florida Panthers agreed on a one-year contract with winger Anthony Duclair, 25, a first-time all-star who scored a career-best 23 goals for Ottawa last season. The NHL will play a truncated 56-game 2020-21 season beginning January 13. The league has not said whether teams will play in hub cities or their own arenas.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes fall hard in biggest early-season test: The unranked 4-1 Miami Hurricanes women's team visited No. 4 North Carolina State on Sunday in its biggest test of the young season and got spanked 78-47. The UM men also are now 4-2 after Saturday's home win over Jacksonville.

9. SOCCER: Updated Champions League odds after round-of-16 draw: Germany's Bayern Munich and England's Manchester City and Liverpool emerge as top three betting favorites to win the UEFA Champions League after the recent round-of-16 draw at the conclusion of group-stage play. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

10. GOLF: Tiger, Charlie don't win, but win, father/son event: The PNC Championship, an annual father/son golf event, was won by Justin Thomas and his father Mike in Orlando. But all eyes were on Tiger Woods and 11-year-old son Charlie, the youngest to ever compete in the event. They finished seventh, but won hearts.

Missing the HB10 cut: Started your Christmas shopping yet? That's why God invented the gift card ..... Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso’s remains on the job (for now) after mistakenly believing he had been let-go in a year-end meeting. Now come reports is a subject of interest from his former Uruguayan club Penarol to return as manager ..... Stanford's Tara VanDerveer won her 1,099th game to pass Pat Summitt for most career wins in women's college basketball. UConn's Geno Auriemma is right behind them ..... Drew Brees returns from injury for Saints today to enhance their Game of the Week matchup with Chiefs ..... Canelo Alvarez, maybe boxing's biggest star, dominated previously unbeaten Callum Smith in a unanimous decision Saturday in San Antonio to consolidate the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week with no new episode Monday. Perfect chance to check our our 41-pod back catalog! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,017 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: WHAT'S AHEAD AFTER HOLIDAY WEEK OFF: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our latest Episode 41 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. We're taking this holiday week off but you can find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. It's a great week to catch on up on what you've missed so please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins, Canes and Heat. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. (But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out!) Hear all of that and more in the new podcast -- and stay tuned for a special new year-end episode dropping December 28! Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out our latest Ep41 now.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / 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: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 14, 2020

G13: Kansas City 33, @Dolphins 27: So much went right for Miami, but...; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Canes embarrassed, Harden rumors, Gators lose to flying shoe; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 14. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall hard to North Carolina, Greg Cote Show podcast, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 41 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. Find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins' Sunday loss to Kansas City, the Canes' awful defensive collapse and the Heat/James Harden rumor. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out! Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep41 now!

KcmiaTuaMahG13: KANSAS CITY 33, @DOLPHINS 27: SO MUCH WENT RIGHT, BUT...: Tua threw for a career-high 316 yards. The defense intercepted Mahomes three times and forced four Chiefs turnovers, Fins fought hard and rallied from 20 points down. A lot of good Sunday. A lot of proof that Miami  can compete with any team. But Kansas City showed that champions find a way. ..... Original post: Coming off a big week for Miami. The Dolphins won again, easily handling Cincy to make it a 7-1 run, the playoffs within reach. The 1972 Dolphins won again, too, with Pittsburgh’s loss making it a 48th consecutive season no other team has equaled Miami’s Perfection. (If there’s a heaven, they were raising a toast to Don Shula up there. Down here, too). Now, in the all-good-things-must-end category, come Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I do give Miami a legit upset shot as 7 1/2-point home 'dogs in the 1 p.m. kickoff (CBS) at Hard Rock Stadium. It’s why this was in my mix for Game of the Week. The Dolphins defense is for-real legit. Don’t know if anybody can stop Tyreek Hill, but Xavien Howard is waving around eight interceptions and raising his hand. Also note that KC’s last four wins have been by one score, 15 points total. Chiefs have lately been finding a way more than dominating. Mahomes has not faced a particularly rugged schedule and the Dolphins might just be his toughest test yet. Having said all that, Mahomes is Mahomes. The best. Hill and TE Travis Kelce can seem unstoppable. Now RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns from an illness. Miami’s paths to an upset are A) Tua Tagovailoa getting into an arms-race shootout with Mahomes, or B) Miami’s defense being at its absolute best. Choose B. Might not be enough to win, but should be enough to stay on the right side of the betting line.

