February 13, 2021

Weighing in on the anthem-at-games controversy. New column; plus Inter Miami's David Beckham risks stepping into massive, avoidable mess, Brady belongs in sports' all-time pantheon but has company, new Greg Cote Show podcast with Stugotz out now & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13. Don't forget Valentine's Day is Sunday. You're welcome! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top10, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: STUGOTZ JOINS US IN 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. 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.

AnthemNO NATIONAL ANTHEM AT GAMES AT ALL? WHAT STARTED WITH KAEPERNICK HAS TAKEN SHARP TURN: It is a good thing that the people who make their living playing sports are exercising their social conscience. It’s almost as if there is a bit of guilt — making tens of millions of dollars for hitting or throwing or bouncing a ball — that must be atoned for by taking advantage of an outsized platform for something more important than endorsing a sneaker. Colin Kaepernick reignited this movement in 2016 but didn’t invent it. His controversially kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic social and racial injustice — a foretelling of the national protests in the summer of 2020 — was an echo. It was an echo of Jackie Robinson. Of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising fists during the anthem at the 1968 Olympics. Of Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali to underline his conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. You tell LeBron James to shut up and dribble and he says hell no and gets louder. More power to him. Segue to the news of the week, the story that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had ordered his team to stop playing the national anthem before games. Then the NBA quickly overriding and saying all teams must play the anthem as part of the league’s long-standing policy. We weigh in on this issue as it arises anew, including my personal feelings, in our latest column. For that column in full, visit Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In.

INTER MIAMI'S DAVID BECKHAM AND REPORTED DEAL WITH QATAR A BUDDING, AVOIDABLE MESS: David Beckham unquestionably is the handsome, charismatic face of Inter BeckhamMiami as the club prepares for its second season in Major League Soccer. Is he now also the face — dubiously, controversially — of Qatar? The Daily Mail newspaper in London reported Beckham has agreed to be the “media-friendly face” of that Middle Eastern country in its buildup to hosting the soccer World Cup in 2022. The report said the role would pay Beckham at least 10 million British pounds, or $13.85 million U.S.In effect, that means Inter Miami’s club president and part owner has agreed to be the goodwill ambassador for the Persian Gulf state that is as notorious as it is wealthy. If the report from London is true it would seem an odd partner for Beckham to climb into bed with. The former England football captain’s name is an international brand cultivated and manicured with care. Aligning with Qatar sounds an odd, dissonant chord. The very fact Qatar is hosting the World Cup at all is enmeshed in controversy. It is a small nation of about 3 million and smaller in size than Connecticut, one with a minimal history in soccer and with a brutal summer climate. The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that massive bribery was involved in Qatar being named host by FIFA, the sport’s world governing body. The international group Human Rights Watch also notes Qatar’s blemished record including anti-LBGTQ laws that make being gay in Qatar illegal. For my full recent column, visit Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess.

TOM BRADY BELONGS IN SPORTS' ALL-TIME PANTHEON. BUT HE HAS COMPANY: Here is what Tom Brady was doing Sunday night when the Super Bowl was won, really won: He was watching, Tbon the sideline. He was marveling, like the rest of us, as his defense spent the entire game hounding Patrick Mahomes without relent and forcing the worst game of his young professional career. That was the difference and what defined the Tampa Bay Bucs’ 31-9 pounding of the Kansas City Chiefs. It was not Brady’s excellence, which we have spent 20 years assuming. It was the utter erasure of Mahomes as any factor in the game. It was seeing Wonder Boy hopeless and hapless for the first time. I say this not to diminish what Brady has done by even an iota, but to remind that football is the ultimate team sport in a way that baseball and basketball are not. It is worth noting as we read and hear the breathless anointing now of Brady as the greatest ever in the history of sports. As if Sunday night settled that, and removed any room for argument. What Brady is is the most accomplished, decorated quarterback or player at any position in the history of the NFL. He just won his seventh Super Bowl. The most by any one franchise is six. Fathom that. But Brady was the quarterback G.O.A.T. even before Sunday added yet more blingy of trophy room. His place in sports history hardly needed Sunday, and needs no hyperbole. The plain facts speak. (Remember facts? Those are provable statements on which all of us could agree, back before the simple concept of truth somehow became the stuff of controversy). Ten Super Bowls. Seven championships. Five Super Bowl MVPs. Staggering, those facts. It’s Tom, then a canyonesque gulf, and then second place. Nobody else has come close in the 55-year era of the Super Bowl, and nobody will be close 55 years from now. No, not even the anointed prince put in his place Sunday by the old king. Still, though, the collective need now by the media to place Brady above all others, any sport, any time, is unnecessary, not to mention impossible, because it compares what cannot be compared. For my full recent column, visit Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

