May 20, 2019

Why Dolphins should start Rosen -- no matter what. Latest column; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Zion/lottery column, Game Of Thrones finale, Le Batard Show in New York & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 20. Happy birthday, Christopher, our eldest son! Proud of you, kid. 2) Game Of Thrones! I'll put off my full commentary on the series finale until later in week, rather than do the spoiler-alert thing. For now: The negative reaction is more predictable than warranted. You want the perfect ending? Write your own damned show! 3) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat luckless in NBA Draft lottery, ESPN's mock-guess for Heat at 13th, Back In My Day link, The List & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

LebnyLe Batard Show in New York: We spent the past weekend Big Apple-ing as part of the Le Batard & Friends live, sold-out Saturday night stage event at the Gramercy Theatre, which I was honored to be a part of. What a blast! The Le Batard show has a loyal following nationwide, and those fans are fiercely into it, as we saw again Saturday. So nice to meet so many of you in the post-show meet and greet!

JrosenWhy Dolphins should start Rosen over Fitzpatrick: In Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen and third guy Jake Rudock the Dolphins have the smartest quarterback room in the NFL. But club's decision on who to start is a no-brainer. Forget "open competition" and may-the-best-man-win. There is every reason to start Rosen. To read why in my newest column please visit Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen.

Other most recent columns: Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / Dreaming Of a Heat Lottery Night Miracle / All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

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

Hotbutton1. NBA: New Orleans wins lottery, Zion as Knicks crap out: Pelicans surprisingly won the draft lottery, vaulting to No. 1 and the right to grand prize Zion Williamson in the June NBA Draft, although Zion has until June 10 to try to force a trade to a preferred team. Meanwhile New York, hoping for Zion after a league-worst season, settled for the third pick as a legion of disappointed Knicks fans wept to the sheer delight of the rest of America.

2. DOLPHINS: The Beard takes early lead in offseason QB race: As periodic OTA practice days continue building toward the mandatory Dolphins minicamp June 4-6, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick & His Fabulous Beard by acclimation have the early lead over young gun Josh Rosen in the ballyhooed quarterback competition. Of course it would be dumb for anybody but Rosen to end up starting. Someone please advise coach Brian Flores as such.

3. NBA: Golden State seeks sweep, Milwaukee leads in conference finals: Defending champion Golden State leads Portland 3-0 in the West finals entering Monday's sweep-seeking Game 4 in Oregon, while top overall seed Milwaukee leads in the East finals 2-1 over Toronto after Raptors' double-OT win Sunday, with Game 4 Tuesday. Scary: The Warriors are playing, and winning, without Kevin Durant.

4. HEAT: Miami's miserable lack of lottery luck continues: Heat stayed stuck with the 13th overall pick in next month's draft, once again failing to get lucky in the draft lottery. In eleven lotteries Miami has stood pat five times, moved down six times and moved up not at all. Ever. #IHatePingPongBalls

5. GOLF: Koepka wins PGA Championship after Tiger misses cut: Tiger Woods was betting favorite after last month's unexpected Masters win, but started badly Thursday at Bethpage in New York and missed the cut, while Brooks Koepka enjoyed the early lead with a scorching 63 and held on to win. Love the lurching storyline on Tiger. Post-Masters: He's baaaccckkk! Today: Should we worry about Tiger?

6. MARLINS: Fish sweep! Fish sweep Fish sweep!: Miami is still an MLB-worst 13-31 but won a season-high third straight game Sunday at home to sweep the Mets. Miami has lost seven straight prior to the sweep. Now it's seven straight on the road at Detroit and Washington starting Tuesday.

7. SOCCER: Watford gets clobbered in FA Cup final: Upstart Watford faced mighty Manchester City Saturday in the FA Cup final -- Watford after its first crown in its first final since 1984. Alas, it was a 6-nil rout by Man City. Meanwhile Liverpool and Tottenham are girding for June 1 Champions League final, marking first all-England final since Man U-Chelsea in 2008.

8. NHL: Boston sweeps, St. Louis leads: Boston swept Carolina in four straight games to win the East and head to the Stanley Cup Finals. Bruins now wait for St. Louis (up 3-2 after Sunday's 5-0 win) or San Jose to get out of the West, with Game 6 on Tuesday. Thank the ice gods for Boston, the only "name" franchise in a low-watt final four shy on superstars.

9. HORSE RACING: War Of Will wins Preakness Stakes: Saturday's Preakness, for the first time since 1951, found the second leg of the Triple Crown series without any of the top four horses to cross the finish line in the Kentucky Derby. Improbable went off as 5-2 fave to earn Bob Baffert's record eighth Preakness win, but it was second-favorite War Of Will across the wire first. Meanwhile Maximum Security's owners are suing over the DQ that erased their Derby win. Dark days for the Sport of Kings.

10. UM BASEBALL: Solid regular season ending, now its on to ACCs: Canes finished a solid 38-17 regular season, ranked 17th nationally in Gino DiMare's first season, and now begin play in the ACC Tournament Thursday and Friday vs. Virginia and North Carolina in Durham. Then it's the NCAA Regional ... and then Omaha ... maybe?

Missing the HB10 cut: Bulletin: NCAA weighs entering 21st Century! They're talking about maybe compensating athletes for use of their names and likenesses. Sounds like it'll be stuck in committee for the next 16 years ..... The good luck Cats? The four Panthers playing in the IIHF men's ice hockey world championships going on in Slovakia -- their teams won 14 of their first 16 games ..... A judge excluded that incriminating police-sting video from Robert Kraft's solicitation trial. For Bob, the happy endings keep comin' ..... Women's World Cup getting close. It'll be good to see the U.S. women, coached by Miamian Jill Ellis, do what the American men never do. Contend! ..... I trust the rest of Lockhart Stadium demoliton is going better for Inter Miami than the lame photo-op that began it? ..... WNBA opens its 23rd season later this week. Dare you to name the reigning champion or MVP ..... Update: Countdown now 2,590 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 13, 2019

The latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Game 7s, minicamp, lottery party, demolition -- see who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Dolphins pushing all the right buttons (latest column), Happy Mother's Day & more

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

Moms1) It's MONDAY, MAY 13. Hope y'all had a nice and Happy Mother's Day and a Feliz dia de las Madres! Was thinking of and missing my own wonderful mom today, grateful my wife is the best mom there is, and thankful Christopher found a great one in his own wife. Lucky! 2) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Inter Miami's "Demolition Ceremony," shame and stain on Kentucky Derby, Back In My Day video, Dolphins' 1-in-10K shot at Super Bowl, D-Wade at Met Gala, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: 'New Dolphins' pushing all the right buttons: I'm feeling really upbeat about where the Dolphins are and where they're headed. I discuss many of the reasons why in my latest offering, an unusually optimistic column about a long-down franchise that is seeing a cloud lift at last. To read that column, please visit All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right.

Other most recent columns: Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson / Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

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

Hotbutton1. NBA: Seventh Heaven! Kawhi, CJ lift Raps, Blazers to final four: The two best teams -- defending NBA champion Golden State and overall No. 1 seed Milwaukee -- were waiting, and resting. Warriors, even sans Kevin Durant, eliminated Houston Friday behind Steph Curry's 33-point second half, after the Bucks had previously dusted Boston in five games. A pair of Sunday Game 7s would send the the underdogs to the conference finals -- and it was Toronto ousting Philadelphia on Kawhi Leonard's five-bounces-off-the rim buzzer beater, and Portland eliminating Denver behind CJ McCollum's 37 points. 

2. DOLPHINS: Draftees and dreamers at Fins rookie minicamp: Fifty players, draftees led by No. 1 pick Christian Wilkins and dreamers alike, wrap up Dolphins' three-day rookie minicamp on Sunday. Full-squad OTA workdays follow on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. You cannot stop it, people. Football season!

3. HEAT: Miami plans arena watch party for draft lottery: The Heat will throw a draft lottery watch party at the arena this Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. with free admission. Miami has a 1 percent chance to land the overall No. 1 pick (a.k.a. Zion Williamson) in the June 20 draft, and a 4.7% shot to score a top-four pick. In other words, it's mathematically likely to end up a meh result in the 10-14 range. By the way, am I the only one who thinks it a bit odd the Heat is throwing a party to essentially celebrate it being in the lottery for not being good enough to make the playoffs?

4. INTER MIAMI: MLS club on the clock with start of Lockhart demolition: Inter Miami held a "Demolition Ceremony" that amounted to knocking down a small ticket building. It was a lot more ceremony than demolition. But the clock has started. The club now has about nine months to raze the old Lockhart and build a new stadium there in time for the March 2020 start of its MLS expansion season. Inter will simultaneously be trying to get going on its eventual home at Miami Freedom Park. Tick-tock, Jorge Mas.

5. GOLF: Tiger heads PGA Championship field in year's second major: The PGA Championship runs this Thursday through Sunday in Farmingdale, N.Y., the year's second major. Tiger Woods predictably is an 8-1 betting favorite off the big bounce of his exhilarating Masters win. But Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy lead a crowed field of wanna-be spoilsports.

6. SOCCER: All eyes on Champions League, FA Cup finals: Upstart Watford will face favored Manchester City next Saturday in the FA Cup final -- Watford after its first crown in its first final since 1984. Meanwhile Liverpool and Tottenham improbably overcame first leg losses to Barcelona and Ajax to reach the June 1 Champions League final, marking the first all-England final since Man U-Chelsea in 2008. Liverpool is the Champs League favorite because, well, when you shake off a 3-nil loss to eliminate Messi, you get to be.

7. MARLINS: Stinky, skidding Fish continue to lose: Miami is an MLB-worst 10-29 after five straight losses. Blessedly, Sunday's rainout at the Mets prevented another one. Marlins will return home Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay, and you can bet Marlins Park will be brimming with literally hundreds of fans.

8. NHL: Boston in command, San Jose out front in conference finals: Boston leads Carolina by a commanding 2-0 in the East and San Jose leads St. Louis 1-0 in the West as Stanley Cup conference finals continue Monday at Sharks. Thanks goodness for Boston, the only "name" franchise in an otherwise low-watt final four. 

9. HORSE RACING: Preakness shadowed by Derby fallout, key non-entry: Next Saturday's Peakness Stakes in Baltimore runs in the aftermath of the Kentucky Derby controversy that robbed Maximum Security of its win. And the horse gifted the Derby, Country House, will not run at Pimlico -- instantly robbing Triple Crown season of any chance of a Triple Crown. Improbable at 2-1 odds and War of Will at 7-2 are near co-favorites in the Preakness, but a feeling of Who Cares clouds the whole endeavor.

10. BASEBALL: Red Sox honored at White House, sort of: The Boston Red Sox (heatin' up; won four straight; look out!) were honored at the White House for winning the World Series, except the official WH notice called them the Boston Red "Socks" and said they'd won the "World Cup" Series. Oy. Moreover, most persons of color associated with the team including Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora declined to attend. So, in effect, the president was honoring the "white Socks."

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy Mother's Day, madres! Fun trivia: Every athlete in history has had a mother ..... Breaking news: Frank Vogel agrees to coach the Los Angeles LeBrons ..... UM baseball up to 19th in polls and go for three-game sweep Monday at Wake Forest as regular season wanes. Omaha, please ..... Congrats to Hurricanes women's tennis for reaching the second round of the NCAA team championships for the 18th year in a row ..... Canes women's golf, alas, was knocked out in regional play and did not advance ..... Retired Heat star Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union attended the Met Gala. Dwyane tried to make high fashion of a black hoodie. Points for effort ..... U.S. weightlifting championships conclude today in Memphis, on the grounds of Elvis' Graceland estate. Division winners get a peanut butter 'n 'nana sandwich ..... Panthers Evgenii Dadonov (Team Russia) and Frank Vatrano (USA) are thinking gold in the IIHF men's ice hockey world championships underway in Slovakia. Two other Cats in it, Juho Lammikko (Finland) and Vincent Praplan (Switzerland), face longer odds ..... Update: Countdown now 2,597 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft, Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 11, 2019

All the things going right with Miami Dolphins. New column; plus ESPN explains how Fins could win Super Bowl (!), clock ticking for Inter Mami, the horses--- Kentucky Derby, new Back In My Day video (Wallets!), D-Wade rocks Met Gala & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 11. It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CwilkinsNEW COLUMN: A LOT IS GOING RIGHT WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: I write (very) optimistically about the Dolphins in my latest column, as the team goes through this weekend's rookie minicamp. An impressive new head coach in Brian Flores. Building-block defensive pieces led by Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick and rookie Christian Wilkins (pictured). The Josh Rosen trade and the possibility of grand prize Tua Tagovailoa in next year's draft. A premier left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. The 12 draft picks expected next year, and almost $100 million to spend. And more. Miami hasn't been an especially relevant team for some 20  years. Now, I sense this long under-the-radar franchise finally is turning a corner. To read that column, please visit All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right.

