I don’t mean to pick on Joe Philbin. I really don’t. Then again the Dolphins coach must bear his share of responsibility in the matter for making it so darned easy for me.
Miami has had it parade of lampoonable “characters” at the head coach’s desk ever since the unassailable stature of Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson.
There was Dave Wannstedt with his inspirational lobster traps hung in the locker room to warn players of trap games, his ’70s porn-star mustache, and his unwavering admiration for the punt.
There was Napoleonic Nick Saban, who indignantly denied he was leaving even as the Mayflower moving van with the Alabama plates backed up to his house.
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There was Cam Cameron, with “fail forward fast” and the 1-15 record alone justifying every measure of ridicule.
There was Tony Sparano, with the mob-boss name and visage, the sunglasses at night and the fist pumps for field goals.
Philbin is a whole ’nuther cat.
Another reminder came just last week when Joe used the very un-coach-like words “antsy” and “queasy” to describe his mind-set late in the last-second loss to Green Bay. Admitting he made mistakes in judgment and clock management, he was describing why he hesitated to throw late even though Ryan Tannehill was having a terrific second half. He was answering when asked why he ran on third-and-9 with three minutes to play.
Rare is the NFL coach who admits to feeling fidgety, nervous, apprehensive or overcome by an unpleasant, doubtful feeling. I covered Shula and Johnson a combined 20-plus years without ever hearing either say that being “antsy” or “queasy” steered his decision-making.
They knew coaches are supposed to convey resolve and confidence, not waffling or weakness.
Until he gets the memo, I’m not sure what Philbin might need more on the sideline at Soldier Field on Sunday: An it’s-going-to-be-OK pep talk, or a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
▪ Celtics and Nets will play a 44-minute preseason exhibition Sunday as NBA experiments with shorter games. League hopes this proves more popular than its previous experiment: Shorter players.
▪ Don’t worry, Heat fans. Mario Chalmers, whom teammates call Rio, is as cocky as ever. After last week’s exhibition in Brazil he thought how nice it was of them to name Rio de Janeiro after him.
▪ That reminds me. LeBron James is the new spokesman for Kia Motors. The national group, People Who Think LeBron Would Be Caught Dead Actually Driving a Kia, will be meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth.
▪ The Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire is taking rejuvenating baths in red wine. That isn’t cologne he’s wearing. That’s the permanent bouquet of a 2009 Caymus Napa Valley cabernet.
▪ The Bears’ Brandon Marshall this week criticized his QB while in Miami, Chad Henne. Geez, get in line, pal. Who didn’t criticize Henne!?
▪ Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch pleaded guilty to running the Coral Gables “anti-aging clinic” that provided PEDs to Alex Rodriguez and others in baseball. Bosch was only doing his part to keep Cooperstown quaint by keeping the population down.
▪ Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was busted for shoplifting $123 in cologne and underwear from a department store. Please don’t suspend him, NFL. The merciless ribbing he’s getting from teammates is a much greater punishment.
▪ As college basketball officially unfurls with Midnight Madness, we congratulate Miami for extending women’s coach Katie Meier’s contract, and Meier for donating $75,000 to UM women’s athletics. That’s a feel-good story from any angle. Too few of those in sports.
▪ NASCAR is at Talladega Sunday for an elimination race in the Chase for the Cup, which culminates Nov.16 at Homestead. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be eliminated, despite the wishes of televising network ESPN.
▪ Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are on a Ryder Cup Task Force probing recent U.S. failures vs. Europe. Initial finding: Inability to transport Woods and Mickelson back to their primes.
▪ Justin Bieber has been training in a ring with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas. I have never hoped more for Mayweather to knock somebody out.
▪ The Charlie Crist-Rick Scott gubernatorial debate started late in a dispute over the use of a small fan. Um, is it too late to start the race over with two different candidates?
▪ MLS commissioner Don Garber blasted U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann for denigrating the league, which might be a big story if more of us cared much about either.
▪ The Detroit Lions revoked the season ticket of a fan caught pointing lasers at Bills players, after the fan bragged about it on Twitter. Reminder: Folks, your stupidity is probably best kept a private matter, not broadcast.
▪ Parting thought: The Marlins have interest in free agent-to-be Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, the hefty Giants third baseman. Miami likes his bat. Sandoval likes the Marlins’ “All You Can Eat Mondays” promotion.
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: Royals-Giants World Series. Kansas City and San Francisco’s previous World Series appearances:
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Won 4-3 (Cardinals)
Lost 4-2 (Phillies
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Won 4-0 (Tigers)
Won 4-1 (Rangers)
Lost 4-3 (Angels)
Lost 4-0 (Athletics)
Lost 4-3 (Yankees)
WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT:
Miami faces Bears at Soldier Field: “Dolphins at Chicago” is one of the most rare phrases in the Dolfan lexicon. Sunday will mark only the club’s fifth visit to Soldier Field, following earlier trips in 1975, 1988, 1991 and 2006. With apologies to the superstitious, Fins did not make the playoffs any of the four previous seasons they played in Chicago.
Short bye as UM visits Virginia Tech on Thursday: The Hurricanes, 4-3 after a big (if sparsely attended) home win over Cincinnati, are back in action in a big ACC game at rival Virginia Tech in hostile Blacksburg. Unfortunately the bye week rushed for 328 yards against the beleaguered Canes’ run defense.
Royals-Giants World Series starts Tuesday: The best thing about this Fall Classic matchup? The contrast: Giants with two World Series titles in past five years vs. Royals in their first postseason since 1985. The worst thing? Maudlin and incessant media rehashing on the 25th anniversary of the 1989 World Series earthquake in San Francisco.
Real games in 10 days: With an 1-4 start to Miami’s preseason and only two exhibitions left before the Oct.29 opener, the foreboding of the Heat’s new reality might be setting in. ESPN predicts Miami for fifth in the East and ranks Dwyane Wade only the 39th-best player. Aside to LeBron: It isn’t too late to change your mind!
5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL
FSU hosts Notre Dame in top-5 matchup: No. 2 Seminoles and No.5 Irish met Saturday night in a playoff-shaping game sadly overshadowed by the various controversies surrounding Noles QB Jameis Winston. Highlight of game for me? When Jameis eluded a sack and threw a TD while autographing memorabilia.