Spectacle of L.A. wreck keeps Lakers-Heat on marquee

Miami-Fort Lauderdale had the second-lowest Super Bowl television rating of 57 major U.S. markets, ranking above only Los Angeles. Both cities had a good excuse. Ours is that because the Dolphins haven’t been to a Super Bowl in almost 30 years, we have pretty much blocked out that the game is still even played as a defense mechanism against civic depression. L.A. doesn’t even have a football team, which narrowly edges having a team that never goes to the Super Bowl on the disinterest scale.

Los Angeles had an additional excuse that we didn’t for not watching the Super Bowl:

Residents are so upset about the Lakers they can’t see straight, which renders watching TV both difficult and highly unpleasant.

Now, on Sunday, the Lakers visit the Heat in what before the season seemed a likely NBA Finals preview. Instead, the L.A. Clippers, who were here Friday, are better poised to challenge a Heat repeat come June.

Lakers-Heat remains a marquee matchup — at least according to ABC, which is televising the game — but that is partly because of the dysfunctional soap opera the Lakers have become as the team still percolates under .500 and off the playoff grid.

Watching the Lakers feels more like rubbernecking this season. Like slowing down to watch wrecked cars on the soft shoulder.

Speaking of soft shoulders, Dwight Howard says his shoulder still isn’t just right, Kobe Bryant suggested Dwight play through the pain, and Dwight responded by saying of Kobe, “He’s no doctor.” Add Pau Gasol’s injury and poor Steve Nash must be wondering what he got himself into.

Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen all have been battling flu-like symptoms as the bug races through the Miami locker room.

Like Kobe, I’m no doctor, but I have three words for the ailing Heat:

Deer antler spray.

• Bettors wagered a record $98.9 million legally on the Super Bowl at Nevada casinos, with 183 sports books netting a $7.2 million profit. Me? I hit big. Got lucky. On a hunch, I’d bet $20 at 25,000-to-1 odds that the stadium lights would go out for 34 minutes.

• Speculation is the Dolphins will pursue speedy Steelers receiver

Mike Wallace

in free agency. With Miami’s luck, let’s just hope the team doesn’t inadvertently sign the deceased

60 Minutes


Broward Health made Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill an honorary physician as the new face of the hospital’s orthopedic and sports medicine division. We may now conclude that Tannehill, by aligning himself with a program that performs knee surgeries and injury rehab, is not the least bit superstitious.

• Best part about Ryan being “Dr. Tannehill,” of course, is the unavoidable mental image of his blonde model wife Lauren dressed as a nurse. I’m not saying she’s gorgeous — “But I am!” says

Brent Musberger


• Overshadowed by UM football recruiting, the NCAA investigation and high-flying men’s basketball team, coach

Jim Morris’

Hurricanes open their baseball season in five days. Shh. Don’t tell anybody.

• UM promoted interim athletic director

Blake James

to full time. Unfortunately, the next time we see him will probably be when he’s discussing NCAA sanctions against the school.

The Heat’s Rashard Lewis, commenting on LeBron James and Wade’s joking relationship, called them “Frick and Frack.” Lewis is thus thought to be the first athlete in 50 years to make reference to the Swiss comic skaters who joined the original Ice Follies in the late 1930s.

• In other Heat news,

Chris “Birdman” Andersen’s

tattoos have hired their own agent.

• A group led by former Florida Gov.

Jeb Bush

looked into buying the Marlins, but

Jeffrey Loria

said he has no interest in selling. The nine words that follow “but” might be the saddest ever assembled.

• No. 1 Indiana losing marked the fifth consecutive week the nation’s top-ranked men’s basketball team has lost. This season, the madness isn’t waiting for March.

• Here’s a scary thought for teams such as the Panthers off to slower starts than hoped: The truncated NHL regular season already is about one-quarter over.

• A report about the Penn State/

Jerry Sandusky

sex abuse scandal commissioned by the Paterno family is due Sunday. Wild guess:

Joe Pa

comes across looking pretty good.

An 18-month investigation found hundreds of international soccer matches including some in the World Cup were fixed or subject to fixing by organized crime gangs. Sort of puts a controversy over deer antler spray in perspective, doesn’t it?

• Former Dallas lineman

Tony Casillas

said Cowboys players used to use a veterinary cream made for horses. Did he think it gave them an unfair advantage? “Neigh,” Casillas said.

• The U.S. men’s soccer team lost 2-1 at Honduras in a World Cup qualifying match. The Americans trained for the game in Miami. But not very well, evidently.

• Tennis star

Rafael Nadal

has returned from a seven-month absence following knee surgery. Thank goodness. Capri pants had been flying at half-mast for far too long.


Mike Tyson

said he still supports

Lance Armstrong

. Hey, with friends like that


Parting thought:

The Marlins signed a relief pitcher,

Jon Rauch

, who is 6-11. If he can rebound, somebody give him

Erik Spoelstra’s


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