ESPN this week revealed its 10th annual “Ultimate Standings,” a yearly ranking of all 122 teams in the big four American sports, based on eight criteria including recent success, fan experience and so forth.
The NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder topped the rankings and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs were dead last, with a mixed bag in between for South Florida’s four pro teams.
The Heat at 31st and Panthers at 33rd fared reasonably well, but the Marlins at 67th did not — except, perhaps, compared to the Dolphins at 110th. That left the Dolphins in the lowest 10percent overall and 31st of 32 NFL teams, ahead of only the St. Louis Rams.
The poor Dolphins. They rated poorly in every category except one: Orange Carpets.
A quick example of the Dolphins’ flux might be represented in quarterback David Garrard, who was named the starter, got injured, got healthy, then got cut.
Owner Stephen Ross said he was optimistic Miami would make the playoffs. The percentage of experts who agree resembles Mitt Romeny’s polling among black voters.
Guard Richie Incognito went on Twitter to playfully recruit a comeback from Jason Taylor. I, too, might welcome it , particularly if Taylor could be quickly taught to play wide receiver.
Embittered former Dolphin Channing Crowder, on WQAM, blasted what he called new coach Joe Philbin’s micromanaging, saying, “They’re worried about rat poop when elephant crap is everywhere.”
I personally think that a metaphor likening the Dolphins’ situation to elephant crap is a real insult, although it remains to be seen whom the comparison insults more: the Dolphins, or the elephant.• An arbitration panel overturned NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s player suspensions in the Saints’ Bountygate matter, freeing Jonathan Vilma and three others to play. An angry Goodell immediately suspended the arbitration panel.
• The champion Heat opens training camp in 20 days. Hey, I figured with Dolphins expectations so low, the Marlins stinking and Panthers season threatened by cancellation, you could use a little good news.
• Dwyane Wade is on a media tour plugging his new book on fatherhood, and it is refreshing that he embraces his role as a dad. To too many NBA players, fatherhood is a claim pending a paternity suit.
• LeBron James, part owner of Liverpool soccer club, promised a party in Las Vegas hosted by Kanye West if it wins the English Premier League. Based on early results (winless in three games), they’re headed to a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
• Well, the field is set for NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup starting next Sunday in Chicago. Almost time for the classic call, “Gentleman, start your getting out of the way so Dale Earnhardt Jr. can win the whole thing like you know NASCAR and most fans really want.”
• Ratings indicate more people watched Bill Clinton’s Democratic convention speech Wednesday night than the NFL’s season-opening, Cowboys-Giants game. “Thank you,” said the Giants.
• In other TV news, ESPN extended the contract of Chris Berman, and nobody could figure out why.
• Googled “bad idea” and saw the Browns will honor the late Art Modell at Sunday’s home opener. What, they think fans forgot Modell was the owner who moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore?
• The Jets’ Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow controversy is heating up. You’ve heard of “Tebowing.” Some fans are now “Marking.” That’s where you are falling to a knee and marking time until Tebow starts.
• Twins Bob and Mike Bryan set a modern record by making the U.S. Open their 12th major doubles title. (Let’s not tell them that only people who play doubles tennis care about it.)
• Hurricanes offensive-line starters include freshman Ereck Flowers, and I’m thrilled. See, before the season, on a hunch, I invested heavily in media references to Flowers blooming, growing or blossoming.
• That reminds me. I bet Savannah State to cover against Florida State on Saturday. Long-standing policy of mine: Love any football team getting 70 1/2 points from any linesmaking outlet. No, seriously.
• Looked out my high-rise window and saw a blur, something dropping in an uncontrollable free-fall. I worried it might be a person falling to his death. Luckily, it was just the Yankees falling in the AL East.
• The Brewers unveiled a stadium statue for career-.200-hitter-turned-lovable-broadcaster Bob Uecker. Cannot confirm that commensurate with Uecker’s career the statue is made not of bronze but of tin foil.
U.S. men’s soccer team, 33rd in the latest FIFA World Ranking, trained in Miami for its World Cup qualifying matches against Jamaica. I dunno. Tough to generate much gusto for that “We’re No. 33!” chant.
Answer: I guess there really is Mo Farah• Reggie Miller topped a field of 12 new inductees Saturday into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a strong indication that Hall is just way, way too easy to get into.
• Parting thought: Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, the former Leo Nunez, underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the 2013 season. Oviedo hopes to come back a new man — a guy named Jose Lopez.
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