Hamlin Silences The Idiots, NFL Final 4, Tua’s Disturbing Update In New Hot Button Top 10
GREG COTE’S TOP 10 HOT BUTTON (JANUARY 29): WHAT IN SPORT HAS CATCHED US LATELY: Our Top 10 Online-Only Sunday Hot Buttons are what we’re all about, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective and highlighting things major, quirky, cursed, funny or worth needling while the sports week that has just passed pivots to the week to come. Think of it as 10 one-inch mini-columns. Welcome to the second edition of the reinvented HB10:
1. Hamlin speaks at length, disappointing millions of idiots: Bill safety Damar Hamlin spoke in a 6-minute video released on Saturday for the first time since suffering a near-fatal cardiac arrest on the pitch on January 2. , physically and spiritually. The video refuted the QAnon mob and crazed conspiracy theorists convinced the NFL was trying to cover up his death.
2. NFL: AFC teams win landslide victory over NFC out of interest: Geotagged Twitter data indicates that fans in 42 of 50 US states want the Bengals (23 states including Florida) or Chiefs (19) to win the Super Bowl – compared to just six states supporting the Eagles and only two for the 49ers. That makes sense, with Cincy the only one of the last four teams yet to win a Super Bowl. Biggest takeaway? Geez, we pretty much hate San Francisco, huh?
3. DOLPHINS: Is Tua’s update cautious/smart…or ominous? : First alternate Tua Tagovailoa was in line to replace either Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes in next Sunday’s Pro Bowl but pulled out because he would remain on concussion protocol – a full month after his last brain rattle on the 26th December. ESPN says Dolphin QB’s time in the protocol was “deliberate” with multiple meetings with doctors and specialists but there were no setbacks. Meanwhile, Adam Schefter has reported that the Dolphins shouldn’t pursue Tom Brady. And the angels sang!
4. TENNIS: Nightmarish championship weekend at the Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus faced Russia’s Elena Rybakina for the Australian Open women’s title on Saturday. The least preferred outcome in war-torn Ukraine – that both would lose or retire with sprained knees – did not come when Sabalenka won. In Sunday’s men’s final, anti-vaxxer Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian title. The father was not present. Dad had come under fire for posing with pro-Vladimir Putin protesters this week.
5. HEAT: Kareem still Riley’s GOAT LeBron James is about a week away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA record of 38,387 points. Miami Heat prez Pat Riley coached both. “I always said Kareem was the greatest of all time [with] the greatest weapon [skyhook] in the history of the game,” Riley told ESPN. “He will always be the guy.” Hmm. Probably look different if LeBron hadn’t disrespected Riley and left Miami gurgling bad blood in 2014.
6. HURRICANE: UM Bids Frosty Farewell to Offensive Coordinator: He arrived in Miami from Michigan hailed as a major rookie at offensive coordinator. It lasted one season. Here’s the full press release from The U announcing his dismissal: CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Josh Gattis has been removed from his position as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday. No thanks for the effort, no luck for the future. Cold here!
7. INTER MIAMI: Pink says new star Martinez could be the perfect fit: Inter Miami’s newest star, former MLS MVP Josef Martínez, was perhaps destined to sign last week with a team whose color scheme includes all-pink uniforms, plays at DRV PNK Stadium and presented him during a pre-season game in a cloud of pink smoke. Martinez’s current hair color is kind of a blonde copper, but he played much of last year in Atlanta with a bright pink.
8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bethune-Cookman: Daring to be scared in 25 days: The FCS Florida Bethune-Cookman football program reached a deal to hire Hall of Famer Ed Reed as a coach and pulled out 25 days later — tantamount to firing him before they actually hired him. I thought he was HBCU’s next Prime Coach. Then got scared after he cursed in a social media rant about poor campus conditions. You made a bold hire, BC. Should a cannonball and stuck with it.
9. GOLF: McIlroy, Reed on the front line in Golf War: The PGA Tour’s acrimony against LIV Golf was on display again as LIV defector and aggressive litigator Patrick Reed attempted to say hello to Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic and was frostily rebuffed – throwing a tee at McIlroy in reply. “Yes, I was subpoenaed by his attorney on Christmas Eve,” McIlroy explained. “Trying to have a good family time and someone showing up at your door and delivering it to you, you’re not going to take it well.” The UFC needs a golfer-only division.
10. NHL: The Florida Panthers are the lame hosts of All-Star Weekend: The 67th NHL All-Star Weekend will take place at Sunrise for the first time since 2003 with skills stuff this Friday and the game next Saturday. The host Panthers, despite two stars from Matthew Tkachuk and backup Aleksander Barkov and despite Saturday’s fine overtime win over big bad Boston, enter the showcase as one of hockey’s most disappointing teams at 24-28 and just off playoff pace after last year leading the NHL in points with the best regular season in club history.
Some other stuff from me last week: NFL Championship Round Playoff Picks / Why is Tom Brady in Miami? And is it really Damar Hamlin? / Bethune-Cookman hoped Ed Reed would be the next Prime Coach – then got scared / And my latest podcast: