The NFL opens its 96th season this week with Roger Goodell in hiding. That’s no surprise. Men have scurried roach-like into seclusion for far fewer public defeats than the commissioner has suffered lately.
The federal court’s overturn of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension is just the latest installment in a series of events that have embarrassed Goodell and his office.
Poor Roger’s week could have only been worse if his name had turned up on that outed list of Ashley Madison infidelity clients.
After the Patriots’ Brady defeated Goodell in court, the commish quickly announced he would not go to Thursday night’s season-opening game that has Pittsburgh playing at New England — the first time he has not attended the league’s Kickoff Weekend showcase.
He said it was so attention wouldn’t be taken from the game. More likely it’s to avoid a fan reaction that would have been equal parts vitriol over the whole Deflategate matter and howling delight over Goodell’s ultimate comeuppance.
I wonder when Goodell will show up in public again. And, when he does, if he will be the guy in the wig and fake mustache?
▪ Monday is Labor Day, the holiday in which we celebrate the American work force by not working. That’s a little like marking Earth Day by felling a few trees.
▪ As the Heat prepares to open training camp in a few weeks, all five starters made Sports Illustrated’s NBA Top 100, with Chris Bosh ranked 22nd, Dwyane Wade 30th, Goran Dragic 42nd, Luol Deng 56th and Hassan Whiteside 69th. Don’t feel too bad for Wade slipping. I needed a miner’s helmet and a pickaxe to find Kobe Bryant all the way down at 54.
▪ Dan Marino and his ex-Dolphins backup quarterback Damon Huard are partners in a Washington State vineyard called Passing Time, and just issued their first cabernet sauvignon. It has subtle notes of raspberry, cocoa and former athletes looking for a new revenue stream.
▪ A quick serious note: Congrats to friend and colleague Israel Gutierrez, who had the courage Friday to reveal he is gay. A good man, unburdened. OK, now back to the nonsense!
▪ Former UM receiver and Dolphins No. 1 draft pick Randal Hill, now 45, is running for the U.S. Congress in Miami. Old nickname: Thrill Hill. New nickname: Thrill on Capitol Hill.
▪ Vin Scully, 87, said he would return for a 67th season as Dodgers broadcaster in 2016. Scully has worked during the terms of 11 U.S. presidents, and done a better job than just about all of them.
▪ The Florida Panthers and Eastern Airlines have partnered on a private charter jet the team will travel in this season. The Panthers are a first-class organization. If only they were a first-place organization, too.
▪ A man was arrested when his drone accidentally crashed into the stands of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The man is a teacher at New York’s Academy of Innovative Technology — but evidently in dire need of further lessons on how to operate said technology.
▪ Meanwhile, Serena Williams enters the U.S. Open’s midpoint seemingly unstoppable in her quest for the sport’s first calendar year Grand Slam since 1988. Hey, if no other woman can stop her, perhaps a drone strike can!
▪ It was reported Dan Jennings would not return as the Marlins’ manager in 2016. I hadn’t been that shocked by anything since I woke up that one morning to discover the sun had risen again.
▪ The Marlins supposedly might be interested in Don Mattingly as their next manager if the Dodgers let him go after this season. Hmm. Could there be a bigger budgetary fall in all of sports than Mattingly going from Los Angeles’ record $300 million payroll to Jeffrey Loria?
▪ There have been six no-hitters in MLB this season and one was by Mike Fiers, the pitcher who hit Giancarlo Stanton in the face last year. Which completely ruined my faith in karma, by the way.
▪ Former Italian soccer star Alessandro Nesta is the new coach of Miami FC, the NASL expansion team. When the team says it wants to draw fans from as far away as Naples, I guess they meant Italy.
▪ Miamian Juan Pablo Montoya narrowly lost out to Scott Dixon for the 2015 IndyCar championship. The good news? Not that many people follow IndyCar, anyway.
▪ Shannon Briggs fought Mike Marrone at the Hard Rock near Hollywood on Saturday, with the crowd advertised to include Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis. It is seldom a good thing when the people sitting ringside are more interesting than the people in the ring.
▪ Los Angeles was named to replace Boston as the U.S. nominee to host the 2024 Olympics. Laid-back Angelenos have loosely agreed to table their potential excitement for at least eight years.
▪ UFC star Ronda Rousey accepted an invitation to the Marine Corps Ball as the date of a Philadelphia soldier. He’ll be a perfect gentleman, or she’ll beat the !@#$ out of him.
▪ Answer: HBO’s Ballers misspelled Larry Csonka’s name as “Czonka” in the closing credits of the season finale. Question: What do they mean by, “Fame is fleeting”?
▪ Parting thought: And in entertainment news, Miley Cyrus shocked onlookers by showing up at an event fully clothed.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope. And catch Greg’s 25th season of weekly NFL predictions starting Friday.
Note: This is the next-to-last Random Evidence notes column that will appear in print on Sundays. Details next week.
Today: Miami Hurricanes’ biggest wins in football season openers. The all-time top five (plus ties), based on margin of victory:
East Tennessee St.
Note: The Canes’ most recent season-opening win by at least 40 points was 45-0 over Florida A&M under Randy Shannon in 2010.
UM hosts Bethune-Cookman in opener: It was soft openings all around as the state’s Big 3 began the college football season at home Saturday, with Miami vs. Bethune-Cookman, Florida State vs. Texas State and Florida vs. New Mexico State. The biggest competition was which home team enjoyed the softest cupcake-in-cleats.
NFL opens Thursday, Miami next Sunday: It’s Steelers at Patriots to kick off the NFL season Thursday, with the Dolphins opening at Washington next Sunday. The first six QBs Miami faces will be Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, rookie Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. And you wonder why Miami cornerbacks are smiling!?
We’re on Stanton Watch as homestand begins: It’s been a lousy season, yes, but at least the Marlins had won four in a row entering the weekend and climbed to third in the NL East as fans continued to await Giancarolo Stanton’s return from a wrist injury. Oh, and they just had “Star Wars Night.” Was Jabba the Hut called Jabba the Hit?
Panthers open with big upset win at UCF: Thursday night’s 15-14 win over UCF in Orlando makes this the first time since 2004 that FIU is 1-0 after a season-opening road victory. Panthers fans are thrilled — both of them! Whoa. Ouch. Too mean? OK, how’s this for a deal, FIU fans: Y’all sell out a home game, just one, and I’ll stop making fun.
5. DAN LE BATARD
Radio show moves to morning starting Tuesday: “The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz” on ESPN Radio and locally on 790 The Ticket moves to the 9 a.m.-to-1 p.m. time slot starting Tuesday. I happen to be a weekly cohost on the show, but that most certainly is NOT why I put this in this week’s Top 5 list. Wait. Sure it is. Who am I kidding?