Conversation overheard this weekend in a typical South Florida household:
Small child: “Grandpa, I heard on TV the AFC and NFC Championship Games were Sunday. Did you ever see the Dolphins play in one of those?”
Grandpa: “Ha, ha. No, Billy. Gramps is old, but he isn’t that old!”
It was 22 seasons ago, 1992, when Miami last reached the AFC title game. It only seems longer. It was still called Joe Robbie Stadium. Don Shula hadn’t been asked yet if the game had passed him by. Dan Marino was still in his prime. The Marks Brothers were still catching passes. Defensive stars included Bryan Cox and Louis Oliver.
Gas, I think, was 11 cents a gallon.
Now, on Sunday, the Colts and Patriots and the Packers and Seahawks are at the place to which Miami long ago lost the map.
It portends a New England-Seattle Super Bowl.
That would give player-turned-analyst Ray Lewis a chance to rethink saying Tom Brady is only known because of the “Tuck Rule.” (Aside to Lewis: This would be Brady’s sixth Super Bowl and fourth win. He’s pretty good.)
I think I’d rather be on assignment covering the action in Seattle, though. Not because it will be a better game, but because then I’d have the chance to intentionally annoy Marshawn Lynch with postgame questions he refused to answer.
Me: “Marshawn, how’s it feel to reach another Super Bowl?”
Lynch: “I’m thankful.”
Me: “How sore are you after 45 carries?”
Lynch: “I’m thankful.”
Me: What will sportswriters think to themselves when your unnecessarily rude, inconsiderate self finally retires?”
Lynch “I’m thankful.”
▪ It seems Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally might be close to agreeing to fight. Now all they have to do is settle on which decade.
▪ Duck-hunting season ends this week. “Thank goodness,” said a beleaguered Oregon after a grinning Cardale Jones bagged his limit.
▪ Champion Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is now neck-and-neck with Nick Saban. I don’t mean for best college coach. I mean for most disliked.
▪ ESPN covered the Oregon-Ohio State title game with “Megacast Monday” across myriad platforms. Hopefully, the guy who dreamed that up was given a decent severance package.
▪ The year’s first tennis major, the Australian Open, starts Monday. I don’t wanna say the sport is predictable, but I’ll take Novak Djokivic and Serena Williams, and you can have the field.
▪ LeBron James played Kobe Bryant. It might have been the most exciting game ever between two teams with a combined 31-49 record.
▪ And in other NBA news, the New York Knicks have been relegated to the D-League.
▪ College football’s National Signing Day is near. Disgruntled Canes fans won’t have any idea if the new signees are any good but are preparing to complain about UM’s recruiting class anyway.
▪ This season’s Dolphins-Jets game in London will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, or about the time many Miami fans will be getting home after a Saturday night in South Beach.
▪ ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the Dolphins selecting Washington LB Shaq Thompson in his first mock NFL Draft. Kiper will have 845 more mock drafts with different guesses in each to increase his odds of the blind squirrel happening upon an acorn.
▪ New Bills coach Rex Ryan assured Buffalo fans a playoff season. Ryan leads the league in braggadocio and unkept promises.
▪ Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was named NFL executive of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association. Hmm. Had those PFWA voters been on Jones’ infamous party bus or what?
▪ It was announced Seth Meyers would host the NFL Honors awards show Jan.31. Have you seen Meyers? If he isn’t mocking Roger Goodell within one minute of his opening monologue, you’ll know he was instructed not to.
▪ New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said, “It takes a village.” Yes, along with fewer injuries and suspensions and a better Colin Kaepernick.
▪ A few Randoms ago, I kiddingly wrote that new Fort Lauderdale Strikers part-owner Ronaldo, 38, the Brazilian soccer legend, should talk himself out of retirement. Well, apparently he might. It sounds ridiculous. Unless it’s a success, in which I want credit!
▪ UM trustee Bob Mann donated $1million to Canes athletics. “You da Mann!” said the school.
▪ MLB will experiment with a pitch clock during minor-league games this year. I don’t wanna say baseball tends to drag, but I’ve seen pitchers take the mound clean-shaven and leave a game bearded.
▪ The Marlins open spring training in less than five weeks. I can’t believe Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t hit a home run yet!
▪ Curt Schilling said he didn’t get voted into the Hall of Fame because he’s Republican. Yeah that makes sense. Or, there’s also the remote possibility voters just didn’t think he was good enough.
▪ UFC star Jon “Bones” Jones entered rehab for a cocaine problem and left a day later. It’s a miracle!
▪ Parting thought: Golfer Charl Schwartzel lost in a playoff on the European Tour. He lost more than that. Somebody stole the “es” off the end of his first name.
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: NFL final four. Most appearances in the AFC or NFC Championship Game in the 25 seasons since 1990, when the current playoff format went in effect:
New England Patriots
1996, *2001, *’03,
*’04, ’07, ’11, ’14
Green Bay Packers
*1996, ’97, *2010, ’14
New York Giants
*1990, 2000, *’07, *’11
1995, *2005, *’08, ’10
1990, ’91, ’92, ’93
*Went on to win Super Bowl.
Note: Broncos, Colts, Cowboys and Seahawks have three appearances each; 49ers, Rams and Ravens have two; and 11teams have one. Nine teams (including Dolphins) have none.
What South Florida sports fans are talking about:
Final four face off Sunday to reach Super Bowl: It’s Green Bay at Seattle and Indianapolis at New England — each a champion in the past decade — to to determine who reaches the 49th Super Bowl. I heard “Frozen” star Idina Menzel would be singing the national anthem at the SB. My natural reaction: How can she sing if she’s frozen?
Whiteside Fever sweeps South Florida: Hassan Whiteside’s legend grows exponentially as the 25-year-old 7-footer wows Heat fans with his rebounding and dunks. You know how they say timing is everything? In the LeBron Era he wouldn’t have gotten off the bench. At a savior-needing 17-22, he’s in a flowing robe and parting the Red Sea.
UM men, women vying for Top 25: Canes men (at Notre Dame on Saturday) and women (at Duke on Sunday) both entered the weekend with chances to beat ranked opponents and crack the Top 25. The men’s team released butterflies into the sky in a Native American tradition of unity. Opposing fans would NEVER make fun of such a thing … right?
4. ROB KONRAD
Ex-Dolphin’s ocean ordeal investigated: Guy is lost at sea, miraculously saves own life by swimming ashore in 16-hour ordeal, then gets doubted over details of his ordeal. Now Florida Fish & Wildlife is investigating. Weird. It’s like you saved a kid from a burning building by carrying him across the street and got ticketed for jaywalking.
Cats seek momentum entering All-Star break: Florida hosts Vancouver on Monday in the final game before the midseason break surrounding next Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. I’d say the bar is a little low down here. The Cats stand ninth in the hunt for eight playoff spots, and it’s practically cause for a local parade.