DOLPHINS WIN SUPER BOWL! (WELL, ONCE IN 10,000 SIMULATIONS): ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) for the 2019 projects the Miami Dolphins for 5.6 wins, second-lowest to Arizona's 5.5 Dolsb(which is why the Cardinals are given a 16 percent likelihood of securing the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2020 to Miami's 14%). The Dolphins are given a 5 percent shot at making the playoffs, a 2% likelihood of winning the AFC East, and a less than 1% chance to win the Super Bowl. But! Of 10,000 computerized simulation run by ESPN on the season, exactly one had Miami winning it all in the Super Bowl it will host. Writes ESPN today: "To build our projections, we simulated the 2019 season 10,000 times. And exactly once -- simulation No. 5,130 -- the Dolphins went on to win the Super Bowl. How did they do it? A Miami miracle of astronomic proportions. Brian Flores' team made a late run, winning four consecutive games from Weeks 13-16 before dropping a Week 17 contest in Foxborough against Flores' old team. No matter: At 10-6, a feisty Dolphins team led by either Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick (FPI isn't clear) sneaked into the playoffs as No. 6 seed. On the road, Miami dismantled the AFC South champion Texans before a rematch against the division-rival Patriots. And this time, it pulled off the upset. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' defense were then no match for Rosen and/or Fitzpatrick in the AFC Championship Game. And miraculously, Flores' team finished it off with a victory over the Eagles two weeks later. And so it's possible, Dolphins fans. It's spring, and thankfully, due to simulation 5,130, all 32 teams officially have hope." OK, "Su-per Bowl!" chant on my cue. Ready?

Lhdemo'DEMOLITION CEREMONY' STARTS CLOCK ON INTER MIAMI"S FRANTIC RACE TO THE FINISH: It was more ceremony than demolition at Inter Miami's media event today outside the dilapidated shell of the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. All they did Wednesday was a glorified photo op during which they began to demolish a small ticket building (pictured). It is hard to envision the site going from this to a brand new Lockhart Stadium essentially in nine months -- by the March start of the 2020 inaugural season for Miami's new Major League Soccer team. But owner Jorge Mas swore assurances it would happen for the stadium Inter will call home at least the first two seasons, until its Miami Freedom Park site is completed where Melreese golf called home. So in effect the Mas/Beckham group is planning and building two stadiums at once, some 35 miles apart. And, ceremonially at least, the the frantic race against time began Wednesday. I was at today's event. For my column, please visit Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish.

KdTHE SHAME AND THE STAIN ON THE KENTUCKY DERBY: The annual horse race at Churchill Downs, kickoff to Triple Crown season, may be America's most hallowed sporting event. The Masters Kderbyin golf -- an event with 60 years' less tradition -- is the only other event guaranteed to be conveyed with strings and tinkling pianos in TV coverage. That's why mess of a controversy engulfing this year's Derby is so big. It is a spray-paint  of graffiti on tradition. Maximum Security won the race. The stewards took it away and made Country House the official, if illegitimate, winner. The sports asterisk, heretofore best used when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record, is now needed in thoroughbred racing. To read my latest column please visit Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain.

Our previous most recent columns: Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson and / Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

Metserena DwmetgalaRETIREE WADE STRUTS HIS FASHION AT MET GALA: Retired Heat star Dwyane Wade (still not used to saying that) and actress-wife Gabrielle Union rocked the 2019 Met Gala over the weekend -- the "Super Bowl of Fashion" fundraiser in New York, where celebs paid $30,000 per person just to get in the door to be papparazzi'd for a good cause. The Miami power couple are wearing outfits by Dundas, and looking sort of like a royal couple from the Game Of Thrones.  (Has D-Wade just made the hoodie elegant?) Other A-list athletes there included Tom Brady, Serena Williams, A-Rod, Odell Beckham Jr., Colin Kaepernick, Saquon Barkley and Lewis Hamilton. Serena, from Palm Beach, is pictured going all canary in an Atelier Versace gown with matching Nike sneakers, to the degree sneakers and a Versace gown might ever be called "matching."

THE LIST: AMERICA'S OLDEST SPORTS INSTITUTIONS: Another reason this year's Kentucky Derby controversy is such a big deal is its history. A comparative look at when each of these major American sporting events was first held:

Event                                   Year  

Kentucky Derby                    1875

Stanley Cup                          1893

World Series                         1903

Indianapolis 500                    1911

The Masters                          1934

NBA Finals                            1947

Super Bowl                           1966-*

U.S Open tennis                    1968-**

Notes: *-Season of first Super Bowl; game played January '67. **-Open era. (Sorry, Canada, but the U.S. has won every Stanley Cup since 1994, so it's an American event...).

THE NEW BACK IN MY DAY: WALLETS!: The latest BIMD that premiered today/Tuesday on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. One of my better ones based on the reaction in the room and what I'm seeing on social media. Hope you enjoy...

Other recent columns: Dolphins Big Winners With Draft-Day Trade For QB Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Select other columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what takes over No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Luck and tragedy when Dolphins draft 13th (newest column), Happy Earth Day & more

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

Earthday1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 22. Happy Earth Day, fellow planet inhabitants! Global warming is real. Treat your other mother right!  2) Hope y'all had a nice Easter or Passover. I also trust my weedeaters out there had a lovely 420 Day? 3) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): When the Dolphins draft 13th, Tagovailoa to Fins seeming likelier, The Forlorn Four in Miami sports, Dolphins' 2019 schedule, Le Batard Show hits the road, new Mavis song & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest column: Luck & tragedy when the Dolphins draft 13th: Miami was lucky to draft tackle Laremey Tunsil and lucky to draft linebacker/end A.J. Duhe. But running back David Overstreet in between ended in tragedy. Across a 40-year span, all those three had in common was being selected 13th overall in the NFL Draft. With Dolphins set to pick 13th again this week, we look back at the three very disparate circumstances of the franchise's experience selecting there. To read, visit Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy.

Other most recent columns: Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Week trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: It's NFL Draft Week in Miami and America!: The NFL Draft's first round is Thursday night in Nashville, with the Miami Dolphins under new coach Brian Flores scheduled to select 13th overall. The Fins' biggest need? Someone who can excellently play about eight positions simultaneously to fill all of the roster's shortcomings. Draft rounds two through seven will be Friday and Saturday, but disproportionate interest in the top pick means we'll hardly care who comes later.

2. NBA: Celtics are first to advance in playoffs: Deep into the NBA playoffs' first round, Boston on Sunday won at Indiana to complete a 4-game sweep and be the first to advance. No. 2 West seed Denver seems the lone higher seed in greatest jeopardy of an early exit, tied 2-2 with San Antonio. These are the first playoffs since 2005 without LeBron James. There's a phrase for that: "Nice little break."

3. HURRICANES: QB still in doubt as UM wraps up spring football: Miami concluded 15 days of spring football practice with an open scrimmage Saturday in Orlando -- new coach Many Diaz foisting The U up in Gator country. The big story line coming out of spring work: Who's the starting quarterback? Decision will go into the fall. Positive spin: Such competition! Alternative spin: Nobody has stood and out and grabbed the job. 

4. HEAT: Riley replacing Magic in L.A? Um ... NO!: Dwyane Wade diggin' into retirement, drinking his own signature wine on a golf course (growing the brand gets tougher when one retires) and getting a giant tattoo on his leg. But let's downplay that speculation that the Lakers may want Heat god-daddy Pat Riley to replace Magic Johnson in running LeBron's team. Pat says he'll retire "a Heat." That's good enough for us. (Unless he changes his mind...?)

