July 12, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10: The return of sports (sort of). See who's No. 1 this week and what else ranks where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday!, recent columns & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, JULY 12. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Racist Redskins nickname must go, Will football be smarter than other sports?, Rise of Miami sports is good news in tough times, the 2020 face of Miami sports, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 19 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT MONDAY!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 20 drops Monday! A new episode is out every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 19 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 19 we chat with the University of Miami's new Chief Diversity Officer for athletics, Dr. Renae Myles Payne, whose job takes on magnified relevance as America protests for social and racial justice. She talks about the anger, frustration and fear of many of her own Hurricanes athletes. For the fun  stuff, we bring you the latest installment of Greg Doesn't Know Movies, plus the Mount Gregmore Name Game (the B's). Greg also talks COVID-19 parties and the (supposed) return of sports. Here it all now! 

Our columns from the past week: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear  /  Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision  /  Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope  /  and The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 12-13): 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:

Final South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT has been a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown between the stoppage of play March 12 and Inter Miami the first to return on July 8. Lost in between: 145-plus games -- Marlins missed first 96 games of regular season. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, then missed 19. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings then.

HButton1. INTER MIAMI: Soccer leads South Florida's return to live sports: It was a 2-1 loss to Orlando City, in the Orlando bubble, eerily before no fans. Still, it was live sports, the first for a Miami team in four months, since the coronavirus/COVID-19 shutdown on March 12. Two of 26 teams withdrew for too many test positives but the MLS Is Back tournament continues with expansion-team Inter Miami (0-3) seeking its inaugural franchise win again Tuesday night back in the bubble vs. the Philadelphia Union.

2. HURRICANES: UM loses game; is college football season in jeopardy?: First the Division 3 Centennial Conference canceled its 2020 season. Then the Ivy League did the same. Now the Big Ten conference announces it will play a reduced, conference-only schedule if it can play at all -- meaning the Miami Hurricanes' Sept. 26 game at Michigan State is canceled. Other major Power 5 leagues have not followed the Big Ten's lead. At least not yet. Meanwhile UM's preparation for the coming season (should there be one) gets underway Monday, when coaches may begin interacting with players. Formal training camp is to begin August 7.

3. NFL: Mahomes lands record contract with KC: The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed on a record-shattering 10-year contract extension worth between $477 and $503 million, depending on reports and interpretations. It runs though 2031. Can you say "dynasty"?

4. MARLINS: MLB sets schedule for truncated season restart: Unless the whole thing collapses Miami will open its 60-game season July 24 with three three games at Philadelphia, and open at home July 27 vs. Baltimore. (Will some fans be allowed? Will Angels superstar Mike Trout be playing? Stay tuned). Notable: Fish host Red Sox for three in September and close season at Yankees. MLB also announced its full 2021 schedule. All teams open April 1 (no fooling), with Marlins hosting Tampa Bay.

5. HEAT: Riley notably absent as Miami hits the bubble: Pat Riley, 75-year-old club president, notably did not travel with the Heat as it entered the bubble in Orlando for a three-week training camp running through July 29. Twenty-two teams will play eight games to finish the regular season prior to the playoffs, with Miami restarting August 1 vs. Denver.

6. PANTHERS: Florida and rest of NHL open camps Monday: NHL teams including the Panthers opening training camps on Monday in their home cities, then travel to hub cities Edmonton or Toronto starting July 26 to prepare for the season's straight-to-playoffs restart on August 1. Florida will open with a best-of-5 series vs. the New York Islanders in the Toronto hub.

7. REDSKINS: Pressure mounts to erase racist nickname: The money is talking now. "Redskins" doesn't have a chance, Main sponsor FedEx has called for the end of the racist nickname, and retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target and Dick's Sporting Goods have stopped carrying team merchandise. So Redskins is headed to the same graveyard containing Confederate statues and Aunt Jemima. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Washington ... Redtails?

8. GOLF: Tiger returns, ends long hiatus this week: Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf at this week’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield in Ohio. This will be Woods’ first start since the PGA Tour returned from a hiatus of more than three months due to the pandemic. The 44-year-old last played a tour event in February. 

9. UFC: Miami's Masvidal loses on Fight Island: Dana White's wacky 'Fight Island' series debuted Saturday night with UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and richest city in the world. And the legend of Miami-born Jorge Masvidal took a hit as he lost a unanimous decision to Kamaru Usman in the main bout.

10. DESEAN JACKSON: Anti-Semite sets out on apology tour: Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson has apologized for a series of anti-Semitic Instagram posts over the weekend, although insisting his posts were misinterpreted weakened the apology. The team has condemned the posts. Meantime, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is Jewish, has a production company about to release the documentary, The Meaning of Hitler, which explores our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy and normalization of antisemitism. Could be a learning tool for a certain receiver who just volunteered his own ignorance on social media.  

Missing the HB10 cut: FREE WOJ! ..... Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather and Scott Boras are among sports figures whose companies have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) government loans intended to help small businesses survive the pandemic. Hmm. That would be "Money" Mayweather, who owns more than 100 exotic cars, right? Just checking ..... The WNBA's scheduled July 24 restart in a bubble in Bradenton is going really well, not counting players complaining that their rooms have bugs, rodent traps and showers that don't drain ..... Two semifinals Sunday will determine who reaches The Basketball Tournament championship game Tuesday, with ESPN cameras and a $1 million prize lending the illusion of an actual major event ..... Miami Dolphins still planning to open full training camp on July 28. Wonder what a socially distanced huddle will look like? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 20 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,178 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, presuming the world hasn't exploded by then.

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Other most recent columns: Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / 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

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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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 Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

June 22, 2020

Dan Le Batard and Papi in Greg Cote Cote podcast's Father's Day special. It's new Episode 17, out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to recent columns & more

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

Hapdad1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 22. Hope it was a Happy Fathers Day for all my fellow papis and padres! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team that signs Kaepernick will be champion of the streets, Should sports play it safe and take rest of 2020 off?, America's Pastime is letting America down, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 16, Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 17 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 17 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 17 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 17 we Father's Day with ESPN's Dan Le Batard and his dad Papi -- in Papi's first interview since he walked away from his fulltime role on Dan's Highly Questionable show. Why did he leave? Might he return? Join the conversation. That and more in new Ep17! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My columns from this past week: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 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. MLB: America's Pastime continues to whiff on restart plan: MLB Players Association proposed a 70-game regular-season schedule (July 19 through September 30) that was immediately rejected by commissioner Rob Manfred, with no counter-proposal, as sides continue back and forth with no solution in sight. All sports move forward to playing again, except one. Sad, baseball. Sad.

2. HEAT: Butler recalls racism in team's Town Hall: As NBA players prepare to arrive July 7 in Orlando for restart of the season, Heat held a town hall about race on Juneteenth, on Zoom, with coach Erik Spoelstra and several players. Notable was Jimmy Butler remembering this from age 16 in Houston: "A white man and his son, who is no older than maybe 6 -- I'm walking with my brother, and we hear the kid turn around and say, 'Hey, Dad, those are those n-words that you are telling me about," Butler said. "The kid doesn't know any better. The first thing that popped in my head was, 'You had to [have] taught him that.' [The kid] doesn't know that. My daughter, I have to teach her that the stove is hot. You are choosing to teach your kid hate."

