Dolphins owner Stephen Ross flew by private helicopter to the team’s Davie headquarters late in the week, the showy transportation mode alone lending the trip an appearance of gravitas and urgency. The media quickly materialized, moths to bulb, looking for Major Change the way Catholics look for white smoke arising from the Sistine Chapel on papal election day.
Reporters perhaps anticipated a massive billow of aqua smoke to signal the dramatic dismissal of general manager Jeff Ireland, or maybe a more modest puff of orange smoke for the canning of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.
Devout Dolfans awaited the word from afar, poised to celebrate by gathering on the Town Square, now known as Twitter.
Alas, it turned out the Davie compound has no smokestack and Ross, apparently, had no designs on Major Change. The closest thing to a sign from God was not smoke from on high, but a plume of dust from below riled up as Ross’ ’copter departed as stealthily as it had arrived.
Five consecutive seasons out of the NFL playoffs and back-to-back bad losses to blow the latest attempt evidently are not enough to rock the status quo in Dolphinville.
You’ve heard of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?
The Dolphins either don’t think it’s broke, or are waiting for it to magically fix itself.
Meantime, Dolfans clamoring for change are disappointed thus far, patience ever thinning.
You know what’s weird, though?
After waiting 40 years for another Super Bowl championship, 29 years to get to another Super Bowl and 13 years just to win another playoff game, you’d think Dolfans — just by sheer practice — would lead the league in patience. Or, by now, in resignation.
Instead, like worshippers believing in a God unseen, Dolfans look for smoke, a signal, a sign, anything. Dolfans looks for reasons to still believe.• Is it too late to still be saying “Happy New Year”? Answer: No. But you really need to stop with the “Trick or Treat!” already.
• The Ohio State-Clemson Orange Bowl game here Friday night was those teams’ first meeting in 35 years. To commemorate the occasion, the ghost of Woody Hayes materialized and attempted to punch a Clemson player before being apprehended by stadium security.
• Jimbo Fisher parlayed rumored interest by Texas into a contract extension from FSU. Whether Al Golden gets the same from Miami will tell you whether that Penn State speculation was all smoke or not.
• Canes got spanked by Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater 36-9 in their bowl game in Orlando. Bridgewater then announced he was turning pro one game too late for UM.
• UCF beat Baylor in a major bowl upset. And in other bowl news, Alabama’s loss meant more sadness for Nick Saban. So there was that, anyway.
• Heat star Dwyane Wade acknowledged he fathered a child with another woman while taking “time apart” from Gabrielle Union. Which explains Gabrielle’s 8.5-carat, near-$1 million engagement ring.
• The Heat and Nets will play their “nickname jerseys” game Friday. Mario Chalmers wanted to wear “Super Mario” but couldn’t because it’s a Nintendo trademark. I guess LeBron James reached a settlement with the Bible to wear “King James”?
• Panthers midseason report: Good news first? The team’s 17 standings points in December tied a franchise record for one month. The bad news? That surge only raised the Cats’ NHL playoff hopes from infinitesimal to remote.
• The Red Wings and Maple Leafs played outdoor hockey in the snow in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the NHL’s annual Winter Classic. There is a phrase for playing a game in brutal conditions fit only for polar bears: “A New Jersey Super Bowl.”
• That reminds me. Super Bowl halftime performer Bruno Mars says he is worried about the effect of the freezing weather on his vocal chords. Isn’t that cute? As if he won’t be lip-syncing!
• The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers announced on his radio show he isn’t gay, amid Internet rumors and a report he might be outed by an alleged ex-boyfriend. Remember the good old days when a quarterback only had to worry about getting sacked, not who he was in the sack with?
• Recent terrorist bombings in Russia have raised safety concerns about the upcoming Sochi Olympics, and increased security measures will be obvious. For example, downhill skiers will now slalom through metal detectors.
• I keep reading Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have the best rivalry in their sport, even though Serena just beat her for the 14th time in a row. Great rivalry for the cattiness. For the tennis? Not so much.
• Tim Tebow is a newly hired analyst for ESPN and the fledgling SEC Network. I imagine him being the least critical analyst in the history of TV. He will give only praise, and mostly to the Lord.
• Baseball’s Carl Crawford and reality TV’s Evelyn Lozada ( Chad Ochocinco’s ex) are engaged. A date for their inevitable divorce has not yet been set.
• Tennis and golf seasons are under way. As always, I have set my alarm for the first major in each.
• Parting thought: Baseball’s 2014 Hall of Fame class will be revealed in three days, expected to be led by longtime teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Once again, drunk-driving, philandering baseball writers were expected to deny entry on moral grounds to those who used steroids.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote, Instagram/upsetbird, Vine/Greg Cote and Facebook/Greg Cote.