You’ve heard of soft openings? This isn’t one. The Dolphins opening their season at home with nemesis New England is like you starting your day by being awakened not by a gentle nudge but by a brass band.
Dolfans needn’t wait long to find out if Miami is finally ready and able to bust the Patriots’ long stranglehold on the AFC East.
The buildup to Sunday’s game has been comical for its secrecy.
While each team signed the other’s former players to try to gain inside info, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor declined to reveal how uptempo his offense would be after a preseason that didn’t show much of the expected faster pace.
Pats coach Bill Belichick, of course, is king of the information blackout. Quarterback Tom Brady missed a practice Thursday because of his calf, but Belichick would provide no details whatsoever or even acknowledge if Brady had a calf, leading reporters to wonder whether Brady missing practice was not related to a leg injury at all, but rather to a baby cow.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, emulating Belichick, declined to confirm there would be a game played Sunday, or to speculate on its location.
In other news, new Dolphins special adviser Dan Marino has advised the Dolphins to win Sunday.
I actually think Miami will win and have predicted a 24-20 upset.
My family read that and attempted to have me Baker Act-ed.• The field was set Saturday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 10-race Chase for the Cup culminating Nov. 16 at Homestead. They’ve tinkered with the Chase format a lot, but, for TV ratings, I think it needs one last tweak: An automatic berth for any driver named Danica Patrick.
• FAU played at No. 2 Alabama on Saturday. The game ended by mid-afternoon but the Crimson Tide is still scoring.
• Florida coach Will Muschamp decided last week’s canceled-by-lightning non-game against Idaho fulfilled the one-game suspension he had given three players. Muschamp evidently thinks punishment and principles both are overrated.
• Colts owner Jim Irsay was fined $500,000 and suspended six games by the NFL for impaired driving while high on prescription pills. Irsay required no medical treatment for his slapped wrist.
• That committee Dolphins owner Stephen Ross formed months ago to review the team’s conduct policy? It has never met. Time to form a new committee to investigate why.
• The 49ers’ Ray McDonald was charged with domestic violence just after the NFL dramatically increased penalties for that. McDonald also was cited for aggravated stupidity and really bad timing.
• Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson continue their long feud. The Cowboys owner blasted the ex-coach as disloyal in a recent interview, and Johnson shot back that Jones “comes across like a rich a-hole.” To be accurate, he comes across like a rich a-hole whose team has cascaded to mediocrity ever since Johnson left Dallas.
• Question: Who enjoys media-bashing the current state of their former team more: the 1972 Dolphins or the Glory-Days Canes? Agreed. Too close to call.
• NBA superstar Dwyane Wade marries an actress in a $5 million wedding at an $11 million castle with a guest list full of sports stars and celebrities, and he wanted to keep it quiet. That’s so cuuuute!
• Maria Sharapova was ousted at the U.S. Open by Caroline Wozniacki, denying Sharapova the chance to be ousted by Serena Williams as usual.
• The Panthers signed NHL No. 1 draft pick Aaron Ekblad as they prepare to open prospects camp Thursday and full training camp Sept. 19 under new coach Gerard Gallant. (The preceding has been a hockey item. Don’t get used to it.)
• Nude photos of Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and girlfriend/supermodel Kate Upton appeared on the Internet. It was a damnable invasion of privacy made somewhat less damnable by the fact Upton makes a lucrative living pretty much wearing as little as possible at all times.
• It’s Phoenix led by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner against Chicago led by Elena Delle Donne and Miamian Sylvia Fowles in a star-filled, terrific WNBA Finals matchup starting Sunday.
(The item immediately above is for the angry reader who bet me I couldn’t mention the WNBA without a snide comment. Pay up, Ma!)
• Kevin Sutherland became the latest touring golf pro to shoot a record-tying 59. I too once carded a 59. But then I ruined my round by having to play the final six holes.
• Parting thought: The Heat “reassigned” veteran assistant coaches Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo. That’s a nice way to put it. Similarly, the Dolphins might “reassign” Joe Philbin should the team fail to make the playoffs this year.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Today: Dolphins’ biggest season openers. The three most outstanding performances by a Dolphin in 48 previous Week 1 games in the three major offensive categories:
|Player (Year)||Category||Yards (Opponent)|
|Dan Marino (1994)||Passing yards||473 (vs. Patriots)|
|Chad Henne (2011)||Passing yards||416 (vs. Patriots)|
|Bob Griese (1969)||Passing yards||327 (at Bengals)|
|Sammie Smith (1990)||Rushing yards||159 (at Patriots)|
|Abner Haynes (1967)||Rushing yards||151 (vs. Broncos)|
|Mark Higgs (1991)||Rushing yards||146 (at Bills)|
|Irving Fryar (1994)||Receiving yards||211 (vs. Patriots)|
|Mark Duper (1984)||Receiving yards||178 (at Redskins)|
|Paul Warfield (1971)||Receiving yards||146 (at Broncos)|
Note: Most points scored by Miami in a season opener have been 52 (1995 vs. Jets), 49 (2002 vs. Lions) and 45 (1982 at Jets).