May 03, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ARCHIVES:

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

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

April 18, 2021

The new Hot Button Top 10: Dolphins draft, slumping Heat, Inter Miami opener battle for the top. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Greg Cote Show podcast, links to recent columns & more

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

Mecane1) It's SUNDAY, APRIL 18. We were back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Tuesday. Find that day's show podcasts, including a new Back In My Day. One of the reasons I love being on Dan's show is the fans. They are super loyal, engaged and talented. Example: Dan jokes on-air that I should adopt a royal persona and walk into press boxes carrying a scepter. So a bunch of stuff related to that turns up online including the photo shown. So sublimely ridiculous. Love it. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why Dolphins should trade up in draft and go all-in for Kyle Pitts, Masuyama's Masters win lifts Japan in time of anti-Asian hate, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

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

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: LATEST EPISODE WITH DAVE PARKER, ROY BELLAMY OUT NOW!: Our 15th podcast of 2021 (57th overall) is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. However the pod is taking this Monday off with a new episode returning on Monday, April 26. So it's perfect time to catch up on our full catalog! You can find all 57 we've done HERE for free. In our latest Ep15 we welcome in two special guests: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Dave Parker and, from the Le Batard Show, Roy Bellamy. Parker has a new autobiography out and he speaks about being denied the Hall of Fame, his fight with Parkinson's disease and more. And get to know the inscrutable Bellamy in a fun chat about his bucket list, what scares him and more. (And do we get Roy to sing? Find out). Also: The Mount Gregmore of all-time best food. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

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

Personal note: I'm on holiday for a few days. The podcast has the week off but will return with a new episode Monday, April 26. I'll miss this Tuesday's Le Batard Show but will be back on April 27. This week's Hot Button was written Saturday morning. We'll return with a blog update and a new column on Wednesday.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 18-19): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Countdown 11 days until NFL Draft: The April 29 start of the NFL Draft is coming like a locomotive, with Miami weighing what to do with the No. 6 overall pick, or whether to trade up or down. This week's latest mock draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. guessed the Fins will trade up to No. 4 and take Gators tight end Kyle Pitts. (In my dreams ... or in Brian Flores'). Meantime new Vegas over/unders on wins have Miami at 9 for the new 17-game seasons, or likely wild-card contention.

2. HEAT: Playoffs no given as slumping Miami hosts Brooklyn Sunday: An NBA Finals runnerup last season, the Heat is at risk of not making the playoffs this year after falling to seventh in the East at 28-28 after a third straight loss Friday night at Minnesota. Miami has 16 games left in the abbreviated 72-game regular season starting Sunday at home vs. star-laden Brooklyn.

3. INTER MIAMI: Year 2 in MLS unfurls Sunday for Beckham, new coach: David Beckham's Inter Miami hosts the L.A. Galaxy Sunday at it's-still-Inter Miami Stadium-to-me in Fort Lauderdale, with limited fans allowed. It's the debut for new coach Phil Neville. Miami's second match is the following Saturday at the Philadelphia Union.

4. PANTHERS: Cats remain in three-way fight for Central lead: Florida is 27-12-5 after Thursday's 3-2 OT loss at rival Tampa Bay, third in NHL Central but only a point off the lead entering Saturday's rematch at the Lightning. Cats bolstered for the stretch run with a flurry of minor deals ahead of the league trade deadline.

5. MARLINS: Fish shake off rough start, get hot: Miami shook off 1-5 start at home with a 4-2 road trip that including taking three of four in Atlanta, then won the first of three back home over the Giants Friday night with strong relief pitching and homers by Starling Marte and Jazz Chisholm. Marlins were 6-7 heading into Satrday and Sunday games vs. San Fran.

6. POLITICS: Florida House passes controversial transender bill: Florida's state Hour this week passed a bill that would ban transgender female athletes from joining women’s public high school and college sports teams. If signed into law the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act would require athlete eligibility to be based on one's biological (at-birth) sex. The NCAA reiterated support for transgender athletes and announced it would not host college championships in states where discriminatory laws exist.

7. AUTO RACING: Formula One in Miami moves closer to reality: A Formula One Miami Grand Prix race in 2022 in the area of Hard Rock Stadium moved a step closer to reality this week when the Miami Gardens city commission approved a resolution to support the race, angering some residents.