3. INTER MIAMI: Local team among wave of sports test-positives: An unnamed Inter Miami player tested positive for coronavirus as the team prepares to restart its inaugural season July 8 in Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament. Recent test-positives in sports also have included Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott, two Tampa Bay Bucs, driver Dale Jarrett, a PGA Tour player and 28 Clemson athletes -- almost all in football. All MLB spring training sites have temporarily closed because of the threat.

4. HURRICANES: UM sports names Chief Diversity Officer: As the football team prepares to reassemble July 13, Miami athletics announced that senior associate athletic director for administration Renae Myles Payne will be UM's first Chief Diversity Officer, a newly created position.

5. HORSE RACING: Tiz The Law christens delayed Triple Crown season: Favorite Tiz the Law won Saturday's no-fans Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., as expected, as thoroughbred racing's delayed Triple Crown season finally commenced. The "Run for the Carnations," usually the third and last race, led off the triumvirate of races for the first time.

6. MARLINS: Jeter finds optimism in protests: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter took part remotely in an MLB Network special on race. "Something needs to change. It gets to a point where you say enough is enough," Jeter said. "The one thing that I was optimistic about is, for the first time, you're seeing people across all 50 states and roughly 20 other countries -- people of all different races and different nationalities -- out there in agreement that now is the time and things do need to change, because it's been going on for too long."

7. MIKE GUNDY: Oklahoma State coach called out by player: Oklahoma State's weird football coach got called out publicly by running back Chuba Hubbard for wearing an OAN T-shirt. (On the bright side, at least he wasn't also waving a Confederate flag at the time). One America News, for the uninitiated, is an extreme far-right "news" network prone to conspiracy theories and Black Lives Matter-bashing. Gundy said oops I won't wear the shirt any more.

8. GATORS: Florida retires 'Gator Bait' cheer: The Swamp no longer will resonate on football Saturdays with the "Gator Bait" cheer and song -- both done away with due to their roots in racism. In a related story the SEC said no more championship events will be held in the state of Mississippi until it removes the Confederate flag from its state flag.

9. NASCAR: Dale Jr. leads newest Hall of Fame class: As NASCAR runs at Talladega Sunday, former driver and perennial fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins two others as latest inductees into the sport's Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Junior never did win a series championship, but popularity evidently counts for something.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 125-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 77 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 16. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hey, other than the racial stereotypes and all, it was a good run, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben! ..... Webb Simpson won the PGA Tour event at Hilton Head on Sunday ..... NHL, would you name the two bleepin' hub cities already!? ..... Former U.S. national men's soccer coach Bruce Arena suggested The Star-Spangled Banner should not be played before sporting events. Where's the Trump Tweetstorm!? ..... July 11 is set as date for first of four UFC July fight cards on its Fight Island, located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi ..... Serena Williams committed to the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31 even as some others players hesitate. Meanwhile, dumb people spray painted "White lives matter" on a statue of Arthur Ashe ..... That July 28 reporting date for NFL teams? Believe it when we you it ..... WNBA announced a commitment to return to play with a focus on social justice, in a shortened season to be played sans fans on the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, near Tampa, with reporting in early July ..... Tony Hawk was in the news, but I didn't care enough to Google why. Something about a 52-year-old man on a skateboard makes me sad ..... Shaquille O'Neal and Ron Gronkowski will host a virtual, live-streamed party this Saturday on TikTok and www.ShaqVsGronk.com. I'll be sure to miss it ..... Rams and Chargers will be featured on this season's Hard Knocks starting Aug.11. Assume the camera crew will be in masks? ..... Josh Gordon is seeking NFL reinstatement for what feels like the 45th time ..... Ray Ciccarelli, the unsuccessful NASCAR truck-series driver who threatened to quit over the sport's Confederate flag ban, is now hedging on that. His fans are happy. Both of them ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 17 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,198 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

OTHER MOST RECENT COLUMNS: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / and R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

Select earlier recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards has 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 Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).

June 15, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, our George Floyd-related columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 15. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Return of sports will mean historic TV smorgasbord in fall, Homestead hosts NASCAR race, R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 16 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 16 is out now! Find a new episode every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 16 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 16 we talk NASCAR banning the Confederate flag, update you on our Duck Family (bad news) and our ailing tree (better news), and have a conversation with an author who both wrote a new biography of Yogi Berra and was Le Batard's first editor. Fun stuff! That and more in new Ep16! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

My George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 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 (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NASCAR: After Confederate flag ban, Homestead hosts race before small crowd: The Dixie Vodka 400 ran Sunday -- eventually, after much weather delay -- at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Denny Hamlin winning. About 1,000 invited guests from the military were in the stands, the first major American professional sport to play before any fans since the pandemic shutdown. In the leadup to the race NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks in the wake of the George Floyd killing and resulting national protests. Bubba Wallace, the circuit's only black driver, ran in a car emblazoned #BlackLivesMatter, finishing 13th.

2. MARLINS: It's all pitching in historic 2020 Fish draft: Led by third overall pick Max Meyer from the University of Minnesota the Marlins drafted pitchers with all six selections in the 2020 draft -- a franchise first. Then again, the pandemic reduced the draft to only five rounds this year, not the usual bloated 40. But remember the name Asa Lacy. He's who Miami surprisingly passed over to take Meyer. Meanwhile MLB, unlike the other sports,  continues to fight with itself over a restart plan.

3. GOLF: Berger win in PGA Tour's first event in three months: Golf returned from its three-month pandemic layoff with a tournament in Fort Worth, Texas that had no spectators, began with a moment of silence for George Floyd, and saw social distancing among players. It was a strong field that did not include Tiger Woods but featured world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, but in the end Daniel Berger won in a low-watt playoff over Collin Morikawa.

4. INTER MIAMI: Miami's first match in four months set as MLS details restart: Finally, a date on the calendar to circle! On Wednesday, July 8, expansion team Inter Miami will play its first match in four months, since March 7, in the no-fans MLS Is Back tournament that will see all 26 teams competing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Miami will open versus natural rival Orlando City. A rescheduled regular season will follow the tournament, with teams back in their home stadiums but likely still without fans.

5. HEAT: NBA sets timetable for resumption: The 22 teams that will resume the season, including Miami, are to report to the Orlando hub beginning July 9-11 for a training camp that will precede eight regular-season games for each, sans fans, starting July 30. Then, the playoffs. According to reports, the league is estimating the NBA Finals would begin around Sept. 30, meaning the two teams left standing would end up being in Orlando about three months. 

6. PANTHERS: Date set for start of formal training camp: The NHL set July 10 as the date to start formal training camp for the 24 teams that will resume play by heading directly to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Florida will open with a five-game series vs. the Islanders, with the season resuming with no fans in two yet-unnamed hub cities. It isn't yet known if training camps will be held in the teams' home rinks or in one of the hub cities, or how long they will last.

7. HURRICANES: NCAA outlines football teams' return dates: The NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a recommendation that coaches may begin formally working with their teams on July 13. The committee laid out the practice guidelines to allow players to return safely prior to the traditional four-week football training camp.

8. DOLPHINS: Details emerge on buildup to NFL season: The NFL announced 28 of its teams including Miami now have a July 28 reporting date for the start of preseason training camp. No mini-camps or OTA dates will be held prior to that. The league also is discussing preseason games going from from four to two. The regular season still is set to begin as scheduled in September, but increasingly likely to start with no fans or a limited number.