5. MARLINS: Fish catch fire after dumping hitting coach: Miami is 6-16 but had won two straight over Nationals to win first series of season before losing Sunday. The day before they chased Nats ace Max Scherzer in 9-3 win. Marlins now set out on 6-game roadie starting Tuesday. Fish fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, but, I dunno, other than the Marlins being last in the majors in runs scored and having a .215 team average, I thought he was doing a great job!

6. NHL: Four teams advance closer to Stanley Cup: Colorado, New York Islanders, Columbus and St. Louis have advanced in first round of Stanley Cup playoffs, but Toronto and Vegas were thwarted on Sunday and now face Game 7s. Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, Lightning fans are still shell-shocked and walking around like zombies.

7. SOCCER: Big week for MLS and in Europe: Tottenham ousted Man City to reach the Champions League semifinals vs Ajax. Barcelona and Liverpool go in the other semi. Meanwhile MLS announced plans to expand to 30 teams, with 24 now running and Miami, Austin and Nashville in the incubator. Tap the brakes, MLS!

8. HORSES: Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown season near: The Run For the Roses at Churchill Downs kicks off Triple Crown season on May 4. Omaha Beach and Roadster figure to be early betting favorites, but keep an eye on Maximum Security, who burst out of a $16,000 claiming race to win the recent Florida Derby at Gulfstream.

9. GOLF: Tiger's Masters afterglow: Golf fans continue their swoon over Tiger Woods winning his first major in 11 years and first Masters in 14. So does Tiger himself. The other day Woods walked into his own restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, wearing his iconic green jacket. This is the Internet. I couldn't say it if it weren't true.

10. RUNNING: Miami Corporate Run on deck: The annual Miami Corporate Run clogs hits downtown streets this Thursday evening. Last year's run drew 28,265 entrants from 850 companies. Hey you all: Less running, more working!

Missing the HB10 cut: Gino DiMare and Canes baseball are Top 25-bound at 28-13 after taking two of three at No. 8 Louisville ..... Notable as 2019 NFL schedule rolled out: Only one team has no prime-time games. The Buffalo Bills ..... Defending champ Red Sox have won two straight to escape the AL East cellar. Lookout! ..... The Le Batard Show's May 18 live show in New York sold out in two minutes this week. You're welcome! ..... Conor McGregor fought an exhibition boxing match in Dublin. Anybody else getting a little tired of this guy? ..... Bumper sticker: Honk If You've Seen the Leaked Robert Kraft Sex Tape ..... Update: Countdown now 2,618 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB / Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 25, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who wins the fierce fight for No. 1 and what else lands where; plus Heat playoff poll (vote now!), our Beckham's Miami soccer odyssey column, Haiku Challenge news & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 25. Happy 72nd birthday to Elton John. 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual March Madness Haiku Challenge announcement, Diaz's re-branding of Canes football, Tannehill's legacy and your verdict on his Dolphins era & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Haiku Challenge update!: Entries closed at noon Friday in our 14th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge. Thanks to all who played along! We'll announce the winner here in our blog ON TUESDAY MORNING. Also tomorrow, we'll share how we're doing thus far in our NCAA Tournament bracket. Spoiler alert: It ain't pretty.

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

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Fish and MLB!: Marlins finished 15-13 as one of the bigger pleasant surprises in baseball as they concluded their spring schedule Sunday vs. St. Louis, with a big team vs. top prospects fun game today. Opening Day is Thursday at Marlins Park vs. Colorado. Might still be a long season for a young, rebuilding team, but March suggests it might also be a team with some fight, and one easy to like.

2. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women gunning for Sweet 16: Miami, a No. 4  seed in the women's NCAA Tournament, won its opener and but lost 57-55 to No. 5 Arizona State on campus Sunday evening -- denying UM its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1992. But for coach Katie Meier, this team and 25-9 season were a big success, especially compared to the men's team's struggles.

3. HEAT: Hot Heat host huge home game Tuesday: Miami and Dwyane "Last Dance" Wade are 36-37 after winning nine of past 12 games and can get to .500 at home Tuesday vs Orlando. Heat hold the 8th and last East playoff spot with nine games left in the regular season, but the Magic is only one game back in 9th. So expect a playoff feel Tuesday. Or desperation, at least.

4. MARCH MADNESS: NCAA tourney reaches Sweet 16 round: The Sweet 16 pairings were completed on Sunday and all four No. 1 seeds advanced -- with Zion Williamson and Duke needing a lucky late bounce to survive UCF. Notable so far in the men's NCAA Tournament: Biggest by-seed upset: 13-UC Irvine beating 4-Kansas State. Biggest controversy: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo berating a freshman player. Biggest disappointment: My bracket.

5. TENNIS: Miami Open suffers two big losses on women's side: The first Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium, after leaving Key Biscayne, suffered a double-hit Saturday when No. 1-ranked Naomi Osaka (loss) and eight-time Miami champ and fan favorite Serena Williams (withdrawal/knee injury) both left the tourney. That's a major disappointment to an event already without injured men's star Rafael Nadal.

6. INTER MIAMI: First two seasons in Broward gets OK: Fort Lauderdale city commission unanimously approved a Jorge Mas/David Beckham plan to build a new Lockhart Stadium at the current site and for Inter Miami to play its first two MLS seasons there while the team's permanent home at the Melreese Miami site. Hmm. Um, that's less than one year to build a $60 million, 18,000-seat "new Lockhart." Chop chop, fellas. Beckham, let me know if you need to borrow my weed wacker!

7. NOVA SOUTHEASTERN: Sharks in Division II quarterfinals: Nova Southeastern basketball has reached the men's NCAA Division II Elite Eight and faces Saint Anselm College of New Hampshire this Wednesday. The Sharks are now three wins from the school's first national championship and first for coach Jim Crutchfield.

8. PANTHERS: Cats on brink of elimination from playoff contention: Florida is 10 points off playoff pace with seven games left in the regular season starting Monday at Toronto -- not officially eliminated yet, but all but. Cats may need to win the last seven games for any shot, and even that may not be enough. Not gonna happen, puckheads.  

9. HURRICANES: Raves for new QB as spring football digs in: Teammates are raving and the media is swooning over new Canes transfer quarterback Tate Martell. Dear Everybody: We are three games into 15 spring practices. It's March. Can he beat Florida -- or at least win the starting job -- before we anoint him?

10. DOLPHINS: Countdown: One month 'til draft!: The NFL Draft is April 25-27 in Nashville, so today begins the one-month countdown. That's one full month of incessant speculation on whom the Dolphins might select 13th overall, on top of the month-plus of honking and blather Your Friend the Media has already put out there.