My pick: Chiefs (-7 1/2), 24-20. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 14 Gems. Column as rookie QB begins his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature, back after one week off, 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: Miami does a lot right but loses to Chiefs anyway: What if I told you Tua would pass for a career-high 316 yards and Miami's D would intercept Patrick Mahomes three times and have four takeaways? Sounds like a win over the reigning Super Bowl champs, right? It was a 33-27 loss instead as Miami squandered a 10-0 lead, fell behind by 20 and rallied. Now 8-5, Fins may need to win two of last three games to reach playoffs.

2. HURRICANES: UM gets run all over in crushing home loss to UNC: Unfathomable. But it happened. Beyond embarrassing. But it happened. No. 10 Miami got crushed 62-26 by No. 17 North Carolina at Hard Rock Saturday -- giving up NCAA-record 554 yards rushing. A win in the regular season finale would have assured an invite to the hometown Orange Bowl. Now, at 8-2, Canes will cascade in the polls and face shopping for a lesser bowl. A devastating, epic defeat for Manny Diaz and his program.

3. HEAT: Exhibitions, Harden rumors, then a new season: Miami plays exhibition games Monday/tonight vs. New Orleans and Friday at Toronto, then opens the new season Dec. 23 at Orlando and Christmas Day at home vs. the Pelicans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Meantime speculation swirls that Miami could be interested if Houston decides to trade James Harden. Could the man be taking his beard to South Beach? Odds are against it, but don't discount Pat Riley's propensity to make a big splash.

4. GATORS: Flying shoe costs No. 6 Florida in loss: The high-ranked Gators were beaten by unranked LSU 37-34 in the Swamp Saturday on a 57-yard field goal in final seconds. The Tigers were stopped and overtime seemed likely before Gators defender Marco Wilson threw a defender's shoe downfield, drawing a penalty and keeping LSU alive. Six plays later, the deciding FG. Marco Wilson, welcome to Gator infamy.

5. BERNIE ROSEN: Miami TV-sports legend passes away: The most significant pioneer in South Florida TV sports coverage, Bernie Rosen, died at 93. He was to Miami TV what Edwin Pope was in print. Rosen founded the first local television sports department in the state at WTVJ in 1949 and continued a presence in local press boxes long after his retirement. R.I.P., sir.

6. INTER MIAMI: Changes underway as MLS club preps for second season: The club announced sporting director (i.e. GM) Paul McDonough had stepped down, and that options had been declined on eight players including veteran goalkeeper Luis Robles. And future of coach Diego Alonso is unclear. David Beckham's Inter Miami finished inaugural season 7-13-3 with quick exit from expanded MLS playoffs.

7. SOCCER: Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday: The UEFA Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday/today in Switzerland, with eight group winners and eight runnersup advancing. Manchester City and Bayern Munich got through cleanest with 5-0-1 group runs for 16 points. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women absorb first losses: Both Miami teams are 3-1 after the men lost Saturday to Florida Gulf Coast and the women fell Thursday to No. 20 Syracuse. Canes men are back at it Wednesday vs. Pitt; the women host North Carolina on Monday/tonight.

9. PANTHERS: Details emerge on new NHL season: NHL owners and players have targeted a January 13 start date for the 2020-21 season, and a reduced schedule of 52 or 56 games. The Florida Panthers have not yet released their scheduled, but have named retired Roberto Luongo to head a new "goaltending excellence department." Alrighty then.

10. MLS: Columbus crushes Seattle for title: Columbus Crew SC throttled Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 Saturday in the MLS Cup championship match. Seattle had won it all in 2019 and 2016. The crown is Columbus' second, after it previously reigned in 2008.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hot Button Top 10 is happy to be back after a week off! ..... My 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been mailed. I Tweeted it out. I never realized Andruw Jones had so many fans ..... Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he wondered if college basketball should be played in a pandemic. Then again, he happened to say it after two early season home loss to non-conference teams ..... The University of Nevada-Las Vegas quarterback apologized for eating sushi off the body of a nude model. It had to be Vegas, right? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 41 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,024 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: 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 / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / 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: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 22-23): 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:

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: 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 / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / 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 / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / 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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).