9. COLLEGE SPORTS: DeSantis signs athlete compensation bill: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill enabling college students to be paid for use of their name, image and likeness. The bill goes into effect July 1, 2021 as the first of its kind on a state level. It is potentially a very big deal for a very few, and of zero consequence to the vast majority of college athletes.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 115-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 71 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 14. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Ray Ciccarelli. Who!? This was a NASCAR truck-series driver of little note -- one top-10 finish in four seasons and zero laps run in 2020 -- before he abruptly became known for the wrong reasons by quitting the sport this week to protest its ban on Confederate flags at all its tracks. Farewell, Ray. You shan't be missed ..... Former UM booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is out of federal prison and will serve the remainder of his sentence on house arrest ..... Top heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua agreed on a two-fight deal in 2021. Fury will first complete his trilogy vs. Deontay Wilder later this fall ..... A U.S. Olympic boxer was cleared when it was determined her banned substance happened because of sex. Her name: Virginia Fuchs ..... Spanish soccer's La Liga resumed play with piped-in reactive crowd noise and visuals to give the impression of a live audience. How marvelously fake! ..... In a fishing tournament, Michael Jordan's team caught a 442-pound blue marlin. Top that, LeBron! ..... Golf's Ryder Cup is still scheduled for Sept. 25-27 in Wisconsin. Could be without fans, but both the U.S. and European teams pushing to allow spectators ..... Times tough. The UM Sports Hall of Fame started a GoFundMe page ..... Florida Panthers forward Noel Acciari is the team's 2019-20 nominee for the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy given for perseverance and sportsmanship ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 16 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,205 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

COLUMNS FROM PAST WEEK:

Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord

Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans

R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

Select other recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).

June 08, 2020

The latest Hot Button Top 10: Sports' place in a time of America's national turmoil and challenge; plus the Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 out now!, our 4 George Floyd-related columns & more

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 8. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Sports' gradual return offers America needed relief, It took George Floyd to finally wake up white America, Why Goodell's response to Floyd killing is hypocrisy, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 14 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 15 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 15 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find the new episode and all 15 we've done so far right here. They're free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 15 you'll get to know Zoo Miami's Ron Magill beyond just animals as he shares stories about his difficult childhood, how he met his wife, his emotional and controversial first trip to Cuba and much more. Also, Greg speaks from the heart about the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath. That and more in Ep15! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

My George Floyd-related columns:

Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need

It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America

Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic

George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 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 (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. GEORGE FLOYD: Sports continues enmeshed in national outrage over killing: Top athletes, coaches and others in sports continue to join the national protests and speak out against police brutality after the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis followed that of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. The coronavirus pandemic threat continues and sports inches back to resuming play, but the way Floyd died in custody remains out front in the nation's conscience. Adrian Peterson said all NFL players "are ready to take a knee together" before games this season.

2. OOPS!: It was a big week for apologies in sports: Roger Goodell now says NFL should-a listened four years ago when the Colin Kaepernick-led protest began. (Oops, sorry). Drew Brees said he can't agree with anyone who "disrespects the flag." (Oops, sorry). L.A. Galaxy dropped a player whose wife made offensive Instagram posts. (Oops, sorry). FSU football coach Mike Norvell lied in saying he personally reached out to all his players. (Oops, sorry). Texts from Bills rookie QB Jake Fromm about only "elite white people" owning guns turned up on Twitter. (Oops, sorry).

3. HURRICANES: Football season without fans now looms as likely: Miami director of athletics Blake James said his "gut feeling" right now is that UM football season will start on time (Sept. 5 vs. Temple at Hard Rock Stadium), but without fans. He'd said on our podcast in early April he still was optimistic about fans. The Dolphins already have revealed a contingency plan that would permit a reduced attendance of 15,000 with social distancing in place.

4. MLB: Baseball lagging behind on restart plans: While the NBA, NHL and MLS are getting specific about plans for a late summer resumption, the National Pasttime continues to balk as owners and players haggle over money and length of season. Money, mostly, if that didn't go without saying. Baseball now seems as if it will be the last spring/summer sport to resume -- if it does at all. Really bad look, MLB.   

5. NASCAR: Engines will rev in Homestead in 6 days: Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the Dixie Vodka 400 on June 13-14. The here will be no paying customers allowed; however, the track will invite up to 1,000 military personnel, first responders and their families as guests to next Sunday's main race -- the first people to sit in the stands for a NASCAR race since the season resumed in May. 

6. MARLINS: Fish have 3rd overall pick in draft: Thinking Marlins will be thinking power bat with third pick in the MLB Draft this week. The shortened five-round 2020 draft, done virtually, will be held this Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday's round 1 on ESPN (7 p.m.) and rounds 2-5 Thursday on ESPN 2 (5 p.m.).

7. NFL: Coaches permitted back at practice facilities: NFL coaches were allowed back at team facilities starting this past Friday. Players remain barred except those receiving treatment, while the maximum number of people at facilities is now up to 100. No word yet when summer training camps might begin or what delays or limits may be in place.

8. GOLF: PGA Tour back this week after 3-month layoff: The PGA Tour will play ts first ev ent since March 12 this Thursday through Sunday with the Colonial/Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, with 16 of the top 20 players in the world. No Tiger Woods, but all of the top five including No. 1 Rory McIlroy will compete. No spectators will be allowed. The Memorial in Ohio July 16-19 will be the first Tour event to welcome back fans.

9. SOCCER: MLS, international leagues set returns: Major League Soccer avoided a lockout by agreeing to a restart plan that begins with a tournament in Orlando later this summer including Inter Miami and all 26 teams. Talk of a July 9 start date is not yet confirmed. Players agreed to 5 percent salary cuts. Spain's La Liga will resume play this coming Saturday, and England's Premier League reopens June 17, with "virtual fan noise" to help TV viewers imagine big crowds like in the old days.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many major local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 109-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 66 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 13.  

Missing the HB10 cut: At least five Alabama football players have tested positive for coronavirus ...... Amanda Nunes! ..... Over/under on how long Conor McGregor's 'retirement' lasts: Three months? ..... OHMYGOD TETONIC PLATES ARE SHIFTING! Even Michael (Republicans Buy Sneakers Too) Jordan is actually speaking out ..... Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant says he's done for the year, even as NBA moves toward restart. K.D. hasn't played since his Achilles injury last June ..... A decision is pending whether the scheduled Sept. 25-27 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin will go on without fans, U.S. captain Steve Stricker saying that would make it "a yawner of an event" ..... For Rent: A Used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 15 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,212 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Always assuming the world is still turning by then.

Other featured recent columns: MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / and Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County. 

Other recent columns: How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron / No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped / and Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

AlsoDolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select columns from earlier in 2020Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

May 02, 2020

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson on owning funeral home amid COVID-19. New column; plus Miami sports today if coronavirus never happened, Dolphins winning rebuild with Tua-led 3-year plan, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 9, latest Back In My Day & more

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 2. Welcome, May! You can't be any worse than March and April Can you!? Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your vote on Tua pick, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 9 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and Episode 9 is out now! Find a new show every Monday on Apple, Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all nine episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show: Sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In Episode 9 we review the virtual NFL Draft and the Dolphins' Tua-led bounty, welcome guests Tim Kurkjian and sound-alike son Jeff, and talk to former BBWAA president Clark Spencer about his racehorse and about who didn't vote for Derek Jeter.

The new Back In My Day: Face Masks!: This one premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Visit BIMD: Face Masks! to watch.

HALL OF FAMER ANDRE DAWSON ON BASEBALL -- AND OWNING A FUNERAL HOME -- IN THE AGE OF COVID-19Andre Dawson got his nickname as a young boy growing up in Miami. An uncle would hit him ground balls. Said most kids his age would be afraid of the baseball but that Andre would "attack it like a hawk." And there it is today, in bronze, on his Hall of Fame plaque in image from images.app.goo.glCooperstown, New York.: Andre Nolan Dawson. "The Hawk." Around that same time, as a child, sometimes Andre would be made to dress up and attend the funeral of a relative or family friend. He hated that. "I was frightened by the sight of death," Dawson, now 65, said Thursday, by telephone. "Didn’t like seeing someone laying in a casket. It was like a teenager watching a horror movie. You can’t sleep. As a kid growing up the funeral home was my fear factor." Strange how life sometimes turns out, right? Today Dawson owns and runs the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, a small city in southwest Miami-Dade County. He has been in the business for 12 years, when Dawson and his wife took it over from relatives. Once, Dawson accompanied employees to a home in Liberty City to oversee the removal of a deceased body of an older man. The grieving son kept staring at the tall gentleman in the dark suit. Through tears he finally spoke two words. "The Hawk!?" Yes it was. We haven’t had much occasion to speak with Dawson since he retired from baseball as a Florida Marlin in 1996 and was inducted into Cooperstown in 2010, but the spring of 2020 — a time like no other — seemed the right time to catch up. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is killing people and has shut down sports, and Dawson is a former ballplayer now in the business of death. It has "turned everything upside down" for his work and erased the sport he loves. Pictured: Dawson, in protective mask, at his funeral home. For my full latest column, please visit Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19.

WHAT IF: HOW MIAMI SPORTS WOULD LOOK TODAY HAD CORONAVIRUS NEVER HAPPENED AND GAMES NEVER STOPPED: Mickey Muse was born in 1928. Disneyland opened. The Lion King and Frozen set box office records. Now, to any list of notable achievements in the annals of The Walt Disney Company, please add that one very strange time in late April of 2020, when America image from images.app.goo.glwas bored at home in the throes of a coronavirus pandemic, starving for sports — and there came Disney-owned ESPN to the rescue. "The Last Dance," the 10-part miniseries on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, has been the most watched documentary in ESPN history. And in the middle of that the virtual NFL Draft set all-time records for most viewers as we all tuned in for Roger Goodell calling players’ names from his basement. It was proof our hunger is for any sports right. Not necessarily live games. Not necessarily anything current. Just sports. If the next chapter is leagues resuming without fans, yes, we’ll be there, too, watching live baseball played in eerily quiet, empty stadiums. The spread of COVID-19 shut down sports in a flurry on March 11-12. I thought it would be fun to imagine what we’d be in the middle of in South Florida team sports right now had the coronavirus never existed, or, put more depressingly, all we’ve missed in the 50 days since sports stopped. If the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers seasons had continued. If the Miami Marlins and Inter Miami’s inaugural soccer season hadn’t halted. If Miami Hurricanes football had gone through spring practice. Join us on the our flight of fancy. No face masks required. For our full recent column, please visit Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped.

TuaDOLPHINS WINNING REBUILD WITH 3-YEAR PLAN THAT INCLUDES PATIENCE WITH TUA: The NFL Draft and free agency are past, and now the Miami Dolphins and other teams await what the coronavirus threat will allow. When will teams be able to go from virtual meetings to hands-on with their newest players? When will football fields go from empty acres to crawling with activity again? Will the season start on time? Will it start with no fans allowed? None of those answers are yet known. But this is: The Dolphins keep reminding us that things are different now. For everybody, yes, on account of the deadly COVID-19 virus. But I mean for one long-forlorn franchise in particular. For one team picking itself up and –- in the midst of a pandemic -– spreading nothing but hope to its hungry fans. The feeling is palpable. The once-proud, long-off radar Dolphins are building something here. There is a plan. There is a clue. General manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are fronting an organization that, for the first time in some 20 years, seems to finally know what it is doing again. For our full recent column, please visit Dolphins Winning Rebuild, Won't Rush Tua.

Our column on Miami's top draft pick: DOLPHINS AIM HIGH, WIN BIG WITH TUA TAGOVAILOA PICK

FEATURED MOST RECENT OTHER COLUMNS:

Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins

Dolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be Right.

Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever.

Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential'.

A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins.

Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players

NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent.

Other featured recent columns: NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Select additional recent columns: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

* * * * *

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

April 27, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10: Tua! Tua! Tua! With my Tua column, your grade on the pick, and my mock vs. Mel's; plus Greg Cote Show podcast news, other column links & more

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 27. Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 3) Find our latest Back In My Day from Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio HERE. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft Tua Tagovailoa with column and poll, live results on our Mock Draft, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 9 DROPS MONDAY: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 9 is now out Monday morning. Find a new Greg Cote Show every Monday on Apple, Spotify or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all eight episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show: Sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In Episode 8 we take a deep dive into Dolphins' NFL Draft with ESPN Fins reporter Cameron Wolfe, and, in Stugotz 2.0, he talks Grateful Dead and shares something you didn't know about Dan Le Batard.

TuadolOUR LATEST COLUMN: DOLPHINS AIM HIGH, WIN BIG WITH TUA TAGOVAILOA PICK

POLL RESULT: MIAMI L-O-V-E-S THE TUA PICK: We asked, "What do you think of the Dolphins making Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa their first pick (fifth overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft?" The verdict? A huge thumbs up. Grade A/Love it drew 72.19 percent and Grade B/Now pray he stays healthy had 17.75%. That's nearly 90% who graded A or B. Naysayers were few, with Grade D/Should-a gone Herbert at 5.92%and Grade C/Risky for a pick that high at 4.14%.

COTE BEATS KIPER!: I am not saying my Mock Draft was better than Mel's. I am saying, simply and accurately, that my mock had seven Exactos -- right player to right team -- and his had six. Boo-ya!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 26-27): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: With fingers crossed, Miami lands Tagovailoa with top pick: Smartly, I say, the Fins gambled on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and his injury history with the fifth pick of the NFL draft, getting (they hope) their first real franchise passer since Dan Marino. Miami also fortified his protection with three OL picks including tackle Austin Jackson. Five defensive players were drafted as well among the 11 overall picks. Also include in this draft the trade for running back Matt Breida from the 49ers. He's 25, with 1,902 rush yards and a fat 5.0 average. He'll push Jordan Howard for the start. Call it a solid B-grade draft -- a grade that could grow if Tua stays healthy and lives up to sky-high hopes.

2. NFL: Burrow No. 1 in surprisingly smooth virtual draft: Joe Burrow to the Bengals led three quarterbacks chosen in the first six picks of the three-day NFL Draft. This year, the players selected were secondary to the circumstances: A virtual draft taking place remotely from living rooms across America because of the coronavirus stay-at-home edicts. Commissioner Roger Goodell orchestrated the proceedings from his basement den in New York. There were a few random appearances by family dogs but, astonishingly, no embarrassing technological glitches.

3. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 66 games lost: Marlins 28, Heat 19, Panthers 13, Inter Miami 6. Marlins have missed first 28 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 season games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last six.

4. GOLF: Tiger vs. Phil 2.0 (with friends) is on for May: A Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson rematch is planned for May, perhaps Memorial Day weekend -- this time with quarterback buddies Tom Brady and Peyton Manning joining them. "The Match: Champions for Charity" will benefit coronavirus relief, from an undisclosed location without spectators. A Florida course is thought likely. Remember, fellas: Social distancing and no hand shaking!

5. ROB GRONKOWSKI: Gronk unretires to rejoin Brady: Did the ad read, 'Partying tight end for rent'? Gronkowski was lured out of retirement to rejoin Tom Brady in TB12's reincarnation as a Tampa Bay Buc. Even sweeter: Bill Belichick's Pats got only a fourth-round pick for him. Let's go Tompa!

6. MLB: Red Sox punished for sign stealing, too: OK it wasn't just the Astros. MLB concluded Boston also stole signs during its 2018 World Series title run. It suspended Boston's video replay system operator without pay for a year and took away a second-round draft pick. Manager Alex Cora, whom the Red Sox fired in January, previously was suspended for the year for his role in Houston's 2017 sign-stealing scandal, when he was bench coach.

7. INTER MIAMI: David Beckham raffling himself for charity: The charismatic former England captain and current co-owner of MLS' Inter Miami is giving fans a chance to play a five-a-side charity match with him and raise funds to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The offer is part of the "All In Challenge" in which athletes and celebrities come up with fan experiences to raise dough. Winner also gets lunch with Becks and a spot in the owners suite for an Inter Miami match.

8. A-ROD & J-LO: Power couple's increasing interest in Mets: Seems betrothed power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are increasingly serious about actually buying the New York Mets. Fun sidebar to that: A-Rod and Marlins CEO Derek Jeter being NL East rivals to intensify their famously "frenemies" relationship.

9. NHL: Hockey toying with four-city plan to resume: Puck commish Gary Bettman said NHL is exploring a four-city plan to restart the 2019-20 season, which was paused March 12. Arenas would be places that are not coronavirus hot spots, with home rinks of Carolina, Edmonton and Minnesota three mentioned. Bettman said he "presumes [there] wouldn't be fans."

10. NASCAR: Florida, Texas jockeying to resume racing first: Where will the gentlemen start their engines first? Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted NASCAR is working with Texas Motor Speedway on a plan to race there, sans spectators, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken with NASCAR about resuming races at Daytona and at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So. Which state will get the checkered flag?

Missing the HB10 cut: Greg Cote outmocks Mel Kiper Jr! You read that right. I had 7 "exacto" picks in my first round to Mel's 6. Boo-ya! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast, new Episode 9, is out Monday morning. Pluggin' it! ..... Only four Canes got drafted: LB Shaq Quarterman (4th round), RB DeeJay Dallas (4th), WR K.J. Osborn (5th) and DE Jonathan Garvin (7th). The former NFL pipeline leader is now Day 3 U. ..... Is football season in doubt? NFL Players Association director DeMaurice Smith called mass testing crucial for returning to football, while University of Arizona's president said she doubts the college season will happen .... Money-first Dana White and UFC will hold three no-fans events at an undisclosed Florida location beginning May 9 ..... Showtime has ex-NFL QB Mark Sanchez in a new digital series talking with top quarterbacks in this draft. Wait a second. Isn't that like putting top thespians in an acting roundtable hosted by Adam Sandler? ..... Chris Paul says NBA players would need at least three weeks' prep time before  returning ..... Notre Dame women's hoops coach Muffet McGraw retired after 33 seasons. Most successful Muffet ever? ..... Parts 3 and 4 of ESPN's 10-part Michael Jordan docuseries hit the screen Sunday night. I was a skeptic, but parts 1-2 reeled me in ..... Two New York fans are suing baseball over lack of ticket refunds due to canceled games. Wow. Even if their claim is legally legit, oh what a bad look! ..... Novak Djokovic, who is anti-vaccine, said he faces dilemma if tennis requires players to get vaccinated before they can return to competing. Dear Novak: Move on in to the 21st Century and give science a shot ..... Update: Countdown now 2,254 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we're allowing large crowds to gather by then.

FEATURED MOST RECENT OTHER COLUMNS:

Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins

Dolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be Right.

Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever.

Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential'.

A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins.

Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players

NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent.

Other featured recent columns: NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Select additional recent columns: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

* * * * *

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

April 10, 2020

The new Pie Chart of Possibilities for QB-shopping Dolphins. Latest column; plus MLB's bizarre resumption plan, NFL Draft preparing blunt verdict on Hurricanes' talent; also, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 6, latest 'Back In My Day' & more

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 11. Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our new Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow the show on both platforms at TheGregCoteShow. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 6, Song of the Day & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest 'Back In My Day' (No Live Sports!): It aired on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Dan hated it. I liked it and many others did, too, based on reaction. Find it HERE at about the 21-minute mark. 

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 6 OUT NOW!: Our new Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 6 is out now! You can find a new Greg Cote Show out every Monday on Apple, Spotify or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all six episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show, sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when necessary) serious. In Episode 6 we endure mockery in a new edition of "Greg Doesn't Watch Movies," and chat up Hurricanes AD Blake James about coronavirus, football, Manny Diaz and expectations: "We need to win the Coastal every single year." Check it out now HERE!

BigtwoTHE NEW PIE CHART OF QB POSSIBILITIES  FOR A DOLPHINS FRANCHISE THAT BETTER GET IT RIGHT: The snake-bit Miami Dolphins have been among league leaders in unlucky for 20 years, augmented by a sad parade of bad decisions and ill-fated coaching hires. Now — even as the Fins have the most picks including three in the first round and fans dare dip a toe into the optimism pool — the upcoming NFL Draft is somehow the latest example of how "Can’t Catch A Break" should be this franchise’s official motto. Think about it. 1) They spend all last season in deftly orchestrated "Tanking for Tua" mode, trading their best players to accumulate a stockpile of draft picks while losing enough to accrue the No. 5 overall pick. Brilliant! Except the Cincinnati Bengals out-tank the Dolphins, get the No. 1 pick and the rights to draft grand prize quarterback Joe Burrow of LSU. 2) Miami still has a great chance to draft the originally coveted Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama. OK, good! Except he sustains a hip injury late in his college career, the most serious but hardly the only issue that makes some wonder warily about his health and durability. 3) Tagovailoa appears fit and ready to go as the draft nears. The player’s doctor says he is "extremely pleased." The agent says, "Tua is fully cleared and ready to compete without any restrictions." Tua himself: "I’m 100 percent right now." Great. What a relief! Except the coronavirus/COVID-19 threat that has changed everything these days prevents teams from personally visiting with and giving team physicals to prospective players in advance of the April 23-25 draft being held in Las Vegas with no fans; thus Miami must trust what others are saying and videos of Tua throwing. So, yes, to your list of things that have made the Dolphins snake-bit, you may now add: Global pandemic. For our full latest column -- including a pie chart likelihood of what Miami will do with its first pick -- please visit A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins. Top candidates Tagovailoa (right) and Justin Herbert are pictured.

