This must be a strange time to be Joe Philbin.
On Sunday the Dolphins coach faces for the first time the Green Bay team that gave him his start in the NFL and was his nine-year employer.
Philbin has weathered the national criticism over not confirming Ryan Tannehill as his starting quarterback — but still reads and hears the prevailing media opinion that Miami must make the playoffs to save his job.
Meanwhile, speculation out of San Francisco only grows that Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers will part ways after this season and that Fins owner Stephen Ross may push hard to hire Harbaugh.
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In other words, Philbin has a lot to feel emotional about these days.
Luckily, by all appearances, feeling emotion is rarely budgeted onto Analytic Joe’s to-do list.
I don’t wanna say Philbin is outwardly stoic, but he makes the grim, pitchfork-holding farmer in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting look like Charlie Sheen at Mardi Gras.
In my mind I am envisioning a big upset win by the Dolphins on Sunday and Philbin, in the postgame interview session, being invited by reporters to describe the jubilant satisfaction he surely felt in beating his former team.
“Well, that’s going to be hard to say for sure until I see the film,” I hear him drone.
“The film of my brainwave patterns, collated against the times in the game when spikes of emotion may have been warranted, will give me a clearer read on how I may have felt, and whether satisfaction and perhaps joy were, in fact, occurring.”
I am picturing the clock ticking down to the closing seconds Sunday on Philbin’s biggest Dolphins victory.
Fins players maneuver surreptitiously in the background, ready to pour a bucket of Gatorade over the surprised coach’s head.
Luckily, at the last moment, Philbin pops open a pocket umbrella, prudently evading the celebratory shower.
▪ Dolphins suspended defensive end Derrick Shelby after his nightclub arrest for allegedly harassing women. Cops did not buy his excuse that he mistook the women for quarterbacks.
▪ Entering this weekend, hot FIU, led by a great defense, was thinking bowl game. (Note, the preceding sentence was accurate, not a joke.)
▪ The 60th Columbus Day Regatta wraps up Sunday on Biscayne Bay. That’s the local institution known for drinking, topless women, partying, debauchery and, when time allows, sailing.
▪ Former Marlins ace Josh Beckett is retiring. Beckett performed a magic act in the 2003 World Series. He turned 50,000 Yankees fans completely silent.
▪ Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris was being investigated for sexual assault before the complaint was withdrawn. That’s good. I don’t think that was what his coach meant when he said Treon could be the next Jameis Winston.
▪ The NFL fined Denver’s Julius Thomas $8,268 for an illegal chop-block that injured another player. A day later they fined San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones instead of those of league sponsor Bose. Ah, priorities!
▪ Oakland interim coach Tony Sparano used a shovel to ceremonially bury a football to symbolize the winless team’s fresh start. Opponents will continue to require no shovel to bury the Raiders.
▪ This week marked 25th anniversary of epic Herschel Walker trade from Dallas to Minnesota that helped set up Cowboys as team of the ’90s.
Dallas got away with a broad-daylight robbery. Jimmy Johnson was never caught.
▪ Detroit Lions revoked the season ticket of a fan caught pointing lasers at Bills player, after the fan bragged about it on Twitter.
A pertinent reminder: Folks, your illegality and stupidity are probably best kept private, not broadcast.
▪ Canes men’s basketball practice is underway. Team has no seniors, and seven of nine scholarship players are new to the program. Those aren’t commemorative patches on the uniforms. Those are ‘Hello, My Name Is’ stickers.
▪ Ex-Heat curiosity Michael Beasley is out of the NBA and signed with the Shanghai Sharks. How do you say “got weed?” in Chinese?
▪ Many race fans now consider Joey Logano to be favored to win NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup ending at Homestead in November, meaning I have one month to figure out who Joey Logano is.
▪ U.S. beat Spain to win gold in the women’s world championships in Istanbul. Hmm. You’d think Turkey, bordering Iran, Iraq and Syria, might have more on its mind these days than hosting basketball.
▪ Fort Lauderdale Strikers are fighting for fourth and final spot in NASL fall championships. Which would be pretty big news if this were, like, 1979.
▪ As U.S. men’s soccer plays a friendly vs. Honduras on Tuesday in Boca, goalkeeper Hope Solo is on U.S. women’s roster for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches despite facing domestic assault charges. Post-soccer, she may have a future in the NFL.
▪ Calder Race Course has been renamed Gulfstream Park West. “It really isn’t that big a deal to us,” said one of the horses.
▪ Parting thought: Baseball continues to mull ways to speed up games. They already rejected my idea: Relievers getting from bullpen to mound via catapult.
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.
What South Florida sports fans are talking about
1. DOLPHINS: Miami welcomes Rodgers, Green Bay: Tom Brady has started 13 games in Miami, Peyton Manning seven and Drew Brees two. Now, Sunday, Aaron Rodgers becomes the last of the NFL’s current Big Four quarterbacks to start a game at Dolphins stadium. Since I picked Miami in an upset, a quick aside to Dolphins defenders: Hospitality is overrated.
2. HURRICANES: It was win or uh-oh for UM vs. Cincy: Canes, 3-3 after a bad loss at Georgia Tech, hosted mediocre, injury-wracked underdog Cincinnati Saturday with Al Golden and Mark D’Onofrio desperate for a win. Game started at noon, so it was hard to tell if UM fans’ faces were red with anger over the team’s recent performance or from baking in the sun.
3. HEAT: The LeBron Wars, Round 1, Rio de Janeiro: Saturday’s Heat-Cleveland exhibition in Brazil surely was the most important meaningless game in NBA history thanks to LeBron James facing his ex-team for first time, even if it didn’t count. I found it riveting. Not the game. I mean the forced, awkward pregame pleasantries, like LeBron didn’t leave badly and all is well.
4. PANTHERS: Jersey here for Florida’s NHL home opener: Cats were on home ice in Sunrise Saturday night vs. New Jersey for franchise’s 21st home opener and first for new coach Gerard Gallant. Florida, trying to prove it can end its playoff drought, lost its season opener at Tampa Bay after an 0-6 preseason. I think that made Saturday the earliest must-win in sports history.
5. BASEBALL: Postseason in league-championship round: Best of 7s are underway as Cardinals-Giants (NL) and Orioles-Royals (AL) play to see who’ll reach World Series. San Francisco (2012) and St. Louis (2011) won it all recently, while Baltimore (1983) and Kansas City (1985) haven’t won in decades. Mixed-metaphor alert: It’s Goliath vs. Cinderella!
Today: Baseball’s Final Four. The postseason histories of the teams playing for the NL and AL championships and trying to reach the World Series:
Playoffs World Series
wins (most recent)
Baltimore Orioles 61 (since 1954)
Kansas City Royals 46 (since 1969)
St. Louis Cardinals 115 (since 1900)
San Francisco Giants 57 (since 1958)