8. HURRICANES: Team Diaz wraps up spring football practice: Offseason work wrapped up Saturday with the annual Spring Game at The Rock. Coach Manny Diaz's Canes open the season September 4 with the toughest possible game -- vs. reigning champion Alabama in Atlanta. Home-game individual tickets go on sale this Wednesday.

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League semifinals set: Results last week fashioned a heavyweight Champions League final four, with semifinals matching Real Madrid vs. Chelsea and Paris-Saint Germain vs. Manchester City. First-leg matches are set for April 27-28.

10. OLYMPICS: Are the Summer Games in jeopardy again?: A senior Japanese ruling party official said canceling this summer's Tokyo Olympics remains an option if the pandemic crisis becomes too dire, with Japan experiencing a fourth wave of infections less than 100 days from the Games' scheduled start.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is now a part owner of the Utah Jazz. A piece of the Heat or even the Bulls would-a made more sense, but when opportunity knocks you let it in, right? ..... The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Michael Jordan would present the late Kobe Bryant at the May 15 ceremony ..... Twenty women who have alleged inappropriate behavior or sexual assault against Texans QB Deshaun Watson have now disclosed their names. This is getting serious-real, folks ..... Two no-hitters in MLB the past week. When did that stop being a big deal? ..... WWE releases nine wrestlers in a budget cut, and this is where I pretend I've heard of or will miss any of them ..... The Florida Panthers' privately financed $65 million renovation of Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium is underway with construction of a new team practice and community ice facility. It is scheduled to open in Summer 2022...... The NCAA loosened its transfer rule. Starting next season major college football and basketball players may transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition ..... ESPN is mad at Alex Rodriguez because its own MLB analyst gave the scoop to The Athletic, not to his own network, that he and a billionaire partner were buying the Minnedosta Timberwolves. Hilarious! ..... Hurricanes baseball had dropped out of the Top 25 entering its weekend home series vs. Clemson ..... Patriots receiver Julian Edelman retired. Five words: Not a Hall of Famer ..... Browns snared edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney with a one-year deal ..... Texas center Charlie Collier went No. 1 overall in this week's WNBA Draft. League's 25th season tips off May 14 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week -- a perfect time to catch up on any of the 57 episodes you may have missed! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,898 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

March 29, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HowardripHOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.

3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.

4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch.  A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P. 

5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.

6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.

8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.

9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.

10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.

Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

ARCHIVES:

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

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 22, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre out now. Discussing Asian-American hate crimes but managing to pivot to fun stuff, too (including Pablo's revelation about his real name); plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 22. Find last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' no-splash free agency suggests team all-in on draft and Tua, Mickelson reflects on 25 years of Tiger as Honda begins, NCAA Tournament preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Sarah Spain & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Our latest columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness. 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: No huge splash, but busy first week of free agency for Miami: Miami was active with ripple-type moves but no big-splash gets through the first week of free agency, suggesting the club is relying on the upcoming NFL Draft -- and its faith in Tua Tagovailoa -- to elevate from last season's 10 wins to the playoffs and AFC East contention. As of Friday the Fins the Fins had gained eight free agents, lost six and re-signed one. Notable adds: WR Will Fuller and backup QB Jacoby Brissett. Notable departures: Ryan Fitzpatrick and defenders Davon Godchaux and Kyle Van Noy.  

2. HEAT: Miami swaps Leonard for Ariza ahead of trade deadline: Miami shipped suspended Meyers (Anti-Semitic Slur) Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who'll fight for minutes off bench here. Divesting of Leonard puts Heat in better financial position to perhaps deal for, say, LaMarcus Aldridge ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline? Meantime Heat were on an 11-1 run but have now dropped three straight, and fallen to fifth place in East, entering Tuesday's game vs. Phoenix.

3. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Upsets galore as March Madness nears Sweet 16: March Madness is back after a one-year pandemic pause and reaches the Sweet 16 with Monday's results. Fifteen of the first 41 games (or 36.7 percent) have been by-seed upsets including No. 7 Oregon ousting No. 2 Iowa today/Monday. Biggest upsets so far: No. 15 Oral Roberts eliminating No. 2 Ohio State (and then No. 7 Florida), and No. 8 Loyola-Chicago ousting No. 1 Illinois.

4. PANTHERS: Florida's midseason grade a solid 'A': Florida is 20-7-4 and four points off Tampa's Central lead entering Tuesday and Thursday games at Chicago. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and a hugely improved play from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky have led the way.