Missing the HB10 cut: Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he is "truly sorry" for being caught at a Florida "spa" in a prostitution sting. I wonder if this story will have a happy ending. Wait. Too soon? ..... Ouch. UM baseball has lost five in a row and tries to avoid being swept at home today by No. 5-ranked North Carolina State. Honeymoon over, Gino DiMare ..... NFL owners meeting in Arizona this week will include a vote on 16 possible rule changes for 2019. One wild one: An alternative option to the onside kick giving teams a 4th-and-15 play from their own 35-yard line. That's really interesting. So it has no shot of approval ..... ESPN and UFC signed a massive agreement for the Worldwide Leader to champion UFC fights. Sorry, Disney. No interest ..... Angels' Mike Trout signed a record $430 million deal. Should we start a GoFundMe page for poor Bryce Harper? ..... Seattle opened MLB season with two games vs. Oakland in Japan, and Ichiro played and then retired in front of fans who idolize him. That's about as perfect and ending as sports can deliver ..... Florida Derby is next Saturday at Gulfstream, a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown season. So it's almost time to fake interest in horse racing ..... Funniest thing about that college admissions scandal? That we're all shocked that rich people would try to buy advantages for their spoiled-brat kids ..... Update: Countdown now 2,645 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

DwadeWHAT OPPONENT DO HEAT FANS WANT IN THE PLAYOFFS' FIRST ROUND?: Miami holds the No. 8 East seed with 11 games left in the regular season, entering tonight, but the hot Heat -- winners of three straight and eight of past 10 -- still have a plausible shot at the 7th seed or perhaps even the 6th. That's why Miami is in realistic play to face any of the current 1-2-3 seeds. (Indiana or Boston rising to 3rd is possible, but unlikely enough that we don't include them in our poll. The question is which of the 1-2-3 teams you'd most want Miami to end up facing in the first round? Vote based on which team the Heat might have the best chance to win the series against or which series might be the most fun to watch -- your call.

BecksinterNEW COLUMN: INTER MIAMI? INTERIM FORT LAUDERDALE AS BECKHAM'S WILD RIDE TAKES DETOUR: Nothing has been easy (or fast) in David Beckham's six-year odyssey to realize his dream of Major League Soccer in Miami, and the latest example is Inter Miami having to play its first two seasons at a yet-to-be built new Lockhart Stadium at the old site in Fort Lauderdale. That's assuming they can built the new Lockhart stadium in about 10 months, with 2020 preseason games starting in January. And "only" two years in Broward assumes the massive Miami Freedom Park project including the new stadium on the Melreese golf site will be ready by 2022. For my newest column, please visit Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour.

Other most recent columns: Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / The Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 18, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus our Dolphins/Kaepernick column, grading-Tannehill-era poll (last day to vote!), 'Greg Cote Day' & more

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

Stpday1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 18. Hope y'all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day! 2) Saw Elton John on Saturday in Sunrise on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour -- likely the last  time I'll see him perform live. If so,  thanks, Elton, for being the enduring soundtrack of my life. 3) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Losses piling up in Dolphins free agency, Nova Southeastern hoops, national bobblehead shrine, farewell Wake/Gore, new Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami trades QB Tannehill, signs Fitzpatrick: An era ended and the Fins' rebuild kicked into higher gear with the trade of quarterback Ryan Tannehill to Tennesee for (essentially) a fourth-round draft pick. Now, after Miami failed in free agency to lure either of two short-term replacements, Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater, the Fins on Sunday signed veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. In a swap of Ryans, Miami just lost a younger, better one than it got.

2. HEAT: It's stretch run for Wade's 'Last Dance': Miami, No. 8 East seed as of now at 33-36, learned Friday what it might face in a first-round playoff matchup vs. No. 1 Milwaukee. Heat led at home by 20 at halftime yet lost 113-98, buried by the Greek Freak. Miami, with only four home regular-season games left in Dwyane Wade's 'Last Dance' farewell season, sets out on a four-game road trip starting tonight at OKC. 

3. MARCH MADNESS: Selection Sunday (and Monday) for NCAA college hoops: It was Selection Sunday for the NCAA men's basketball tournament -- a.k.a March Madness -- with Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Virginia earning No. 1 regional seeds. The women's field is to be announced Monday. Jim Larranaga's Miami men, after a 14-18 season including 1-1 in the ACCs, had no shot at NCAAs and will be hoping for NIT table scraps. But Katie Meier's UM women -- 24-8 and ranked No. 19 -- should feel some NCAA love Monday.

4. HURRICANES: UM football spring practice on deck: The first on-field work of the new Manny Diaz era begins Tuesday with the first of 15 spring practices. Scrimmages are scheduled April 6 and 20, the latter wrapping up spring work. Overshadowing it all: Whether the NCAA decides to grant QB Tate Martell's transfer waiver to make the former Ohio State Buckeye eligible in 2019.

5. INTER MIAMI: Beckham group pitches first two seasons in Broward: Miami's new David Beckham/Jorge Mas Major League Soccer franchise has proposed playing its first two seasons in a new stadium at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium site, beginning next year, before moving into its permanent home at Miami's Melreese site. Fort Lauderdale city council will vote Tuesday.

6. PANTHERS: Cats were hot, but is  it too late?: The wildly up and down Panthers are 32-40 after losing Sunday to end a four-game win streak, and are eight points off playoff pace with 10 games left in the NHL regular season. It will take a small miracle from here for Cats to sneak into postseason.

7. MARLINS: The rebuilding Fish are en fuego!: Miami, expected to be really bad this season, is the hottest team in MLB right now at 13-10 after nine wins in a row entering the final week of spring training. Quick suggestion: Save some of these wins for April.

8. NOVA SOUTHEASTERN: Sharks reach Division II regional final: Coach Jim Crutchfield's Nova Southeastern men's basketball team won again Sunday in the NCAA Division II Southern Regional the Sharks are hosting, and now face Lynn from Boca Raton for the region title on Tuesday. NSU is now four wins from a national title.

9. CANES BASEBALL: Canes drop two of three at UNC: Unranked UM is now 15-5 after dropping two of three at No. 8 North Carolina. Looks like Gino DiMare's guys will have to wait some more (and win some more) to crash polls.

