Greg Cote

Pope, NFL, the ROC and Heat lead this week’s Hot Button list

In this Feb. 19, 2003 photo, Miami Herald sports writer Edwin Pope is seen. Pope, an award-winning sports columnist who covered the first 47 Super Bowls and spent more than 50 years with the Miami Herald, has died at age 88. Pope, who had battled cancer, died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Okeechobee, Fla., where he lived in retirement.
In this Feb. 19, 2003 photo, Miami Herald sports writer Edwin Pope is seen. Pope, an award-winning sports columnist who covered the first 47 Super Bowls and spent more than 50 years with the Miami Herald, has died at age 88. Pope, who had battled cancer, died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Okeechobee, Fla., where he lived in retirement. adiaz@MiamiHerald.com

1. EDWIN POPE

Miami Herald sports icon dies at 88: If you are aware life existed before ESPN “SportsCenter” or have ever held a newspaper in your hands, then you probably said or thought last week, “I grew up reading Edwin Pope.” Thank you, kind sir, friend and mentor. R.I.P.

2. NFL

Championship Sunday gives us a Super Bowl matchup: Packers at Falcons and then Steelers at Patriots for the NFC and AFC titles offers one of best, most interesting final fours we can recall. The challenge? For the Super Bowl, two Sundays hence, to live up and be as good.

3. MOTORSPORTS

Race Of Champions runs at Marlins Park: Most different, unique sporting event in Miami history? You could do worse than nominating NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One stars racing inside a baseball stadium this weekend in ROC series’ first U.S. appearance.

4. HEAT

Lost season, but looming trade deadline adds intrigue: Miami was after season’s first three-game win streak Saturday and prepares to host Golden State on Monday, but be honest. The most compelling things left in this lost season are these two dates: trade deadline and draft lottery.

5. BASEBALL

Two ex-Marlins elected to Hall of Fame: Pudge Rodriguez had a starring role in helping Marlins win the 2003 World Series. But count yourself a real Fish fan if you also recall that, the year before, Tim Raines ended his 23-year career as a reserve here.

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