5. GOLF: Little-known Matt Jones wins Honda Classic in Palm Beach: Aussie Matt Jones, 40 won his first PGA Tour event in seven years with a comfy five-shot triumph in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson tied for 25th place. It was an otherwise low-watt field with only six of the top 50 ranked players and none higher than 15th. Meanwhile Tiger Woods is back home in nearby Jupiter Island as he continues rehabbing from last month's car wreck that left him with traumatic right leg injuries.

6. TENNIS: Severely depleted Miami Open underway at Hard Rock: Fan favorite Rafael Nadal was a late withdrawal, and top stars Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer canceled even later. Then Sunday, Serena Williams withdrew. What's left of the two-week Miami Open commenced Monday outside Hard Rock Stadium.

7. INTER MIAMI: MLS team adds prominent defender as preseason underway: Former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, 31, has agreed to join Inter Miami this summer, when his contract with West Bromwich Albion expires. Year 2 for David Beckham's MLS team was to get underway with the first preseason match Saturday vs. USL club Miami FC. Inter Miami, but that game was canceled due to COV-19 precautions. Season opens April 18.

8. MARLINS: Spring dreaming. Are Fish better than skeptics think?: Miami, lightly regarded in the stacked NL East despite ending a 17-year playoff drought last season, were 9-4 (not counting five ties) and near the top of the Grapefruit League standings entering the final week of spring training this week. Season opens April 1.

9. UM BASEBALL: Canes tumble with home embarrassment vs. Florida State: The No. 6-ranked Canes fell to No. 19 and are 9-7 after  being swept at home by ACC rival rival Florida State -- and by a combined three game score of 34-2. Ouch. 

10. HURRICANES: Spring football practice underway at UM: Miami and coach Manny Diaz are underway with their slate of 15 spring football practices. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work recovers from his knee injury in the December bowl game, but Diaz says King should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. (uh oh) reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League is down to its final eight, with first- and second-leg quarterfinal matches set for April 6 and 13-14. The pairings: Bayern Munich vs. Paris-Saint Germain, GC Porto-Chelsea, Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and WWE star Titus O’Neil will host WrestleMania 37 in Tampa Bay April 10-11 ..... Former MLB and Canes baseball player Aubrey Huff, whose hobby now seems to be embarrassing himself on social media, falsely claimed both Hank Aaron and and Marvin Hagler had died related to taking the COVID vaccine. Facebook flagged the post as misinformation as gullible conspiracy theorists undoubtedly nodded vigorously in agreement with Huff ..... New Zealand defeated Italy in the final of America's Cup sailing in Auckland. Home-water advantage? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 12th episode of 2021 and 54th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,926 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

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

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 14, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, Madness, sadness, free agency front a jammed, wild week. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, links to most recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 15. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On 1-year anniversary of sports' COVID shutdown, Heat's anti-Semitic mess, David Beckham's resolve tested by turmoil, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Covid1Our three most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.

CardsOther most recent columns: Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 14-15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami stays hot despite recent Leonard off-court mess: Heat is on a 10-1 run, 21-18 overall and alone in fourth place in the East after Sunday's win in Orlando led by en fuego Jimmy Butler. That despite the Meyers Leonard mess. The injured center used an anti-Semitic slur in a video-game livestream last week, was put on indefinite leave by the Heat and fined $50,000 and suspended by the NBA. Miami is back in play Tuesday vs. Cleveland.

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Gonzaga (no duh) tops Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament: March Madness is back! (Sort of). After last year's was canceled by COVID-19, the NCAA Tournament returns this week, albeit with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. It was Selection Sunday for the men's tourney, with Gonzaga the overall No. 1 as expected and Baylor, Illinois and Michogan other top seeds. Women's field gets set today.

3. COVID-19: Sports reflects on sad anniversary: March 11 marked the official one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic as sports shut down en masse on March 11-12. It was the least happy anniversary on record, although a torrent of vaccine availability lends hope for better days on road to normalcy.

4. DOLPHINS/NFL: Will Fins be players/spenders as NFL free agency begins?: Oh if I had  dime for every speculative media dart being thrown about what Miami will do as free agency begins this Wednesday. Best possibilities: Veteran QB to back up Tua, with Ryan Fitzatrick expected to sign elsewhere. An upgrade at running back. A quality receiver like Kenny Golladay or Juju Schuster-Smith. And an LB/pass rusher -- especially with productive Kyle Van Noy unwisely released. Lavonte David, perhaps? FA decisions will shape the coming draft as well.

5. PANTHERS: Yes, the Cats are Stanley Cup contenders: Florida is 18-5-4 after three straight wins including 4-2 Saturday vs. Chicago. Cats host Blackhawks again Monday. The Panthers are ranked No. 5 in the NHL in ESPN's latest power rankings. The bad news? Central Division rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay are ranked 1-2.

6. CHRIS BOSH: Popular ex-Heat star a Hall of Fame finalist: No surprise, but two-time Heat champion Chris Bosh is one of 14 new finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Notable other first-time finalists include Paul Pierce and (as a coach) Bill Russell. The five back for another try include former Heat star Tim Hardaway. Inductees for 2021 will be announced May 16.

7. HURRICANES: QB King recovering nicely as Canes open spring football: UM's first of 15 spring football practices is today/Monday. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work as he recovers from an ACL knee injury in the December bowl game, but coach Manny Diaz says King is "smashing every benchmark" in his rehab and should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

8. MARLINS: Winning and tying and drones at midpoint of spring: Miami is second in Grapefruit League standings at 5-2 (not counting five tie games including four straight at one point) at midpoint of spring training. Marlins resume play Monday at Astros. Meantime club announced it would use drones (!) to disinfect Marlins Park this season.

9. GOLF: It's Honda Classic Week in Palm Beach: South Florida's only PGA Tour event returns to Palm Beach Gardens this week with the Honda Classic this Thursday through next Sunday. Tiger Woods' recent serious car accident that badly injured his right leg remains the talk of golf. Woods had not entered to play the Honda prior to his accident.

10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men show life in ACCs, but much too late: Miami's men had a nice 2-1 run in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., beating Pitt and impressively upsetting Clemson before losing narrowly to Georgia Tech. Still, UM's 10-17 final record marked its worst season in 27 years. Miami's women ended 11-11 after a one-and-done in the ACCs.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, gone unexpectedly at 66. Hagler was a great middleweight in a golden age of boxing in the'80s ..... UEFA Champions League will advance four more to the final eight Tuesday and Wednesday, with advantages in leg 2 held by Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Advancing previously: Liverpool, Paris-Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and upstart FC Porto ..... Inter Miami's first preseason match ahead of the April start of MLS Year 2 is this coming Saturday March 20 vs. local USL club Miami FC ..... No. 8-ranked UM baseball is 7-4 off four straight wins after a two-game home sweep of Wake Forest ..... Miami and Hard Rock will be one of the 10 or 12 U.S. sites chosen to host 2026 World Cup matches. Let's please quit pretending there is any doubt whatsoever ..... Miami Open tennis outside Hard Rock Stadium begins a week from Monday, running March 22-April 4. Top-ranked players across the WTA and ATP tours will be here. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal top men's field and Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka the women. Eyes will also swivel to fan favorites Roger Federer and Serena Williams ..... New Zealand vs. Italy final continues in America's Cup sailing ..... Blake Griffin signing with Nets reminds us the NBA trade deadline is nearing at March 25 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 11th episode of 2021 and 53rd overall drops Monday morning. Now on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,933 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 08, 2021

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

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

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

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

MecardsBaseball cards, LeBron, Dolphins: Our most recent columns: Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience and Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs. Other recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 7-8): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NBA: Team LeBron on top in condensed 'All-Star Weekend' in Atlanta: Sunday night's 70th annual NBA All-Star Game was a no-fans, TV-only, one-day event because of COVID-19 -- Team LeBron beating Team Durant, 170-150. The Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest were the pregame show in Atlanta, and the Slam-Dunk Contest the halftime show. It was a Heat shutout, as none of the events includes a Miami player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

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 01, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Curt Schilling has only himself to blame, Why Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl is torture for Miami fans, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1. Welcome, February. Be good to us. 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, AFC and NFC title-game picks, Chad Henne's moment, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY1): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Butler back and Miami ends slump as Beal rumors swirl: Heat beat Sacramento Saturday to end a five-game losing streak with Jimmy Butler back from his COVID-protocol absence and scoring 30 points. Miami still is only 7-12 on the year. Meanwhile speculation swirls over the Heat's supposed interest in trading for Washington scoring star Bradley Beal, who may be on the trade block. Miami hosts the Wizards Wednesday and Friday this week. 

2. NFL: Super Bowl Week underway in Tampa!: Aspiring G.O.A.T. Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs remain a 3-point betting favorite at most sportsbooks despite Old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady's Bucs playing in their home stadium, a Super Bowl first. Meantime the canceled Pro Bowl would have been today. The national group, People Who'll Miss It, will meet this afternoon at the Waffle House. Corner booth.

3. MLB: Zero make Baseball Hall in latest vote: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens -- all denied, again, in the 2021 vote for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Bonds and Clemsn can blame steroids and Schilling his far-right politics, including recent support of the rioters in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Sore-loser Schilling then asked to be taken off the 2022 ballot (his final year of eligibility) but may not get his wish.

4. DOLPHINS: Fins staff returns from Senior Bowl amid Watson chatter: The Dolphins staff is back from Mobile, Ala., where it coached the winning National team to a 27-24 win in Saturday's Senior Bowl. Now it's on to a deep dive of preparation for the April NFL Draft -- but with one eye on Deshaun Watson as his demand of a trade from Houston has much of the NFL's attention including Miami's. Alabama WR Devonta Smith says he and Tua Tagovailoa have talked about him joining Tua in Miami. But will Tua still be here...?

5. PANTHERS: Cats stay hot out the gate in NHL: Fast-starting Florida is 5-0-1 in the young NHL season after winning in Detroit again Sunday. Two first-year Cats, young Carter Verhaeghe (arrived via free agency) and veteran Patric Hornqvist (by trade) lead the team with five goals apiece including one each Sunday.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men host Duke Monday: Struggling Canes men's team is 6-10 (2-9 ACC) after Saturday's loss at Wake Forest made it four losses in a row. Team hosts an unusually average Duke on Monday. UM women -- who recently nearly upset No. 1 Louisville, losing 79-76 -- are 7-7 (4-7), with Sunday's game vs. Boston College postponed. 

7. HURRICANES: UM benefits from ACC football announcement: The ACC announced it will return to its normal eight-conference-game, two-division format in 2021, with Notre Dame as a non-conference independent. Canes will benefit from being back in the easier (i.e. no Clemson) Coastal Division.

8. MARLINS: Fish place five on top-prospects list: MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects for 2021 has Miami RHP Sixto Sanchez 15th, OF J.J. Bleday 20th, RHP Max Meyer 28th, SSS/2B Jazz Chisholm 66th and RHP Edward Cabrera 68th. Sanchez impressed in seven starts last season while Chisholm struggled in 56 at-bats. Bleday and Cabrera figure to debut this coming season, with Meyer likely in '22.

9. TENNIS: Australian Open begins next week: The year's first tennis major begins February 8 with anti-vaxxer Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka the betting favorites. The big question: Can Serena Williams finally win her elusive 24th major title to tie Margaret Court's all-time record. Serena last won a Grand Slam singles event in 2017.

10. INTER MIAMI: Will MLS labor talks delay start of Year 2?: Season 2 for Inter Miami and new coach Phil Neville is nearing, with training camps set to open February 22 and the season on April 3. That's if MLS and its players union agree on a new CBA, with talks still ongoing.

Missing the HB10 cut: Matthew Stafford to Rams for Jared Goff and picks ..... Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis has told the IOC of Miami's willingness to host the 2021 Summer Olympics if Tokyo is unable to because of the pandemic -- even though the IOC and Tokyo insist the Games will go on there. This would be high in our HB10 if Patronis' offer had more than a 0.000001 percent chance of fruition ..... The canceled Pro Bowl was supposed to be today. "I'll really miss it," said nobody at all ..... The big boys of college football will play in the fall, but spring football season begins this coming Saturday for more than 310 schools and 35 conferences at the FCS), Division II, Division III and NAIA levels ..... NBA All-Star voting is underway. With Jimmy Butler out, Bam Adebayo is Miami's best hope ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new 47th episode (No. 5 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,975 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

CurtsCURT SCHILLING HAS HIMSELF TO BLAME FOR FALLING SHORT OF HALL OF FAME: I am one of the 401 voters who cast a 2021 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I voted for Curt Schilling — yet am glad he fell short and didn’t get in when results were revealed Tuesday night. This may seem odd, but it is a conflict many voters feel in the time of virulent politics, steroids and the “character clause” that voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America are free to let steer their vote, or to ignore. It is a weird and winding road that can lead a player to the shrine in Cooperstown, New York, or block his path. It happens when you ask a consensus of hundreds of voters who bring different criteria to the ballot. The continuing denial of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is a classic example of how voters can judge one player so differently. Now, so too is Schilling. For our full latest column, please visit Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall

TompatWHY A BRADY-MAHOMES SUPER BOWL IS ULTIMATE TORTURE FOR MIAMI AND DOLPHINS FANS: There is a word for this newly minted Super Bowl matchup, from a Miami perspective. Torture. The matchup is Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, except, really, of course, it is Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. So there it is, shoved right in the face of Dolphins fans for the next two weeks: The one player most responsible for Miami not reaching the Super Bowl any time this century — Brady, the Old G.O.A.T. And the one player most likely to prevent Miami getting there any time in the foreseeable future — Mahomes, the Aspiring G.O.A.T. For our full recent, please visit Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

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

January 18, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NFL: It's Bills-Chiefs, Pack-Bucs in final four set today: The weekend's NFL Divisional Round results have sent Green Bay and Tampa Bay to the NFC final and Buffalo and Kansas City in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes. Gee, you get the feeling quarterbacks matter a lot in this sport or what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other mots recent columns: Dolphins' Re-Commitment to Tua is Smart, And Well-Timed / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing CollapseIt Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

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

xxx

January 04, 2021

G16: Buffalo 56, Dolphins 26: Collapse! Miami finds a way to miss playoffs. Our column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our Orange Bowl column, NFL Week 17 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast new episode out! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 4. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes Rally But Fall in Cheez-It Bowl, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 16 results, Greg Cote Show podcast's Holiday/Year-End episode & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

'Greg Cote Tuesdays' era ends on ESPN: Last week was our final Tuesday cohosting on the Le Batard Show under the ESPN umbrella. Thank you all much for the outpouring. The show's next and final day on ESPN will be Monday January 4. It will continue as a pirate ship on January 5 until it finds a new home. Will my role on the show continue? Ya neva know! (Stay  tuned...).

No. 5 Texas A&M makes its case in 87th Orange Bowl game: For or column off A&M's OB win over North Carolina: It Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB. Other most recent columns: '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 / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / and For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

MiabufG16: BUFFALO 56, DOLPHINS 26: MIAMI FINDSWAY TO MISS PLAYFFS: Fins finish a credible 10-6 but miss postseason. Our column off the game: Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse ..... Original post: Buffalo. Early January. Temps in the 30s. Snow showers likely. That’s the Dolphins’ opponent today (1 p.m., CBS). Oh, and the AFC East champion Bills, too. The point spread, given the weather, should be favoring Buffalo by maybe double the 3 points it is. Heck, Bills were only favored by a mere 1 1/2 before Miami lost insurance-QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a COVID test-positive Thursday and the bet-line doubled. So what gives? 1) Bills are locked into AFC’s No. 2 or 3 seed, with no clear advantage to either. Makes it likely or at least very possible Buffs will rest key starters. As a template for what we might expect: When Week 17 didn’t matter much one year ago, QB Josh Allen played only seven snaps. 2) Dolphins make playoffs with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lose. No guarantees there, though, so Fins looking at this as must-win. Buffs at full strength, in this climate, are clear faves. But Bills’ big edge is on the attack, and fall from Josh Allen to backup Matt Barkley is steep, so that’s a difference maker if indeed Allen plays little or at all. Having said that, it’s all-or-nothing with Tua Tagovailoa Sunday, because the backup goes now from super-reliable Fitzpatrick to thoroughly untested Jake Rudock. It’s an all-Sunday, all-division games schedule to wrap this NFL regular season, and the slate is a minefield of games like this where the pick is at the mercy of who starts and who plays how much. Bottom line? If Sean McDermott goes all-out and Allen is slinging 40 passes, I may be in trouble picking Miami. If it plays out as I imagine, the weather will limit the score and play into the Fins' defense-first modus operandi. The league’s most improved D has gotten the Fins this far. Time to bring it home. (P.S., please do take the day off Josh Allen. You earned the rest!). My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3), 20-17. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 17 Gems

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANJUARY 3-4): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:\

HButton1. DOLPHINS: With playoffs on line, Miami suffers monumental collapse: The Dolphins would have made the playoffs Sunday with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lost. Sorry, none of it happened. Leaves Miami as the NFL's only 10-win team to not reach the postseason. Sad ending to an otherwise upbeat season. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 'Bama, Ohio State coming to Miami for CFP finale: No Doubt I: Alabama over Notre Dame 31-14. No Doubt II: Ohio State over Clemson 49-28. Result: Crimson Tide an early 7-point favorite over Buckeys in College Football Playoff national championship game January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Oh, and Dabo Swinney keeps insisting he doesn't regret voting Ohio State 11th in the coaches' poll. Admit it or not, Dabo, you were your own team's worst enemy with that motivation-on-steroids for the opponent.

3. HEAT: Embarrassment vs. Bucks tops Miami's slow start: Defending NBA Finals runnerup Miami is only 2-3 entering Monday's game vs. Oklahoma City. Lowlight: A 144-97 blowout home-loss to Milwaukee as the Bucks avenged its playoff ouster by the Heat three months earlier. Milwaukee made an NBA-record 29 3-point shots (of 51 tries) in burying the Heat. Miami allowed fans in the arena (about 100 family and friends of players) for the first time. Pity they had to witness such a night. 

4. HURRICANES: Cheez-It Bowl loss continues UM's recent bowl woes: The Canes fought nobly from an early 21-0 deficit in losing 37-34 to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl to finish 8-3. That's 'A' for effort but still a failing grade overall, with two straight losses to end the season, and a 10th defeat in the past 11 bowl games dating to 2008. (Also, when you are a five-time national champion whose season ends in the Cheez-It Bowl, sorry, but you cannot call that a successful year.

5. ORANGE BOWL: Texas A&M beats North Carolina in overshadowed OB: The No. 5-ranked Aggies handled No. 13 North Carolina, 41-27, in he 87th Orange Bowl game Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, the same city and stadium that will host the CFP title game next Monday. Did A&M make its case that it should have been in the the four-team playoff. Not convincingly.

6. PANTHERS: Cats set to open camp as NHL season nears: Florida opens preseason training camp today/Monday with a 39-man roster. The Panthers begin their 27th season with a four-game homestand starting January 14 vs. the Dallas Stars.  

7. LE BATARD: ESPN era ends for Miami-based personality: The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz bids farewell to ESPN's airwaves on Monday, then continues Tuesday as an independent enterprise before announcing its next destination. Exciting times ahead!

8. MARLINS: Back to earth for Fish in first '21 rankings: Miami unexpectedly made the expanded MLB playoffs last season and won a series, yet the Marlins are ranked only a mid-pack 17th in MLB.com's initial 2021 pre-spring rankings. Miami also ranks fourth of five in the NL East, ahead of only the Nationals. Still waiting for new GM Kim Ng to make some splash moves.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women try to shake doldrums: Both UM teams began the new season 3-0. Now the Miami men are 4-4 after Saturday's 1-point home loss to Clemson, and the women are 5-3 with Sunday's win, also vs. the Tigers. 

10. MLB: Did someone forget to turn on the Hot Stove?: Yeah, pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish have been traded. Otherwise there hasn't been a lot of major action in the major league offseason.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy New Year, all! Hot Button Top 10 happy to be back after a week off ..... Johnny Manziel is coming out of retirement to play in something called the Fan Controlled Football league. The FCF is to debut with four teams in February. Over/under on the startup league folding: June 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 43 is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,003 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, 4 BIG UPSETS, PLAYOFFS ON LINEWeek 16 holiday-gifted us a nice bounceback from a recent lull. We went 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread — solid on both. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers over Colts (“Aawwk!”), nailed a second outright upset with Cowboys over Eagles, and also hit on a trio of ‘dog-covers by 49ers, Falcons and Bengals. This is our 30th season of picks in the Herald and we thank you for following along! Now comes the tough part as Week 17 is wrought with games where it isn’t certain to what degree one team will be resting starters vs. playing to win — Bills-Dolphins one of those. No excuses, though. Let’s finish strong to toast 2021! Topping our Week 17 marquee: Fins at Buffalo, an unusual Game of the Week, four (!) upsets and a slew of game that will shape who's in the playoffs and out. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. For all of our latest picks to wrap the regular season, visit NFL Week 17 Gems

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our No. 1 episode of 2021 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 43 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep1 of '21, ESPN star Sarah Spain discusses the Le Batard Show on Dan's last day at the network, Greg and Chris chat up the Dolphins' massive collapse in Buffalo and, oh no, Mount Gregmore is back! Hear all of that and more in our first new episode of the year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

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