10. NFL: Browns, Jets land big stars: Odell Beckham Jr. is now a Cleveland Brown and Le'Veon Bell is now a New York Jet -- arguably the NFL's premier receiver and running back going to once-downtrodden teams. So the Bible was right. The meek truly shall inherit the Earth.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy St. Patrick's Day, lads and lasses! Big day for drinking. Sort of like most other days at my house ..... Alaska native Peter Kaiser won the grueling 1,000-mile Iditarod sled dog race, by which I mean his eight dogs won ..... Southern Cal, UCLA and other schools are implicated in a sprawling college admissions scandal. Prosecutors say 33 parents, including two prominent actresses, and several college coaches face charges in a scheme in which rich folks bribed the admissions system on behalf of their kids. Those actresses' latest role: Acting innocent ..... Recent CFL flameout Johnny Manziel has signed with the Memphis Express of  the Alliance of American Football. Over/under on his being suspended or cut: Three weeks? ..... Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Liverpool are betting favorites in the eight-team, two-leg quarterfinal round of the Champions League beginning April 9. Looking for a Cinderella to root for? Saddle up FC Porto, the Portuguese side facing Liverpool ..... Update: Countdown now 2,652 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

ColinkRIGHT TIME. RIGHT TEAM. WHY DOLPHINS SHOULD SIGN COLIN KAEPERNICK: The Dolphins traded QB Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee today, basically for a fourth-round pick. Decent (not great) return. Earlier this week they failed to sign Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater in NFL free agency this week. But at least one better option still is out there. We're so used to the image of Kaepernick being anthem-kneeling that we almost forget he's a quarterback -- not retired, but wanting work. He's an activist, but still an athlete, too. (As a reminder, I chose a photograph that pictures him passing, not kneeling). He's eager for a comeback. And the Dolphins are eager to sign a "bridge" QB who'll be a stopgap guy between the long-anticipated moving on from Ryan Tannehill and the drafting (and readiness) of the future of the franchise. Enter Kaepernick, 31. I discuss why that's a good idea, as well as the negatives, in my latest column. To read , please visit The Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin.

Other most recent columns: 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

RyantPOLL: GRADING THE TANNEHILL ERA. VOTE NOW!: Ryan Tannehill became an ex-Dolphin late this afternoon, and now we invite you to grade his seven years with Miami. Base your grade on your expectations via his draft status vs. what he accomplished. Notice the poll runs from a high of B-plus to a low of D-minus. Not even Mrs. Tannehill would call Ryan's an "A" time here; oppositely, though, it would be unfairly harsh to drop an "F" bomb on poor Ryan. Fairest to say the Tannehill era here was shades of gray, neither a wild success, nor a bust-failure. Let your grade reflect your thoughts on that. Vote now!

GcdIT'S 'GREG COTE DAY'! NO, SERIOUSLY...: Some sentences are so patently ridiculous they hardly need elaboration. Here's one: "The Fort Myers Miracle minor-league baseball team has scheduled a 'Greg Cote Day' at the ballpark on Saturday, July 27." They're a Minnesota Twins affiliate in the Class A Florida State League. Apparently some of their front-office folks are fans of mine on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz, which I co-host Tuesdays on ESPN Radio and occasionally other days, too. If it is possible to be half-honored, half-embarrassed about something, I'd say this may be it. I know some of the rest of the show will be joining us that evening. You can, too. Could be a hoot. Go to FortMyersMiracle for ticket info.

Select other recent columns: A Case For Tannehill, Gore And Wake All Returning / Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 13, 2019

Bob Costas walks away with his integrity intact. Latest column; plus radio record-low, R.I.P. Gordon Banks, your Miami's-next-championship-team verdict & more

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

Gbanks1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. It's really bad, thanks to my record-low performance. You're welcome! 2) R.I.P., Gordon Banks (pictured), former English World Cup soccer star and Fort Lauderdale Strikers goalkeeper in the late '70s, gone at 81. My column from last June. 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): State of Miami pro sports with next-champion poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

"It's February 13th, fellas. Only one day left to dream up a creatively plausible excuse why you forgot Valentine's Day." --Greg Cote

BcostasBOB COSTAS WALKS AWAY FROM NBC WITH INTEGRITY INTACT: Bob Costas revealed details this past weekend of what led to his departure from NBC Sports after 40 years. Basically, it was that NBC thought he'd crossed a line with on-air commentary about the NFL's concussion and brain-injury problem. Costas would not agree to be quiet, so the two sides mutually ended their long marriage. Go here for the in-depth ESPN piece that broke the story. For my own newest column, visit Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity. I wrote admiringly about Costas, his career and moral compass. I also see his story as a microcosm reflecting much of America's evolving opinion about football. We acknowledge the downside, the threat to players' health ... but we can't stop watching. Costas could only keep broadcasting NFL games if he kept his mouth shut. He wouldn't. Good for him.

Other most recent columns: The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble.

IntmiaPOLL RESULT: SURPRISE! INTER MIAMI SOCCER SEEN AS MIAMI'S NEXT CHAMP: A team that won't even play its first game until next year will be Miami's next major pro champion, said you in our most recent blogpoll. We may say less about confidence in David Beckham's Inter Miami as it does as lack of confidence in the immediate futures of the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers. We asked, "Which of South Florida's 5 major pro teams do you think will win a championship next?" You results: Inter Miami/MLS Cup 50.42 percent; Panthers/Stanley Cup 16.81%; Heat/NBA Finals 13.45%; Marlins/World Series 10.08%; and Dolphins/Super Bowl 9.24%. So the team that doesn't yet exist won easily, followed by the team that has never won a championship. Lean times for the Heat, Fish and Fins.

More select recent columns: Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints / This Is Offseason for Dolphins to Be Bold, Not Think Tanking / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 10, 2019

Why a better coach isn't Dolphins' biggest need. My new column; plus here's your verdict on biggest Miami sports story of 2018, our LeBatard and Canes Chaos-to-Calm columns, new Back In My Day (Dating Sites!) & more

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

Uswed1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 10. Happy Anniversary to my wife! She is the greatest person I know, and I'm not even kidding. It's our wedding day at right. Awful photo, great day. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. The new Back In May Day (Dating Sites!) coughs in around the 52-minute mark. 3) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Biggest Miami sports story of 2018 poll, your biggest-national-story verdict, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: On Dolphins coach-search, then what's really important: Miami is trying to find a new coach who may or may not be bettre than Ada, Gase. That's fine. But a bigger, more important decision looms after that. For my newest column, visit A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need.

The Le Batard profile, Canes' Chaos-to-Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for an unusually personal column by me. And UM athletic director Blake James talks about the day when Canes football went from upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm. Other recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

YOUR VERDICT ON MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018!: This was our third year doing this. In 2016 you voted the tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest local story of the year, and for 2017 it was the Hurricanes' Turnover Chain-fueled surge to UM's first 10-win season in 14 years. Would the vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 be tougher, and closer? You decided. We gave you a roughly alphabetical list of our top 20 finalists, invited you to select your top six, and from that consensus came your verdict. More than 1,400 votes were cast, and here are your top five Miami sports stories of 2018, with my comment:

Diazreturns1. Richt resigns after 7-6 season; UM lures back Diaz from Temple -- 22.74%: Year-end bombshell that rocked Canes was an unsurprising winner. 

2. Inter Miami expansion MLS team wins stadium vote -- 15.21%: Hmm. This was running in 5% range but spiked due to organized rally by Inter Miami fans.
 
3. 'Miami Miracle' stuns Patriots on 69-yard trick play to end game -- 12.08%: Rare a single play would be so big, but this was an exception.
 