WHY BASEBALL'S BIZARRE PLAN TO RESUME GAMES WOULD BE UNFAIR TO PLAYERS: Sports is feeling its way through this thing, arms stretched out and small, hesitant steps in a pitch-black room. When to resume and how? Fans? No fans? Leagues plot their resumption awkwardly, inconsistently, with no template or map to rely on. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (who flew his private jet Rob Manfredto Florida for vacation in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic) says he has "no doubt" college football will start on time with packed stadiums. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit says he would be "shocked" if the college or NFL seasons were played at all. Somebody is way wrong. Nobody can be sure of anything right now. The Summer Olympics, Wimbledon and the British Open all cancel for the year and postpone entirely until 2021 — but now Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred (pictured) are considering a plan to resume games in May? Somebody is way wrong. Nobody knows anything. Unprecedented circumstances. No neat end-date to when COVID-19 will no longer be a threat to kill us, or perhaps recur if we all get back to normal too soon. In a pitch-black room, one is never quite sure what the next step should be. Commerce is in play. It can become a money vs. health issue. President Donald Trump wants desperately to "reopen" the country and reignite a sinking U.S. economy, while his medical advisers are more cautious in saying the stay-at-home edict is saving lives. We find the same conundrum in sports — with baseball now the prime example with its controversial new plan to resume games soon, with all 30 teams playing in the Phoenix area, with no fans. Baseball in a bubble. To read our full recent column, please visit Why MLB's 'Phoenix Plan' to Resume Games Is Unfair to Players.

ShaqqUPCOMING NFL DRAFT WILL OFFER BLUNT VERDICT ON MIAMI HURRICANES' TALENT LEVEL: Miami will be a center of attention like never before in the upcoming NFL Draft, holding three first-round picks picks like a poker player holds aces — only the 22nd time in 85 drafts that one team has had that triple play. And it’s a first for the Dolphins, who last had even two first round picks way back in Don Shula’s 1992. Meanwhile the other Miami — the one that used to dominate NFL Drafts as a gushing pipeline to the pros — will be largely silent once again. The Miami Hurricanes have become mostly a nonfactor to pro scouts who once swooned over the talent that bloomed every year out of Coral Gables. It is cause and effect, the most accurate reflection of the overall downturn of a Canes program that won the last of its five national championship in 2001 and has spent two decades trying to rediscover its mojo. College football fans and Your Friend the Media spend way too much time analyzing a school’s annual recruiting class and believing grades and rankings, when in fact they are closer to a guess than gospel. A far greater gauge of how successful a college team has recruited comes not in the summation of the 18-year-olds arriving, but three years later when they are 21-year-olds put under the NFL microscope. Pictured: Shaq Quarterman, who was a four-year starter at UM, but whose draft grade suggests he'll be a late-round pick. For our full recent column on the Canes' very modest outlook in the April 23-25 draft, please visit NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent.

FEATURED OTHER MOST RECENT COLUMNS:

NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now

Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge

Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages

How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby

In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race

Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons

Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood

Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval

Dolphins' Most Important Rebuilding Is Yet to Come

Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go?

Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games

Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified

It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select additional recent columns: Repentant Cheater A-Rod Slams Astros With Lesson On How to Handle Their Own Scandal / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / As NFL Free Agency & Draft Near, All You Need To Know About Dolphins' QB Situation / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Why Marlins Aren't Pursuing Puig All About Change In Ownership / and Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team.

* * * * *

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Author of 'Fins At 50,' available on Amazon. Regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Follow on Twitter @gregcote; also on Instagram and Facebook.And check and our new The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote podcast HERE and listen, subscribe, rate and review for free!

March 10, 2020

Pressure on Dolphins GM Grier to own next 6 weeks. New column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 as Inter Miami, Heat, Luongo jockey for top spot; also Greg Cote Show Episode 2 podcast is out now, Radio Tuesday & more

1) It's TUESDAY, MARCH 10. Happy International Women's day! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Premiere Week for new Greg Cote podcast. repentant cheater A-Rod blasts Astros, Inter Miami poised to quake sports landscape & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday: Back in-studio today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Airs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. nationally on ESPN Radio and local affiliates including 560 in Miami, and on ESPNews. Also look for a local-only hour linked from show's social media platforms.

CoteshowCoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST EPISODE 2 NOW OUT!: Our new Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," premiered last Monday and is out with Episode 2 today. You can find it by searching 'Greg Cote Show' on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding. Or find it directly right here. Please listen and subscribe! Subscribing is totally free and so important to what we're doing in this new project. Our podcast is a variety show, sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when absolutely necessary) serious. Check out Episode 2 now!

GrierWITH MONEY AND PICKS GALORE, PRESSURE ON DOLPHINS GM GRIER TO WIN NEXT 6 WEEKS. NEW COLUMN: For the Miami Dolphins the next six weeks will shape a forlorn franchise’s immediate and long-term future. But the coming free agency period and NFL Draft will not be about any one player as much as it will be an overall referendum on general manager Chris Grier, the man out front in roster decisions. (He is pictured with coach Brian Flores). This begins Grier's fifth season as GM and third with say over personnel, and he begins the biggest month-plus of his professional life. It will dramatically and quickly turn the Dolphins competitive, or be a seismic disappointment. The question: Are Grier and his braintrust including owner Stephen Ross and coach Brian Flores -- up to the challenge. Miami has hit the lottery in terms of available spending money and draft picks. That means Grier and Co. have every opportunity and no excuse to fail. For our full latest column, please visit It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Our most recent columns: Repentant Cheater A-Rod Slams Astros With Lesson On How to Handle Their Own Scandal / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears and As NFL Free Agency & Draft Near, All You Need To Know About Dolphins' QB Situation. Also: Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Why Marlins Aren't Pursuing Puig All About Change In Ownership and Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 8-9): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. INTER MIAMI: New team falls again; home opener in 6 days: lAfterlosing 1-0 at Los Angeles FC, Inter Miami dropped a tough-luck 2-1 verdict Saturday at D.C. United. Now comes the long-awaited maiden home opener, Saturday March 14 vs. David Beckham's old L.A. Galaxy squad, in the new stadium on the hallowed ground of the old Lockhart in Fort Lauderdale.

2. HEAT: Win over Bucks defines Miami's upside: Miami is 41-23 and fourth in the East and had won four straight -- including an exhilarating 105-89 win over Giannis Antetokounmpo and the mighty Milwaukee Bucks -- before falling Friday at New Orleans. Heat rebounded to win at Washington Sunday, but it was that Bucks win that raised the bar on their playoff potential. 

3. PANTHERS: Cats finally end home skid as Luongo honored: The Cats retired Roberto Luongo's No. 1 jersey in a ceremony Saturday for the retired goaltender, then whipped Montreal 4-1 to end a record eight-game home losing streak. Before Saturday Florida had been in a 4-12 slump since February 4. Panthers are back on the edge of playoff pace entering Monday's test at St. Louis.

4. CANES HOOPS: UM women gag in ACCs; can the men do better?: The Miami women's team, once 9-3 and ranked, ended a .500 season with a disappointing one-and-done performance in the ACC Tournament, losing its opener to lower-seeded Clemson. An NCAA Tournament bid should not be expected. The Canes men, also .500 after Saturday's win over Syracuse, will need a big showing in the ACCs this week for any prayer of an NCAA invite.

5. DOLPHINS: QB Fitzpatrick endorses new CBA: NFL players have until this Thursday to vote on the league's new collective bargaining agreement that would increase regular season games by one, to 17, and Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick became one of the most prominent players to say he was on board. The vote requires a simple majority to pass. The onset of free agency soon follows. Will Miami be a spender?

6. MARLINS: Pool gone, but Fish continue spring splash: Miami is 10-5-1 this spring after Sunday's loss to St. Louis in Jupiter. Meantime the team announced the Clevelander nightclub and swimming pool beyond the left field wall won't be back at Marlins Park for the 2020 season. "Oh darn!" I said facetiously.

7. NBA: Curry makes long-awaited return for Warriors: Steph Curry returned from a four-month injury absence to score 23 for the Warriors Thursday night, albeit way, way too late to rescue or save Golden State's lost season.