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ARCHIVES:

The Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V starring Dolphins up for NFL Honors including Zach Thomas for Hal of Fame; Smirk IV starring our Top 10 Super Bowl scandals/controversies/things gone wrong; Smirk III starring the 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 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: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins 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).

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).

February 06, 2021

Super Bowl pick: Bucs-Chiefs! Brady-Mahomes! And the winner is...; plus 'Super Bowl With a Smirk': I, II, III, IV and the new V, all here!; also, Greg Cote Show podcast with Magill on goats, PFPI Gala & more

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

Bhm1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6. 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): Hot Button Top 10, Why Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl is nightmare for Miami fans, Schilling has only himself to blame, Greg Cote Show podcast new episode & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

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: MAGILL TALKS GOATS, PFPI GALA IN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 5 of 2021 (47th 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 47 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep6 of '21, we christen Super Bowl Week as special guest Ron Magill discusses goats and how that foretells the Brady-Mahomes matchup, and we also bring you exclusive highlights from Sunday's legendary PFPI Gala, the Cote family tradition since 1969. Also, a new Mount Gregmore of TV insurance ads! Hear all of that and more in our fifth new episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

SUPER BOWL PICK: AND THE BUCS-CHIEFS / BRADY-MAHOMES WINNER IS...: The NFL somehow managed to survive this pandemic season with zero games canceled and only five even postponed, and, now, like a reward at the end, we get a Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl. We get the greatest champion in league history vs. the young, reigning king. So who wins? Right out front here, for me the safest play might be the ‘over’ on 56, because I do not see two pretty-good-but-fallible defenses stopping two offenses Patrick Tomcapable Picksof being unstoppably great. The harder job is settling on who’ll win outright and against that steady 3-point betting line favoring the Chiefs, a number that has nudged to 3 1/2 at some sportsbooks but not many. Not only would a Tampa Bay win not surprise me, I see it as about dead-even likely. I was going back and forth on this pick like eyes at a tennis match. The case for the Bucs — Well, Mr. Brady, no duh, in his 10th SB and after his seventh ring. The untouchable G.O.A.T. Tampa is the first team ever to play a SB in its home stadium, and is better on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Bucs expect to have top LB Lavonte David back, and have a chance to pressure Mahomes without blitzing thanks to KC missing both its top tackles including left-side guardian Eric Fisher. And history makes the odds against the Chiefs winning a second straight crown. Back-to-back hasn’t happened in King Sport since 2003-04 when the Pats — and Brady — did it. The case for the Chiefs — Start with Mahomes and Andy Reid. Chiefs beat Bucs in late November. It was by only 27-24, but KC dominated time of possession and Mahomes pitched for 462 yards — 269 to Tyreek Hill. Chiefs’ speed led by Hill is a big edge over Bucs‘ secondary. KC is better in the kicking game and special teams. And two weeks off to heal his injured toe should give Mahomes the added mobility to help offset the absence of his two best tackles. And with the very notable exception of Brady, the Bucs surrounding him are no match for the Chiefs’ overall postseason experience. And the winner is... For our winner, final score and why we went the way we did, visit Super Bowl LV Gem.

SblvIT'S 'SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK' WEEK IN AMERICA!: Super Bowl With a Smirk returns again this year with a daily needling of the self-important NFL and the gravitas of its big game. Flying under the banner, "Make Fun, Not War," Smirk is an annual Super Bowl Week feature in the Miami Herald except years we forget to do it.

StevehSmirk V (5th of 5, out today) -- Starring: Dolphins up for NFL Honors awards including Zach Thomas and Hall of Fame. Also: Ben & Jerry's; virtual Taste; national anthem odds; Gloomy Goodell; favorite halftime shows; the coin flip; Lester Holt. For the whole thing: Smirk V.

HeyeugeneSmirk IV (4th of 5, out Thursday) -- Starring: Our Top 10 Super Bowl scandals/controversies/things gone wrong. Also: Chiefs trail Bucs (in arrival); "Mattress Mack"; Madden '21 predicts a winner; Filipino balut. For the whole thing: Smirk IV.

WayneSmirk III (3rd of 5, out Wednesday) -- Starring: The sad, gradual death of the mystique of the Super Bowl commercial. Also: Two old crones in Budapest; the most boring TV show ever; CBS Sports' inundation; the house (almost) always wins. For the whole thing: Smirk III.

TigerSmirk II (2nd of 5, out Tuesday) -- Starring: Brady-Mahomes as bitter Joe Exotic/Carole Baskin/Tiger King rivals. Also: Old Friends keep SB streak alive; injury report; Sad Sad Radio Row; 55 greatest players; favorite foods by state; betting trends; National Chicken Council. For the whole thing: Smirk II.

RudySmirk I (1st of 5, out Monday) -- Starring: A virtual Super Bowl Week not remotely like usual. Also: Rudy Giuliani; noisemakers vs. cheering; Amanda Gorman; 55 vs. LV; Pro Bowl; counterfeit ticket alert; cheapest ticket prices; The Weeknd's halftime show; SB Party Tip do Jour. For the whole thing: Smirk I.

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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).

February 08, 2020

Time for lone non-Jeter voter to step forward. Latest column; plus Heat, gloriously impatient Riley win with Iguodala trade; also why Reed's return is big for Canes football, Mahomes rises as Dolphins' new roadblock, latest Back In My Day video & more

1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Chiefs beat 49ers in Miami Super Bowl, Hot Button Top 10, nailed our SB pick, Part 2 of our '72 Dolphins series & more. 2) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

DjTO 'THE LONE VOTER' WHO DENIED JETER: STEP FORWARD OR  BE OUTED!A brief chronology of the world’s 10 greatest mysteries: Is there intelligent alien life? (Infinity). What happened to the Ark of the Covenant? (587 B.C.). Where is Cleopatra’s tomb? (30 B.C.). Who was Jack the Ripper? (1888). Why is "abbreviation" such a long word? (Unknown). Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? (1963). Whatever happened to D.B. Cooper? (1971). Where is Jimmy Hoffa? (1975). Why ‘New Coke’? WHY?!?! (1985). And who didn’t vote for Derek Jeter? (2020). There you have it. Nine eternal mysteries that may never be fully solved — and one that still might be. "The Lone Voter" is still out there. But where? Someone knows who he (or she?) is. The unnamed anarchist is someone’s neighbor or friend, hiding in plain sight, ripe for outing. To read our full latest column, please visit It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter  Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward.

IGUODALA TRADE A WIN FOR HEAT AND SIGN OF PAT RILEY"S GLORIOUS IMPATIENCEWhen they called Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s name in honoring the NFL‘s all-time greatest 100 players and coaches before the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, he held up two hands full of championship rings in a brazen showiness utterly earned. Miami Heat president Pat Riley has Patr Andreidone the equivalent this week, though somewhat more subtly, with his maestro’s work ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. The greats have a way of reminding us how they got that way, lest we forget. It can be the bling on the fingers. Or it can be a midseason trade you didn’t have to make — but one that looks like a master class in how to get more than you give. In a deal completed Thursday Miami got elite wing defender Andre Iguodala from Memphis along with starter-caliber small forward Jae Crowder and reserve Solomon Hill, with the Heat sending to the Grizzlies injury-prone Justise Winslow and two seldom-used spare parts in James Johnson and pouty, oft-suspended Dion Waiters. (Riley and Iguodala are pictured). Miami has a team option on the second year of Iguodala’s two-year, $30 million deal, meaning the Heat can part with him after this season and still have the salary-cap wherewithal to take aim at a major max-salary star in the bounteous free agency sweepstakes coming in the summer of 2021. That’s when the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokonmpo, will grand-marshal the parade of available talent. Riley turns 75 next month. He ain’t playin’. He doesn’t have all day to whip Miami back into championship contention and add another NBA ring to the eight he has won as a player, head coach or executive, including the Heat’s crowns in 2006, 2012 and 2013. To read our full column, please visit Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala.