4. Wade re-signs with Heat for 'Last Dance' farewell season -- 9.81%: Thought this had a shot to compete for title.
 
 
Rounding out the top 10: Marlins trade Yelich, who wins MVP for Milwaukee 3.91%; Jeter's 1st year as Marlins CEO ends with NL-worst record 3.77%; Miami among sites as U.S. wins joint bid to host 2026 World Cup; Wayne Huizenga, Marlins/Panthers founder, ex-Dolphins owner, dies 3.26%; and Local teams rally, lend support after Majory Stoneman Douglas tragedy 3.06%.
 
Ranking 11th through 15th: Miami Open tennis leaves Key Biscayne for Hard Rock Stadium 2.77%; Dolphins part with Landry, Suh, Pouncey 2.70%; FIU wins bowl for school-record 9-win season 2.49%; Jim Morris retires after 25 years as Canes baseball coach 2.35%; and Serena Williams returns from pregnancy, reaches 2 Grand Slam finals 1.92%.
 
The bottom feeders: Tannehill returns from injuries, ends year with Dolphins future in doubt 0.85: Miamian Carlos Cordeiro elected president of U.S. Soccer 0.71%; UM men's basketball implicated, cleared in national FBI recruiting probe 0.50%; Joey Logano wins NASCAR season title at Homestead 0.43%; and Alabama wins Orange Bowl/CFP semifinal 0.28%.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 11.2% (season final). Ouch. CSM bottoms out at lowest total since '14; plus UM falls to Wisconsin in bowl, 35-3, with no offense, 5 turnovers, awful run-D; also, NFL Week 17 picks, Beckham carves a turkey & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28. If you missed it, visit MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 to watch out annual holiday video. It's ho-ho-horrible! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual Christmas video, Dolphins award winners, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On the 'Debacle of the Disappearing Dolphins': The Grinch stole the playoffs in this past Sunday's 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job? I explore in my most column. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. For Tannehill, Gase, too?

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: BOWL/FINAL SEASON: 11.2%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season-ending -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a final approval rating of 11.2 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, leaving Miami's final season record at 7-6. It's the lowest season rating since 2014. The CSM, completing its 10th season, is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Because this was the season's final poll, I urged you to please consider placing special emphasis on the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 24%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

G7: 13.0% following 16-13 loss at Virginia.

G8: 7.8% following 27-14 loss at Boston College.

G9: 12.1% following 20-12 loss vs. Duke.

G10: 12.6% following 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech.

G11: 50.0% following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

G12: 32.7% following 24-3 victory vs. Pitt.

G13/Bowl: 11.2% following 35-3 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2018--11.2% (following 7-6 season including bowl loss); 2017--68.4% (10-3). 2016--97.2% (9-4); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

BOWL: WISCONSIN 35, HURRICANES 3: NO OFFENSE, 5 TURNOVERS, BAD RUN-D SPELL SAD END TO DISAPPOINTING YEAR: Final thoughts: Do not blame the Miami defense for this loss 35-3 loss. I know: 35 points. And I know: 333 yards rushing allowed, 205 by one player. But, no, it was five turnovers, including four interceptions, that killed UM, start to finish. It was an absolute nightmare game by Malik Rosier. UM now 1-8 in its past eight bowl games since 2008 ..... 4Q: Wisconsin 35-3 on 1-yard TD run ... Wisconsin 28-3 on 8-yard TD run following Perry INT ..... 3Q: Wisconsin 21-3 on 2-yard TD run following Rosier INT ... Halftime thoughts: Miami lucky to be trailing by only 14-3, after a very early 14-0 deficit suggested a blowout, three UM  turnovers and two badly missed Wisconsin field goal tries. It should be worse, in other words. Miami still is in it. But it's going to take a turnover-free second half, the Turnover Chain moving again on the Canes' side, and better play from Malik Rosier -- with his arm, not just his legs. That, or Jarren Williams. Just sayin' ..... 1Q: Miami 14-3 on 33-yard FG after Jaquan Johnson INT and Rosier 62-yard run ... Wisconsin 14-0 on 7-yard TD run following Rosier interception ... Wisconsin 7-0 on 35-yard opening-drive TD pass ..... Original post: A year ago these same two programs were ranked and meeting in the top-tier Orange Bowl game, a reward for big seasons. (Wisconsin beat Miami, 34-24). One year later, not so much. Now both teams are a disappointing 7-5 and it's the mid-level Pinstripe Bowl at PinbowlYankee Stadium in Da Bronx, a weak consolation to end the season. It is the middle game (5:15 kickoff) of three in a row Thursday on ESPN. The overarching theme in the buildup has been the capital-D distractions dogging Miami. First defensive coordinator Manny Diaz bolts to become Temple's head coach. Then came reports maturity-challenged quarterback N'Kosi Perry was in trouble again over a sexually explicit video he posted on Snapchat. But I don't see these as big negatives for UM because A) Although Diaz's departure hurt UM's recruiting and caused a disappointing early signing period this month, Diaz will coach Miami in the bowl, which could be an emotional rallying point for the defense; and B) Does it really matter that veteran Malik Rosier will (likely) start at QB instead of Perry? Not much if any is the correct answer. What does matter, though, is the absence of UM's best run stopper in Gerald Willis, who'll skip the bowl to rehab a hand injury. (The truth? I have little doubt he could play. The same injury hadn't kept him out before. But with the draft coming up he doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury). Other factors favor Miami. Temps in the 50s are forecast, so weather shouldn't be the negative it might have been for UM had it been freezing. I'd also guess Canes will enjoy more crowd support, considering half of New York have relatives living in South Florida. Beyond that I see Miami as slightly better overall, so it isn't surprising UM is favored by 3 points. It also isn't surprising the line is only 3, considering the Badgers have the nation's leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor. Both team's QB turmoil -- Jack Coan starts for Wisconsin because Alex Hornibrook, who blistered UM in last year's Orange Bowl, is out with concussion -- should be offsetting factors. But stopping Taylor will be a handful for Miami -- especially without Willis. A win by Wisconsin would not surprise even a little -- the upset risk is very high -- but I'm going to hunch Rosier leaves smiling from his final college game, and that UM's defense sends Diaz off a winner. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-20.

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: You know I hate to brag, but The Magical Year of Cote rollicked on last week with a 15-1 record straight-up (our only miss the Dolphins!) and 9-7 against the spread. We're now at .710 overall and .588 ATS entering this final weekend of the regular season. Last week continued our run of Upset of the Week bull’s-eyes with Ravens winning at Chargers, and we nailed two other outright upsets with Seahawks over Chiefs and Raiders over Broncos. Also had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points covering in Redskins, Bengals and Giants. Now, ahead: Four Dolphins-Bills pick, Game of the Week, upsets and all the rest, visit Week  17 Gems for all of our latest selections.