8. SOCCER: U.S. women beat England, then Spain: The World Cup champion USWNT is back in action in the SheBleieves Cup, opening with a 2-0 dispatch of England in Orlando, and then on Sunday beating Spain 1-nil in a tougher test in Harrison, N.J.        

9. TENNIS: Miami Open and stellar field getting close: The Miami Open's second year at Hard Rock Stadium begins its two-week run on March 23, with a terrific field including 18 players who have won a combined 80 Grand Slam titles. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams lead the way.  

10. HURRICANES: Spring football practice takes a break: UM is four practices into spring work and now the team is off all this coming week, returning to the field next Sunday. The idea of practicing in March has always struck us as a waste of time and money and something college football should consider eliminating, although coach Manny Diaz might vigorously disagree.

Missing the HB10 cut: Shameless plug: Episode 2 of the new Greg Cote podcast drops this Monday ..... ESPN wants to sign Peyton Manning and trade with NBC Sports for Al Michaels to form a Monday Night Football super-booth. You go, Mickey Mouse! ..... Spike Lee, how about you enter Madison Square Garden like a normal human being and quit whining when you don't get pampered with preferential treatment ..... Countdown 14 days until the race that debuts Homestead's new earlier spot on the NASCAR calendar ..... Keep booing the Astros, please ..... Is the XFL still playing games? ..... Honda Classic is moving a few weeks later on the golf calendar to try to get a stronger field. It couldn't hurt ..... Update: Countdown now 2,303 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place / And our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90. Also: Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever / How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City' / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Author of 'Fins At 50,' available on Amazon. Regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Follow on Twitter @gregcote. And check and our new Greg Cote Show podcast and subscribe!

March 02, 2020

New podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuts today. Episode 1 out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10: See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Dolphins' QB future, Beckham & Inter Miami & more

Coteshow1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 2. Happy new month, aal! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Troika of Marlins-arrive spring columns, Dwyane Wade Weekend, my planking video & more. 2) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Podcast Monday!: Our new Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," premiered today with Episode 1. Find it at MiamiHerald.com, on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you do your podding. Remember to subscribe. It's free, and worth every penny.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 1-2): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature (back after a one-week hiatus) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. INTER MIAMI: Six years later, finally Opening Day for new MLS team!: David Beckham's dream since February 2014 turns to reality at last today/Sunday as Inter Miami visit Los Angeles FC in its Major League Soccer debut. Miami plays following weekend at D.C. United before making home debut March 14 vs. L.A. Galaxy in its temporary new stadium at the old Lockhart site. Welcome, Inter Miami Lauderdale!

2. HEAT: Miami still seeking answers as Bucks visit: Miami was riding high at 24-8 on Dec. 28 as one of the NBA's big surprises. The Heat since is 14-14 and now hanging onto fourth place in the East, although after two straight wins put 'em 38-22. Heat host NBA-leading Milwaukee and the Greek Freak on Monday.

3. HURRICANES: Spring football practice underway: Coach Manny Diaz and crew gather and gear up this weekend for their first spring practice on Monday. (Spring football is a royal waste of money and student-athletes' time, but that's another story). After a 6-7 season that ended awfully, Diaz has a new offensive coordinator (Rhett Lashlee), a new starting QB (D'Eriq King) and new "chief of staff" (Ed Reed). Not new, but grown: The pressure on Diaz to win. Big.

4. DOLPHINS: NFL Scouting Combine wraps up Monday: The NFL's nine-day pre-draft cattle call of a talent show ends Monday in Indianapolis, where 32 teams including the Dolphins have analyzed and interviewed top prospects in the April draft. Notably absent: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailao, who expects to gain medical clearance from his hip injury on March 9 and showcase himself in individual workouts.

5. PANTHERS: Slumping Cats seek to claw back into playoff race: Florida is 5-11 since Feb. 1 after Saturday's home loss to Chicago, and has fallen five points off NHL playoff pace as it hosts Calgary today. Cats' growing desperation showed in trade-deadline deals, but losing Vincent Trocheck without adding much defensive help didn't make a lot of sense.

6. WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Marlins Park lands starring role in 2021 WBC: It was announced Marlins Park would host group play, the quarterfinals and the 2021 championship round next March 21-23 in the fifth iteration of the 20-team international World Baseball Classic. That's nice. Even better? The Marlins hosting games in another World Series.

7. MARLINS: Wow! Fish begin spring training a perfect 6-0: Miami, beginning Year 3 of the Derek Jeter era, was MLB's last unbeaten team this spring at 6-0 before finally losing two in a row. Quick thought: Save some of that winning for April and beyond, Fish! 

8. GOLF: Honda Classic crowns champ in Palm Beach: The Honda Classic, South Florida's only PGA Tour event ever since the tour fled Doral, ends Sunday at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens with Tommy Fleetwood narrowly out front. However, since Tiger Woods isn't in it, we don't much care.

9. CANES HOOPS: UM teams wrap up disappointing regular seasons: Canes women once were 9-3 and ranked but are 14-14 (6-11 ACC) entering Sunday's regular season finale vs. Pitt. Miami men also started 9-3 but also 14-14 (6-12 conference) after Saturday's loss at Georgia Tech, with two games left in regular season. Both will need big showing in ACC Tournament to bolster extremely shaky postseason hopes. 

10. GREG COTE: Hey, that's me! I have a new podcast!: It's my Hot Button Top 10 so I get to include myself. Please check out my new Miami Herald podcast, which debuts this Monday. Podcasting will never be the same. It'll probably be just a little bit worse.

Missing the HB10 cut: Roger Federer ruled himself out of the upcoming French Open following knee surgery, while Maria Sharapova announced her retirement at 32. Maria's career epitaph: Yeah, But She Couldn't Beat Serena ..... Give Deontay Wilder the championship belt in excuse-making after blaming loss to Tyson Fury on weary legs from wearing that 45-pound costume into the ring ..... Sign of the times: Kobe Bryant's widow files wrongful death suit on the day of his L.A. memorial ..... Early season. Close games. Whatever. No excuses. You don't get swept at home by Florida, Canes baseball ..... Has the Dwyane Wade "L3Gacy Celebration" ended yet or are there yet more events? ..... Keep booing the Astros, please ..... Only three weeks until NASCAR's Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead. Hmm. Should a bunch of guys driving 180 mph in heavy traffic be sponsored by vodka? ..... Are XFL player paychecks bouncing yet? ..... NBCSN had a 40th anniversary special on the Miracle On Ice. The best tires ever made have not gotten as much mileage as Al Michaels has over that call ..... There was a Monster Jam thing for trucks with absurdly big tires at Marlins Park. Get your redneck on! ..... Great work by the Dolphins organization as always on its Dolphins Cancer Challenge fundraiser ..... Update: Countdown now 2,310 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

2qbsNO BRADY, NO DARKHORSE, NO SURPRISE. THE DOLPHINS' NEXT QB WILL BE 1 OF 2 GUYSThe overanalysis of the quarterback position found its new benchmark this week with the news likely overall No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow has a 9-inch hand, which evidently was cause for great alarm if not not outright ridicule. Burrow gave the span from the outstretched tips of his pinkie and thumb the gravity it deserved on Twitter, writing, "Considering retirement after I was informed the football will be slipping out of my tiny hands. Please keep me in your thoughts." (In the spirit of transparency my own hand span turns out to be 8 7/8 inches, which I find sufficient for primary tasks such as traversing a laptop keyboard and gripping a Whopper). At the predraft NFL Scouting Combine going on in Indianapolis all sorts of measurements are being taken including those gauging intelligence. That’s the Wonderlic test, which grades you from a low of 10 to a high of 50. This score is seen as especially important at quarterback, where a Wonderlic number that looks like a shoe size sends up even more alarms than a 9-inch hand. This most fascinating offseason for the quarterback spot must be divided into two divisions: Junior Division, for college players and the April 23-25 draft. And Senior Division, for current NFL stars entering free agency, which officially begins March 18. The myopic view from Miami is that all that matters is whether the Dolphins, QB-desperate and drafting fifth overall, will land Tua Tagovailoa or have to settle for Justin Herbert. (They are pictured). The bigger story nationally is that Tom Brady, a pending free agent for the first time in his historic career, reportedly might actually leave New England and play elsewhere — which also is of particularly keen interest in Miami, of course. We dive into both divisions of the QB offseason, sift through all the speculation and determine who'll end up with Miami. For that full latest column, please visit As NFL Free Agency & Draft Near, All You Need To Know About Dolphins' QB Situation.

BeckhamAFTER DELAYS, DISPLACEMENT AND DISAPPOINTMENT, STILL A TRIUMPH OF PERSEVERANCE FOR BECKHAM, INTER MIAMI: Came the word Inter Miami’s main sponsor might be Qatar Airways and the gut reaction was, "Of course, it would be." Nothing has been smooth or simple in this six-year odyssey — emphasis on odd — to finally realize Major League Soccer in South Florida, so why on earth would we expect this finishing touch, the name on the front of the jersey, to be benign and controversy-free? That would make too much sense. So instead, though no final deal is announced, there have been reports (and leaked photos) indicating David Beckham’s Inter Miami has negotiated a $234 million arrangement to proudly wear the name Qatar. Although "proudly" might not quite be the proper word considering the airline is state owned, and Qatar is a place where the government has severed ties with Israel and is considered hostile to Jews, and where one can be jailed for the crime of being in a same-sex relationship. Strange how money can sometimes make the human rights violations a bit easier to ignore. Works for the NBA doing business in China. Worked for the Miami Heat owner sending his Carnival cruise ships to Cuba. Now it appears OK with Inter Miami and Qatar. It figured though. For six years this has been a persevering, uphill climb for Beckham and associates, one wrought with missteps and misfortune. The games arrive as a a respite, a break. Inter Miami’s historic inaugural game is Sunday at Los Angeles FC. Miami plays the following Saturday at D.C. United, then has its first home game on March 14 at the new stadium at the old Lockhart Stadium site, vs. the L.A. Galaxy — Beckham’s old team and a league power. (Pictured right to left: Beckham, majority owner Jorge Mas and goalkeeper Luis Robles). For our full recent column, on Inter Miami's long journey to Opening Week, please visit Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week.

Other most recent columns: Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent'Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In LoveWhy Marlins Aren't Pursuing Puig All About Change In Ownership and Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time.

Other select recent columns: It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place / And our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90. Also: Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever / How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City' / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

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

February 10, 2020

The Hot Button Top 10: See who's No. 1 and what else lands where this week; plus Heat/Marlins/Canes/Fins among our boatload of recent columns & more

1) It's MONDAY-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10-15. We're off on vacation all this coming week. See ya'll next weekend! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Time for 'The Lone Voter' to step forward, Heat and Riley win on Iguodala, Ed Reed return part of Canes surge, Dolphins have a new roadblock, latest Back In My Day video & more. 2) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns:

(*) It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward.

(*) Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala.

(*) Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football.

(*) Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place.

(*) Two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins; 2) How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 9-15): 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:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Slumping Miami in win-now mode with big Iguodala trade: Heat and Memphis beat the NBA trade deadline with a six-player deal that, at its core, sends Justise Winslow to the Grizzlies and brings elite wing defender Andre Iguodala to Miami. Smart move by the Heat with playoff run in mind. Heat is 34-18 and fourth in East after losing three straight and five of past eight, with two left before all-star break.

2. PANTHERS: Uh oh. Cats stumble, fall of NHL playoff pace: The once-hot Panthers have lost three in a row and four of past five to tumble to 29-25 and off playoff pace. Florida needs to regain its mojo starting Monday in Philadelphia to stay afloat in a brutally tough, packed Eastern Conference. 

3. RUNNING: More than 20K hit streets in Miami Marathon: Sunday's Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon drew more than 20,000 runners to the streets of Miami and Miami Beach. It's a glorious annual event except for people who drive cars and whose weekend plans are disrupted by hordes of exercise-obsessed fanatics in a sporting event of interest only to participants.

4. HURRICANES: Revamped UM sets spring football start: Coach Manny Diaz introduced new chief of staff Ed Reed, new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and new QB D'Eriq King in a National Signing Day press conference to wrap up recruiting. New-look Canes will hit the field to open spring practice on February 29, happily leaving last year's 6-7 nightmare behind.

5. MARLINS: FanFest ushers in arrival of spring: FanFest was Saturday at Marlins Park, signaling the arrival of spring. Pitchers and catchers have their first workout of spring training on February 14 and the full squad begins February 19. Here comes Year 3 of the Derek Jeter Rebuild, ready or not.

6. BASEBALL: Red Sox Nation up in arms over Mookie trade: Boston completed a blockbuster three-team trade that sent RF Mookie Betts and P David Price to the Dodgers, with the Red Sox getting CF Alex Verdugo and a pitching prospects whose medical condition held up the deal. To Red Sox Nation, feels like a salary dump and a surrender flag waving.

7. KOBE BRYANT: All-star tribute, public memorial upcoming: The helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others continues to reverberate. Next Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Chicago will include tributes to Bryant, and a public memorial has been set for February 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

8. SOCCER: U.S. women qualify for Olympics: The U.S. women's national team whupped Mexico 4-0 to qualify for the coming Olympics. Had the reigning World Cup champions not qualified for the Olympics -- now that would-a been news! U.S. has made every Olympics since the first for women's soccer in 1996, and has won four gold medals.

9. UM BASEBALL: Season on deck for No. 3-ranked Canes: Season of high hopes began with Saturday's FanFest and alumni game. Real play for coach Gino DiMare's ACC-favorite team opens at home starting February 14 with a three-game series vs Rutgers.

10. CANES HOOPS: Larranaga's men's team sort of stinks. Sorry: The terribly slumping Canes men are no 11-2, 3-10 in the ACC and 0-6 against Top 25 teams. UM women are a bit better at 12-10 and 4-7, but also 0-6 vs ranked teams. Not much local excitement building for March Madness, alas.

Missing the HB10 cut: The XFL debuted, and this is where I can't even muster enough fake interest to pretend I care ..... Bobby Knight attended his first Indiana basketball game in 20 years. Did he throw a folding metal chair just for old times' sake? ..... Jon Jones won UFC 247. Wake me when he  moves up to the heavyweight class ..... Countdown 21 days until Inter Miami's inaugural game as a Major League Soccer expansion team. Newbies play two on road before opening at home on March 14 ..... NFL Scouting Combine begins February 27 in Indy. NFL Network will extend coverage into prime time for the first time, prompting analysts to ask, "Why!?" ..... Update: Countdown now 2,324 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami and Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His. Also: How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever / How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City' / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

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