WHY RETURN OF ED REED, EVEN IF MOSTLY SYMBOLIC, IS HUGE BOOST FOR CANES FOOTBALL: You see a little gray in Ed Reed’s full-but-neatly-trimmed beard now. His age has doubled since he was last an active part of Miami Hurricanes football as a player from 1998 to 2001. His new title now? "Chief of Staff"? It sounds grandly inflated, like he will be in a suit overseeing Edreedboard meetings. "I’m not hiring, I’m not firing. I’m coming here to help. I’m a piece of the puzzle," Reed, now 41, described his own role Wednesday in being officially introduced on campus. He will not be a coach on the field. He will not recruit except when prospects visit on campus. He will be more of an advisor/sounding board and right-hand man to coach Manny Diaz. "I’m [his] Doc Holliday," he said, of the Old West sidekick to Wyatt Earp. "I’ll be his huckleberry," Reed added, citing southern slang for "I’m your man." More than as a counsel to Diaz, though, Reed is on board to be this: An Example. Reed was hired to be a mentor to players, to show them the right way. "Stand up. Be accountable," he said. He was a consensus All-American safety at UM. He was a vital part of the school’s last of five national championships, in 2001. He is the imprimatur of all The U has developed in terms of family and culture. To read this full column, please visit Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football.

BAD LUCK DOLPHINS: FINALLY GETTING RID OF NEMESIS BRADY, NOW MAHOMES TAKES HIS PLACE. NEW COLUMN: Miami hosts another Super Bowl, and Dolphins fans automatically tease themselves (or is it torture?) wondering when their team might be back in one. Dreaming is free, and folks keep insisting anything is possible, so have it. But understand this: the Dolphins seem Pmahno closer today to their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1984 season and first victory since the 1972-73 quiniela. They seem further away, in fact. The Dolphins have simply swapped one gigantic AFC roadblock for another. Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty fades. Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs dynasty arises. The wattage of brightness for Kansas City’s long-term future under Mahomes, the generational quarterback, can hardly be overstated. Anything said about this young guy that seems like hyperbole probably isn’t. And this is who will now be blocking Miami’s path to playing in a Super Bowl for all of this decade and beyond. The pressure on the Dolphins regime to land a quarterback as good or to assemble a team to beat Mahomes has never been greater than it seems now as we witness the full coronation of Mahomes. This isn’t discounting the long, bright future of another Dolphins AFC roadblock, dual-threat Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. But Mahomes is the league’s new No. 1 QB and face of the NFL until somebody takes those things from him. To read our full column please visit Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place.

My column from the game: Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami.

DshulaMY 2-PART SERIES ON HOW DOLPHINS CAME SO QUICKLY TO HAVE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME: This was a Super Bowl Week thing but I'm proud of the series and it's timeless so I wanted to give you another chance to read it. The 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins were named the greatest team of all time as part of the NFL's 100th season celebration. How did it happen? In Part 1 told how a long-lost Dolphins executive pre-dating Don Shula, a man named Joe Thomas, was assembling a treasure trove of talent amid the wild dysfunction of the George Wilson-led expansion years. For that tale, visit How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins. Part 2 tells the story of how and why Shula's arrival changed everything, from the players themselves, and it takes a poignant look at Shula's life today at age 90. For that full column, visit How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90. This is a deep dive into how the Perfect Dolphins happened, with never-before-told stuff. I hope you enjoy.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': READY, SET, HYPE!: We poke good-natured fun at the excess of sports in general, led by the Super Bowl. Debuted on yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His. Also: How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever / How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City' / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Author of 'Fins At 50,' available on Amazon. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

February 03, 2020

Chiefs reign in Miami! With my column from Miami Super Bowl game; plus Latest Hot Button Top 10, nailed our SB pick, how Shula made the Dolphins perfect and the coach today at 90, the NFL's big bounce-back & more

It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3. Welcome, new month. Stay awhile. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect anytime gift for every Dolfan in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Kobe Bryant tragedy overshadows start of Super Bowl Week & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

MY COLUMN FROM SUPER BOWL: MAGIC CITY, INDEED: The Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes and Miami as host all rose to meet expectations in a spectacular Super Bowl show Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium. For my column from the SB, visit Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami.

KOBE BRYANT, 1978-2020, R.I.P.: Our column from last Sunday's tragedy: Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His.

YOUR VERDICT ON SUPER BOWL: We asked, in two Twitter polls that drew some 2,500 votes, who you WANTED to win Sunday's game and who you predicted WILL win. Your verdicts: Want Chiefs by 73.0%, and predict Chiefs by 65.8%. So y'all happy today!

DshulaHOW SHULA MADE DOLPHINS PERFECT AND MADE MIAMI MATTER, AND THE COACH TODAY AT 90: He came to Miami 50 years ago, almost to the day, and everything changed. The way the rest of the country thought of us and the way we thought of ourselves — it all changed. He put a star on the map at the bottom of a far-flung peninsula, in sports and beyond. He made us champions. He made us matter. Today his name is almost mythic; there is a historical quality to it. When you get to be 90, people can begin to forget what you used to be. After all, he last roamed a Dolphins sideline, jaw jutting, in 1995. He worked 26 seasons here but has now been out of coaching nearly as long. Increasing numbers of South Floridians know him mostly as a memory shared by elders, who hold him close like a family heirloom, a sign of their own mortality as glory days long past are recalled. Now, the Super Bowl is in Miami on Sunday to crown the NFL’s 100th season, and fans arriving at Hard Rock Stadium will walk past a bronze statue of the man — larger than life, of course. Now, in the middle of the tropics, Donald Francis Shula is the King in his Winter. OK, that is the entree to Part 2 of out two-part series on how the Dolphins so quickly went from dysfunctional expansion losers to the the Perfect Season -- that 1972 voted the greatest of the NFL's first 100 years. It tells the story of how and why Shula's arrival changed everything, from the players themselves, and it takes you into Shula's life today at age 90. For that full column, visit How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90. Part 1 told the how a long-lost Dolphins executive pre-dating Shula assembled a treasure trove of talent amid the dysfunction of the George Wilson-led expansion years. For that tale, visit How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins.

Liv PicksSUPER BOWL 54: THE PICK IS IN! AND WE NAILED IT!: Update: Nailed it! We called Chiefs win by 31-23. Chiefs won 31-20. Close enough, I say! ..... Original post: The torrent of hype is ebbing, Sunday's game is at hand, and I dare any bettor or neutral fan to claim a strong, overriding feeling about any game with a one-point spread, on a neutral site, with two teams so good a winning argument for either would be simple and sound solid. This Super Bowl is that kind of either/or proposition, a pick so tough you could flip a coin and then exhale and thank the coin for mercifully ending your vacillation. And yet I actually do have a fairly strong overriding feeling about this matchup. To read our full Chiefs-49ers preview and predix capsule -- who will win and why -- please visit Super Bowl 54: Pick for Chiefs-49ers in Miami.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 2-3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. SUPER BOWL: Chiefs rally topples 49ers in Miami Super Bowl: There had been rampant speculation a "major" sporting event, reportedly a football game, was taking place Sunday evening at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Herald was working to confirm this rumor, so stay tuned for updates.  

2. KOBE BRYANT: A week later, tragedy still reverberates: One week ago former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others perished in a helicopter crash amid thick fog in California, stunning the sports world, and tributes continue across the NBA.

3. ZACH THOMAS: No! Former Dolphins great Thomas is denied by Hall of Fame: Zach was a finalist for the first time but did not make the list of five who got in, revealed at Saturday's NFL Honors show in Miami. But three of five have local ties: RB Edgerrin James (ex-Hurricane), WR Isaac Bruce (Dillard High) and OG Steve Hutchinson (Coral Springs High). The others Canton-bound: Safeties Troy Polamalu and Steve Atwater. 

4. HURRICANES: Star alum Ed Reed joins UM football staff: Former UM great Ed Reed, College and Pro Football Hall of Fame safety, rejoins the Canes as Manny Diaz's "chief of staff" (a job for which Alonzo Highsmith also interviewed). Will the "We want Ed!" chants start after the first loss?

5. HEAT: Miami in lull but Butler, Bam named as ASG reserves: Miami, only 9-7 since Dec. 30, had slipped from second in the East to fourth despite Saturday's win in Orlando, with a big test Monday in Philly on deck. Better news: Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo named as reserves for the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in Chicago.

6. PANTHERS: Cats hot lately, but playoff chase still precarious: Florida is 28-22 off and had a season-high six straight wins before Saturday's loss in Montreal, with a Monday date in Toronto next. Cats are a scorching 13-5 since Dec. 16, and yet still on the edge of playoff pace in the jammed NHL East.

7. TENNIS: Year's first major ends in Australia: Novak Djokovic rallied past Dominic Thiem for his eighth Australian Open crown in Sunday's men's final. Sofia Kenin, a 21-year-old American, won her first career major on Saturday, defeating Garbina Muguruza in a duel of two women I wouldn't know if they walked right past me.

8. NFL: Lamar Jackson wins league MVP award: Baltimore Ravens quarterback (and Pompano Beach-born) Lamar Jackson was named 2019 season MVP as expected at the NFL Honors awards show Saturday in Miami, despite a poor game in the team's playoff ouster. Also notable: Titans QB (and ex-Dolphin) Ryan Tannehill as Comeback Player of the Year and St. Thomas Aquinas alum Nick Bosa of 49ers as Defensive Rookie of Year.

9. MARLINS: Baseball is back; Marlins FanFest on deck: Are you ready for some baseball? Me neither. But Marlins FanFest is next Saturday February 8 at Marlins Park. Pitchers and catchers have their first spring workout February 14 and the full squad begins February 19, with the first spring game four days later.

10. CANES HOOPS: Tough going in new year so for UM teams: Hurricanes men are now 11-10 on the season but only 2-7 in the new year after Sunday loss at Pitt. Canes women are 12-10, but 3-7 since January 1 after Sunday loss at Virginia Tech. Also still waiting for a signature win from either; they're a combined 0-11 vs Top 25 teams.

Missing the HB10 cut: No. 3-ranked Canes baseball unfurls next Saturday with a fanfest and alumni game. Season opens February 14 with home series vs. Rutgers ..... Now less than a month away from Inter Miami's March 1 season opener in its  first season in Major League Soccer. Team this week acquired winger Lewis Morgan, 23, from top Scottish club Celtic ..... Antonio Brown said, "I owe the whole NFL an apology." It's a start, at least ..... Pending free agent Tom Brady posted on social media a mysterious, brooding what-does-it-mean photo of himself in a dark tunnel because he needed some attention as Super Bowl Week dared to go on without him ..... Good for Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe to protest the naming of Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open. Court once was a great player. She currently is an outspoken bigot and homophobe ..... Update: Countdown now 2,331 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

IT'S A PARADOX, BUT HERE'S WHY NFL HAS BOUNCED BACK AND IS HEALTHIER THAN EVER: It's a paradox because concussions and safety issues continue to hover over the sport. And yet all the while, in measurable terms of popularity and revenue, the NFL has bounced back from its malaise and is healthier than ever as it crowns its 100th season Sunday with 49ers-Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium in the 54th Super Bowl and 11th in Miami. For why and how this is, check out our latest column: How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever.

SmirkTHE SMIRK QUINTET: The lineup: Smirk V: It's Party Time, So Do the Hula With Gronk For Only $1 Million. Smirk IV: J.Lo, Shakira Hit All The Right Notes. From Thursday's Halftime Show press conference, Smirk wanted to make fun of it all, but then something unexpected happened. Also: Smirk III: NFL's Deft, Dull Goodell Slips Up, Makes News / Smirk II: Why Sunday's Most Talked-About Ad Won't Air? (Hint: Nutmobile) and Smirk I: Have Fun This Week, Fans, But Feel A Bit Guilty And Sad Doing it.

Also from Torrent of Super Bowl Headquarters: What A Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl Should Tell the Dolphins / Super Bowl Primer: Chiefs, 49ers Storylines You'll Soon Be Sick Of / and How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City'.

Select recent other stuff: Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / America and Super Bowl Host Miami Have a Rooting Interest Now. Tannehill, Please! / Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports / Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020? / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 30, 2020

Super Bowl With a Smirk III: NFL? Exciting! Chiefs-49ers? Exciting! Roger Goodell? Not so much. Commish's SB press conference tops your Rampaging Torrent of Super Coverage Headquarters; plus our Kobe tragedy column & more

 It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 30. Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect anytime gift for every Dolfan in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Kobe Bryant's shocking death with column, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

KOBE BRYANT, 1978-2020, R.I.P.: For our column on Sunday's tragedy, visit Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His.

LivSmirk RgoodellSUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK III: Super Bowl With a Smirk returns this week with daily needling jabs at the self-important NFL and the oversized gravitas of its big game. Flying under the banner, "Make Fun, Not War," Smirk is an annual Super Bowl Week feature in the Miami Herald on years we remember to do it. In the latest, Smirk III, we lead with Roger Goodell's "state of the NFL" SB Press Conference, an annual dissemination of as little information as possible. That's Smirk III: NFL's Deft, Dull Goodell Slips Up, Makes News. Also: Smirk II: Why Sunday's Most Talked-About Ad Won't Air? (Hint: Nutmobile) and Smirk I: Have Fun This Week, Fans, But Feel A Bit Guilty And Sad Doing it.

Previously from our Rampaging Torrent of Super Bowl Coverage:

(*) In Part 2 of our series on the Dolphins' early rise from dysfunction to domination, coming soon, how Don Shula's arrival changed everything, and Shula today, the king in his winter at age 90. In Part 1, here, read how a long-lost Dolphins executive pre-dating Shula assembled a treasure trove of talent: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins.

(*) What A Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl Should Tell the Dolphins.

(*) Super Bowl Primer: Chiefs, 49ers Storylines You'll Soon Be Sick Of.

(*) And How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City'.

Select other most recent stuff: Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / America and Super Bowl Host Miami Have a Rooting Interest Now. Tannehill, Please! / Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports / Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020? / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020, R.I.P. Our column on the tragedy that rocked sports; plus how one long-forgotten man pre-dating Shula changed everything for Miami Dolphins; also, latest Hot Button 10 (updated), Torrent Of Super Bowl Coverage Headquarters & more

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 27 Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect anytime gift for every Dolfan in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl Top 10 Storylines You'll Be Sick Of Primer, Derek Jeter's (not) unanimous election & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

KobeKOBE BRYANT, 1978-2020, R.I.P.: For our column on Sunday's tragedy, please visit Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His.

 

THE FORGOTTEN MAN WHO LED THE DOLPHINS' RISE FROM EARLY DYSFUNCTION TO SUPER BOWLS AND HISTORIC PERFECTION: The players who formed the nucleus of the NFL’s single greatest team of all time were stunned to learn that their Miami Dolphins head coach was prone to laziness and long, boozy lunches. He was a man who once stood before his team and, Joethomasslouching, said, "Well, I’m hoping for a 7-7 season" -- as his guys looked around at each other, dumbfounded. This was before the arrival of Don Shula, we must hasten to mention. The NFL itself anointed the 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins No. 1 among the best teams ever as part of its 100th season celebration that will culminate with the Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl, fittingly in Miami. But how did a Miami franchise only born in 1966 get from nothing, from the comical dysfunction under first coach George Wilson, to being the greatest ever in such short order? It happened because of Shula, who arrived in 1970, but it started before him, during the expansion years. It started with one man, a man long lost, a man so essential yet so egregiously forgotten in Dolphins history. His name was Joseph Henry Thomas. (Shula and Thomas are pictured). Thomas left the windfall of talent that Shula spun into historic gold. ..... OK, that is the entree to my latest column, a piece I'm very proud of. It is the first of a two-part series. In this Part 1, through extensive reporting, I reveal the comical dysfunction of the 1966-69 expansion years under Dolphins inaugural head coach George Wilson. Yet during that clown show stacked with losses, we tell you how Joe Thomas came to assemble a treasure trove of talent. In Part 2, coming next week, how Don Shula's arrival changed everything, and Shula today, the king in his winter at age 90. To read Part 1 of our series now online, visit How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins.

Previously from our Rampaging Torrent of Super Bowl Coverage:

(*) What A Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl Should Tell the Dolphins.

(*) Super Bowl Primer: Chiefs, 49ers Storylines You'll Soon Be Sick Of.

(*) How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City'.

And coming Monday: Return of Smirk!: Super Bowl with a Smirk notes columns, poking fun at the NFL and the gravitas of its big game, are an annual Super Bowl Week staple in the Miami Herald. Watch for the Return of Smirk on Monday!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 26-27): 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:

Hotbutton1. KOBE BRYANT: Tragic helicopter crash kills ex-Lakers star: A family, the NBA and all of sports were ripped apart Sunday with the news Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others had been killed in a private helicopter crash in California. R.I.P. to an all-time great.

2. DEREK JETER: One vote missing, but Marlins president in Cooperstown: Derek Jeter swept into the Baseball Hall of Fame with all but one vote of 397 cast, denied a unanimous entry by one still-unnamed idiot / piss-ant anarchist. (Larry Walker got in, too, barely). Jeter is best known of course as the Miami Marlins president, although reportedly also played several years with the Yankees.

3. PANTHERS: Ice on fire! Hot Cats awarded '21 NHL All-Star Game: Haven't been many better weeks to be a Panthers fan. Florida and Jonathan Huberdeau skated into Saturday's NHL All-Star Game at 28-21 off six straight wins and 13 in past 17 games -- solidly on playoff pace. And this : the big news that Cats, for the first time since 2003, will host All-Star Weekend in 2021.

4. HEAT: Butler snubbed as all-star starter, Waiters debuts: Miami coach Erik Spoelstra called it a "joke" that Jimmy Butler was not named an NBA all-star starter. Bam Adebayo had a case, too, although both surely will make it as reserves. Meantime relentlessly suspended Dion Waiters made his season debut for 31-14 Heat, with four 3's and 14 points in a solid 18 minutes.

5. NFL: Chiefs, 49ers arrive in Miami for Super Bowl: SB 54 at Hard Rock Stadium is in one week, and the teams arrive today. The Kansas City Chiefs are to land in Miami at 4:40 p.m. and the San Francisco 49ers about 2 1/2 hours later. The slightly favored Chiefs are expected to continue to be ahead of the Niners through next Sunday's final whistle.

6. HURRICANES: UM football lands major transfer QB: Former Houston starting quarterback D'Eriq King announced he  has entered the college football transfer portal and chosen the Miami Hurricanes. Quick word of caution: Remember, one year ago, how excited we were were about Tate Martell? 

7. TENNIS: Serena out early as Australia Open hits midpoint: Serena Williams, only eighth-seeded but the betting favorite in year's first major, was ousted in the third round -- yet another failed effort to tie Margaret Court's career record of 24 major singles titles. Still think Serena will equal and then surpass Court ... but we've been saying that for three years now, since her 23rd title was the Aussie Open in 2017.

8. HORSE RACING: Mucho Gusto wins rich Pegasus at Gulfstream: Mucho Gusto, a star for trainer Bob Baffert, won the second annual $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstreak Park in Hallandale Beach on Saturday, with Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. Might be horse racing's biggest day outside the Triple Crown races.

9. PRO BOWL: NFL all-star game is Sunday in Orlando: Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson lead the AFC and NFC squads today in a meaningless game further watered down because players from the Super Bowl-bound Chiefs and 49ers aren't in it. No Dolphins, either, but plenty of ex-Fins in Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

10. CANES HOOPS: Can Miami (men or women) finally beat a good team?: Slumping Miami men are 10-9 off four straight losses after Saturday's L at North Carolina -- and 0-5 vs. Top 25 teams. Canes women are 11-9 overall and 0-6 vs. ranked teams after Sunday's loss at No. 14 Florida State. Jeez, beat somebody a good team, already!

Missing the HB10 cut: Overall No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans finally made his season debut. He scored 22 points, did not reinjure his knee and his sneakers did not explode. Stay tuned for further developments ..... A bunch of NFL eyes including those of the Dolphins' Chris Grier were watching a lot of college all-stars with the coming NFL Draft in mind in Saturday's annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. But rehabbing Tua Tagovailao of course didn't play, so our interest in the game went from gutter-low to nonexistent ..... Latest Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be revealed at NFL Honors awards show the night before Super Bowl, with ex-Dolphin Zach Thomas a finalist for first time. Of course we are journalistically neutral unabashedly hoping Zach gets in! ..... Countdown 35 days 'til Inter Miami opens its inaugural season in MLS ..... Countdown 48 days 'til No. 3-ranked Hurricanes baseball opens season ..... By the way, the Houston Astros stole their World Series trophy ..... Somebody help Antonio Brown. Baker Act, anyone? ..... Update: Countdown now 2,338 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent stuff: Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / America and Super Bowl Host Miami Have a Rooting Interest Now. Tannehill, Please! / Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports / Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020? / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.