Becksturkey"DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be  much better if occasionally you would show a photo of Miami MLS boss David Beckham back home in England carving a Christmas turkey. Thank you.: Dear Reader: Great idea, but how am I gonna get such a picture?

Select other recent columns: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 11, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.9%; plus Miami Miracle on last play beats Patriots 34-33! Playoff hopes alive! With our column from game; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (is LeBron/D-Wade finale on top?) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 10. Been burning leftover vacation days lately and so haven't been pumping out as many columns. Visit here for some of our most recent. 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 14 picks, Heisman Trophy poll, Raconteurs news & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my new column from stadium on Sunday's epic 34-33 win over New England.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: 83.9%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 83.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of Dsm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 34-33 last-second victory over visiting New England putting Miami's season record at 7-6. That's the highest DSM rating since Week 3. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 69%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

Next poll: Dec. 16 following game at Minnesota.

G13: DOLPHINS 34, NEW ENGLAND 33: PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE WITH MIRACLE FINISH!: Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my new column from stadium on Sunday's epic win ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami trails 27-21 at half despite Tannehill's 143.8 passer rating and 142 yards rushing. This is what lousy defense and two blocked punts will get you. Tom Brady is having his way. Tannehill left with ankle injury in last minute of half; we'll see if he returns. Scoreboard says Miami has a legit upset shot, but it won't happen without a massive defensive turnaround and no more huge mistakes ..... Original postNemesis New England at 9-3 is a big 7 1/2-point road favorite playing at 6-6 Miami on Sunday at 1 at Hard Rock (CBS). It also is my Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!"). Patriots can clinch the AFC East title with a win here, but keep that champagne corked a bit longer, Pats. Yes, I know. I know it Pats-dolswell. In the broadest view the Patriots have been the division master with the Dolphins on their leash for a long time, including a 38-7 beatdown up there in Week 4. But this rivalry swings distinctly with the home field lately. The home team is on an 11-1 series run, and the Fins have beaten the Pats four of the past five in Miami, where the genius seems to often elude Bill Belichick and where Tom Brady isn’t always the G.O.A.T. The Superman Pats also have tended to be Clark Kent on the road this year, 3-3 away from Foxborough with all three losses by double digits — while Miami is impressively taking care of home business (5-1) at The Rock. Makes me love the Dolphins getting 7 1/2 points and like them enough outright to pull the trigger. One hesitation: Miami’s rising-star cornerback Xavien Howard, NFL leader with seven interceptions, was very iffy when I made my pick and has since been declared out with a knee injury. That’s a big blow. No-Howard makes it that much more likely that Brady gets the TD pass he needs to break a tie (579) with Peyton Manning for most ever, including playoffs. But offsetting the Howard absence somewhat is that Ryan Tannehill hopes/expects to have his security blanket Danny Amendola back from injury to face his former team. This call is a major upset that doesn’t feel like one to me thanks to the strong series trends. More size-XXL incentive for Miami: Fins would elevate into playoff pace and sit (for now) as the sixth and final AFC seed with a win here if Ravens also lose at Kansas City as the odds suggest they will. For Miami it's the Game of the Year! At least until the next one... My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 27-23.

Visit Week 14 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami Miracle beats rival Patriots: An upset win over your big nemesis Sunday or succumbing in home defeat. For Miami that would be the difference in whether the 6-6 Dolphins have a legitimate playoff shot or were relegated as barely breathing longshots. Well, after a last-second 34-33 thriller over New England ... they're aliiive!

2. HEAT: History: Monday the end for LeBron, D-Wade: Heat at Lakers Monday night in the teams' second and last season meeting figures to be the final time on a court together for L.A.'s LeBron James and retiring Miami star Dwyane Wade, who missed the first matchup on paternity leave. They might only meet again if Wade makes the all-star team or if it's in the NBA Finals. (An LOL for that last one). Meantime Goran Dragic's return from injury could be the spark Miami has needed since last being above .500 at a distant 3-2.

3. HURRICANES: Say Uncle! Richt loses nephew to LSU: A 7-5 season is bad enough for a UM team that was top-10 in the preseason polls. So 's this: Four-star quarterback recruit Max Johnson, heavily recruited by Miami, committed to LSU instead. The double-ouch factor? Johnson is Richt's nephew. Sorry, Uncle Mark!

4. HEISMAN TROPHY: Murray narrowly wins college crown: Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray edged Alabama counterpart Tua Tagovailoa for the 2018 Heisman on Saturday night, 2,167 vote points to 1,871, with Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskinis a distant third among the three finalistst with 783. The 1-2 finishers will square off Dec. 29 in a College Football Playoff semifinal at Hard Rock in Miami.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days until bowl season!: The parade of 4,384 bowl games (actually, 39) begins in five days on Saturday Dec. 15. FIU, feeling good at 8-4, plays Toledo Dec. 21 in Nassau. Miami, feeling not so great at 7-5, faces Wisconsin Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium. Then the only three games that matter start Dec. 29.

6. BASEBALL: Winter meetings trade-fest begins in Vegas: Where will top-tier free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper land (and for how much)? Will the Marlins be offered enough in return to part with all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto? Answers ahead as the 2019 MLB season shape-shifts with the annual winter meetings.

7. NFL: Pack unceremoniously dumps McCarthy: A Super Bowl-winning coach of this stature and tenure is rarely let go in-season, but it  happened to Green Bay's Mike McCarthy. His interim fill-in is Joe Philbin, who looks like the farmer holding in the pitchfork in the Grant Wood painting, "American Gothic."

8. PANTHERS: Cats in playoff chase despite themselves: Florida has been trying all season to dig itself out from under an 0-4 and 2-10 start, but one-third into the NHL season finds itself only three points off playoff pace in the East entering this week. As long as the conference stays as iffy as the Panthers, there's a shot!

9. UM HOOPS: Canes men lose on, off court: Jim Larranaga's guys are off 'til Dec. 19 and licking wounds. They're 5-4 with four straight losses, the last two to Yale and Penn (!), and this week also watched longtime recruit Vernon Carey Jr. sign with Duke instead. Dad was a former Hurricane and longtime Miami Dolphin lineman. So much for bloodlines and "The U" family!

10. SOCCER: Atlanta wins MLS championship: Host Atlanta United defeated Portland Timbers 2-0 in Saturday night's 2018 MLS Cup. Atlanta reigns as an expansion team in only its second season. No pressure or anything for Miami, David Beckham!

Missing the HB10 cut: Derrick Henry!?! ..... Army beat Navy 17-10 in Saturday's traditional end to the college football regular season. Fortunately, no casualties were reported ..... Countdown 10 days 'til college football's early signing period Dec. 19-21. "Way to steal my thunder," said National Signing Day on Feb. 6 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,752 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Poll results: You Heisman vote couldn't have been closer. Literally: We asked which of the three finalists deserved to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy, and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailao tied with 40.54 percent each. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins was third with 18.92%.

Select recent columns: Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote